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discussions, exercises, games before and after the play
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Pinocchio Game: Kids Become Puppets
A Fun Idea for
This is a
really great way to start a rehearsal on a physical high. It is a
warm-up, stretching exercise with dramatic content to keep it
focused. It is named after the wooden puppet (if you do it at
Christmas, you can call it The Nutcracker Game). The game consists
basically of a narrative pantomime of the wooden puppet SLOWLY coming
to life. Here are some things you can say to play the game:
you're made completely of wood. Your arms and legs are carved from a
single piece of wood. You can't move any part of yourself at all.
Now a magic
spell has begun. It begins at the top of your head. The spell moves
down slowly until your head down to your eyebrows is flesh and blood.
Try and move your eyebrows.
Kids Become Puppets!
Kenwood School, Minneapolis --
3rd, 4th and 5th Graders.
The spell keeps
moving down. Now you can move your eyes! All your life you've been
staring straight ahead, and now you can look to the sides. The
spell gets to your ears and your nose. See if you can wiggle
them. The spell gets to your mouth. You can smile. It feels
strange at first, and probably looks pretty strange too, but you grow
more comfortable with it. Try some other facial expressions as well.
discover that you can turn your head. Careful! You can look up and
down carefully as well. Look! You have feet! This is the first time
you were ever sure.
reaches your shoulders. But remember, your arms and hands are still
attached to your body, since you are carved from a single piece of
wood, so you can move ONLY your shoulders. Try some circles. Do you
feel a tingle up and down your spine? That's the magic working.
reaches your chest. You can puff it out like a soldier. Your elbows
can move now, but still not your hands. As the spell goes lower, see
if you can pull your left hand away from your body. Ooofff! You did it.
Bring your hand
up to your face and study it. See if you can move the fingers. Wow!
You've never seen anything so beautiful! See if you can get your
right hand free as well. Does it move too?
The spell has
reached your waist. Carefully bend forward, to the side. See if you
bend backwards. See if you can make a circle. The spell reaches your
hips, but your knees are still locked together and your feet are
still attached to your pedestal. The spell gets to your knees. See if
Reach down and
see if you can pull your left foot free. Ooofff! Point the toe. Flex
the foot. Make little circles. Now see if you can get your right foot
free. You're all real now! See how you can move. Careful at first
these are your first steps! Let's find all the ways our new
And so on&ldots;
Drama Fun and Activities
Try these in your classroom first.
Have children draw a place on the floor around their desk. Pretend it
is a magic carpet. Tell them to close their eyes and wait until you
count: one, two, three! Imagine that you are flying on a magic
carpet. What do you see below you? What do you see above you?
Where do you want the carpet to take you?
Out in the Best in Your Kids!
at Vergennes Union Elem School (VT)
Discuss the lamp that the Genie lives in. Is it like any lamp you
have seen before? Discuss the difference between it and what you have
seen. Discuss the history of oil lamps. Why are lamps such an
important part of our lives?
Pretend you are a Genie in an oil lamp. How do you like it in there?
Do you have furniture? Do you want to get out? How would you dress if
you were a Genie? Can you think of other magical creatures like
Genies? Are there similar characters in the stories you watch on TV
or in the movies?
Teacher, pretend you are Genie and you have the power to grant each
child three wishes. Have them write down their three wishes. What do
you want more than anything in the world? Sometimes you can wish for
a thing like a new car. And sometimes you can wish for something that
is not tangible, the way the Genie wishes for his freedom. What kind
of things like that do you wish for? Happiness? Love? Now think of
others such as friends and family. What do you wish for them?
THE CAVE OF WONDERS:
Have some of the children create the cave doors. Others may ask to be
let in the cave by calling out: Open Sesame! The cave may refuse to
admit them but they must explain their reasons. If the children are
admitted what do they find there? Have them pretend they are in a
cave that is dark and echoic. What kind of treasure might they find
there? If you find a statue made of gold have someone show how that
statue would look.
Love the Funny Characters!
Aladdin, Persia - Monkton Central School, Vermont
Have the children think about what kind of side kick they would like
to have with them all the time, the way Aladdin has his cat Persia.
What kind of animal would you have? If they could talk what would be
their language? Would they help you in times of trouble? If they got
in trouble what would you do for them?
Have the children compare their house to a palace? What would a
palace have that you dont have at home? What would the palace
be made of? Sugar, chocolate, ice, glass? What would your room
in the palace look like? Would you let other people live there too?
Omar the Magician has a magic staff where he keeps all his magic
power. If you had magic power where would you keep it? In your
backpack, in your hat, in your desk? Name two things that your power
lets you do that you cannot do without it. Would you want to be
invisible, to fly, to have new toys? If you could give one of your
powers away who would you give it to?
PRINCES AND PRINCESSES:
Pretend you are a prince or princess. What clothes would you wear and
where would you live? Would you go to school? Would you have to do
homework? If you were a princess what would be different from the way
you are now?
Listen to Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Discuss the
origins of the piece and talk about which parts you liked best. Read
the story of Scheherazade and talk about how the music fits the parts
of the story.
to Scheherazade (Vienna Philharmonic)
The original story in this Guide is quite different from the story in
the play. Can you identify the different parts? Why do you think the
story is different? If you could change the story what would you put in?
Aladdin is just one of many stories from The Arabian Nights.
Have the children write a story that is all their own using the same
characters: Boy, girl, magician, sultan, genie maybe even give
them different names. Discuss what their new story is about. Love,
power, freedom, good over evil? What can the characters do to
prove they have these things?
Are Made of This: Studying the Characters of Heroes
Arts/Social Studies Classroom Activity for A
(This activity is in the
online A Thousand Cranes
study guide: https://www.firststage.org/media/pdf/CRANES_EG.pdf
Taken directly from: http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/lesson_view.asp?id=784)
1. Divide the class into small
groups, and ask them to list as many heroic and un-heroic traits as
2. After allowing students
ample time to brainstorm in their groups, ask each group to share
a. As students list their
traits, write them on the board, chart paper, or an overhead
transparency so that you have a class list of traits. Ask students to
copy the traits down for later use.
b. Ask the class to infer any
heroic traits based upon un-heroic traits or vice versa.
Powerful Story About a Real Hero
Theatre for Youth - The National School of Drama, Delhi, India -
First Stage Milwaukee
For A Medium
Size (Medium) Cast of Teens, Middle Schools, High Schools
3. Next, ask the class to
discuss why these various traits listed are classified as heroic or un-heroic.
a. Make a point of identifying
which traits the class agrees on and which there is some question
about. It is fine if there is disagreement. The point with this
exercise is not to create consensus but to explore the idea of
heroism, which is a culturally constructed concept.
4. Ask students to name
heroes-historical, contemporary, or fictional. List the names
students share on the board, an over head, or chart paper.
5. Ask students to name some
villains-historical, contemporary, or fictional. Again, list the
names students share on the board, an overhead, or chart paper.
6. Once you have a good list,
ask the class to discuss the individuals on the board, using the
following questions to guide the conversation:
a. Do we agree on who is or
isn't a hero?
b. When we disagree about
whether someone is a hero, what are we considering? Why do we disagree?
c. What makes the heroes, heroes?
d. And what makes the
7. After the discussion, make
any adjustments or revisions to the class list of heroic and
8. Ask students to return to
their small groups and arrange the heroes whose names they gathered
at the beginning of the session into categories other than
historical, contemporary, and fictional.
9. Come back together as a
class, and ask each group to explain what categories they created and
who they listed in each.
a. Ideally, as this discussion
progresses, students may begin to speculate that heroes and heroism
are not fixed terms.
10. After reading the story of
Sadako, or seeing the production of A
Thousand Cranes, have students discuss how Sadako can be viewed
as a hero.
a. What heroic traits that
were listed previously does Sadako possess?
b. Who are other heroes
mentioned earlier that share similar traits and qualities with Sadako?
Ideas for Beauty
and the Beast Activities
Beauty and the
Beast: Exercises & Activities
Before the Play
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?
students the proper etiquette for audience members during a live
performance. Impress upon them that the actors they see are
live people who care very much how you respond to the work they are
doing. Young audience members should learn the meaning of
applause and laughter and that they should be polite to the people
who are performing for them.
original story and the synopsis of the play that appear in this
Teachers Guide. How are the stories alike? How are they
different? Talk about the practical consideration of putting on
a play and why the actors might need to adjust the story in order to
present it on stage.
The play takes
place in France where they used to tell fairy tales. Look up France
on the Internet and in books, locate it on the globe. Talk
about what we know about the country, history, music and the
people. What kinds of clothes do they wear and what did the
wear in years past? Remember your answers when you see the
actors in their costumes. Or if you are performing in the play
use the pictures you find to help create your costume.
play, children will be asked to participate by helping make sounds,
wind, music, wolves, etc.. Describe a storm, scary forest,
angry mob or ferocias wolves and talk about how they sound and
move. Point out the actual events or other plays or movies you
may have seen. How does your play relate to events in "real
life or other "fantasies?
clothes and what they say about your personality. Name some of
your favorite movie stars or musicians and how the clothes they wear
shape the image we have of them. What makes some clothes come
into fashion why others go out of style. Describe your favorite
shoes, hat and coat. What makes you like them? How do you
feel when you wear them?
After the Play
Discuss in more
detail the play you have just seen. Who is your favorite
character and why? Talk about how the actors created the
illusion of many things such as the castle, the forest, the
marketplace and the invisible painting that Marcel sets up.
Talk about how you were asked to sue you imagination as opposed to
movies and cartoons that show you a picture of everything.
Talk about some
of the characters you saw in the play such as the Villagers and
Household Servants. What did they do with their voices and
bodies to convey their character to you? Would you like to try
your hand at acting? Write down the names of characters such as
Beast and Wolves. Come up with crazy names as Huey Kazooie and
show the class how Huey would act and talk. Choose other
characters, perform them and ask your classmates to guess who you are.
Perrault wrote many play besides Beauty and the Beast.
What titles are you familiar with? Can you recount these
stories? Which do you like best and why?
What do you
think a magical Prince-turned-Beast would actually look like?
Draw a picture of the Beast showing how he thought he looked once
like a Prince. Draw a picture of the Prince before he turned
into a Beast.
What is the
meaning of this famous story? When people say "his bark is
worst than his bite what do you think they mean? The
Prince embarrassed when he realized he had been tricked and turned
into the Beast. What might he have done to prevent this embarrassment?
Monkton Central School,
STORY: Read a version of the story as a class. View an
animated version and compare the two. After seeing the show,
compare all three genres.
HERO: Ask the class what it means to be a hero.
Brainstorm a list of qualities that make a person seem like a
hero. In groups, pick the most important qualities and identify
heroes today. Share as a class. Discuss whether or not there is
a hero in Beauty and the Beast.
ACTIVITY: Have students imagine that they are in Beautys
shoes. In order to save their fathers, the students have to
live with a terrifying beast. What would it feel like? Would the
students have the courage to do it?
"YOU ARE A
HERO!: Ask students to write about a time in their lives
when they had to overcome something or helped someone.
OUTSIDE IN: Have students imagine that they could only show
people their worst qualities. No one would ever know the good
qualities they had deep down inside. What would that look
like? What would it feel like? Have students draw what
that person would look like, and write a story to go along with it.
FUNNY: Have students write a fractured version of Beauty
and the Beast. Explain that a fractured fairy tale is made to be
humorous by changing the story in a surprising way; like changing a
character or adding todays language and events to the
story. Encourage the students to take creative risks.
NOW YOU SEE IT,
NOW YOU DONT: The element of magic is common in
fairytales. In Beauty and the Beast, things arent always
what they seem. Explore optical illusions. Look at
examples as a class. View optical illusions as a class using
the internet and books.
WORLD ONCE UPON A TIME: Research different fairy tales from around
the world and different times.
INFORMATION DOWN GENERATION TO GENERATION: Gather students on the rug
and have them sit in a circle. Explain that fairytales were
handed down through word of mouth. Pretend that each student
sitting in that circle is another generation. Play a game of
"telephone (one person thinks of a sentence and whispers
it in the person sitting next to him/hers ear, and that person
passes, and so on) to demonstrate how stories change.
HISTORY: Ask students to rewrite the ending of Beauty and the
Beast. What would the play version of this look like?
After rewriting the way the story turns out, have students design a
scene from their versions (the castle, forest, etc&ldots;) using only
their imaginations to guide them.
PICTURE: Have students design what the costumes would look
like. Remind them that the story can take place anywhere and in
any time period.
The Legend of
Sleepy Hollow is Creative Fun for Students
Discussions and Activities from
BEFORE THE PLAY:
1. Read the outline of the
play and the glossary that appears in this Teacher's Guide. Advanced
students should read the original story by Washington Irving. When he
wrote this story it was one in a whole book of stories called The
Sketch Book. Rip Van Winkle is another famous story in the book. Can
you tell the story of Rip Van Winkle?
2. Washington Irving is called
"the father of American literature". Why do you think they
called him that? Washington Irving was born when George Washington
was president and was named in honor of him. How long ago was that?
Does that seem like a long time to you? Actually, it is a very short
time for a nation to exist. American is still a young country. Before
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was written there had been few American
writers who were considered to be very good, so Americans were very
proud of him.
3. How do you know if a writer
has written something good? Consider some of he rich phrases in
"Katrina was&ldots; plump
as a partridge, ripe and melting and rosycheeked as one of her
"Ichabod's head was
small, flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes and long
Can you see how Irving helps
us to imagine his story vividly because of his talent for writing?
4. What do you like to do in
autumn? Carve a jack-o-lantern, drink apple cider, gather pretty
leaves? Talk about autumn and how that season affects us. Do you know
any scary stories? Sit in a circle as if around a fired and tell each
other ghost stories that you know.
Irving: The Father of American Literature
Theatre, SC - DCP Theatre, Telford, PA
AFTER THE PLAY:
1. Talk about the play you
have seen. Was it how you imagined the story when you read it? What
things are different and which are the same? Have you seen the Walt
Disney movie version? How were the two versions different? Why did we
laugh at Ichabod? Did you want Katrina to marry Brom bones or Ichabod?
2. Consider all the food that
is described in the play. What kind of food do you like to eat in
autumn - pumpkin pie, caramel apples, apple strudel? Bring your
favorite recipes (ask you parents to help you) and share with the
class. If you give each other copies you will soon a book full of
3. The people of Sleepy
Hollow, Dutch settlers who came from Holland to live in America,
are much like the pilgrims we think of at Thanksgiving. Many people
came to American 200-300 years ago. They came here to pursue a better
way of life than they had in Europe. Are you descended from early
American settlers? Talk about other immigrants to the United States
and discuss the issue of immigration in American history.
4. Did you laugh because
Ichabod was scared of the Headless Horseman? Why was that funny?
5. Have you ever been scared
of something that turned out to be harmless/ have you seen movie that
scare you? Share your experiences with your classmates.
6. What things (movies, books,
darkness etc.) scare you? Tell us what you do when you're scared. Can
you help each other figure out how not to be afraid of things that
really aren't there.
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