AppLit Study Guides

Standards of Learning Covered by Study of "Mutsmag" and "Ashpet" Dramatizations

By Cathy Brookshire
James Madison University

Cathy Brookshire is the founder and artistic director of Organized Chaos, a performance-based theatrical training program for high school students serving the Shenandoah Valley since 1992 with touring productions of Shakespearean plays, children's theatre, and health issue plays. For more information contact Cathy Brookshire at brooksca@jmu.edu or call 540-434-7516.

Virginia Standards of Learning for K-5 are listed below with student activities related to observation of story theatre performances of "Mutsmag" and "Ashpet" (as dramatized by R. Rex Stephenson). These guidelines can be adapted for learning standards in other places and many types of study involving oral, dramatic, and written versions of folktales from Appalachia and elsewhere.

See also
Study Guides for Jack Tale Players

The Script as Story Theatre by R. Rex Stephenson
Article on The Jack Tale Players
Annotated Bibliography of Appalachian Folktales
Mutsmag - online storybook adaptation of Stephenson's dramatization, illustrated by school children
Munsmeg, one of the oral tales reprinted in AppLit's Fiction and Poems section
Complete List of AppLit Pages on Folklore

Virginia Standards of Learning web site

Grades:

 K 

 1 

 2 

 3 

 4 

 5 


GRADE K - ENGLISH

ORAL LANGUAGE

K.1 - The student will demonstrate growth in the use of oral language.

Students may be read some of the many books, both fiction and non-fiction about Virginia. Members of the class can make up short skits or poems or songs based on the stories they hear.

K.2 - The student will use listening and speaking vocabularies.

After students have seen the play, they can describe what they saw, what movements the actors used to portray the different people and things in the stories, how the music sounded, and what the costumes looked like. They can ask about any words they didn't understand.

K.3 - The student will build oral communication skills.

Students can take turns describing the play. They can discuss what they learned about people from the play, what they did and didn't like about the play, and how it feels to see a live stage production instead of watching a show on television or at the movies. Did they have to behave differently? Was it easy to see and hear?


GRADE 1 - ENGLISH

ORAL LANGUAGE

1.1 - The student will continue to demonstrate growth in the use of oral language.

The students can listen and respond to a variety of media dealing with the subject of fairy tales, the people and lifestyles of Virginia.  They can then retell the material they have been exposed to in the form of short skits, poems, or songs.

1.2 - The student will continue to expand and use listening and speaking vocabularies.

The students can describe the play they have seen; they can talk about how it feels to be a part of an audience at a live show. They can describe the costumes, music, and stories they have seen in the play.

1.3 - The student will adapt or change oral language to fit the situation.

The students can engage in conversation and group discussion about the play and their reactions to the stories and the characters.

READING/LITERATURE

1.5 - The student will apply knowledge of how print is organized and read.

The students can practice appropriate reading skills by reading some of the many books, both fiction and non fiction, about Virginia that are available.

1.7 - The student will use meaning clues when reading.

Many of the age appropriate books about fairy tales, American folk tales, and Virginia have interesting and beautiful pictures which the students can use to assist their reading and understanding of the words. Students can identify and use adjectives in the books to describe the different characters.

1.10 - The student will read familiar stories, poems, or passages with fluency and expression.

Students can read various American fairy and folk tales out loud.

1.11 - The student will read and comprehend a variety of fiction and non-fiction selections.

Students can read a variety of stories about Cinderella, Ashpet, or Mutsmag, and other folk tales of Virginia. They may also read non-fiction accounts of life in Virginia and Appalachia.


GRADE 2 - ENGLISH

ORAL LANGUAGE

2.1 - The student will demonstrate an understanding of oral language structure.

Students can create their own stories or skits about the various characters in the play, placing the stories in different locales and time periods. How does placement in another country or region affect the language of the characters? The clothing? What happens if you change the story to modern times? Ancient Egypt?

2.2. - The student will continue to expand listening and speaking vocabularies.

Students can examine their stories, poems and skits for clarity of thought and intention. Does the story they have just written make sense? Does it have a beginning, middle and end? Does it have a point? Is it interesting?

2.3 - The student will use oral communication skills.

The student can relate to the class an American folk tale he or she read. The student can describe a favorite character. The student can describe his or her evening at the theatre.

READING/LITERATURE

2.5 - The student will use meaning clues when reading.

Many of the American folk tale storybooks have pictures that may be used to enhance the readers' understanding of the words. Photos from non-fiction sources about Virginia may be used as well.

2.7 - The student will read fiction, non-fiction and poetry using a variety of strategies independently.

2.8 - The student will demonstrate comprehension of fiction and non-fiction selections.

Students can describe the characters and settings of the many American tall tales and folk tales. Students can explain the problem each story grapples with and how the characters solve that problem. Students can write about what they have read.

WRITING

2.9 - The student will write stories, letters, and simple explanations

Students can write a simple explanation or a story about their play-going experience. They can write letters to the actors.

2.10 - The student will edit final copies for grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.

RESEARCH

2.11 - The student will locate information in reference materials.

Students may use dictionaries to define words in a vocabulary list taken from the stories and poems they read. Encyclopedias and the Web may be used to research the various types of geography in Virginia and the flora and fauna of the state.


GRADE 3 - ENGLISH

ORAL LANGUAGE

3.1 - The student will use effective communication skills in group activities.

Students can practice effective communication skills through group discussions and critiques of the performance. Does the story tell us anything about ourselves?

3.2 - The student will present brief oral reports.

Students can give oral reports about their impressions of the play. Who was their favorite character and why? What was the funniest moment in the play? What was the saddest moment? How did they like the singing and the drumming?

READING/LITERATURE

3.3. - The student will apply word-analysis skills when reading and writing.

Students can discover and define a number of unusual words in the play.

3.4 - The student will use strategies to read a variety of printed materials.

Students can read or be read other materials about Virginia, The Civil War, the peoples and folklore of Appalachia, etc.

3.5 - The student will demonstrate comprehension of a variety of printed materials.

The student can discuss the two folk tales shown in the play. They can research similar stories or a non fiction article about Virginia or a poem that the student has read or had read to him/her that bears a connection to the stories in the play. Connections can be made between students' experiences and those described in the stories or poems. How do the characters in the play behave? Do we behave like that sometimes?

3.6 - The student will continue to read a variety of fiction and nonfiction selections.

The student can read other poems, stories, and myths by many different groups such as American Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Eskimo,and South American. Differences between these cultures and their approaches to common themes such as leadership, citizenship, fairness, bravery, wise decision-making, and kindness can be discussed.

WRITING

3.7 - The student will write descriptive paragraphs.

Students can write a review of the performance focusing on such subjects as:  The effectiveness of the costumes, the style of the production, and the strength of the acting and singing.

3.8 - The student will write stories, letters, simple explanations, and short reports across all content areas.

Students can write their own American or Virginian folk tale. Students can write a short play about one of the characters in the production. Students can write letters to the actors about the performance and their reaction to it.

3.9 - The student will write legibly in cursive.

RESEARCH

3.10 - The student will record information from print and nonprint resources.

Students may use dictionaries to define words in a vocabulary list taken from the stories and poems they read. Encyclopedias and the Web may be used to research Virginia's various types of geography, clothing, agriculture, and culture.


GRADE 4 - ENGLISH

ORAL LANGUAGE

4.1 - The student will use effective oral communication skills in a variety of settings.

Students can participate in group discussions about the performance. Did the production cover the same material as any of the written stories? Is it presented from a different perspective? How did the actors' interpretations affect the students' perceptions of the story's characters?

4.2 - The student will make and listen to oral presentations and reports.

Students can present individual oral reports on a variety of subjects related to the performance. They might discuss the use of costuming as a metaphor, the style of the production, the type of music used in the play, or the success of the actors' impersonation of animals, water, and trees.

READING/LITERATURE

4.3 - The student will read and learn the meanings of unfamiliar words.

Folk tales and fairy tales contain a number of interesting and unusual words that may be defined and researched. The language of the stage might be used as well to increase students' vocabularies. Words such as "rake" are used commonly to mean a garden tool, but on the stage "rake" means setting the floor of the stage or the seating of the audience on an incline.

4.4 - The student will read fiction and nonfiction, including biographies and historical fiction.

The student can read other poems, stories, and myths by many different groups such as American Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Eskimo,and South American.

4.6 - The student will read a variety of poetry.

There are numerous examples of poems about Virginia. Students can read and study these poems. Students may write their own poem about one of the characters in the play.

WRITING

4.7 - The student will write effective narratives and explanations.

Students can write and edit their own American folk tale.

4.8 - The student will edit final copies of writings.

RESEARCH

4.9 - The student will use information resources to research a topic.

Students can research any number of topics relating to the production.


GRADE 5 - ENGLISH

ORAL LANGUAGE

5.1 - The student will listen, draw conclusions, and share responses in subject-related group learning activities.

Students may be formed into small discussion groups whose purpose is to explore, prepare, and present a report on one aspect of the production.

5.2 - The student will use effective nonverbal communication skills.

In presenting the oral reports generated by the small group discussions, students will be encouraged to speak clearly, maintain eye contact, move appropriately, and use correct posture.

5.3 - The student will make a planned oral presentation.

Students can prepare and present an oral report about any number of topics concerning the production. For example a student can present a report on the differences or similarities between American folk tales and European folk tales. (See pages on Mutsmag and Ashpet for suggestions.)

READING/LITERATURE

5.4 - The student will read and learn the meanings of unfamiliar words.

American and Virginian tales and legends contain a number of interesting and unusual words that may be defined and researched. The language of the stage might be used as well to increase students' vocabularies. Words such as "rake" are used commonly to mean a garden tool, but on the stage "rake" means setting the floor of the stage or the seating of the audience on an incline.

5.5 - The student will read a variety of literary forms, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Students can read American folk tales and legends, newspaper articles covering current political events in Virginia, and poetry of Virginia, and use these as a base for covering several of the requirements in this section.

WRITING

5.7 - The student will write for a variety of purposes to describe, to inform, to entertain, and to explain.

Students may write their own poems, plays, newspaper articles, or short story about one or more of the characters in the play.

RESEARCH

5.8 - The student will synthesize information from a variety of resources.

Students can use the internet, encyclopedias, biographies, and nonfictional texts to learn more about Virginia, Virginia folk tales, and folk tales of many countries. They can explore the roots of legends and folk tales using these resources.


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