Six Drama/Theatre Lessons
by Teresa Love
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.
Title: Storytelling is Performance
Lesson Six is part Two of Lesson Five
Note: It is very important that you, as the teacher, are able to retell the story, without using notes, in your own words. Know the characters, what they say, what happens next, etc. If you falter, the energy of the story will falter, and the students will begin to fall out of the game of acting out the story. So, know the story cold!
Students will dramatize a story using props and costumes, responding to cues, and making creative choices appropriate to their character and the story.
· Everything used in Lesson Five
Same as Lesson Five. Add “cue.”
Remind the students how the storyteller needs the audience and the audience needs the storyteller.
1. Review the choices the class made last lesson.
2. Make sure the students know that a cue is. (A signal to do something) Tell them that we are going to use cues today in order for everyone to know when to play their parts.
3. Divide the room into distinct acting areas. You will need :
· The Gate into the city
· Han’s hut
· The Mandarin’s Palace, with chairs for the Council and Mandarin.
· An area in which the Wild Horseman can sit. (The Horseman never really need to leave this place. They can do all their acting from a space rather near the gate, and just get louder as more mean as they get “closer.”
· A faraway place, from where the old wanderer comes, and where the messenger rests until it is time for his part.
4. Instruct the students that you will still help them tell the story. When you are standing near a student it is their cue to act the story. Everyone else in the class is the audience at that point. If you go stand near the Wild Horsemen then they will act as the Horsemen (review their cues.)
5. Review who is audience and who are actively acting (by you physically keeping the focus), until everyone knows what is expected.
6. Announce “And now, for the first time anywhere on Earth, Ms.——————class presents their version of the story Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like. Once upon a time, (moving toward Han)there was a .boy named Han. Han was an orphan boy who swept the gate of the city. He but he was a happy boy and waved to everyone coming through the gate.”
7. This is where your finesse as teacher, will come into play. For many children you can cue “So the Mandarin said……” and the child act the appropriate part of the story. For some children you will need to say “And so the Mandarin told him to come over by the throne…” You leave a pause and the child will say “Come over here by the throne!” Sometimes you will need to say “And the Mandarin said ‘Come over here by the throne’. And the child will repeat exactly what you say, and how you said it.
8. Try your best to not tell or show the child how to do his/her part. They know the story. Just urge them on with your story narration, giving them more and more clues as to what the character is to do or say next. You will find all levels of ability regarding understanding and accomplishing of jumping into the drama.
9. You may have to remind students when they are to stop acting and become audience members, but insist on it. You can keep focus by telling the story with energy and showing the students where to look (wherever you are!)
10.At the end of the story, give each child a chance to receive applause for their work. Praise their storytelling abilities.
11.Repeat if desired, changing parts. A student can take your part at this point.
12. As this is your last lesson, direct students’ attention to the Storytelling Tree. Review all the ornaments, and the associative stories and concepts. Use as much vocabulary as possible, as a review.
13. Direct student’s attention to the present ornament. Remind them you still feel sharing a story is like giving someone a present. Challenge each of your new storytellers to tell one of the stories they’ve learned, or a new story they make up, to someone in their family. Assure your students it will be a wonderful gift, because they have become wonderful storytellers.
· Did students dramatize a story using props and costumes, responding to cues, and making creative choices appropriate to their character and the story?
· It is important not to put students in front of an audience until they have gained confidence communicating all aspects of their story. That means being able to stay in character, remember the sequences without cues, projecting voice and character and being comfortable with props and costumes. If you and your class want to continue working on these skills…Wonderful! But please don’t put students in front of an audience before they are truly ready. It will be a bad experience for everyone if they go on unprepared.
· Ask students if they would like to act out other stories. Use no more than three-four students in a group. Make sure all are familiar with the story. Have them use the same technique you used to help the students act out the story.
· In story telling, one generally uses few props and costumes. But designing such is an excellent activity. Have students choose a story and design the costumes and props. They may need to research the country or culture of the story, or a chosen time period. Have them make a design portfolio.