Checklists are useful tools for progress monitoring to help reach learning goals for students. They also help teachers remember the process and possible steps for using Reader’s Theater in the classroom. The columns on the checklist for the actor (student) serve a very different purpose from the ones for the director (usually the teacher).
The students are part of a collaborative group process when they read and present a play. While there are many things for the students to consider, the areas on the checklist provided a tie to the speaking and listening standards. Students can independently think about their learning and participation, or fill out a checklist as a cast (team). The first column asks ” Am I Doing?” and the students rate themselves on a simple three-point scale. Instead of numbers, the checklist uses plus, check or minus. However, that rating isn’t enough to prompt growth and change. The next column lists several areas to consider in the rating of their contributions. Most important is the last column where the individual students or the group adds comments in each area. This helps the students set goals for the next performance and supports active learning and a higher level of engagement through using Reader’s Theater in the classroom.
Similarly, the teacher checklist uses a three-point scale for the “How Am I Doing?” column. But the major differences in the teacher checklist come in the other two columns. First, the teacher should reflect on “What they did”. Then, the essential question is “Why did I do this?” How, What, and Why are the three key questions in all instructional planning for teachers.
A checklist differs from a rubric in that it helps teachers and students check up on themselves and reflect on their process in both teaching and learning; checklists really help students understand how to learn and grow. Teachers need both to support implementation of Reader’s Theater in the classroom for all students to achieve.
Link to and download a great example of checklists for students and teachers here.