FREE RESOURCES: Classroom Activities [ Page 3 ]
Student discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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This page (Page #3) has creative activities for use in the classroom.  Kids love to learn more about the play’s origin and subject.  Check out these articles and activities related to ArtReach’s popular titles: Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, Wizard of Oz, We Are The Dream, Harriet Tubman, Blue Horses, Snow White Christmas, Sleepy Hollow, A Thousand Cranes, Peter Pan, Winnie-the-PoohDon’t forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and contains tons of creative new ideas for your teaching lessons!

What Lessons Does ‘Wizard of Oz’ Teach Us?
Classroom Discussions – Wizard of Oz

General Discussion / Questions

1. Why does Dorothy want to be in some other place than Kansas?

2. Do you ever feel like Dorothy did?

3. Dorothy is taken to Oz by a "twister", what is another name for a twister?

4. Oz is a very beautiful and colorful world, but Dorothy still finds problems there. Do you think there is any place where there are no problems?

5. Do you think the Scarecrow really needed a brain? The Tinman a heart? The Lion his courage?

"Does the Scarecrow really need a brain?  Why?"
Great Roles for Kids!  The Wizard of Oz! Fun, Easy Script for Kids to Perform!  The Wizard of Oz! The Wizard of Oz
A Roaring Good Time at Lakefront Youth Theatre Experience, New Orleans

6. The Wizard, at the end of the play, turns out not to be a Wizard. Though he didn't have the magic powers of a wizard, do you think he helped Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Lion?

7. It is interesting that Dorothy had the power to return home to Kansas anytime she wanted to but she wasn't aware of it. Do you think we often have the power to do what we want but we may not know it?

8. How many books have been written about the Land of Oz? (hundreds) Have you heard of any others besides The (Wonderful) Wizard of Oz?

Drawing & Art Activities

You saw the Wicked Witch' s castle, what do you think Glinda's castle looks like?

Draw a picture of your favorite part of the show; of your favorite character.

Draw a picture of yourself with characters in the play. Where would you be? What would you be doing?

"The world is full of wonders." -- L. Frank Baum
Wizard of oz Summer Drama Camp Wizard of Oz Classroom Activities ArtReach's Wizard of Oz Play Script
ArtReach's Wizard of Oz - Gaslight Theatre Kids Drama Camp, Enid OK

Famous Wizard of Oz Quotes

Discuss what meaning these sayings have for us in our everyday lives. Can you give an example that illustrates the meaning?

"Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is full of wonders." -- L. Frank Baum

"..Remember, my friend, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others..." – Wizard

"...if I ever go looking for my hearts desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard... Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
-- Dorothy

History of the Magic Flying Carpet & Camels - Classroom Material
Featuring ArtReach's Aladdin play for Kids to Perform

Before people would consider space shuttles or even jumbo jets, they imagined a fantastic form of aerial transport - a magic carpet or flying carpet. These fanciful floorings could levitate great loads and travel at speeds then beyond fantasy.  From their beginnings in the ancient world, legends of flying carpets have traveled across millennia and continents alike.

Origins of the Magic CarpetLegend has it that biblical King Solomon owned a huge magic carpet - at least large enough to bring the King's entourage along. Several hundred years later, the enchanting queen cheherazade told her husband stories of flying carpets in Arabian Nights. Fortunately, the queen's storytelling chops ended the king's practices of summarily beheading his wives after one night.

People imagined a fantastic form of aerial transport - magic carpets.
A scene from Aladdin play. Jasmin in ArtReach's Aladdin.
Ashland Childrens Theatre (Ashland, OR) - ArtReach's Aladdin

The Flying Carpet in Western Lore: These Eastern stories have enchanted the West for centuries; flying carpets pervade our popular culture today. At the end of World War II, the United States turned its aircraft carriers and other vessels into giant floating dormitories, dispatching them to bring servicemen home from far-flung lands. The armed forces dubbed this effort "Operation Magic Carpet."

Late 60s rock band Steppenwolf rocked the chart with a far-out (and perhaps pharmaceutically aided) "Magic Carpet Ride." More recently, animated plumbers Mario and Luigi contend with rug-riding enemies in the Super Mario Bros. video games.

While the original Aladdin legend has the bandit using a rug as a getaway vehicle in ancient Baghdad, Disney's westernized Aladdin whisks his midriff-baring gal Jasmine on a carpet-borne dream date. Sadly, this is not an option for modern sorcerers on the dating scene; in the world of J.K. Rowling's teen warlock Harry Potter, the Ministry of Magic has outlawed flying carpets.

The original Aladdin legend has the bandit using a rug as a getaway.
The Magician and sidekick in Aladdin play. Young performers in ArtReach's Aladdiin playscript. Poster for Aladdin for Children's Theatre
Ashland Childrens Theatre (Ashland, OR) - ArtReach's Aladdin

About Camels, Creatures of the Desert: When many people all over the world think of Egypt, they think of the Pyramids with a graceful caravan of camels passing by. It's easy to imagine the caravans of traders heading into the desert. With no food or water needed for their beasts of burden, we fancy that the journey was made easier. It is a romantic dream of many people to view such a caravan. The truth is, by far, stranger than the myths that have grown up around the camel, the beast of burden which helped spread wealth around the ancient world.

One of the most enduring and misunderstood myths about the camel is it's ability to go days without water. Myth tells us that the camel stores water in its hump. The truth is the hump, or humps in the case of the Bactrian camel, are a fatty deposit that provides energy when food is scarce. When a camel's energy reserves become low from lack of food, the hump shrinks and becomes soft and will actually flop over to one side. The resilient nature of the animal can be seen in the rapid return of the hump to its normal firm upright self after just a few days of good grazing.

Imagine the caravans of traders heading into the desert.
Performance by students in Aladdin script. Kids perform Aladdin
Ashland Childrens Theatre (Ashland, OR) - ArtReach's Aladdin

The history of the camel is just as interesting as the animal itself. Evolving in North America, the camel apparently crossed the land bridge over the Bering Strait during prehistoric times. After a time, camels became domesticated, and now the only wild camels are a small population of 500-700 animals in China's Gobi desert. Asia and Africa are home to domesticated camels only. Camels were introduced to Australia and a few feral animals exist in the wilds there. An experiment introducing the camel to the North American desert in the 1800's was unsuccessful, although occasional reports of a camel sighting are received.

While having a reputation for being an unpleasant animal, the camel is actually a friendly animal. The grunting and groaning when rising are similar to a grunt from humans upon lifting a heavy weight. A distressed camel will spit a noxious stream of stomach contents, but generally a camel is a pleasant, hard working, intelligent animal.

Lets Talk about Courage!
The Cowardly Lion in Wizard Of Oz is Perfect for Discussion!

Discussion / Questions: Have a class discussion about the Lion's search for courage. The following questions could be addressed:

Why do you think the Lion felt that he needed courage?

(Lions are known as the King of the Jungle. The Lion felt that he did not have enough courage to live up to the expectations of others)

Talk About the Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz Dramatic Fun for Kids -  The Wizard of Oz
Karapiro School, Cambridge, NZ - British School, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

How important is it to live up to the expectations of others, such as parents, friends, and acquaintances? Do you feel that there are times when you do not have enough courage? What do you do in these situations?

What would you like to do? What is the best thing for you to do?

Was the Wizard able to give the Lion courage at the end of the story?

    (No, he discovered that courage must come from within. As various challenging situations arose on the journey, the Lion unconsciously responded courageously because of his desire to help others)

"Believe in yourself."
Students Perform Wizard of Oz
ArtReach's The Wizard of Oz - The New School, Fayetteville AR

Ask students to reflect upon a time they exhibited courage when they thought that they lacked it. Have students think about ways they can develop courage.

Writing Exercise: Have students write a commercial or jingle that tells/shows the audience: How to Cultivate the Courage that Lies Within Us. Some ideas that can be incorporated are: Believe in yourself. Don't be afraid to say no. Telling the truth is always the best policy. Don't feel that you must follow the crowd in order to survive. It is more important to think for yourself.

Martin Luther King in the Classroom
Prepare for ‘We are the Dream’ with Classroom Activities

Citizenship / Role Playing

This common activity is used in classrooms everywhere – but it's one worth repeating from time to time! The activity helps students understand the concept of "discrimination."

For this activity, divide the class into two or more groups. Some teachers divide students by eye or hair color; some invite students to select and wear badges of different colors (purple, green, and other colors that are not related to skin color); and others isolate students whose first names begin with the letter B (or whichever letter is the most common first letter of students' names in the class).

For a class period or for an entire school day, one group of students (for example, the kids who have blond hair, those wearing orange badges, names start with B, etc.) are favored above all others. Those students receive special treats or special privileges, and they are complimented often. Students who aren't in the "favored" group, on the other hand, are ignored, left out of discussions, and otherwise discriminated against.

 At the end of the period, students discuss their feelings.

• How did it feel to be treated unfairly, to be discriminated against?
• Invite students to talk about times they felt they were judged or treated unfairly.
• How does this experiment relate to the life of Martin Luther King?

Let Your Kids Live the Dream!
Martin Luther King Play for Kids
A Student Performs MLK's Dream Speech!
Charteret School, Bloomfield, NJ

Read Aloud

Read aloud one of many Martin Luther King, Jr. biographies to motivate interest in creating a timeline of his life. Your school and local libraries are sure to have several to choose from.

Select a handful of the most important events from the book to start your timeline. Let students fill in other events as they use other books (and online resources) to learn more.

Teachers at the lower grades might focus on books that emphasize a "getting along" theme -- books such as The Land of Many Colors by the Klamath County YMCA (Scholastic, 1993), Together by George Ella Lyon (Orchard Paperbacks), and The Berenstain Bears and the New Neighbor (about the bears' fears when a panda family moves in next door).


On a U.S. map highlight places of importance in the life of Martin Luther King. Place a pushpin at each location and extend a strand of yarn from the pin to a card at the edge of the map. On the card explain the importance of that place.

History / Role Playing

Make a list of events that are included on your Martin Luther King timeline (e.g., Rosa Parks' bus ride, integrating Little Rock's schools, a lunch counter protest, the "I have a dream” speech).

Let students work in groups to write short plays in which each group acts out one of the events.

Public Speaking

Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech is one of the most famous and often quoted speeches of all time.

• Read the speech aloud.
• Invite students to listen to the speech. ( Hear the speech )
• Write on a chart some of the "dreams" Martin Luther King expressed in it.
• Ask students to think about the things they dream for themselves, their families, their country, and the world, and to express those dreams in their own "I have a dream” essays.


A simple class or school project can demonstrate the beauty of diversity!

Martin Luther King's dream was to see people of all countries, races, and religions living together in harmony. Gather seeds of different kinds and invite each student to plant a variety of seeds in an egg carton. The seeds of different shapes, sizes, and colors will sprout side by side.

Once the plants are large enough, transplant them into a large pot in the classroom or in a small garden outside. Each class in the school might do the project on its own, culminating in the creation of a beautiful and colorful (and diverse!) school-wide garden.

Theatre Etiquette - ArtReach Plays
Here are a few ideas for discussing etiquette with your students and young audiences:

1. Sometimes we forget when we come into a theatre that we are one of the most important parts of the production. Without an audience there would be no performance. Your contribution of laughter, quiet attention and applause is part of the play.

2. When you watch movies or television, you are watching images on a screen, and what you say or do cannot affect them. In the theatre the actors are real and present in person, creating an experience with you at that very moment. They see and hear you and are sensitive to your response. They know how you feel about the play by how you watch and listen.

3. An invisible bond is formed between actors and a good audience, and it enables the actors to do their best for you. A good audience helps make a good performance.

"An invisible bond is formed between actors and audience."
Small Cast Children's Plays - Blue Horses Imagination Play for Kids!
Blue Horses -- Huron High School, Sioux Falls SD -- Cast and Audience

Suggestions for Student Etiquette:

1. You share the performance with everyone in the audience. Your talking, movement or any other distracting activity, once the show has begun, not only disturbs the actors onstage but the audience around you as well.

2. Your comments and ideas about the play are important, but save them for after the play to discuss them. Or even better, write a letter to the performers.

3. Before entering the performance area, get a drink of water or visit the restroom if you need to.

4. Once you are seated, you should remain seated. When the play begins, because the actors are directed to move all about the room, it's important for everybody's safety that the walkways and stage areas remain clear of students.

Harriet Tubman: Take My Hand and Follow Me
ArtReach's New School Play for Kids to Perform:  Here's the Plot Outline

ArtReach's new play, Harriet Tubman: Take My Hand and Follow Me, presents the true-life story of one of America's greatest heroes. At great risk to her own life and freedom, former runaway Harriet Tubman, traveled back to slave country nineteen times to lead hundreds of people to freedom in the North. She was a conductor of the Underground Railroad, the secret network of abolitionists who helped runaway slaves escape. The play inspires while encouraging participation from the audience in singing the songs of freedom - a host of American spirituals.

"Oh, who will come and go with me?"
Harriet Tubman play for Middle Schools and High Schools
Public art mural on the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center, Cambridge, MD

The play begins with an introduction by Storytellers which is a depiction of the moment of escape and running. They set the scene in a frightening swamp and forest at night. Harriet appears and tells the audience to be quiet, just as she would tell her followers as they traveled the Underground Railroad. She says, "Take my hand and follow me." The Storytellers use this as a rhythm and refrain for the play and begin narrating the story of Harriet's life.

It is 1820 and Old Rit has had a baby in a tiny cabin, slave quarters. She sings a lullaby, "All the Pretty Little Horses". Prompted by Preacher, the audience sings the song with her. After the lullaby, slave neighbors visit her and father Ben to see the newborn babe. Old Rit, whose real name is Harriet, tells them her baby's name is Araminta. Her friends tell her the Master will decide what she is called, probably Minty. They also hint that Old Rit needs to secure a job in the big house for the girl, a much easier life than work in the fields.

As time goes on, Minty appears as a six-year-old who loves to be outside. Old Rit tells her to make herself more suitable for house work when the Master Brodess arrives with news. He has hired out Minty to a neighboring estate. Old Rit is distraught that she will lose her little girl and protests that Brodess has already sold two of her daughters. There is some relief that Minty is only hired out and not sold south where life is much harder than it is in the Maryland Tidewater.

"Wade in the water, wade in the water, children..."
Musical Harriet Tubman

Old Rit sings "Sweet Low, Sweet Chariot" as we hear of the hard life Minty is forced to live on the Cook estate. The audience then sings along with her. At the end of the song we learn that Minty has been released after a year of unsuccessful hard work. Her mother and father are very happy to have her back home. Minty and Ben take a walk in the woods where Minty tells her father that she cannot stand to be a slave any longer. Her father Ben implies that she must not tell him if she is planning an escape. However, he does teach her about survival in the swamp forest and tells her to follow the drinking gourd in the sky, a constellation of stars that points to the North Star that will lead Harriet on the right path. The Preacher prompts the audience to sing "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd."

Before Minty has a chance to escape there is an incident in the fields involving her brother John. Master Brodess comes to tell him that he has been sold. Everyone is aghast as Brodess tries to take him away. His wife Mary tries to stop him. Just as Brodess is about to strike Mary and John with a rake, Minty jumps in and is hit in the head. Minty is knocked out cold and lays in a deep sleep for two months.

When Minty awakens from her coma she tells of a vivid dream she had. She has dreamt of a river with beautiful ladies and freedom on the other side. She takes off her bandage to reveal the wound on her forehead. She calls this her Top Eye and she believes it gives her visions she needs for her coming work. She also tells everyone that her name is no longer Minty. She will now be known as Harriet Tubman. Soon Harriet hears that she is to be sold south.

Harriet escapes into the swamp forest. Storytellers recreate the scene as Harriet travels and audience sings, "Bound for the Promised Land". Brodess is in pursuit of her, posting a Wanted Poster for her capture and return. But Harriet is able to elude him. After days of running and nearly starved, Harriet encounters Mrs. & Mr. Garrett who are Quakers and members of the Underground Railroad. The Garretts feed her and let her rest in their home for days before she returns to her journey. After many long arduous days, and many encounters with Underground Railroad members, Harriet has walked a hundred miles and arrived in Philadelphia. Harriet is finally free. Preacher prompts the audience to celebrate by singing "Go Tell It on the Mountain." William Still, a famous former slave himself and a networker for the Underground Railroad, welcomes her to freedom and introduces her to many other abolitionists.

Although Harriet is now safe and free, everyone is astonished when she announces that she must go back to help her family and other slaves escape as she has done. Harriet again walks the hundred miles through swamp and forest to find her family at Brodess' estate distraught that three of them are about to be sold south. Harriet tells them to have courage and follow her.

"I looked over Jordan and what did I see..."
Harriet Tubman Play for History  Slaves escaping, play for kids

After many days of travel the family members are exhausted. When faced with a freezing river to cross they lose heart and tell Harriet they are going back. This is a decisive moment for Harriet. She orders them to follow her or die. She tells them that no one on the Underground Railroad can ever go back because Master will beat valuable information out of them. They agree to cross the river. Harriet miraculously leads them across the river to safety. She immediately slumps into a deep sleep, a left-over symptom of the wound she received to her forehead. They wait for her to recover and eventually follow her to freedom.

Harriet now has become the most famous runaway slave and Underground Railroad conductor in America. Preacher and Storytellers sing "Wade in the Water" with its reference to Moses, the name she is now known by. One more time Harriet returns to bring her own aging parents out of slavery.

Storytellers continue the story of Harriet Tubman, Moses. They tell of all the people she led out of the south and the work she did for the Union army during the Civil War. Harriet takes the stage to tell everyone to "keep going." Preacher notes that the river is still wide and the journey is still going on and urges them to sing "Amazing Grace."

The play ends on a joyous refrain of "Go Tell it on the Mountain." 

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world."
-- Harriet Tubman

The History of Santa's Elves (Elf)
Let's Talk Elves for A Snow White Christmas!

According to tradition, Saint Nicholas (St. Nick, Santa Claus) has many helpers in all the different countries around the world. While each helper goes back and forth to St. Nick's Workshop, many live in the countries they originate from.

In some countries where English is the main language, these helpers are called Santa's Elves. Each Elf , traditionally a green and red clad helper, wraps the gifts and makes the toys in Santa's Workshop, which is located in the Arctic North Pole.

"In days gone by, children loved St. Nick."
A Snow White Christmas Elf! Play for Kids Snowflakes tell the story in A Snow White Christmas Audience helps to bring the winter snow!  A Snow White Christmas!
A Snow White Christmas - Bremerton Community Junior Theatre, WA

In days gone by, children loved St. Nick, but were afraid of his helpers. For it was told that is was the helpers who kept track of who had been naughty and who had been nice. Naughty children would get coal in their stockings and may even be carried away in the helper's bags until they learned to be good.

What can you do to help keep an Elf from playing pranks on you on Stocking Day or Christmas Eve? Rumor has it that if you leave a bowl of porridge out for an Elf, it will help keep them from playing any pranks on you.

What are Elves called in other countries?

In the Netherlands, this helper is called Black Peter. 

In Iceland they are called Yule Lads 

In Germany, they are Knecht Ruprecht. 

In many parts of France, the helpers are called, Père Fouettard. 

In Luxembourg, they are known as Hoesecker. 

In Nordic Countries such as Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden, an Elf will usually only wear red, not the red and green known in English speaking countries. 

In Iceland, from December 12 to December 24 the 13 the Yule Lads visit homes (a different Yule Lad visits every day). It's during that time that the Yule Lads leave presents and also play tricks on the children.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Classroom Ideas
Middle Tennessee South University, MTSU Theatre and Dance, Murfreesboro

Personal Space: Apply sensory and emotional experiences to create a character.  Each student finds their own personal space in the room. As the teacher reads aloud the story of Sleepy Hollow, the students act out and move with their own interpretation of the story. There should be no interaction between students and no talking.

Walking in Other People's Shoes:  Develop movement to express thought feeling and characterization.  The teacher will instruct students to walk around the room normally. As they are walking the teacher will call out loud a character from sleepy hollow (Ex. Katrina, Ichabod, Sleepy Hollow Boy, etc.) and the students have to move about the room as if they were this character.

Halloween Classroom Ideas: Character Study & Script Writing
Ichabod Crane in Halloween Performance Washington Irving Classic Play
ArtReach's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Jonesborough Rep Theatre, Jonesborough TN

Character Study:  Apply sensory and emotional experiences to create a character Students have 20 minutes to come up with a character as a townsperson from Sleepy Hollow. They must develop their characters and their relationship with Ichabod, Katrina, and Brom Bones. Were they friends of Katrina? Were they one of Ichabod's students? Were they Brom Bones' mother? Students must develop a complete character and write a short character description on them to turn in.

Script Writing:  Express meaning and character through dialogue. After developing a character, students should get into groups of 2 or 3 and write a short scene using their characters. Allow students 30 minutes to write them and then rehearse/perform them the next day in class.

Writing & Speaking Activities & Literary Genres
Ichabod Opines in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Katrina listens to Ichabod Halloween Play for Kids
ArtReach's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Jonesborough Rep Theatre, Jonesborough TN

Writing Activities:  Write in a variety of modes and genres.   Have students write a story as either Brom Bones (for the boys) or Katrina (for the girls) describing their opinion of Ichabod Crane and how they felt about him. Be sure they write about their opinion of his disappearance and what they think happened to him.   Have students write a business letter to a teacher asking them to apply to be the new schoolmaster of Sleepy Hollow. They must use vivid adjectives to describe the job requirements and describing the town of Sleepy Hollow.  Write a paragraph on the legend of Sleepy Hollow and rearrange the sentences. Students must arrange the sentences into sequential order.

Speaking Activities:  Continue to develop oral language skills necessary for communication. Have students get into pairs and interview each other. One student will be a resident of Sleepy Hollow and the other will be a news reporter asking about the disappearance of Ichabod Crane. They will ask questions, express reactions, personal experiences, and opinions orally.

Literary Genres: Experience various literary and media genres. Explain the genre and format of playwriting, and have students write a short script (1-2 min.) about their favorite Halloween memory.

Thanks to: Middle Tennessee South University, MTSU Theatre and Dance, Murfreesboro

Islander students fold 1,000 paper cranes for Japan
Mercer Island Reporter and Sound Publishing, Inc.
Three seventh-grade students at Islander Middle School collected and folded more than 1,000 origami paper cranes to benefit Japan earthquake and tsunami relief last weekend. 

Three seventh-grade students at Islander Middle School collected and folded more than 1,000 origami paper cranes to benefit Japan earthquake and tsunami relief last weekend.  Elisabeth Williams was finishing performances of "Singin' In the Rain" at Studio East in Kirkland when she saw two boxes filled with paper cranes.  She had been making cranes after IMS Leadership classes, as teacher Becky Mullvain and WEB Leaders responded to a Japan relief project of Seattle's Bezos Family Foundation.  The foundation's Students Rebuild/Japan partnered with to encourage students to support Japanese peers.

"Students collected and folded 1,000 origami paper cranes."
Performance of A Thousand Cranes
Islander Middle School, Bellevue WA - Campanile Center for the Arts, Minocqua WI


Paper cranes will launch a $200,000 donation from the foundation at $2 per crane with a goal of 100,000 cranes made by students worldwide.  Sabrina Kwan, a leadership student and Gillian Dewhurst, helped Williams fold many cranes and brought the total of their efforts to over 1,000 pieces.  Studio East presented "A Thousand Cranes" in February and the cast folded cranes for set decoration. The theater training program was eager to join in the relief effort.

The donation will go to Architecture for Humanity's reconstruction projects in Japan, and the cranes will be woven into an art installation.  Prepaid shipping labels for boxes of 50 or more cranes are available by e-mailing [email protected]. For more information, go to

A Thousand Cranes, StudySync Grade 7
AUTHOR :  Kathryn Schultz Miller, Gender Female

QUALITATIVE FEATURES  Publication Date 1990 Genre Drama Access Complex Text Features Genre

o This text presents a biographical account in the form of a drama. Some sections may be confusing unless read aloud with appropriate expression and intonation. 

o Define and review the dramatic elements for students. Read aloud passages you feel may be confusing to students. 

"Can one young girl's story of hope inspire peace around the globe?"
Sadako sees cranes fly. Sadako flies to ancestors. A Thousand cranes Poster for Play.
ArtReach's A Thousand Cranes - Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine, Portland


o Students may be confused by the storytelling device of the play, in which Sadako is telling her own story and when she dies and is able to continue telling her story with her grandmother.

o Encourage students to read carefully as they may become confused because the dialogue weaves between past and present. Prior Knowledge. 

o The story is set in Japan in the years following World War II, and students may be unfamiliar with the historical or Japanese cultural references. 

o Explain some of the historical references, including World War II and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 


Skill Lessons Character, Dramatic Elements and Structure Close Read Prompt Discussion: The Giver, Nothing to Envy, and A Thousand Cranes all feature people in complicated societies. What do these three texts suggest about the relationship between the individual and society? To prepare for your discussion, use the graphic organizer to write down your ideas about the prompt. Support your ideas with evidence from the text. After your discussion, you will write a reflection.

"Display the cranes in the classroom or let kids take them home."
Kids fold cranes. Folding a thousand cranes. A Thousand Cranes
Folding Origami Cranes - Academy at the Lakes, Land o' Lakes FL


Beyond the Book Activity Origami: Folding Cranes Have students decide on a goal. Provide paper and instructions for making cranes. Demonstrate how to fold the cranes. Have students fold the paper into cranes. Display the cranes in the classroom or allow the students to take them home.

To reflect, ask students: 

o What else can you do to achieve the goal? 

o How will the cranes inspire you to work toward your goal?  


Connect to Essential Question Kathryn Schultz Miller, author of "A Thousand Cranes," tells the story of Sadako Sasaki who was two years old when the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and twelve when she became ill with "radiation sickness" from the bomb. Believing it would help her get well, she hoped to fold a thousand paper cranes. How can one young girl's story of hope inspire peace around the globe? Connect to Extended Writing Project If students enjoyed reading this play, encourage them to choose this work to critique for their Extended Oral Project.

IMAGINATION: A World That Never Grows Old
Classroom Talking Points for ArtReach's Peter Pan

Objective: Help students understand the importance of imagination, creativity and the creative arts - for everyone, children and adults alike. Like Peter Pan, it's a world that never grows old.

Activities: Have the class reflect on the familiar story of Peter Pan.   Ask students to write a summary of the story (50-100 words).

1. Allow students to read their summaries to the class.

2. 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 theplay!).

"Do you think there's actually a magical place like Neverland?"
ArtReach's Peter Pan Classroon Ideas for Peter Pan Discussions for Peter Pan
ArtReach's Peter Pan -- Bremerton Junior Theatre, WA

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

4. Ask students to name (or draw) the "real life" characters (Wendy, her brothers, John and Michael, her Mother and Father, their dog, Nana).  Ask students to name (or draw) the "imaginary" characters from Neverland (Peter, Tinker Bell, Stars, Lost Boys, Tiger Lily, Indians, Captain Hook, Smee, pirates, crocodile, etc.).

5.  Never grow up and to live in an imaginary - make-believe - place like Neverland:  What would happen if you never grew up, never got older?  (You'd be in this same class forever! No more birthdays! Nor birthday presents!  Your friends would get older, graduate, go away, you'd still be a kid! Etc., etc. This can be fun.)  Why do you think Peter Pan never wanted to grow up?  (On the day he was born his parents told him all the things he would have to do when he grew up - so he ran away from home! Now, that's pretty imaginative!)

6.  Do you think there's actually a magical place like Neverland? (There was for Peter Pan! Neverland is an imaginary place created by the man who wrote the story, J. M. Barrie. Even Peter Pan and all the people in the story are imaginary. But isn't imagination a wonderful thing? Without it we wouldn't have wonderful stories like Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz, Cinderella.)

7. Can you think of your own magical place? What would you call it? (Magicland? Fantasyland? Funnyland? Weirdland? Darelland, Meaganworld?)

ArtReach's New Play for Kids to Perform: "Winnie-the-Pooh"

ArtReach's new play, Winnie-the-Pooh, presents A. A. Milne's 1926 book, Winnie-the-Pooh. It is a faithful retelling of the original book by the same name. Most of the stories that appear in the book are performed in the ArtReach play involving the characters of Christopher Robin, Pooh, Rabbit, Piglet, Owl, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo. The characters of Rabbit's Friends and Relations are briefly referred to in the book and are here brought to life as the Storytellers.

The play begins when Mr. Milne appears trying to work out the details of his new book. Storytellers arrive and dress as their animal characters as they tell him they will help him with the story. Mr. Shepard appears, seeming to be swept up in the story by the power of his imagination. The Storytellers provide him with the map of "100 Aker Wood (or The One Hundred Acre Wood). Just as they put the map up, the characters of the story seem to spill onto the stage. Christopher Robin shows up carrying his toy stuffed bear and asks for a story. Everyone is willing to oblige and the play the begins.

The Map of "100 Aker Wood"
100 Acre Wood in Winnie-the-Pooh
ArtReach's Children's Play Script: Winnie-the-Pooh

Once Upon a Time: Storytellers announce the first story by putting up a sign that reads: "Once upon a Time". Winnie-the-Pooh enters and hears some bees buzzing which make him hungry for honey. He tries to climb up to the bee hive to get some but falls a long way. Christopher Robin enters and provides a balloon for Pooh to fly up to the hive. But the bees buzz around so much Christopher Robin must pop the balloon with his slingshot. Down falls the bear and all his dreams of honey.

Rabbit's House: The next story is "Rabbit's House" Pooh visits Rabbit who is hospitable enough to give him a large amount of honey. So much honey in fact, that when Pooh tries to leave he has grown so fat he gets stuck in the door or "rabbit hole" of Rabbit's house. Christopher Robin and all the animals of forest are needed to pull Pooh out of the hole. Once he is free Pooh goes happily on his way.

"Storytellers arrive and dress as their animal characters."
Large Cast Script Winnie-the-Pooh The Original Winnie-the-Pooh
Young cast rehearses - Stage One of Richmond Civic Theatre, IN

Piglet's House: "Piglet's House" is the next story in which Pooh goes to visit his piglet friend and they dream a up a scheme to catch a creature they have heard of by the name of "Heffalump". They decide to dig a Very Deep Pit for the creature to fall into. They decide they need a jar of honey to use as bait and Pooh goes home to get the honey while Piglet digs the pit. However, when Pooh gets the jar he is tempted to eat the honey. Pooh eats so much of it that there is little left for the trap. However, Piglet and Pooh leave what is left in the pit and go home to bed expecting to see a Heffalump in the morning. In the night Pooh dreams of a Heffalump eating his honey. He goes to the pit to get it and gets the honey jar stuck on his head. When Piglet sees him in the morning, he thinks Pooh really is a Heffalump until Pooh breaks the jar and Piglet sees it is just Pooh. Everyone laughs at the mix-up as Christopher Robin tells them how much he loves them for their silliness.

Pooh gets Dirty in ArtReach's Play for Kids
ArtReach's Children's Play Script: Winnie-the-Pooh

Eeyore's Tail: The next story "Eeyore's Tail" begins when Pooh notices that Eeyore is missing his tail. He goes to Owl for advice on what to do. While visiting Owl, Pooh notices that the tail is being used as a doorbell pull. Owl admits he found it in the woods and Eeyore can have it back. Pooh takes the tail back to Eeyore and Christopher Robin re-attaches it. Eeyore is very happy to be reunited with his tail.

A Very Strange Creature: "A Very Strange Creature" is the name of the next story referring to Kanga and Roo, a mother and child animal that has come to the forest. Rabbit cooks up an elaborate scheme to capture Roo thereby banishing the creatures from the forest. When Kanga and Roo are in sight, Pooh distracts Kanga as Rabbit grabs Roo and Piglet jumps in Kanga's pouch. But Kanga is onto their scheme and decides to teach Piglet a lesson by giving him a good bath and medicine. When Christopher Robin shows up, Piglet runs away to hurry up and get dirty again.

Time to Party: The last story is entitled "Time to Party" since it is indeed Eeyore's birthday. Christopher Robin gets the idea to give everyone a party to celebrate everything they've ever done. Word spreads throughout the Wood and all the animals come for a fun time. After everyone has celebrated Christopher Robin bestows a great honor on Pooh; he gifts the bear with his Pencil Case. Everyone is impressed with this great honor and they go home to bed.

Christopher Robin goes home to bed and talks to Mr. Milne again as he holds his toy stuffed bear. He explains to Mr. Milne that he gave Pooh his pencil case because it was such a favorite thing of his own. He asks Mr. Milne if Pooh will always be with him and Mr. Milne assures him that Pooh will come to him any time he calls. They say goodnight to each other as the play and Milne's wonderful book come to an end.

   Winnie-the-Pooh goes ater Bees in Play for Kids

"When you go after honey with a balloon, the great thing is
to not let the bees know you're coming."

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