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Chapter 17 William Allan Kritsonis, PhD

Use the Elementary Assembly to Benefit Students

Gathering the entire elementary school student body into one place for an assembly is exciting for students and is often a welcome break from classroom activities. General assemblies can be informative sessions, special events recognizing outstanding students, or special programs for entertaining the student body. Make every effort to involve students in the assembly production. Their participation can be in the construction of stage props and other assembly preparations, as well as actually performing. An assembly is evaluated as a success if many children are allowed to participate in it. Occasionally, assemblies are solely adult or guest oriented. Children must behave properly and be attentive during these assemblies. If children from the classroom are to participate in the assembly activities, help them prepare for it by allowing them to rehearse their role at least three or four times before the actual performance. Make suggestions during these rehearsals. Too often, assemblies are ineffective because participants cannot be heard by the audience. If a microphone is to be used, show children how to use it correctly. Remind participants about stage manners - they are to be quiet and remain out of sight while backstage. If the assembly is to be an orderly event, students must be informed of procedures and must cooperate fully. Discuss fire drill procedures with the class in the event one occurs during the assembly. Children must know where to go during expected emergencies. Organize the class so that the children leave the classroom in time to be seated in the assembly area at least five minutes before the program begins. Have all children attend the assembly, except those who have severe colds or who are coughing, and may disturb the assembly and distract the audience. Send these students to the nurses office, the school office, a designated area, or the library where adult supervision is available. Do not hold students back from the assembly because of disciplinary problems. Classes are occasionally assigned a specific section for seating in order to remain together at the assembly. Know in advance where those seats are so the 47

children will not be confused as they arrive. Decide whether to have the children remain standing until all class members have located their seats or to have them be seated when they arrive. Eliminate problems by not assigning particular seats to individual children. The assembly usually begins with the entire student body reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the national anthem. Remind the students to stand straight and tall, and to sing to the best of their abilities since they are not only representing themselves, but their class and teacher when they attend school assemblies. Performing the flag salute each day in the classroom and singing an appropriate song afterwards prepares the class for school assembly activities.

A Thought in Words Education is the ability to meet lifes situations. Dr. John G. Hibben, Former President, Princeton University