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Third Grade Performances Fit for a God--or a Goddess

Tutt Stapp-McKiernan

Wakefield 3rd graders study mythology in a big way, and for many years this study has culminated in a project of some type, often involving performance—toga-wrapped young actors in everything from original works to staged readings of classical Greek plays.

This year, though, a new twist was added. Through the wonders of Wakefield’s ever-increasing technological savvy, as well as the new capacities provided in the recently-dedicated GLO Theater, 3rd graders’ portrayals of each one’s assigned god or goddess were recorded as videos, digitally placed in front of complementary classical backgrounds, and then shown to one and all on the exciting “big screen” in the GLO.

The larger-than-life students were shown delivering monologues they had written in the voice of each one’s god or goddess, emphasizing not just their individuals' lineage, special symbols, and appearance, but also why each is significant—what qualities define each one’s place in the hierarchy of Olympian deities, demi-gods, and others. This approach led not only to good performances, and often very detailed and excellent costuming, but also a clear sense that each student knew his or her god or goddess personally—surely the most desirable of educational outcomes.

The integrated approach, combining long-range planning, research, writing, costume and prop choices, recitation/performance, and final video production, builds skills that are the clear stepping-stones to similar projects developed in the Middle and Upper Schools, eventually culminating in students’ Senior Theses.

But Senior Thesis was a long way from the 3rd graders’ thoughts on Wednesday, as they excitedly watched their own and their classmates’ performances on a screen and in a theater that looked for all the world like their local Regal Cinema—a setting fit for a god, or a goddess.

Click here for a sampling of images from some students' deity depictions.