Each year at the MAMLE conference at Sugarloaf awards are presented to individual middle level educators as well as teams. This year there were four presented and there will be four blog posts, one on each awardee. This is the fourth of the four…
Lamoine Elementary School teacher and MAMLE board member Carol Duffy presented MAMLE’s Exemplary Practice Award to Surry Elementary School for their project 8th Grade Dinner Theater. Below is the story from the Middle Link, Fall 2010 edition.
SURRY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, LYNN BONSEY AND KATHY ASHE
For more than twenty years, Dinner Theater has been an eighth grade fundraiser at Surry Elementary School in Surry, Maine. For the last seven years is has been produced by middle school language arts teacher Lynn Bonsey, and librarian/Ed. Tech/class advisor Kathy Ashe. The multi-faceted event consistently proves to be a huge success for everyone involved.
Each year Lynn and Kathy set their expectations for Dinner Theater even higher. This past spring, the eleven eighth graders, whose academic abilities ran the gamut, took on a full-length, melodramatic musical, a play that requried several of the stduetns to dress, perform, sing, and dance as the opposite gender. Despite individual challenges, every students sang, danced, spoke, and acted their parts beautifully, a transformation that is replicated on some level each year during Dinner Theater.
As John Dewey discovered, students learn best by doing, and this activity certainly exemplifies his theory. This experiential learning activity gives Surry students many chances to find success in a real-life situation. It also gives them experience in social etiquette as they serve the meal, learng how to behave backstage, and write thank-you notes to all the helpers and donors. And it is especially rewarding for them to receive accolades from classmates, parents, and members of the community.
CONGRATULATIONS LYNN BONSEY AND KATHY ASHE, SURRY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL