South Orangetown Central School District

Second-graders rehearsing for "Aladdin"

Rehearsals for William O. Schaefer Elementary School’s second grade production of “Aladdin” are in full swing!

SCENE: In Richard Lozada and Jennifer Caserma’s classroom, students worked with Stage Left Teaching Artist Andrea Seigel on character choices and choreography in preparation for their show in late March.

“The performance has two acts; we’re Act One,” explained Lozada. “Students have been working in character teams over the past few weeks, practicing their lines and learning to inhabit their roles through tone, gesture and facial expression. In the fall, we learned how theater works: what it means to pose or gesture, what a cue and tableau are. Now, they are taking all of their knowledge and applying it to create this musical.”

Matching feelings with behavior is a central focus of the character education curriculum at WOS, which supports social emotional development by teaching students to recognize, understand, label, express and regulate their emotions. Students practice these skills by reflecting on characters in the texts that they read and through role-play activities, such as the annual Stage Left production.

The 20-week theater enrichment program is partially funded through a grant from the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation.