We are pleased as punch with our latest show, Alice’s Adventures with Idioms! While our lyricist John Heath always works his genius in our shows, this play is truly his linguistic masterpiece, set to incredibly fun and catchy music by Mike Fishell. And since it contains more than 150 idioms and similes, Alice can truly be an expansive teaching tool. It’s great for native speakers and English Language Learners alike.
For a list of the idioms, similes, and vocabulary in the show, just click here and click on the “Vocabulary” tab. You’ll also be able to read the first third of the script and listen to samples of all the songs. And of course we have links to the common core and other national standards that the play fulfills.
Synopsis: Alice follows her cat and dog down the rabbit hole and arrives in…the land of idioms! And a crazy place it is. All the familiar Wonderland characters — the White Rabbits, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Mad Hatter and March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the King and Queen of Hearts — are there to share their kooky wisdom as they help Alice and her pets navigate the mysterious world of the English language. In addition to exploring the meanings of specific expressions, students will understand the difference between literal and metaphorical language and learn that idioms have a historical basis.
Who knew? The characters and episodes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass make the perfect canvas for exploring figurative language! In this show, Alice will have to learn how to understand idioms, similes, and more if she is to navigate the mysterious world of the English language…er, Wonderland.
Superheroes are great at saving the world…but did anyone ever teach them how to have a friendly conversation with an actual person? No! In this fun play, students will gain some essential life skills by learning how to conduct themselves interpersonally—whether in person, online, or on the phone. (Since we already have detailed plays about conflict resolution, bullying, and manners, this show will only touch briefly on these topics. The focus here is social skills.)
You can actually pre-order these plays right now. As always, if you order at least two plays at the same time, you can get them for $30 each, including the plays on pre-order. We’ll simply ship you the available items now and send out the rest as soon as they are published.
We’re really excited about our upcoming plays and we hope you are too!
Test-Taking Strategies, our third play of the 2012-13 school season, was set to arrive at the end of February. But to help out a teacher who needs it sooner, we decided to crank out the creativity a little earlier in the new year! We’re working hard on it now and will be shipping in about four weeks, at the beginning of February.
We really think you’ll enjoy this fun 20-minute play. Those of you who aren’t “allowed” to do plays might get the go-ahead with this one, since the show is test-related and will help improve student scores. But the material will be helpful to all students, even those in schools that already encourage creativity and music in the classroom.
Here’s the setup: Through an inter-species exchange program, four magical creatures arrive in their new classroom — only to learn that they have a TEST the next day! What will they do? They don’t have tests back in their world! Never fear, though, for the students and some special visitors will teach them all they need to know about test preparedness.
Here’s the curriculum we cover:
- Invest in your health: eat healthy foods, wear comfortable clothes, and get a good night’s sleep
- Come to class every day, listen and focus, be prepared by bringing the right materials
- General test strategies: Read the whole question, look for key words, answer the questions you know first and come back to the harder ones, check your work
- Strategies for multiple-choice questions: answer every question, try out every answer, eliminate answers that you know are wrong
- Suggestions for dealing with test anxiety: breathe, think positive, count to ten, take a break
- An important reminder that “you are not your score”!
As always, you can get the multi-play discount by ordering this play along with any other. We’ll ship the other one now and then ship Test-Taking Strategies as soon as it becomes available.
Happy New Year! We hope you had a much-deserved restful break.
We’re thrilled to announce our latest play!
We’ve had a blast writing European Explorers in the New World. While we have quite a few history and social studies plays for the upper grades, this one adds some wonderful world curriculum to our catalog. Very similar to The American Revolution in its level of difficulty, this is a longer show packed with curriculum, great historical characters (and some invented ones), funny dialogue, and catchy songs. It’s perfect for upper-level elementary kids as well as middle-schoolers. Here’s the setup:
The Best News Show Ever team, led by anchorwoman Isabelle Scurvy, has discovered a flood of people sailing away from Europe for uncharted destinations. Why are they leaving? What are they hoping to find? To get the answers, our scrappy reporters will track down Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, Jacques Cartier and John Cabot, Vasco Nunez de Balboa, Montezuma and Atahualpa, soldiers of De Soto and Coronado, Ferdinand Magellan and Francis Drake, and the British colonists who settled Virginia. And don’t forget Leif Ericson, who’s on a mission to remind us that the history books don’t always play fair.
Would people risk life and limb to get their hands on spices? Could germs really destroy entire civilizations? Were there really Seven Cities of Gold in North America? Count on the Best News Show Ever team to bring you the full scoop on this developing story, complete with exciting interviews, entertainment, weather, and sports!
European Explorers mentions and reinforces the following curriculum:
- Leif Ericson: Norse exploration and temporary settlement c.1000.
- Prince Henry the Navigator: Portuguese exploration of Western Africa to spread Christianity, create new maps, and discover a trade route to the East (fall of Constantinople in 1453; Vasco de Gama)
- Christopher Columbus: his four voyages and mistaken identifications (the Reconquista; the Line of Demarcation)
- Amerigo Vespucci: his exploration of the coast of Brazil and the new continent(s) named after him (Pedro Cabral)
- John Cabot and Jacques Cartier: the search for a Northwest Passage (importance of spices for food preservation and preparation)
- Vasco Nunez de Balboa: the challenge of crossing Panama to encounter the Mar del Sur (later called the Pacific)
- Montezuma (Aztecs) and Atahualpa (Incas): conquistadors, gold, and disease (Cortes in Mexico and Pizzaro in Peru)
- Vasques de Coronado and Hernando de Soto: the search for gold and attempts at colonization in the interior of present-day U.S. (La Salle; Champlain; Seven Cities of Gold)
- Ferdinand Magellan and Francis Drake: circumnavigation of the globe
- British colonization of Virginia: Roanoke, Jamestown, Plymouth (Walter Raleigh)
Common Core and Other National Standards
- National History Standards 5 and 7 for K-4th
- National US History Standards, Eras 1, 2, and 4, for 5th-12th
- National World History Standard, Era 6, for 5th-12th
- National Social Studies Standards 1, 2, 3, 5, 6
- Common Core Reading Standards for Literature: 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
- Common Core Reading Standards: Foundational Skills:
- Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards: Comprehension and Collaboration – 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
- Common Core Language Standards: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use -3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
- Common Core Standard 10: Range, Quality & Complexity:
- National Music Standards 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standard 1 for 5th-8th
- National Theater Standards 2, 3, 6, 7, and 8 for K-4th, Standards 2 and 6 for 5th-8th
- National Dance Standards 1 and 2 for K-4th
Our fall 2012 play is hot off the press! (And this is important to note, since the Chinese did invent movable type!)
This fun multicultural folk tale reveals how twelve special animals got their places in the Chinese zodiac. It’s long ago in ancient China and the Jade Emperor has a great idea: he’ll set up a race across the river, and the first twelve animals to cross the finish line will represent the years in the Chinese zodiac. Will the Dog and the Pig ever make it across? Why is the Horse so annoyed at the Snake? How did the Rabbit arrive before the Dragon? Can the Rat really be the winner? And why is the Cat all wet?
The Tale of the Chinese Zodiac is a great complement to your curriculum resources in elementary school language arts. Students will act out the folk origins of the Chinese zodiac as they learn some light curriculum about Chinese culture and contributions:
- The Zodiac: what it is, what animals are in it and why
- Animal symbolism (e.g. significance of the dragon, pig, dog, snake, rat, panda, tiger, etc.)
- The Jade Emperor and his Guardian Lions
- Topography: Yellow River (and the Hung-He Valley), China Sea, Yellow Sea, Himalayan Mountains, Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts
- The Seven Necessities of Life: rice, tea, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, firewood
- Yin and yang
- The Great Wall
- Chinese inventions and discoveries: crossbow, horse harness, paper money, wallpaper, pasta, tofu, tea, ink, compass, kite, silk, porcelain, paper, wheelbarrow, collapsible umbrella, bristle toothbrush, moveable type, ice cream, rice cooking, fishing reel, gunpowder
Common Core and Other National Standards
- Common Core Reading Standards for Literature: K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
- Common Core Reading Standards: Foundational Skills:
- Common Core Speaking and Listening Standards: Comprehension and Collaboration – K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
- Common Core Language Standards: Vocabulary Acquisition and Use – K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
- Common Core Standard 10: Range, Quality & Complexity: Range of Text Types for K-5th
You can now purchase any of our new plays for the 2012-2013 season!
You can pre-order all of these plays in order to get a multi-play discount ($30/play) or save on shipping costs. For example, you can order one of the new plays along with any play that’s currently in stock. We’ll give you the discount, ship the available play now, and ship the new play as soon as it comes in.
The Tale of the Chinese Zodiac (grades 1-5) will ship the last week of August (in two weeks!).
It’s long ago in ancient China and the Jade Emperor has a great idea: he’ll set up a race across the river, and the first twelve animals to cross the finish line will represent the years in the Chinese zodiac. Will the Dog and the Pig ever make it across? Why is the Horse so annoyed at the Snake? And why is the Cat all wet? This fun multicultural folk tale also incorporates some light curriculum about Chinese culture.
European Explorers in the New World (grades 3-7) will ship in late November.
There must be something in the water, because people everywhere are setting out to explore the great unknown. Whether they’re after precious metals, silk, spices, new territory, or just plain adventure, these daring explorers are on the move! European Explorers focuses on the Age of Exploration: its motives, challenges, and consequences (especially to the indigenous peoples of the New World).
Test-Taking Strategies (grades 2-6) will ship in February 2013.
This short play will get your kids focused and ready for their standardized tests. They’ll learn about healthy behaviors, good study habits, and strategies for solving multiple-choice questions. And of course they’ll learn some tips for handling stress and anxiety (maybe we’ll even throw in a few for you, too!).
We hope you enjoy our latest offerings!