Teachers Frequently Asked Questions
The following are answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you cannot find an answer you are looking for, please contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions. Please review questions below and click on + sign to see the answers.
Review your booklet as soon as you receive it. Allow at least three weeks for preparation, memorization, and creative ideas from students. Each program is the result of many years of practical classroom experience in hundreds of schools. Be sure to assign all parts and double up on some if you do not have enough students.
First of all, congratulations on having the chance to experience a Walk Through! The most helpful tool in your planning is the Teacher Preparation Booklet. The first few pages feature checklists that outline all the steps needed to make your program great! Prepare your students by encouraging costumes, memorization and acting. Inviting parents can also be a key component to a successful event. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions.
It is not necessary for your students to be versed in the material before the presentation. Programs work at the beginning of the year as an introduction, mid-year when the students are in the ‘thick of it’ and at the end as a celebration of their learning. They will, however, need to know the information in the Teacher Preparation Booklet that you assign to them, such as Expert Cards or Character Cards. This kit is sent to you well in advance of the presentation.
First, speak to the person who ordered the presentations for your school. They may be filed somewhere for ‘safe-keeping’. For presentations booked between April 15 and August the previous school year, booklets are sent in September. Otherwise, booklets are sent within 5 days of receipt of your reservation form. If you still cannot locate the booklets, call our office and we can track the package. Replacement booklets are $15 each. Since we often update and refine our presentations, please do not use the previous year’s booklet.
If you have a combination class, you will need an alternate plan for those not participating. This is special time reserved for those in your class who are participating. We ask that additional students not be allowed to observe the presentation.
Presentations are designed for 36 students or less. If you have a conflict with student numbers, please contact our office.
We understand there is more responsibility for students in a smaller class, as more cards are assigned to each student. If a student has more than one Character Card, they need only to dress up and memorize parts for one character. That way, there is no need to change costumes during the program, and parents aren’t responsible for two costumes. Please ensure that each American Experiment card is given to a different student.
For classes under 20 students, we have a few suggestions.
Walk Through California: Divide the class into 3, instead of 4 groups. Regardless of the number of students on each team, the cards should be distributed equally in order to maintain fair competition.
Walk Through the American Revolution: Divide your class into 2 groups (Red Team and Blue Team). Each group will perform one battle scene (Lexington & Concord and Yorktown). The third battle scene (Trenton & Valley Forge) can be shared, dividing it halfway through when the narrator says “Cut”.
No, please do not re-use booklets. We continually update booklets, and your class may miss out on important changes and updated information if you are using last year’s materials.
We have had your programs for years. Is it still a good idea to look at the teacher preparation booklets when we receive them?
Yes. Frequently we change the contents of the programs. There may be new characters or words or preparation instructions. Always use the materials from the current teacher preparation booklet you received.
Our newest Walk Through the American Revolution booklet does not include the Yankee Doodle Sing-off. We cut this aspect of the program because of teacher feedback, as well as to make time for our two new female Character Cards. Continuing the Yankee Doodle Sing-off is an option. Please contact the office before the program because the presenter must know in advance to accommodate the song.
Please advise the presenter before the presentation about any students who require modifications or other help. Our presenters are trained to work with all students. Our expert cards are of varied difficulty, which you match to the students’ needs. Please feel free to call the office with any additional questions or advice.
To maintain the element of surprise and create a feeling of anticipation, please find another location for the students to assemble before the presentation.
Yes, a school staff member must be present during the presentation. Also, teachers love to watch all the fun their students are having!
Nametags help our presenters to easily connect with and engage your students. Unlike many school assemblies or field trips, your students will all actively participate throughout the program. It is essential that our presenter be able to call on students by name. Please be sure to have the pinned name tags on the students when they line up for the program. Each team should be identified with a different light colored tag. Get more information on our Nametag Instruction/Template Page
We have found that even simple costumes enable students to get enthused about their participation. We encourage the use of costumes. It is up to the families whether they rent, purchase or make their costumes. Some of our favorite costumes have been ones that students made themselves! See this website for more costume ideas.
Teams should be of mixed ability and gender. If certain students are talkative when together, you may want to split them into different teams. Select the leader for his/her ability to lead and generate enthusiasm among team members.
Prepare them in advance. Help them get enthused about the big event! Invite parents! Encourage costumes. Announce the event with a classroom or office poster! Invite the press to cover the excitement. (Many newspapers and even television news have covered our programs all over California and Oregon.) Place it on the school web site!
It is best if the students DO memorize the cards they are given. It makes the presentation run smoothly and makes it more fun. Also, it will enable your students to practice oral presentation skills and they will receive more points for their team if they have their card memorized.
Yes, sometimes students get a little nervous and need to peek at their card when they present. It also helps the presentation run smoothly as students have immediate access to cards if they forget their lines.
Yes, there is an additional set of cards in your Teacher Booklet in the “Backup Material for Teacher” section. Before going into the presentation ask students if any need a copy and have them ready to hand out during the presentation as well.