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Bus Yard Blues

Build literacy skills with this fun role play activity! Students read a play script and answer key questions with follow up activities.


Grade Level: 3-6

MaterialsPrintable Student Handout Script 

Story Preview: Bernard, the school bus, hopes a coat of paint and new wheels will make his young riders sit up and take notice, but he's dejected when he finds the children infatuated with fantasy cars instead. Bernard's bus yard buddies cheer him by reminding him of the important job he performs and his best talent -- being a good friend.

Roles: Narrator, Bernard (a school bus), Maxie (a minibus), Big Red (a double decker bus), Dagmar (a microbus), Old Grey (a motor coach), and Farah (a sports car), Driver, Boy 1, Boy 2

Setting: garage and bus yard, streets of town and park, and school; present day

Theme: friendship

Common Cars

Students can learn more about their favorite automobiles online. A few popular car company sites are below. (They make excellent resources for the follow-up activity to this Reader's Theater script, too!)
* Chevrolet
* Chrysler
* Ford
* Honda
* Toyota
* Volkswagen

bay - part of a building or structure (used as a section of a garage)
dismay - upset
deflated - reduced in size
bland - dull
revved - increased revolutions of engine (excitedly)
dejected - gloomy, disappointed

British terms:
queue - line
petrol - gas
bonnets - hoods
windscreens - windshields
pram - carriage or stroller

Italian terms:
bon giorno - good morning
ciao - goodbye
arrivederci - goodbye
salve - hello
grazie - thanks

German terms:
hallo - hello
ja - yes
danke - thanks
auf wiedersehen - goodbye
nein - no

Props: none required

Follow-Up Questions:
Why was Bernard excited?
What are some of the British phrases used by Big Red, a double-decker bus?
What languages are often used by Farah the sports car and Dagmar the microbus?
Bernard helped others on his way to school. How?
Why did Bernard become disappointed after hearing the children talk?
Who brought Bernard out of his bay?
Though he is an ordinary school bus, what makes Bernard special?

Follow-Up Activity:
Distribute photos of vehicles from magazines or the Internet. Invite your students to choose one and create a "voice" for the vehicle. Have them write a brief description of their car character in the first person (ie. I'm Mustard a yellow Mustang). If the vehicle is an import, the description might include terms in another language. For a greater challenge, add an artistic component to the project by asking the students to draw a cartoon character based on the photo rather than using the image itself.

Additional Notes:
Your students may enjoy adding "accents" of German, Italian, and British English to the lines of Dagmar, Farah, and Big Red.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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