LOVE Drama (Lesson 5)

­­­­Six Drama/Theatre Lessons
Drama /Theatre Specialist
Fullerton School District
All the Arts for All the Kids
This set of lessons explores dramatic work as one learns to express a story.  Since drama can be defined as “an actor with a conflict”  and, in most theatre, drama is contained and expressed through  story, story literature and character archetypes from six different cultures are explored.
The lessons are linked both to theatre arts standards and history/social science and language arts curriculum standards.
Emphasis is placed on expressional fluency, critical thinking, divergent thinking, cooperative learning, creating solutions to problems, and comparing and contrasting cultures and style. 
Students participate in acting exercises, games and playmaking.
April 2002

Lesson Five
Title:  Storytellers Make Choices
Overview:  In the past four lessons, the storyteller has modeled making choices of dramatic story telling technique, and invited the students to make  choices too.  Also, the past three lessons have covered literary character archetypes.  Now it is time to use the students’ experience and knowledge to help them tell a story as a performance.
This performance is for the class only.  The emphasis is on making creative choices.  The lesson  is designed to give the students experience  dramatizing a story.  But the audience is comprised of their own classmates, as are the performers.
Don’t worry!  The students will love to perform just for themselves.  It will seem a natural   extension of the storytelling techniques you have been teaching, and they have been discovering. 
If you are tempted to let them share their stories, as a performance, with another audience,   please see the “Integration…etc.” section at the end of this lesson.
Note:  This lesson is in two parts.  This lesson involves making many preparatory choices.  The next lesson is the actual performance.
·        Students will make creative dramatic choices when they, in partnership, portray a dragon, of their own design.
·        Students will identify the character archetypes of Hero, Villain, and Fool.
·        Students will identify the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of the story.
·        Students will identify the moral of the story.
Materials Needed:
·        Poster depicting dragons in various times, cultures and countries.
·         Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like——————————————–
—–or other story , teacher’s choice.
·        Props and costume pieces for the characters in the story.  If you use Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like,  here are some suggested props:
(Headware is not included because of lice problems.  If your class is absolutely free of such problems, hats are the most easy and  inexpensive items one can use to designate character)
For Han, the Hero:  A child sized broom
For the Mandarin and his Council, the Fools: For the Mandarin, a Chinese style robe 
Wise Man, a book;  General, faux armor; Merchant, moneybag; Workman, sweat rag around neck;  Messenger/Spy:  A sash or strip of cloth, tied diagonally across the chest (quasi military style).
For the Wild Horsemen, the Villains:  Strips of faux tiger skin to tie on arms, or legs, or as headbands.
Dragon, The Magical Solution: Child sized staff, or walking stick.
·        White board and markers or prepared word  strips of Who, What, When, Where, Why,  andMoral of Story, Magical Solution
·        If you are using a Storytelling Tree, a small broom ornament, or a dragon ornament would be appropriate.
Vocabulary:  ( grade appropriate)
mandarin, hut, jade, merchant, dragon, courtesy, wanderer, China, orphan, solution,
magic, cast
Background or Motivation:
Place the ornament on the tree.  Review all the stories the students have learned using the ornaments as prompts.  Tell the students that the new ornament will be in the story for today.  They should look for it and raise their hands when they see it in the story.  (Don’t forget to acknowledge them when they do this.)
Displaying  the poster of the dragon illustrations is a good way to begin the discussion regarding dragon imagery being found in many countries and culture.  Discuss the various dragons’ demeanor (angry, sad, mean, goofy etc.)  Identify for the students the origins of the dragons.( “This dragon is from Chinese stories, this one is Japanese.  This one is from an English story, “St.  George and the Dragon.”  This dragon was created by a Disney artist for the movie Sleeping Beauty…”etc.)
1.    Move the dragon poster out of sight.
2.    Divide the students into pairs.  Three students may also work together if there is
not an even number of students in the class.
3.  Tell the students that their assignment is to make one dragon, using both or their   bodies.  (“Two kids make one dragon.) 
4.  Give the students about five minutes to talk over their project.  When they begin to look as if they need to get on their feet, give them permission to do so and “practice” making their dragon.
5.  Ask all students to get into a small ball next to their partner.  Tell them you will start counting.  They are to begin forming their dragon on “1” and “freeze” their dragon on “10.” 
6.   Count and let the students make their dragons.  Give them feedback as they “freeze” for you to gaze upon their work.  Try to make a positive comment about each partnership.  (“Wow!  This one has two heads!  This dragon is so long!…”)
7.   Note for the children that even though they are all making dragons, everyone’s dragon is different from the other dragon.
8.   (“Isn’t that interesting!  Everyone thinks they know what a dragon looks like.” )  Show the students the title of the book.
9.   Read and/or tell the story.
10. Help the students generate the 5 W’s and the Hero, Villains and Fools.  (Introduce the idea of a Magical Solution, when the students identify the Dragon instead of Han as the Hero. Help them identify the Moral of the story (Did the story, teach, warn and/or entertain?”)
11. Announce the students that they are going to be able to act out the whole story with costumes and props. (“Costumes help us know who’s who.  Props are anything an actor holds in his hand that helps him tell the story.”)  They will be excited about his.  Warn them that today we are getting ready to tell our story, but we won’t perform it until next lesson.  (Actors need to understand the story and get ready.  That’s what we’ve been doing today. “
12. Warn the students that everyone will have a part to play.  But not everyone will get to play the part they want to play the most.  (“Will we be able to tell our story if we have one Han and nineteen dragons?”)  But everyone will have a part.
13. Proceed to cast the parts as makes most sense for your class.  You can choose, or the children can volunteer. Whatever way you decide, remain firm, and brook no objections (There is reason the Director in  Theatre is called “Director,” not “President,” or “Teacher.”)  Invite each student to cast to the front of the class, and have them put on the costume or hold the prop. 
14. Note:  Actors, as a general rule, love to play villains . You can stifle many objections by making the Wild Horsemen—which will be “everyone else” who has not a named part—seem the most exciting part to play.  Give them cues to make the sound so hoof beats.  Give them a cue to wave their swords, and growl.  Give them a cue to shoot their bows and arrows.  Pretty soon, everyone will want to be a Wild Horseman.
15.  Before students sit down, review who they are, reemphasizing vocabulary and terms (“And the Hero is…?  And the Merchant has a …well yes, it’s a little bag, but what do we call something the actor holds in his hand to help tell the story…? …That’s right, a prop.”)
16. Note:  You really don’t need to write down a cast list.  The students will remember as long as they have had contact with props and costumes.)
·        Did students attempt to create dragons?
·        Were students able to identify the elements of the story and the archetypes.
See Lesson Six 

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