Second grade students at Jefferson Elementary School know that communities need more than butchers, bakers, and candlestick-makers to thrive, and displayed their knowledge with the year-end production, Community Connections.
Their teacher, Mary Beth King, wrote the play but the kids helped by deciding what stage props were needed to turn their school’s playroom into a community. They also named all the characters.
`We want everyone to work together as a community,` King said. `It seemed like a natural progression to have this play.`
As part of their social studies curriculum, the youngsters learned about their community and how important it is for a community to work together.
Preparing for the play helped develop reading, listening, and speech skills.
`Some of the kids even wrote their own parts,` King said. That may explain their impressive ability students in the play showed as they recited their lines and sang songs from memory. The cast presented a polished performance, along with a liberal sprinkling of humor.
Students represented occupations such as realtors, nurses, taxicab drivers, firemen, road repair crews, and a dentist with a toothbrush that stood a foot taller than she. There was even a mayor asking for votes.
A group of vegetables gathered next to farmers operating a farmer’s market; an airplane pilot flew families into the community; and the taxicab driver constantly drove people where they needed to go when they were without a car. The props for those skits were well designed and looked like somebody had put hours into them.
Just like kids often get more fun out of playing with the box that a toy came in, the skit that brought the house down relied purely on enthusiasm and imagination.
The most enthusiastic display of occupations occurred when Elizabeth Smith, portraying a dogcatcher, chased Ben Duell, who was pretending to be a dog, around the audience.
At the end, students joined to sing their closing song with a lesson for all ages: `It takes all kinds of people to make things work right.` “