On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Foundation Years (FY) students will see the culmination of a years’ worth of hard work come to fruition on stage through their SMS original musical production, Giants. The play, which looks at how giants have been historically portrayed through literature, has been the focus of this years’ Explorations, and a labour of love for the students in Kindergarten through Grade 4.

The student-driven play came together through a group brainstorming session—the girls were provided with a general story outline and from there came up with the characters, concepts, and even some of the lines. As a large group, they looked at all aspects of what goes into creating a musical and from there broke off into passion groups such as set design, prop design, costume design, script writing, and acting. The Grade 4 class was chosen to star in the show, with the help of the Grade 5 and 6 Musical Theatre Class working behind the scenes as stage managers.

The “giants” theme has been weaved throughout the curriculum for the entire school year with teachers exploring and assigning various literature, book reports, projects, as well as movement and miming. Each teacher picked out a part of the Applied Design Skills and Technology (ADST) curriculum to focus on throughout the Explorations block.

“Because we wanted this production to be student-driven, our directing styles have taken a back seat to what the students have wanted to do. In terms of directing, the girls have taken so much authority, it’s been really interesting to see them take ownership,” said Mrs. Clausen, FY, MY, and SY Music and Musical Theatre Teacher.

Explorations takes place once a week, but as the show draws closer it’s been bumped up to two times per week. The Grade 4 class has even been putting in time outside of school hours to rehearse for the big day. It’s an opportunity to build cross-discipline and cross-grade learning in the Junior School while also enhancing connections between classrooms (students and teachers). We focused on a theme each year that could build from a “big idea” while connecting with the curriculum across grades, and STEM.

Explorations challenges the girls to take on more and delve deeper by participating in independent study through individual and group projects. It is an opportunity for them to take responsibility for their own learning, which complements the school’s mission to empower girls to set their own course and shape their own dreams. At SMS we believe firmly in giving the students the time, space, and support on that path.

A prologue:

The Giants have always lived in the clouds. They dare not go down below for fear of how humans might treat them (the beanstalk, the only way to get below, is locked and guarded). But a small group of young giants sneak down to explore, creating a flurry of worry from their teachers and parents. When they don’t return, the Giants will have to brave their fear of humans and go down below to help find them and return them to their home in the clouds.

Parent performance: May 2, 2019, at 6:30 PM in the South Gym