Elementary students near Deer Park bring study to life

January 5, 2014 by  

Fifth graders at Woods Road Elementary school, in North Babylon, near Deer Park on Long Island recently learned about human rights using theater and storytelling.

The students were completing a Common Core module on human rights, which involved reading and learning about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, first drafted by the United Nations in 1948. They also read the book Esperanza Rising, a young adult novel by Pam Munoz Ryan. The novel is set in California and Mexico during the Great Depression. It tells the story of Esperanza, who loses her father, then her wealth and must live in a labor camp. Over the course of the book, she learns that there is more to life than money. Often, techniques like professional poster printing are used to promote shows like this.

As part of the module, the students drew connections between the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the novel. To make sure they fully understand the articles, their teachers, Darren Lotter and Denise Casale, had the students paraphrase each.

The final part of the project involved creating skits based on the novel. Since the class performed each skit for a group of kindergarten and first grade students, they needed to make the story simple to understand. They created the scenery for each skit themselves.

The students put on their plays during a special performance. Along with the kindergarteners and first graders, the fifth grade students also invited their parents to the show.