“Prop it Up” in Your Classroom Plays

By Genia Connell

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Reader’s Theatre is a favorite in the classroom. Students love reading the scripts and acting out parts of their favorite books. The experience is made even better when, on their final reading for the class, the boys and girls get to dig into our classroom prop-box to create impromptu costumes.

Our prop-box is a plastic treasure chest literally filled to the top with items that turn an ordinary reader’s theatre run-through into a full-fledged production.Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 6.47.09 PM

Creating a prop-box is easy and well worth the time it takes to put it together.  First you will need a container to hold the props; I purchased a plastic treasure chest on-line, but any plastic tote or even a cardboard box would work just as well. Next, you will want to add items to the chest that are multi-purpose. Bandanas, for example can be hats, skirts, headbands, and of course they make for the perfect bandit! To fill my prop box, I looked around my house and classroom cupboards for things I already owned. This included a wide collection of items left over from different classroom themes and forgotten Halloween costumes. Some of the things my students love best include the large collection of hats, a pink tutu and a plastic hula skirt (which doubles as a lion’s mane), bandanas, a feather boa, and a leopard print stole that my grandmother wore in the 1960’s! Other items the kids always find uses for include small plastic binoculars, sunglasses, swim goggles, a magnifying lens and photo-booth props on sticks. I also bought an inexpensive set of plastic animal noses that students love to bring animal characters to life.

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Adding the prop-box to our reader’s theatre has added a whole new level of excitement and creativity to our reader’s theatre sessions.  Put together your own collection of props and you just may find your kids begging to act out their favorite parts of books like mine do.

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 Check out more great ideas for staging plays at ereaderstheater.com. Thanks to Genia Connell, 3rd grade teacher in Troy, Michigan for bringing some Readers Theater Fun to our readers.

Balsa Wood Masks (Fun & Cheap @ Michael’s Craft Stores)

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Looking for a fast way to add interest to your costume box or for  a quick last minute curtain call when you stage a play? Look no further than the craft area at Michael’s Craft Stores. These balsa wood masks are a great suggestion for students to add to their characters when you do a classroom play. The masks are under $2.00 each and can be spruced up with crayons, markers, feathers. You can add glitter, feathers, sparkles to crowns—these masks are terrific to keep in your costume box and the stores seem to add different designs all the time. Check out other great teaching tips and costume ideas at ereaderstheater.com.