Overview: In this Setting and Ambiance Arts Integration lesson, students study how authors and artists use the elements of word choice, lighting and sound to set the mood of a piece of text or theater.

Content areas address: Reading and Theater

Grades: 3-5

As students in the intermediate grades work to develop a more nuanced understanding of setting and tone in text, it’s helpful when they can use creative means to showcase these items in a tangible way. That’s where theater can really play a crucial role when connecting to reading and language arts.

Moving beyond the basics of Reader’s Theater, students move from acting, to creating the very worlds they are reading about.  In order to do so, they need to have a solid understanding of the setting and mood of a text, and how authors and artists can work hand-in-hand to develop this.

In this lesson, we’re using the rich text and illustrations from the book Last Stop on Market Street.  We sometimes forget that our intermediate students can get just as much, if not more, from a picture book as our primary students.  Each part of this story shares a different vibrant scene which can be easily integrated with theater through the use of lighting and sound.

Students explore how the author and illustrator individually and collectively work to create a specific setting through their choice of words, color and line.  But how to make that come to life?  How to capture the essence of that mood and setting in 3-D?  That’s where theater comes in!


Throughout this lesson, students explore and use the elements of lighting, sound, color, inflection, and word choice to create a setting and ambiance that best reflects the tone of the story.  And in the process, they build extraordinary skills in analysis, design and performance.  Enjoy this exciting lesson!

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