FREE RESOURCES: Classroom Activities [ Page 1 ]
Student discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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Creative Dramatics for The Jungle Book
From classroom to jungle with The Jungle Book

Create Your Own Jungle:  Push back the desks and draw a magic circle on the floor.  You may do this by putting objects from the classroom in a circle on the floor.  Leave room for action inside the circle.

Now discuss thing that you might find in the jungle:  tigers, wolves, bugs, birds, rocks, logs, flowers, snakes etc.  Have each student choose a "jungle thing” in their minds.  Have them keep it a secret!  Now have two or three students step inside the circle and become their "jungle thing”.  Others may enter the circle one by one to encounter these objects.  Have them guess what things they have met.  Now switch roles:  The "jungle things” now are just people and the people are the "jungle things”.  How do they react to one another?  If one encounters a flower he might sniff it; another might encounter a snake and jump over it.   You can also do this activity without the guessing game.  Have students enter the "jungle” and simply enjoy it.

"Now This is the Law of the Jungle..."
Baloo helps Mowgli in The Jungle Book
"...As Old and As True As the Sky!" --  Rudyard Kipling

Raised by Wolves:  What do you think it was like for Mowgli to have brother and sister who are wolves?  What if you were raised as an animal in the wild?  Consider if your family was made up of porcupines, lions, elephants or squirrels.  What would you wear?  What would you eat?  What sound would you make when you are hungry or frightened?  Have children perform the animal they might have been raised by and have the others guess what it is.  Tell the class what your childhood was like living in the jungle.


Is Your School Performing The Little Mermaid?
Have an Underwater Sea Party!

Invitations

The wording of your under the sea birthday party invitations can say "Calling all Jellyfish, Sharks, Squid and Seals, too...There's going to be an adventure, and we'd love to share it with you! You're O-Fish-ally invited to come under the sea. It's (your child's name) Under the Sea Birthday Party!". Then include day, time, address.

Here is a slightly different idea for your under the sea party invitations. Make your under the sea birthday party invitations as "messages-in-bottles." Simply fill clear plastic bottles with sand, mini sea shells, glitter, etc. Write your invitations on parchment paper, then roll them into scrolls, and insert invitations into bottles.

Decorations

Decorate your under the sea birthday party room with green and blue balloons. Hang green "seaweed" streamers from the ceiling, chairs, or from the top of a windowsill. Cut out starfish, seahorses, and other sea animals from construction paper. Tape cutouts to some of the streamers.

Cover the lights in the room with blue cellophane paper, which will give the party "under water" feeling. Spread out any stuffed sea animals that you might have around the room. Have Mylar fish and dolphin balloons free-floating in the area, and have lots of blue latex balloons on the floor to create "ocean atmosphere." Hang a fish net in the corner of the under the sea birthday party room.

Put a blue or turquoise tablecloth on your under the sea party table, and then spread multi-colored confetti around it. Put plastic fish in a clear bowl for table centerpiece. Hang a personalized theme "Happy Birthday!" banner in the area.

Guest Arrival and Introductory Activities

Seascape Gel Bags: Here are some directions for your under the sea birthday party guests to follow for this activity.

Cut small fish from foam paper. Fill a Ziploc bag with blue hair gel so when the bag is closed it's about 1/4" thick. Place the fish shapes, colored beads, and some glitter in the bag. Squeeze out excess air from the bag before sealing it.

Place the bag, sealed end first, inside another bag. Seal the second bag and cover the zipped end with clear tape. Have children make the fish move by running their hands over the surface of the bag.

Sea Life Mural: Tape a wide sheet of butcher paper on the wall at kids' eye level. Spread posters and pictures of tropical fish, dolphins, sharks, and other sea animals for ideas.  Provide the kids with paints and markers, and let them create a mural of sea life.

"Kids are fascinated with sea life!"
Kids Love ArtReach's The Little Mermaid! Add as many characters as you like!  The Little Mermaid, Musical for Kids to Perform! Sailor Fun in The Little Mermaid!
ArtReach's The Little Mermaid -- French Chefs, Lindsey School, Chesterland, OH

Party Favors

Since kids are fascinated with sea life, any theme related items as keepsakes will do the trick! For your under the sea party favors, you can have such items as beach balls, fish squirts, straws, sticker sheets, toy dolphins, and starfishes.

Under the Sea Birthday Party Games

Pin-the-Tail on the Whale: This classic game is easy to design and set up. Just draw a large whale on paper, leaving out the tail. Then cut out "whale tails" for all your guests. Put children's initials and a double-sided tape on each tail.

At game time, blindfold the kids one by one, spin them around, and get them to pin their tail shapes where they belong.

Shark Chase: Get the kids to spread out on one side of the party area - they are fish. Scatter five or more hula hoops around the opposite side of the area (the hoops are the fish's "homes").

Select one child to be a shark, and have that player stand between the "fish" and their "homes." When the "shark" calls Shark!, he or she runs after the "fish" and tags as many as possible. The fish must reach home - step inside the hula hoop - to be safe from the shark.

Any player who is tagged becomes a shark for the next round, and tags remaining fish. For each round, take away one hula hoop until only one hoop is left. The game continues until all the fish are caught.

Beanbag Fish Toss: Place candies or small prizes in three or four pails. Place the pails against the walls. Have a couple of beanbags for children to throw. (It's ideal that you make a beanbag that looks like fish, but it's not crucial!)

Have the kids take turns throwing beanbags into a pail. Allow children to choose a prize from whatever bucket the beanbag lands in. Be sure every under the sea birthday party guest receives a prize.

Octopus Alert: Here is a great outdoor game for under the sea birthday party, and it will require water balloons. Choose one person to be an octopus. Arrange everyone else in a big circle around the octopus. Have the kids in the circle toss a water balloon back and forth, trying to keep it away from the octopus.

If the octopus pops the water balloon by batting it out of the circle, the person who threw it is out. Last child left in the circle wins.

Musical Sea Animal: Have your party guests sit in a circle. Play lively music in the background, and let the kids pass around a sea animal toy. Whenever the music stops the person holding the toy - goes out of the game, and receives a prize (e.g., favor bag). Play until everyone has won a prize.

Creature Magnets: Draw various sea creatures (e.g., seahorses, tropical fish, octopuses, etc.) on crafting foam, and cut out creature shapes. At game time, have the kids glue craft eyes onto the creature's head. Next, get them to draw a mouth with a marker. They can decorate the creature with sequins, beads, rickrack, and other craft materials.

Fish Story: Here is an activity where the kids can create their own story.  Invite all your under the sea birthday party guests to write a beginning sentence on a slip of paper about sea life. (e.g., "Once upon a time, deep under the water surface an octopus was born.") Put all the slips of paper into a bowl.

Have the kids sit in a circle. Choose one player to pick one slip from a bowl, read it out loud, and then add a sentence related to the original one (but even more exaggerated than the last). The round continues until everyone has had a chance to add a sentence. Then a new slip can be drawn from a bowl.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Discussion / Questions: Let's talk about fairy tales!

Did you know that there are many versions of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Does anyone know a story different from the Disney movie?  Has anyone read the story, Little Snow-White, by The Brothers Grimm?  (Introduce the children to the concept of different stories - the play is NOT exactly like the Disney version, neither is the original Grimms' version, etc.)

What is the difference between the story "Snow White" and a Snow White story?  (A Snow White story is similar to the familiar story, Show White, but it can have different characters, different names, different location, etc.)

There are many versions of Snow White!
Snow White School Play for Kids! Large Cast for Lots of Kids!
Perth Youth Theatre, AU - Newington Children's Theatre, CT

What are the basic elements of a Fairy Tale?

"Once upon a time&ldots;"

"Kind person (treated badly)

"Bad person(s)

"Royalty or famous person

"Magic person and magic spell

"Lived happily ever after."

What if Show White wore a green dress... Could she be "Snow Green", or "Forest Green"?  Or blue? "Sky Blue and the Seven Dwarfs"?  What about "Sun Gold and the Seven Daffodils"?  (Encourage the children to be creative - maybe your play will be different,  maybe?)

Can you make up another Show White story?  About a girl in Japan?  About a boy in Africa?  About a girl in your town?  About you?  What about a fish in the ocean?  The Prince is a rock star?  The Dwarfs are Puppy-dogs?  The mirror is a TV!   (Work with the children to create a whole new Cinderella story using the elements above.  This is always lots of fun.)

What are some other fairy tales besides Snow White?  (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Rumpelstiltskin, etc...) 

Why are some stories called folk tales, some called fairy tales?  What is folklore? (Folk tales are old stories told and retold over many years, fairy tales are generally folk tales for kids and usually begin with "Once upon a time -"   Folklore is like folk tales, but may not be an entire story - witches flying on brooms, frogs turning into princes, are bits of folklore.)  Do you know of any folk tales or folklore that are not fairy tales? (King Arthur, Headless Horseman, Paul Bunyan, Loch Ness Monster, Tooth Fairy, Dragons, Ghosts, Goblins, Witches, etc.)


Make a Dragon Costume!
Ideas for ArtReach's The Reluctant Dragon

There are many kinds of dragons you may like to represent in your production of Artreach's The Reluctant Dragon. First you might consider the illustrations in the many book versions of Kenneth Grahame’s original short story. You may of course, receive requests from your young performers to represent Mortimer as the dragon in the popular movies, How to Train your Dragon. Don’t forget to look at the Chinese tradition of Dragons, which can be very colorful and an exciting way to introduce your students to a new culture. Finally, consider making just the mask to represent Mortimer’s costume.

Easy! Coolest Homemade Dragon Costumes: Here’s a great blog with terrific ideas on how to make dragon costumes for young performers: http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/dragon-costumes.html

The Reluctant Dragon for Kids Train your dragon in three easy steps! Widget and Hairy Toes come to love their dragon.
ArtReach's The Reluctant Dragon - Have fun with costumes for all!

How to Make Wheelchair Costumes for Kids: Turn wheelchairs into costumes! Dragons and spaceships! Use this article to imagine your own ideas for wheelchair costumes. Article: An Oregon dad of disabled children creates larger than life Halloween costumes for his children and with help from DreamWorks and generous donors, other disabled children can shine too. Whether he's making a medieval knight or a dragon, Ryan Weimer's unconditional love for his sons Keaton, 9, and Bryce, 2, has led him to create sensational costumes for his children every year.

Read More: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2814956/He-s-dragon-Dad-creates-spectacular-costumes-children-wheelchairs-starting-non-profit-organization-immobilized-children-shine-too.html

More Wheelchair Costumes:  http://ideas.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/halloween/creative-costumes/


The Story of Sadako Sasaki and A Thousand Cranes
Before the play read Sadako's true story.  Discuss how her life has changed the world.

Sadako Sasaki was born on January 7, 1943 in Hiroshima, Japan. She was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, roughly two kilometers (1.25 miles) from her home. Sadako will forever be remembered as a symbol of innocent victims of war. This story is to remember her life and tenacity of spirit.

 "Sadako will forever be remembered as a symbol."
Middle School Performance of A Thousand Cranes Sadako's Story for Middle Schools
Denver Academy, CO

The play opens with meeting Sadako and her inviting the audience to hear her story. She loves to run and practices every day with her best friend and classmate, Kenji. They are preparing for a race next month and Sadako really wants to win. Kenji thinks that Sadako is fast enough to win the race. Sadako runs home to tell her parents, who are preparing for dinner and the upcoming Obon festivities.

Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the spirits of one s ancestors. It is tradition to light a candle for each ancestor who has died. Sadako and her parents are remembering her Grandmother, Oba Chan, who died in the bombing of Hiroshima.

"Don't you remember that old story about the crane?"
Sadako Play for Kids Sadako's True Story
Denver Academy, CO

As Kenji and Sadako are out practicing for the upcoming race, Sadako becomes very dizzy and falls. She is rushed to the hospital. No one seems to know what is wrong with her. After a number of tests, the doctors conclude that Sadako has Leukemia, or the atom-bomb sickness. She has to stay in the hospital for a few weeks to get some tests done.  This means Sadako will miss the race she has been practicing for. While in the hospital, her parents and Kenji visit often. Kenji has come up with a plan to make Sadako well again.

He reminds Sadako of the story of a Thousand Cranes: Don't you remember that old story about the crane? It's supposed to live for a thousand years. If a sick person folds one thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her healthy again. Sadako gets right to work making her thousand cranes. However, her leukemia is also progressing and getting worse. This makes her tired and it more difficult to fold the cranes.

"Oba Chan tells Sadako that the cranes will be completed."
Sadako's Story for Kids to Perform Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Denver Academy, CO

One night while she is sleeping, the spirit of her grandmother, Oba Chan, comes to visit Sadako. Oba Chan takes Sadako on a journey through the spirit world showing her the spirits of others who died because of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima. Oba Chan tells Sadako that she must stay in the spirit world with them. Sadako is not ready, she hasn't folded her thousand cranes. Oba Chan tells Sadako that the cranes will be completed.

Sadako died on October 25, 1955, ten years after the bomb fell. Her friends and classmates completed her thousand cranes for her. In 1958, they had a monument built to honor her memory in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Sadako s wish is engraved on the base of the statue:

This is our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the World.


Learning About Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker
Classroom Discussion for ArtReach's 'The Nutcracker Prince'

How to say the name: 

"Tchaikovsky" is said like Ch-eye-cough-ski. 'Pyotr Ilyich' is said like 'Peter Il-itch'. 

'The Nutcracker' is performed all over the world around Christmas time.
ArtReach's The Nutcracker Prince The Nutcracker Prince is based on Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Nutcracker Prince Play for Kids to Perform
The Nutcracker Prince - Wakefield Country Day School, Washington VA

Type of music: 

Romantic classical music.  Some famous works: 

1812 Overture (for orchestra, choir and real canons!). 

Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 and 6. 

Swan Lake (a ballet). 

Sleeping Beauty (a ballet). 

The Nutcracker (a ballet, see next page for list of pieces) 

Piano Concerto No. 1. 

Eugene Onegin (an opera). 

The Queen of Spades (an opera). 

Marche Slave (Slavonic March for orchestra). 

Some interesting facts: 

Tchaikovsky's music is some of the most popular classical music around today. Many people who don't normally listen to classical music will recognize a tune or two by him. 

His music often has very beautiful tunes. 

His music is full of strong emotions. These strong emotions can be heard and understood very easily. 

The strongest emotions are probably in Symphony No. 6 (the 'Pathetique'). This symphony was first heard only nine days before he died. 

His music sounds Russian to people outside Russia. However, it sounded like Western European music to people in Russia at the time it was written. 

His ballets are the world's most popular ballets. And 'The Nutcracker' is performed all over the world around Christmas time. 

The 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' from 'The Nutcracker' is famous for using an instrument that was very new at the time-the celesta. This looks like a small piano and makes a tinkly sound (this instrument also appears at the beginning of the 'Harry Potter' film music).

Although the 1812 Overture is very popular, Tchaikovsky didn't really like it!


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