West Plains History Reader’s Theater

What was your driving question?

What makes our town special?

Grades Involved

Grades 5th & 6th

How did this project connect to your local or regional community?

This project is directly linked to several historical pieces of our town. Students assumed roles of different important people, as well as portrayed important historical events and places. Students are set to present their products to local audiences.

What PBE principles were highlighted in this project?

Design Thinking & Community as Classroom

Standards: List standards or competencies that the project addresses

ELA – Follow a writing process appropriate for the task; review, revise, and edit; speaking and listening; research and review informational texts

Social Studies – Local History

21st Century Skills – presentation, communication, collaboration, problem-solving, technology



Project Description

The West Plains History Reader’s Theater is a project centered around important historical pieces of the town. After watching and practicing several reader’s theaters, students began researching and generating a list of historical aspects of their town, which were then sorted into more general categories/themes/groups. From there, students voted on which theme interested them most and formed reader’s theater groups. Each group had a list of historically connected pieces, and students were to assume a role from the list to write an all-inclusive script representative of their theme. As part of the process, they have had to identify their connections, create a script, film and critique their work, make changes, and work hard toward their final product.



How did this positively impact the community? How was it shared?

Students have not shared their final product yet, but they are planning to present it to a local audience (likely parents/community members). Additionally, they are considering recording their performances and sharing them with influential members of the local community. For example, the city is hosting an ‘Explore West Plains’ campaign that might be able to utilize their work.

Reflection: What was the biggest challenge? What was the most rewarding aspect of this project?

The biggest challenge of this project has been time constraints. Our class only meets twice a week for an hour to focus on this. The most rewarding aspect has been watching the students flourish! They came in timid and scared of presenting. Now, they are unstoppable!

Any advice for a teacher or student that is implementing a PBE project for the first time?

“Don’t be afraid of less structured or non-traditional instruction.”

“Challenge your students! They are capable of amazing things!”