For your solo performance plan your opening line and start by asking a few questions to get the pupils interested. Practice and time it to get it right. Learn the script or hold a prompt sheet with a few key words if you find it difficult to remember each detail. Prepare a few visuals and plan a final line which finishes the story off well. Write it on your prompt sheet if you find it hard to remember.
On the day try to be in the hall with everything set up before the others arrive. Bring a glass of water. As the pupils enter and leave, try playing music to set a calm atmosphere. If the pupils start to fidget, ask a few more questions to get it back. Make eye-contact with the pupils to keep their attention. Leave enough time for an orderly dismissal from the hall / classroom.
Class assemblies are much more difficult to prepare but can give pupils the opportunity to builds up their confidence and self-esteem through performing in front of an audience. When planning your assembly, work with the students The assembly should have an objective but remember to include an element of fun. Emphasize the importance of speaking clearly. Teach your pupils to lower the pitch of their voices to raise the volume instead of shouting. Also get them to speak slowly to make their words come across clearly.
Share the workload. If you want them to sing a song, ask the music teacher to help you. If you want them to do a dance, ask the PE teacher to help. Make sure everyone has a part: Ensure you divide lines up as evenly as you can. Some parents are quick to complain if their child has nothing to say! As with solo assemblies, try to make sure everyone memorises their part. Reading it is never as impressive.
You may want to play appropriate music for entry and exit. At the end of the performance, publicly thank any of the staff who helped you. When it is over- evaluate. You can judge the quality by how well the audience concentrates and enjoys it. Make a note of anything which might be helpful for the future.
Shower the children with praise, especially those who don’t have so many opportunities to earn it. If someone has made a mistake tell the child it was hardly noticeable and praise them for what they did well. Keep an assembly file so you can use them again in the future!
Stuck for ideas? These are just a few ideas you may find useful.
- Religious festivals / Saint's Days - all faiths of course
- A resumé of something you are studying in class
- An account of a school trip
- An account of an historical event or building in the school’s locality
- Aesop’s Fables
- Topical sporting events - the Olympic Games, the latest marathon, the World Cup, Wimbledon
- 'Modern day' saints – Schindler, Mother Theresa, Mary Seacole, Nelson Mandela. Emphasize their qualities of courage, willingness to stand up to injustice, care for others
- Anniversary events, Jubilees, Independence days, Thanksgivings
- 'On this day, one hundred years ago...' There are books telling about events which took place in the past on every date in the calendar
- Who do you admire? Braveheart, Shakespeare, John Lennon, Louis Braille, Steven Speilberg, Alexander Graham Bell, David Beckham, JK Rowling. Each has something to be admired - talent, perseverance, hard work.
- Baudet, S (2003) Inspirational lives. Educational Printing Services: Blackburn
- Baudet, S. (2002) Let’s Think. Educational Printing Services: Blackburn
- Hughes, T (2005) To the Moon. Educational Printing Services: Blackburn
- Kidwell, V. (2004) Assemblies Made Easy. Continuum International Publishing Group: London
- Webb, D.(2005) Assembly Chest Educational Printing Services: Blackburn
- Mayo, S. and Jenkins, S. (1989) On this day in History.Armada Books: London