One of my responsibilities as Grade 8 Language Arts teacher is to put every single one of my approx. 75 students on stage for a full-length production of the comedy play “Wooing Wed Widing Hood” by Charlie Lovett. Motivating the students to memorize lines, moves and directions and really perform to a full house of parents and teachers isn’t always easy, but I have a Secret Weapon; The Oswald Awards!
The Oswald Awards is my very own version of the American Oscars! It’s called Oswald beause that’s the name of one of the funniest characters in our play; the back half of the dragon… Each student is nominated for their performance in their own class’ production of the play (8a, 8b and 8c perform on different nights). Since I’m the director of all three of the class-productions, the students’ performances are of course very similar (obviously I tell the 8a student playing the Fairy Godmother the same things I tell the 8b and 8c Godmothers), but it is still possible for the Jury (7 of my colleagues – thank you!) to identify a “best actor/actress” for each of the 23 + parts in the play.
How is the “Oswald Awards” a secret weapon? Well, I don’t know about yours, but my students are fiercely competitive. They want to win and they want their class to win the most awards. Therefore, they not only work harder individually to be the best, but they help each other (within their own groups) do their best so that they can win together for ”Best Class” …
The Awards Ceremony is a Production in itself. It involves the ”typical” presentation of awards, i.e. power point in the background with movie segments from the Evening Performances played as the nominees’ names are read, the dramatic opening of envelopes, drumroll, “gold” trophies, emotional acceptance speeches etc. There are also several ”entertainment sections”, courtesy of my wonderful colleagues and administrators who dress up in the costumes from the play and perform parodies I’ve put together of key scenes to a very excited and appreciative audience. The 7th graders are invited especially. After experiencing “the Oswalds” they can’t wait to be 8th graders and perform in a play!
Click HERE to see the video-clip (from the Evening Performances) introducing the nominees for “Evil Queen”. I think all three girls are really good actresses! Which of the three girls do you think won an Oswald?
Here are three more, the first clip was used to introduce the nominees for “Best Grandmother” and the second for “Best Gerald and Oswald” and the third for “Best Loud Prince Frank”. If you can take the time to watch them I’d love it if you’d comment! Please.
The Oswald Ceremony this year ended with an announcement from our principal (for the occasion dressed up as Queen) that the grade 8s had won “A Royal Garden Party” for their collected efforts. So, next Wednesday a part of the campus we call “the triangle” will be decorated with balloons & streamers and the grade 8s (only) treated to a lunch of pizza and ice cream ….
Happy Summer everyone!
If you want to know more about how I put on plays (tricks I’ve learnt and tips on traps you should avoid falling into) you may want to check out these posts: