This is such a shame! As I have read the National Common Core Objectives, there seems to be a lot of room for creativity and fun. For example, one of the ELA objectives for 1st-3rd grades is to retell a story or fable with a moral. What better way to meet this objective than to present a class play? And if the songs reinforce the concepts of the moral plus other Language Arts ideas, that is all for the better. For example, the opening song in "The Tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff," contains an idiom that is introduced along with many other puzzlements, "Why is Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?" This song is a good jumping off point for a discussion about asking questions to get information using the words "who, what, where, when and why."
In the Mini-Musical "The Tale of the Musicians of Bremen," the moral has to do with Age and Change. Children may not recognize how difficult it is for older people to grow old and feel useless. Older people often stubbornly resist change. The old farmer and his wife in the story have to face Age and Change in themselves and for their animals. This story shows the animals taking a proactive step to avoid their certain fate (death). The animals are likable and do silly things, but also allow for a discussion about important life lessons, particularly Age and Change.
The City Mouse and the Country Mouse discover that both of their homes have pros and cons. The Country Mouse visits the City with her cousin and is terrified at the noise and hustle-bustle and all of the hidden dangers of the City. She decides that the "cons" far outweigh the "pros" of City Life. She races home to the Country where she already knows what to expect. "The Tale of the City Mouse and the Country Mouse" begins a discussion about Comparisons and Likes and Dislikes. Through explorations in acting and singing, the students can draw comparisons from the story and their own experiences to become better at determining their own preferences.
Retelling a story or fable with a moral is what these Mini-Musicals are all about. According to the advice of my teacher friends, I have included ideas and worksheets to help meet some of the Common Core Objectives for ELA. The best accolade I ever got from mounting one of these shows came from two little boys. The confided to their dad that they did not know why I kept telling them how proud I was of their hard work. They did not feel like it was work at all. They were having so much fun!
Who says learning can't be fun?