Dr. Tom's Teacher Study Guide:
Reading and Writing Program

About Dr. Tom

Tom Pierce is a professional mime and actor who has toured nationally and internationally for over 25 years. He studied mime, acting and children's theater at Florida State University. He performs a style of mime that is primarily narrative, using illusionary mime technique, masks, and clowning to communicate with his audience. He has performed in schools, theaters, festivals, colleges, and churches in 40 states and in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, England, Mexico and Cuba. Tom also performs during the summer months with his two sons, Zack (13) and Aaron (11). The Pierces live in a 100 year old farm house in Bethlehem, Georgia, about 45 miles northeast of Atlanta.

Curriculum Connections: Language Arts

1. Students learn story structure.
2. Students see author's viewpoint.
3. Students learn about fantasy and realism.
4. Students write or draw about what they saw from memory.

....to get motivated to read
...to understand the value and joy in reading and writing

About the Program
In the "Information Please" reading and writing program Dr. Tom uses his skills as a mime, juggler, magician, and clown to motivate children to read and write. He uses these skills to bring books to life like "The Apple and the Arrow" (the story of William Tell,) and "The Giving Tree." Dr. Tom also uses his own life experiences to talk about his learning disabilities in reading a writing.

Suggested Pre-Performance Activities

1. Ask students to give examples of non-verbal communication which they observe and/or use during the course of a day (or class period).
2. Have students take a vow of silence for a period of time. Have them communicate silently (and without writing notes) and later discuss their experiences and feelings.

Suggested Post-Performance Activities
1. Since mime is a non-verbal art form, the meaning of the sketches often becomes clearer through discussion and sriting about what was seen. As mime material can often be interpreted in many ways, it is interesting to see how students interpret different messages they see in the stories. Questions to ask about the show can include the following:

A. What did you learn from the story, "The Butterfly?"
Sometimes we make mistakes and do things we don't mean to do. It is OK to make mistakes, especially if we learn from our mistakes to not do the same think again. Which part of "The Butterfly" made you laugh the most?

B. What was the story "The Face Place" about?
Accepting the way you look. How many faces did Dr. Tom put on and what were they? Five faces; happy, sad, kissy, fat, scared. Try to put some on yourself and see how fast you can change from one to the other.

C. How many balls did Dr. Tom juggle and what color were they? Blue, orange, and yellow. Which trick did you like best?

D. What was the story "The Giving Tree" about? What kind of tree was it and what did the tree give away? How old do you think Dr. Tom was at the end of the story?

E. In the story "The Arrow and the Apple," what did the king want and how did he go about getting it? What was the name of the man who would not bow to the king's hat? Who was with William Tell and how old was he? (his son, age 10) Why did the King have to release William and his son?

F. See if you can create a mime story from one of your favorite books.
Try these: "Little Red Riding Hood"

"Jack and the Beanstalk"
"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

Perform them in mime or have a person read while the other student/students perform.

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