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The Drinking Gourd (R = 3.4)

publication date: Oct 19, 2010
author/source: Carol Montgomery

ReadersTheaterAllYearBugHow would you like a non-fiction Readers Theater script with curriculum links that covers more than one topic?  This is it!  In our free Readers Theater script, "The Drinking Gourd," your students will discover some of the tricks of the Underground Railroad from the study of science--with a surprise happy chorus.   Perfect for unit studies, "The Drinking Gourd" has enough curriculum links to make this study last a week or more.  Do you know what The Drinking Gourd really is?  

Here's a brief excerpt from this short, fun script...

The Drinking Gourd

By Carol Montgomery ©2010

Polaris:  I am the North Star.  I ALWAYS point North. I don’t move across the sky or change place from season to season like other stars.  Because I am so dependable, men at sea and runaway slaves have used my light to help them know the way to safety and freedom.

Narrator 1: Slaves often used a hollowed out gourd as a water dipper.  Slaves called the stars of the Big Dipper “The Drinking Gourd” because the shape reminded them of their water dipper.  They sang a song called “Follow the Drinking Gourd” with code words in the lyrics showing the way North to freedom.

Big Dipper 7:  Hey Ho!  What do you know?
        The Big Dipper Seven shows the way to go!

Narrator 2:  The Big Dipper, or Drinking Gourd, displays a handle and an attached cup with a pouring edge. That pouring end of the big Dipper—Drinking Gourd—is made of two stars that point to the North Star.  Follow the bottom star of the pouring end up to the top star.

Polaris:  Keep going and you’ll find the North Star!  That’s me!

Big Dipper 7:  Hey Ho!  What do you know?
        The Drinking Gourd shows the way to go!

Polaris:  Once you find me you’ll remember the North Star always points North.  I am dependable.

Narrator 1:
  Slaves knew if the sky was cloudy at night they couldn’t see the North Star.

Polaris:  (looks sad and hides behind script)...

Click on the PDF link  below to see the full printable version of the free Readers Theater script "The Drinking Gourd."

Download the PDF of "The Drinking Gourd," a free Readers Theater script based on the history of the Underground Railroad and adaptable for science.

Readers Theater All Year™ LLC builds leaders and creators for positive influence through an inexpensive, easy, flexible system.  Readers Theater All Year™ LLC curriculum services provides a caring community for using and creating Readers Theater scripts for families, classrooms, homeschools, camps, and drama clubs.

Praise from Teachers

...Keep doing what you are doing.  There are not enough quality scripts available for children and teens.  So many are inappropriate from a parent's perspective.  As a teacher I want to also build character and integrity while I teach a subject.  Why can't drama build up, inspire and be thought provoking?...Anyway, keep doing what you're doing...we need all the help we can get!
Jen H., Drama teacher

> ...I have been teaching for 35 years. RT has been part of my education journey for the majority of that time. Initially my experience with it was as a performance genre in the Drama Curriculum. Now I use it across the curriculum - a wonderful high motivation strategy in the language program - particularly reading - and so much more as you would know. I was drawn to your 'community' by the idea of leadership... I think what you're doing is wonderful..."
Graham B. Former primary teacher (now a Visual Art and Drama specialist)

Readers Theater All Year is the most comprehensive collection of Readers Theater scripts and resources I have found on the internet!...Thank you Carol for your leadership and vision and for making Readers Theater so accessible for teachers and parents.
Daniel Fiore, Elementary teacher/author What They Have Taught Me

I found the free readers theater online scripts, teaching tips, and curriculum teleseminars at Readers Theater All Year very inspirational to me. I used the Twelve Days of Christmas...Vacation script in my ESOL classes before Christmas break and my students all enjoyed it..
Lily T. Teacher (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

"> ..We did Squanto's Squash for the family on Thanksgiving and [my sons] participated and loved it. I am so excited about making this a major part of homeschooling. What a great way to learn!
Bethany P. Homeschooling Mom

> our script "The Earth Day Hen and Friends" I've used this! The kids love it. Thank you for sharing...It's just right for all levels in the class...Your free scripts are wonderful!...They learn so much from drama and reader's theatre...I see the shy ones gain confidence as they read. Fluency and prosody increases with reader's theatre...
Angela D., 3rd grade teacher

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