A Growing Drama

By Eve Pranis

"Our school garden was already the centerpiece for many of our science, math, and language arts lessons," reports Camarillo, CA, teacher Beverly Rueckert. "I wanted to find a way to reinforce students' understanding and incorporate the arts by engaging them musically and dramatically," she adds. Two West Coast songwriters responded to her request by creating "The Garden Show," a humorous, 25-minute mini-musical tale that features mushrooms (singing "yeah, we've got fungus!"), the four seasons, a singing compost pile, and other colorful characters who try to teach aliens from planet Chlorophyll a thing or two about gardening and composting.

"The play's compelling lyrics and colorful characters captured the kids' imaginations," explains Beverly. "And the tips on casting, costuming, staging, and so on left lots of room for creativity," she adds. The kids designed their own props, including a spaceship and larger-than-life insects and flowers, which were later used to bring science studies to life. "The final show, presented to an audience of parents, grandparents, and community members, was a delightful way for the kids to share what they'd learned from their growing experiences," Beverly observes.

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