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Development Strategies

Arts Tasks in This Report

Grade 4
A Theatre Responding Task

In this paper-and-pencil task, students were asked to make choices about staging and directing a performance of a Native American folk tale, The Stolen Moon. The NAEP arts framework includes specifications for assessing students’ abilities to stage and direct performances. While the theatre assessment included a range of creating and performing tasks, meaningfully assessing directorial abilities would have taken weeks or even months. Spending that much time on one task would have posed too much of a time burden on schools participating in the arts assessment. Therefore, NAEP relied on paper-and-pencil exercises to assess some aspects of directorial abilities.

Students were provided a copy of The Stolen Moon script to follow while they listened to a recorded performance of the script. As the introductory directions for the task shown below indicate, students were allowed to refer to the script as often as necessary. This enabled them to respond to the exercises and to deepen their understanding of the play. Note the script’s suitability for grade 4 students as you read and listen to it.

The Stolen Moon Task

Today you will hear a scene based on a folk tale from the Kutchin Indians of Canada read aloud. You will be able to read along in your booklet as you listen. Then you will answer some questions about the scene and about some things you might do if you were acting out and directing the scene. As you read, watch for the line that begins with a star (*). You will be asked a question about that line later. You may look back at the scene any time while you are answering the questions.

Script of the play The Stolen Moon adapted from a Kutchin Indian folk tale.

QuickTime audio: 3:55, 5,186K. You may also download this audio clip as a compressed file as either a ZIP file (for PC's) [2,204K] or as a SIT file (for Mac's) [5,186K] to extract and play later.) See player instructions.

FOX: Do you have any food for me, Raven? I’m so hungry!

RAVEN: I have food in my nest, atop the highest tree in the forest. But I cannot get any for you, Fox. Ever since the moon disappeared, it has been too dark at night to fly.

FOX: Then how shall we eat?

RAVEN: You are the best hunter in the forest, Fox. Why don’t you catch us something for dinner?

FOX: How can I hunt in the darkness? I can hardly see. I thought I caught a rabbit before, but it turned out to be the root of a tree.

RAVEN: If we want to eat, we will have to get the moon back.

FOX: But who could have stolen the moon?

RAVEN: My cousin, the Bear, loves to sleep, and he often complains that the moonlight is so bright it wakes him up. Perhaps he took the moon.

FOX: Let’s search his cave!

RAVEN: We’re not big enough to take the moon from him if he doesn’t want to give it back. We’ll have to trick him. And I have a plan! Let’s go.

[They stumble in the dark to Bear’s cave.]

FOX: Are you home, Bear? Your friend the Fox is here!

RAVEN: And your cousin the Raven!

BEAR: I’m coming, I’m coming! I have to put some things away so my cave looks nice for guests. Okay, I’m ready now. Come in!

FOX: Hello, Bear. Your cave is so tidy. What did you have to put away?

BEAR: Oh, nothing. Just some...stuff.

RAVEN: It’s not important. We’ve come to tell you an exciting story Squirrel told us.

BEAR: Tell me! Squirrel’s stories are my favorites.

RAVEN: Listen carefully, then. Here’s Squirrel’s story. One day Ant went looking for food and she traveled further than usual. At the end of the day she had to cross a huge lawn to return to her anthill. She crawled up one side of the first blade of grass, and down the other side. Then she crawled up one side of the second blade of grass, and down the other side. Then she crawled up one side of the third blade of grass, and down the other side. Then she crawled up one side of the fourth blade of grass . . .

[Bear yawns while Fox looks around the cave for the moon.]

*BEAR: This isn’t as exciting as the rest of Squirrel’s stories.

RAVEN: ...and down the other side. Be patient, Bear, the best part is coming. Then she crawled up one side of the fifth blade of grass, and down the other side. Then she crawled up one side of the sixth blade of grass, and down the other side. Then she crawled up...

[Bear falls asleep.]

He’s asleep, Fox. Have you found anything?

FOX: There’s honey in the cupboard and water in the jug and dishes in the cabinet, but no moon. Wait, what do you think is in that bag under Bear’s bed?

RAVEN: Let’s found it! It’s the moon!

FOX: (Shouts): Hurray, we found the moon!

BEAR: Huh? Where am I? What’s happening?

RAVEN: Quickly, Fox! Help me get the moon out of the cave.

[They roll the moon outside.]

BEAR: Come back, moon, come back! I don’t want you to shine!

[Fox and Raven throw the moon back into the sky.]

FOX: Fly away, moon, fly away, and give us your light!

[The moon reappears in the sky and lights up the night.]

BEAR: But Cousin, how am I to sleep?

RAVEN: We need the light of the moon to hunt by and to return to our homes after the day. But on nights when we have eaten early and gone to our homes to rest, you may pull the moon from the sky and sleep in the darkness.

NEXT: Exercise One of Nine From The Stolen Moon Task

Last updated 29 May 2003 (HM)