Elementary and Middle schools across the country bring in assembly programs as educational and entertaining enrichment for their students. These programs reinforce educational curriculum, but also provide students with an important exposure to live performances, theatrical arts, and appropriate audience behavior. There are hundreds of professional speakers, authors, magicians, musicians, and athletes who have assembly programs available to elementary and middle schools. This guide will help you make your school assembly show planning easier.
Assembly Programs With A Message
Most school assemblies have a theme or message that can be tied into the student's curriculum, or to social / behavioral messages. There are two different ways assembly presenters can deliver their message.
Some assembly presenters are simply speakers or lecturers who talk in front of the audience, delivering facts through personal stories and question and answer time with the audience. This type of assembly usually delvers the most information and educational content. When the message is more serious (anti-violence, anti-drug), this can be a more effective and motivational presentation for your students. You must, however, be careful when booking a “speaker" presenter for elementary audiences, as they make quickly get restless and bored if the presenter is not engaging enough.
Other assembly presenters use a performing art such as magic, music, or storytelling to make the presentation energetic, fun and interesting to students. The messages in these shows are intertwined with the entertainment elements. There is usually a balance between the entertainment (fun) and the educational portions of the show. These types of entertainment assemblies are best suited to reinforce general curriculum themes to your students.
Popular elementary and middle school assembly program themes include:
- Bully Prevention
- Self Esteem
- Social Studies
- Money Responsibility
- World Cultures
- Ethnic Diversity
- Environmental Issues
- Black History Month
Saving Money On Your School Assembly Programs
Fees for school assembly programs can vary greatly. A large touring theatre group may have a performing fee that starts at $2500, whereas a more regional assembly presenter may only charge $375. No matter what your budget is for an assembly program, here are some ways your school can save money:
1. Grants: Many states and organizations offer grants to help schools bring in enrichment programs. These grants can range from $100 to the full cost of the assembly program. Many professional school assembly companies will be able to tell you if any grants are available for the programs that you are interested in booking.
2. Block Booking Discounts: Most school assembly programs offer discounts if another school in your district books the same assembly program on the same day or during the same week as the program at your school. This discount can sometimes be $100-$400 for EACH SCHOOL, so it definitely pays to call around other schools in your district and try to coordinate assembly schedules.
3. Search Local Assembly Presenters: Start your search for assembly presenters by looking for assembly programs in your state. A locally based school entertainer will have less travel expenses and their performing fees can often be 50% less than a national act. Start your search for local school assembly programs by doing a Google search that includes your state and “school assemblies": Michigan School Assemblies or Ohio Bully Prevention School Shows
Three Questions to Ask Every School Entertainer:
It is always best to talk with someone over the phone about your school assembly needs. Specific requests and important information can often get left out in emails. Of course, you will want to talk about the programs available, pricing, availability, etc, but there are also some other questions you should ask before you book an assembly program:
1. Is the show grade level appropriate? Many entertainers have great programs for middle or high school students, but the same show may get lost on an elementary audience. You want to make sure that the material in the program has been specifically designed for the grade levels of your audience.
2. What equipment does the school need to provide? Most professional assembly programs come self-contained with everything they need to put on a quality presentation. Some presenters, however, will have a list of requirements that will be a part of their contracts. These requirements could include: tables, chairs, projectors, sound systems, or bottled waters. Be sure to discuss any set-up needs prior to confirming a booking, so you can be sure that your school can meet the requirements.
3. What is the ideal size audience for your presentation? Some shows work better with small groups, while other shows can easily play to a packed gym of 500 students. Find out what works best for the presenter and determine if multiple presentations may be needed.
Good school assemblies get booked up early. Begin planning your assembly programs several months in advance to avoid disappointment and to have a better chance of getting your choice of dates.
Michigan and Midwest School Assemblies Guide http://www.michiganschoolshows.com A resource for booking Michigan school assemblies, Ohio School Assemblies, as well and programs in Indiana and Illinois. Intant School Assembly Grants are available for select performances.