Extended Day Academy
The Extended Day Academy meets after school for approximately six to eight weeks, two days a week for an hour session. Children who wish to enroll in this program do so on a voluntary basis with their parent’s permission. Enrollment is on a first come basis until it reaches approximately fifteen children.
First term’s children will study the art of puppetry. They will make their own puppet creations and study three falsetto voices. *Details for creating puppets and using falsetto voices can be found in one of my previous units. The children will choose a falsetto voice that is suitable for their puppet. Stories will be written in class based upon a personal experience or a fictional one where their character was treated unfairly. The stories will provide a survival technique for turning the situation into a positive experience.
Second term’s children will study the art of acting on a school stage and rehearsing a play suitable for production. Voice projection will be taught so that the audience will be able to hear their lines. The children will be taught how to project their voices and at the same time maintain their voice quality. Mime will be taught through a series of activities whereby the children are asked to think of an event in their lives (something special that brings feelings of happiness.) The children will project facial expressions and body movements for a few moments, freeze those movements, and then talk about their experiences. We will look at the pictures of the characters
If a Bus Could Talk,
and discuss their facial expressions and body movements. After reading our play, we will use mime to express the various expressions and body movements that we think our characters should display on stage.
The following play was adapted from
If a Bus Could Talk
by Faith Ringgold. While this play is based on situations from Ringgold’s book, the language is my own.
*“The Use of Puppetry to Increase Self-worth through the Windows of Poetry,”
Recent American Poetry: Expanding the Canon,
Vol., IV, 1991.
Narrator: A strange looking bus pulled to Marcie’s school bus stop. The bus had a face and it smiled at Marcie as the door opened. Marcie did not know if she wanted to enter the bus, but she did not want to be late for school. She saw that there were many passengers already on the bus. As Marcie entered the bus she saw that the bus did not have a driver, but that the bus did the talking.
(Children are seated in rows on chairs to form a make believe bus. Marcie comes on stage to where a child is holding a sign that reads, “Bus Stop.”)
Come on in Marcie. Do not be afraid.
Oh dear I think I am on the wrong bus. I don’t know anybody, and this bus doesn’t have a driver. Let me out! Oh dear, the door is shut, and the bus is moving.
The passengers are reading newspapers and talking to each other.
I think I’ll take this seat.
Don’t take that seat Marcie. That seat is reserved for Rosa Parks.
Repeat in a chorus: Amen, Amen.
Please tell me about this bus.
(Three children portray the family. One child holds a doll portraying Rosa’s baby brother.) The bus began to tell Marcie the story of Rosa Parks. Rosa McCauley was the oldest child who was born to James and Leona McCauley in Tuskeegee, Alabama. Her father left the family with Rosa’s Grandparents on a small farm while he went up North looking for work to provide for his family. Rosa worked hard helping her grandfather on the farm.
One day Rosa told me that a little white boy told her that he was going to punch her. Rosa picked up a stone and told the boy that if he dared to punch her she would hit him. I was afraid that one day this would get Rosa in trouble.
(Portrays a teacher with a few children sitting in front of her.) When I was six years old I went to school with sixty children in one room and one teacher. Our school went to the sixth grade, and it was only open for five months each year. The white school went to the twelfth grade, and was open for nine months. Also, the white children took a bus to school, but the African American children had to walk a long way.
(Boy and girl portray Rosa getting married.) Rosa married Raymond Parks. He was very active in helping people for their rights. He helped four young men to get out of jail for a crime they did not do. He also helped Rosa to get her rights to vote.
Narrator: (The make believe bus is back on stage.) On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks wanted to ride the bus home from work. The law said that African Americans must sit in the back of the bus. If there was room near the front for African Americans and a white person wanted the seat, the African Americans had to give up their seat and stand. The same bus driver that had been mean to Rosa before and told her to get off the bus after paying her fare was driving the bus.
(Gets on the bus and sits down.)
You have to get up and let my friend sit there.
I will not give up my seat.
I will call the police and have you arrested.
(Come and take Rosa off the stage.)
Narrator: Because of Rosa’s courage a bus boycott was planned in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. Martin Luther King gave a speech about the bus boycott.
We are tired of being treated unfairly and with disrespect.
The people of Montgomery did not ride the bus for 381 days. Now the busses were almost empty and the bus company was loosing money. Finally on November 13, 1956, the law was changed. The new law said that African Americans could sit anywhere on the busses. They did not have to give up their seats.
Marcie: (Rosa and Marcie come onto the stage.) I want to thank you for being so courageous and not giving up your seat on the bus.
You are welcome Marcie.
Remember you can be anything you want to be if you do your best. Let’s all sing: “O Freedom Over Me.” (The children’s choir ends by singing this spiritual.)
*It is permissible for teachers to copy this play for classroom distribution.