FREE RESOURCES: Classroom Activities [ Page 5 ]
Student discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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Ho! Ho! Ho! And a Bundle of Fun!
Fun Classroom Activities for ArtReach's Treasure Island

Long John Silver’s Missing Leg: Pirates are often depicted with missing eyes, hands or legs. It is understood that these injuries were the result of pirate warfare. Describe the story of Long John Silver’s life. Where was he born? How did he become a pirate? Long John claims he lost his leg in a noble patriotic battle for his country. Do you think this is true?

Treasure Map: Roll out a long length of paper and draw a treasure map using your school as the island where it is buried. Where will you bury your imaginary treasure? On the playground, in the cafeteria, in the gym? Draw the path to it.

 Argg! Me Hearties! Kids Love to Play Pirates!
Pirate Fun for Kids!  Treasure Island!
Shoultes Elementary School, Marysville, WA

Sailing a Ship: Look at the picture of the ship in this Teachers Guide and discuss the parts of a ship. What does each part do and why is it necessary? Pretend you are sailor and stand up and pretend you are in the actual ship. What will you do to get the ship out of the harbor and onto sea? How do you land a ship on an island?

Deserted Island: If you were left on a deserted island what 3 things would you like to have with you? A book, a computer, lots of candy or toys? What things would you need to survive? How would you get the things you needed?

Pirate Names: Pirates were often given names that described their personality or something they liked to do. What words do you think describe your personality? Do you like to play baseball, eat pasta, talk on the phone, play games? Use these characteristics and make up your own pirate name. Have each student say their pirate name and the reasons for it.

Traveling on the Sea: Pirates often spent many weeks or months on a boat out at sea. Think about the qualities of the sea and the creatures in it. Think about the dangers such as storm, wind, rain, heat. What kinds of animals are in the sea? Pretend you are one of these animals and a ship is sailing over your head. What do you think of that ship and what does it make your creature do? Have you ever been snorkeling in the ocean? Describe what it is like under the sea.

Becoming a Hero: Jim Hawkins has a fantasy of sailing on the ocean. What is your fantasy? Would you like to climb mountains, fly to the moon, climb redwood trees? Think of the place in the world or beyond and describe it by writing it all down on paper. What grows there? What do you eat there? What kind of clothes do you wear for your adventure? Do you have to fight any enemies there? Write a story about your fantasy adventure starring yourself as the hero.

Becoming a Hero!
Treasure Island is written just for kids to perform! Fun for boys and girls!  Treasure Island!
Rockfish, Lynchburg, VA - Newport Heights, Bellevue, WA

Pirate Names: Pirates were often given names that described their personality or something they liked to do. What words do you think describe your personality? Do you like to play baseball, eat pasta, talk on the phone, play games? Use these characteristics and make up your own pirate name. Have each student say their pirate name and the reasons for it.

Traveling on the Sea: Pirates often spent many weeks or months on a boat out at sea. Think about the qualities of the sea and the creatures in it. Think about the dangers such as storm, wind, rain, heat. What kinds of animals are in the sea? Pretend you are one of these animals and a ship is sailing over your head. What do you think of that ship and what does it make your creature do? Have you ever been snorkeling in the ocean? Describe what it is like under the sea.


General Classroom Activities
Creative dramatics exercises & games

Mirror:  Have the students pair up (any one without a partner gets to go with the instructor!). In each pair, decide who will be the "leader" and who will be the "reflection" first. The reflection must duplicate all actions by the leader. No speaking is allowed. The leader should not try to trick or confuse the reflection. At a particular time (after a couple minutes or so) the instructor claps or otherwise signals that the partners should reverse roles.

Freeze:  Have two students begin an improvised scene of action that requires teamwork (washing a car, making cookies, etc). After a minute or so, or as soon as they've gotten "into" the routine, the instructor claps or otherwise signals them to come to a complete stop - freeze!. Either choose someone or ask for a volunteer to take the place of one of the two frozen actors. When in place, the new actor will begin a completely new and different action that evolves from the frozen pose. [For instance, waxing a car could evolve into petting a dog] This repeats until imaginations run dry.

Pantomime:  Explain pantomime to children as acting without words or props. It combines elements of theater and works best with a strong script or actions and allows the actors to "talk" without speaking. The secret is to exaggerate everything and move in slow motion.

For simple pantomime activities, pick kids and ask them to pretend they are doing, say, sports activities. The kids in the audience should try to guess what the "actor" is doing. If possible, have enough activities so that every child has an opportunity to pantomime.

· Lifting weights
· Bowling 
· Throwing a baseball 
· Dribbling a basketball 
· Serving a tennis ball 
· Eating foods they might get at a game, like hot dogs, peanuts, popcorn, etc.

Try a scripted pantomime with older kids. Some scripts are available (usually for a small fee) on the Internet but older kids can easily develop their own script from simple fairy tales and traditional stories, such as "The Tortoise and the Hare."

Improvisation: For improvisational dramatics, the actors do not have a script and they perform spontaneously. The unpredictability lends itself especially well to comedy. You do not need a script or prepared scenes, but detailed instructions and improv game ideas are available in Funny Bones: Comedy Games and Activities and On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids, both written by Lisa Bany-Winters.


Classroom Activities
General Preparation for 'Alice in Wonderland'

Talk about theatre and what a play is.  What other plays have you seen?  Describe them to the class.  Why do you think certain parts of those plays are memorable to you.  What do you expect this play will be like?  What is the difference between seeing a play on television or movies and seeing actors perform it live?

Read the synopsis in the Teachers Guide and discuss the story.  You may also want to read the book by Lewis Carroll.  Can you find Wonderland on the map?  Why not?  Why do you think all the characters in the story act the way they do?  Who is your favorite character and why?

"The Audience Laughed and Loved It!"
School Play for Children - Alice in Wonderland School Play for Children to Perform!  Alice in Wonderland!
Pinecrest Elementary School, Van Nuys -- Dramaworks, Budapest

Talk about how Lewis Carroll had to use his imagination to make up all the strange things that Alice encountered in Wonderland.  Can you make up crazy characters and animals like that?  Think of animals you know like a bird or a horse.  Now give the animal special characteristics.  Is you animal selfish or wise?  Handsome or silly?  Is he hungry or hot or happy or skinny?  Where does he live?  What does he where and eat?  What kind of sounds does he make?  Can he talk? 

Name your animal.  Can you pretend to be your animal and introduce yourself to the rest of the class?  Can they guess what kind of animal you are without telling them?  If they can, they you have just become a great actor!  (This is a great exercise to later help in the role selection process).

Roll out some plain wrapping paper and make a group drawing of Wonderland.  Show the path Alice took and draw the characters she met along the way: White Rabbit, Pigeons, Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, Gardeners, Queen of Hearts, Flamingoes, etc.  You can even make the drawing real big and use it as a backdrop for the performance!


Imagination: A Wonderland All Around Us

Objective:  Help students understand the importance of imagination, creativity and the creative arts - for everyone, children and adults alike.  Just like Alice's adventure, imagination is a Wonderland all around us.  

Activities:  Have the class reflect on the familiar story of Alice In Wonderland.  Use the synopsis in this guide (or another source), view the video, or simply discuss the story as you and they know it.

· Ask students to write a summary of the story (50-100 words)

· Allow students to read their summaries to the class.

· Ask students to draw their favorite character or scene (and tell why they picked that character - can combine with summary story, above - helpful in assigning roles in the play!).

· Display all the drawings (great as a guide for costume and set design!)

· Ask students to name (or draw) the "real life" characters (Lewis Carroll, Alice, what about all five Alices!)

· Ask students to name (or draw) the "imaginary" characters from Wonderland (White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, Dormouse, March Hare, Queen of Hearts, etc.)

"It was great fun and a huge hit!"
School Play for Children - Alice in Wonderland School Play for Children - Alice in Wonderland
Pinecrest Elementary School Drama Club, Van Nuys CA

Discussion / Questions:  Have a class discussion about what it would be like to suddenly fall down a deep hole (or walk through a door, or crawl under a bed&ldots;) and end up in a strange place - a make-believe place - like Wonderland. 

Do you think there's actually a strange, magical place like Wonderland?

    (There was for Alice!  Wonderland is an imaginary place created by the man who wrote the story, Lewis Carroll.  Even Alice and all the characters in the story are imaginary [though Alice was based on a real-life Alice].  But isn't imagination a wonderful thing?  Without it we wouldn't have wonderful stories like Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Cinderella.)

Can you think of your own magical place?  What would you call it?

    (Magicland?  Fantasyland?  Funnyland?  Weirdland?  Billyland?  Meaganworld?)

Who would live in your magic land? 

    (You? Me? White Rabbits? Squawking Flamingos?  Space aliens? Dinosaurs? Green elephants?  Hump back camels and chimpanzees?  Unicorns?)

Can you grow nineteen feet tall?  Or shrink to three inches? 

    (No, but maybe you can imagine what it would be like to be the tallest person in the world?  Sometimes the only way we can "do" something is to imagine doing it.)

Continue the discussion&ldots;

What would it be like if we couldn't imagine fun or silly or impossible things?

If we couldn't play?  If we had to be serious and real all the time?

Even adults like to imagine fun things, don't they?  (Ask the teacher)

So even though we can't really do everything we want to, sometimes we can be like Alice by using our imaginations to create a Wonderland where anything is possible - by writing stories, painting pictures, telling tales, playing games&ldots;

Or performing a play.


Theatre Games for the Classroom
Fun Games for Elementary / Primary School Students

Painting the Music Game

Everyone find a comfortable spot and sit. Imagine you have a big easel in front of you, with a new blank canvas on it.  In your hand is a palette with every color of paint you can think of.  Select any type of music to play for the exercise - we suggest using the various selections on the CD Soundtrack (the pre/post-show music).

(Start the music.) Listen to the music. Listen especially to the feelings in the music. How does this music make you feel? What do you think it is about?

As you listen to the music, begin to paint what you hear. Some of you will paint pictures, but some of you will probably just paint colors and shapes. Whatever you hear is what you should paint.

Really listen! Listen to the changes in the music. Listen for characters and listen for events. Whatever you hear, that's what you paint.

These paintings are really starting to look good! 

(When the music comes to an end.) Let's all finish up our paintings now. They really look fantastic. Everyone take your painting over to a wall and hang it carefully. Then return to your seat.

With Kindergarten and younger, it only takes about five minutes of music before the paintings are done. Older or more deliberate children can take much longer. Use your best judgment.


Fruit Bowl (Anyone Who) Game

Class in a circle, each child sits on a chair. 

Teacher is in the middle and explains the rules of the game. 

Students think of four things (e.g. anyone who had breakfast, anyone who likes rap music, anyone who has a watch on, anyone who watches a particular TV program).

When the person (student or teacher) in the middle calls out something you have on, have done, have seen etc., you must leave your chair and move to another one, BUT YOU MUST NOT SIT ON A CHAIR ON EITHER SIDE OF THE CHAIR YOU ARE PRESENTLY SITTING ON.

The person left without a chair (the teacher is participating) becomes the person in the middle, calling out the next criteria for moving. The person in the middle must speak quickly and clearly.

VARIATIONS: Students crawl, moonwalk, walk backwards (start with hands on chairs), run, twist, skip, jump to chairs.


Magician's Power Game

The teacher takes on the role of the almighty powerful Magician who holds in his/her hands the most potent power of the universe (the Magician's hands and arms begin to shake with the awesome power and he/she begins to hum, slowly making it louder and louder).

Meanwhile the students who have been seated in a circle begin to hum also. 

The Magician explains hat he/she is going to send the power to other magicians, but warns that those magicians seated either side of the one holding the POWER will be shrivelled if they don't protect themselves by raising the hand and placing it on the cheek nearest to the person holding the POWER.

The POWER is passed by throwing it with great force to another whilst calling out their name

Noises accompany the passing of the power, such as room ro shhooom. 

Every time someone is shrivelled, he/she leaves the circle. 

The winners are the last two magicians.


Trust Run Game

Students are in pairs.

Students line up like a race, one partner behind the other, facing the finish line which the teacher has marked out.

The person behind closes his/her eyes and holds onto the hands of the person in front.

The teacher says "Go!" and the students race off. Once they reach the line they swap places and race back. The most difficult thing is to keep your eyes closed.


Fun Activities & Ideas for A Christmas Wizard of Oz
Taking a Step Closer to A Christmas Wizard of Oz

Science

Study cyclones, tornadoes, blizzards etc. You may want to make your own - When the cyclone hits, Dorothy and her house travel in the storm. You can make your own version of a cyclone with two soda bottles, some water, a little glitter and some duct tape. Fill one of the bottles with water and a small amount of glitter. Tape the two bottles securely together at the openings. Flip the full bottle to the top position and swirl them so that the water forms a whirlpool or cyclone as it flows into the other bottle. You may also want to get out the encyclopedia (or library books) to learn about cyclones and weather in general. Learn about rust. What causes rust? What can be done to prevent it?

Is That Santa's Reindeer in the Sky?
A Christmas Wizard of Oz is Crazy Fun for Kids! Every Child Shines in A Christmas Wizard of Oz!
Stuffed Lion and Toy Friends, The Rhodes School, Houston TX

Geography

Get out an encyclopedia about Kansas (or library books). Learn about the climate, the weather and the people of Kansas. You may also wish to make a map of Kansas. Talk with your child about the words North, South, West and East. Label four walls of a room with these words. This would be a great time to teach your child how to use a compass. As you drive around town, talk about the directions that you are traveling.

Health

Learn about the heart and the brain. Talk about the importance of each organ. Can we live without either of them?

Creative Writing

Have your child write a story with themselves as the main character. In the story, have them go to a strange land through a strange mode of travel and describe all of the unusual people and the weird things they do while there.   Write a biographical sketch of at least three of the characters in the book, "Wizard of Oz."  Compare and contrast two or more characters in the book. You may take this a little further and do the compare/contrast exercise with the same character, comparing the character as they appear in the book and as they appear in the movie.  Compare/contrast the book and the Warner Brothers movie staring Judy Garland. My preference would be to watch the movie AFTER reading the book, but this is up to you.

Math

Figure out how long after the story was written that the movie was released. How many numbers you can find while reading the book?

Drama

Have your child create a play based on the book.  Create costumes for characters in the story, by drawing or sewing. Recite portions of the book, using correct pronunciation, diction, voice inflection, etc.  Create scenery for your play.


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