Apr 8, 2014

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Big Bad Wolf Newsletter: Spring 2014

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Articles from this issue:

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Have you had success with a Bad Wolf play? We want your pedagogical and inspirational stories for our newsletter! Articles should be 150-350 words. We especially like stories about creative or cross-disciplinary ways to use our material, rewarding experiences you or your students have had, and anything that will help other teachers. We’ll do the editing, so don’t worry about achieving perfection. Just write it up and send it in and see your name in lights!

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Apr 8, 2014

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Which play are YOU hankering for?

Every year around this time we start wondering which new plays we should write for the upcoming school year. We fret, we make lists, we consult with famous mathematicians, rock climbers, and nutritionists. And when they inevitably tell us to write plays about math, rocks, and nutrition, we tell them we’ve already done that and end up panicking and choosing topics randomly from the dictionary.

But this year we’ve decided to go a completely different direction and ask our customers instead.

I know, right? It’s so crazy it just might work.

So we want to hear from you. Which topics do you need covered? Which grade levels? Are you looking for tons of curriculum connections, or just a fun story? Get in touch and tell us!

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Apr 8, 2014

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Insert Spring Pun Here!

Spring forward? Spring fling? Spring into savings? No, these puns hurt even us. But the season is upon us nonetheless, and it’s just begging for MUSICAL THEATER!

EARTH DAY/ENVIRONMENTAL UNITS

The Environmental Show (30 minutes, grades 3-6+)
A really fun musical about a struggling rock band—and how singing banana peels and Styrofoam containers saved their career. (Hey, it could happen!) Don’t have time to stage the full musical? Don’t worry about it. Just have kids perform in class, or do the play as reader’s theater on April 22.

The Conservation 10-Minute Mini (10 minutes, grades 3-6+)
It’s hard to imagine getting more curricular bang for your buck than with this great little play about the Three Little Pigs’ attempt to build environmentally-friendly housing. Use the show as reader’s theater and your kids will learn a ton about saving energy and water in 10 hilarious minutes.

Individual Songs & Skits

Working with younger kids or just need something short and sweet? You can use selections from the plays above, or:

 

STANDARDIZED TESTING

Blech! This is not a “holiday” that we like to celebrate, but still it comes marching upon us every year. Give your kids some extra tips and confidence with Test-Taking Strategies for grades 2-6. It’s a very fun, 20-minute play chock full of great testing tips and anxiety-reducing strategies for everyone.

 

MEMORIAL DAY

American Symbols is an absolutely awesome play for grades K-4 that can be used to commemorate the Memorial Day holiday and the end of the school year to boot.

 

 

Looking for a short Memorial Day song and skit? Check out “A Day to Remember” in Holiday Songs for the Classroom.

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Apr 8, 2014

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English Language Learners Get Environmental

Banana Peels singing (well, lip-syncing!) “Everyone Wins” in an Earth Day performance of The Environmental Show in Monterrey, Mexico.

Banana Peels singing (well, lip-syncing!) “Everyone Wins” in an Earth Day performance of The Environmental Show in Monterrey, Mexico.

By Sylvia Valle
Monterrey, Mexico

As coordinator of the English department in a Montessori School in Monterrey, Mexico, I am in charge of creating a nurturing environment in which students can learn a second language naturally. My job is to choose programs and materials that will make this process as fun and rewarding as possible.

I have found that drama is one of the most effective ways to get students excited about learning English. Students love the experience of playing a role,  and the catchy lines and repetitive choruses in the Bad Wolf plays are just perfect for second language learners. I want to make the experience as fun for them as possible, so when it’s almost time to perform, I record the cast singing the songs. We use these recordings during the actual performances, so the actors just have to move their lips on stage. They feel like movie stars!

The students are highly motivated to practice and do well. They come to rehearsal during recess or after school. They work with me on their intonation and pronunciation; they even help each other and give tips to those who struggle more. “Acting out” their language skills really helps with their comprehension and fluency.

As my students learn English, they also learn about American culture. I like to do that by tying our programs in with American holidays not typically celebrated in Mexico, such as Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Valentine’s Day, and Earth Day.

One of our huge successes was The Environmental Show for Earth Day. The kids were eager to demonstrate their English to their parents—and the parents got quite involved too! Some helped with the costumes, while others printed out invitations and worked on the background scenery. The parents of the “shy” children loved to see their kids participating in front of large audiences. And everyone got to learn about Earth Day along with some practical ways to help the environment. The students, parents, and administrators were absolutely thrilled with the experience—and the younger kids couldn’t wait to get to the higher grades so they could be in a play too!

Do you have an inspiring, cool, unusual, useful, or otherwise awesome story about your experience with a Bad Wolf play? Please share it with us so we can feature it in our next issue of the Big Bad Wolf newsletter!

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Apr 8, 2014

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Q&A about Social Skills: How to Interact with Human Beings

Meet Info Blast! He knows a LOT of facts, but has a hard time knowing when to stop sharing them.

Meet Info Blast! He knows a LOT of facts, but has a hard time knowing when to stop sharing them.

We sat down with authors John Heath and Lisa Adams to talk about their latest creation, Social Skills: How to Interact with Human Beings. Let’s see what malarkey they decided to share with us.

Q: Is this the one about superheroes? Which superheroes are in the play?

Welllll….let’s just say a tiny little company such as ours cannot rub elbows with the great comic book franchises that keep pumping our movie theaters full of such high-quality entertainment. We invented our own characters, ones that are a little more…erm…Bad Wolfian.

Q: That sounds suspicious. Do they actually have superpowers?

Some of them do; some of them think they do; all of them need to learn how to use their powers in appropriate ways. We wanted to make it clear that social skills are simply that—skills. People can be very talented in other ways, but that doesn’t mean social skills necessarily come easy for them. And the good news is that everyone can practice and improve.

Q: It sounds like you’re speaking from experience.

Oh no, we haven’t improved yet! That’s why we’re writers.

Q: But seriously.

Seriously, we decided to write this show because the information is just so important. Being able to listen, communicate, read body language, and deal with conflict affects people (for better or worse) in EVERY aspect of their lives. And it’s hard not to notice that people skills seem to be on the decline. More time spent online and in solitary activities means less opportunity to practice in real social situations. Also, many kids on the autism spectrum struggle with social interactions. In short, people skills are vital to everyone, so why not teach them explicitly?

Q: So is Social Skills appropriate for kids on the autism spectrum?

Yes, but this play is really for everyone! All of our plays have been used successfully by kids of all abilities and learning styles—this one is no exception. We think it will be a bit hit both in mainstream and special education classrooms.

Q: Last words?

Pickle! Anhedonia! Haberdasher! Oh, and you can learn more about the play here!

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Jan 15, 2014

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Social Skills: How to Interact with Human Beings

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Okay, it looks nothing like a bird or a plane. It’s a play!

But we can’t really be expected to resist all superhero jokes, not when we are so excited about our latest show, Social Skills: How to Interact with Human Beings. Here’s the story:

Captain Invisible, Freeze Frame, The Green Pen, and Info Blast are superheroes with a problem. Well, a lot of problems. Their superpowers are sketchy, their sidekicks are avoiding them, and they’ve been flagged by the ISS (International Society for Superheroes, of course) as “not mixing well with the general population.” Ouch! Fortunately, their Advisors at the ISS want to help them improve, sending them on a quest to master people skills. With the help of human beings all over the city, they’ll learn the importance of listening to others, thinking before they speak (or post things online!), paying attention to body language and social cues, speaking with tact, regulating their emotions, facing conflict, and making amends.

This show can be used successfully in either mainstream or special needs settings, and it is well suited for performers on and off the autism spectrum!

Key Concepts:

  • Social skills come naturally to some people more than others — but they can be practiced and taught
  • Listening attentively to others
  • Contributing to a conversation: what and how much to say about yourself
  • Thinking before you speak
  • Paying close attention to body language and social cues
  • Being tactful
  • Monitoring your emotions and reactions; stepping away before things get out of hand
  • Facing conflict and apologizing
  • Online conduct: think before you post something on the internet; conduct yourself online as you would in person
  • You don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you should strive to be friendly

Order Now!

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Dec 13, 2013

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Big Bad Wolf Newsletter: Fall 2013

Click here to read!

Articles from this issue:

 

Submit an Article

Have you had success with a Bad Wolf play? We want your pedagogical and inspirational stories for our newsletter! Articles should be 150-350 words. We especially like stories about creative or cross-disciplinary ways to use our material, rewarding experiences you or your students have had, and anything that will help other teachers. We’ll do the editing, so don’t worry about achieving perfection. Just write it up and send it in and see your name in lights!

Read More