Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Drama techniques, Elements of Drama, Esl Drama, improvisation, Improvisation around bullying

Improvisation for beginners

What is improvisation?

Improvisation is theatre without a script. The performers hear it for the first time at the same time as the audience. Improvisation is shared creation. Improvisers make it up on the spot, often working from a suggestion from others. We build ideas step by step, using, “Accept the offer and build on it.”.

 This means that the improvisers must  listen carefully and add to what their partner is offering.

Beginner improvisation activity: 1, 2, 3 Counting

This is a very popular warm-up and one Augusto Boal mentions in his book ‘Games for Actors and Non-Actors’. The premise is simple yet requires concentration.

  1. Divide the group into pairs and ask the members of each group to name themselves either A or B.
  2. Ask them to count to three as a pair with A saying ‘1’, B saying ‘2’, A saying ‘3’, B saying’1′, A saying ‘2’, B saying ‘3’ etc.
  3. Now ask the As in each group to come up with a sound and movement that will replace ‘1’. The pair will continue counting with each partner substituting the sound and movement for the number ‘1’.
  4. Now ask the Bs in each group to come up with a sound and movement that will replace ‘2’. The pair will continue counting with each partner substituting As sound and movement for the number ‘1’, and Bs sound and movement for the number ‘2’
  5. Now ask A to come up with another sound and movement, this time for the number ‘3’. By now, there should be no numbers heard, only the unique sounds and movements that have been substituted for each number.

This exercise is simple and low-pressure yet begins to awaken the creative muscles by calling on students to create movement and sound on the spot.

Warm up improvisation activity: Word Ball

Word ball is another simple game but regards a high level of concentration. It works by gathering the students into a circles and ‘throwing’ words around.

  1. Choose any word to begin with (e.g. cat) and place your hands as if you were holding the word in them, then ‘throw’ the word using both your voice and your hands to a member of the group.
  2. The member of the group must ‘catch’ the word, and then throw the first word that comes to mind (e.g. cuddly) to the next member of the group.
  3. The next member ‘catches’ this word, and throws the first associated word that pops into their head (e.g. teddy bear) to the next person. The exercise continues like this until everybody has had plenty of chances to throw words around. Try to dissuade students from hesitating and encourage them to simply go with the first thing that comes to mind, reminding them that there is no such thing as wrong or right when it comes to improv.

Some  Simple Rules for improvisation:

It’s time to introduce some basic rules of improv. Although there is no right or wrong, there are rules that can help in the creation of improvisational theatre.

RULE ONE: Offer and Accept

There’s nothing worse when doing improv than working with somebody who constantly negates your ideas. e.g.

A: Wow, did you see that elephant over there?

B: No. What are you talking about?

Negating an idea forces your partner to do all the work by coming up with idea after idea. In the example above, B has stopped the flow of the scene by rejecting A’s offer. If he had accepted it, the scene could continue quite easily:

A: Wow, did you see that elephant over there?

B: WOW! That’s the biggest elephant I’ve ever seen! Where do you suppose it came from?

Yes, and improvisation activity:

This is a nice little game that trains students to accept offers and add to them. Like in the second example above, B accepts the existence of the elephant, and offers a question as an addition to his acceptance.

  1. Divide the class into two even lines, call one line A, and the other line B. Have the two lines face each other
  2. Begin with the students who are at the top of the lines. Ask the student in the A line to come up with an offer. The student in the B line must accept and add to it. A must then accept B’s addition, and add to it again. e.g.:

A: Would you like to cut my hair for me?

B:Yes!I have a hairdressing set in my room, let’s do it there.

A: Great! I’ll bring a picture of what I want it to look like.

3.   When they’re finished, each student will go to the end of the opposite line (i.e. The student from line A will go to the end of line B, the line B student will go to the end of line A), and the next two students will have their chance to go.

  1. Keep this game going until all students have had a chance to be in both lines.

RULE TWO: Keep Questions Direct

Open-ended questions can really stump your partner as you are essentially forcing them to do the work in the scene. For example, starting a scene by saying

– What’s going on here? means someone else has to supply the information for the scene. A better way to go about it would be to say

-Why are you Riding that horsurs Here, you are still asking a question but are also supplying your partners with information while you do it.

The most basic ground rule is that there is no right or wrong. Something that inhibits a lot of students is the worry that they are somehow doing something wrong. Improv is about going with your impulses and creating something from them. While there are some rules we will cover in this lesson that can make improv easier, there is no right or wrong.

Teach your students to repeat these questions and answers to themselves when they are feeling unsure:

– How do I do it?

– Just do it.

– Am I doing it right?

– Yes

What are you doing? Improvisation activity:

Group stands in a circle. One person goes into the centre of the circle and starts an action (such as brushing her teeth).

A person goes into the centre, and asks, “What are you doing?”

The person brushing her teeth answers by saying something other than what she is doing. “I’m dribbling a basketball.”

The first person then leaves, and the new person starts “dribbling a basketball.” Then a new person goes in and asks, “What are you doing?”

And so on…

Encourage students to make new choices each time. (No repeats.)

Newspaper Headlines

In a group of 3 pr4, chose one of the following headlines:

Airline removes passenger who won’t stop doing pull ups.

Arrest over theft of £5million gold toilet from palace.

Fisherman gets shock, as he reels in dinosaur like fish with huge eyes.

Two headed snake, named Double Dave found in the forest.

Woman dreams of swallowing a ring and wakes up to find she has.

Queen returns pet monkey to girl.

Make a still image, freeze frame, mime, improvise the story.

 

Airline removes passenger who won’t stop doing pull ups.

 

Arrest over theft of £5million gold toilet from palace.

 

Fisherman gets shock, as he reels in dinosaur like fish with huge eyes.

 

Two headed snake, named Double Dave found in the forest.

 

Woman dreams of swallowing a ring and wakes up to find she has.

 

Queen returns pet monkey to girl.

Some other links:

Therapeutic Storytelling 

Anti bullying workshop for children

 

Posted in Animal Stories, Books for children, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Drama techniques, Fairy Tales, The 3 little pigs

Drama Workshop for Young Children based on the Three Little Pigs

 

The Three Little Pigs (Drama Workshop)

Each child finds a space and sits down. Each child or a group of children are assigned a specific word and a corresponding action. The narrator/teacher reads the story aloud and when the children hear their word they must jump up and do their actions. The words are in bold to assist the teacher/narrator.

 Movement: Action/sound.

Any number: Show that number of fingers.

Little: Crouch down as small as you can.

Pig: Get on all fours and oink once.

Pigs: Get on all fours and oink twice.

Big: Stretch up as high as you can.

Bad: Make an angry face.

Wolf: Make hands into claws and say “aargh.”

Laughing: Laugh loudly.

Smiling: Give a big wide smile.

Trotted: Trot up and down the space.

Straw: Rub your hands together.

Sticks: Clap your hands together.

Bricks: Clap your hands on your thighs.

Huff/huffed: Blow.

Puff/puffed: Blow harder.

Blow/blew: Stamp feet on the ground.

Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a mother pig who lived with her three little pigs. One day she said, “Little pigs, I think it is time for you to leave and make your own way in this big world. You each need to build your own house.” The little pigs were very excited about their new, big adventure. Mother pig gave each of her little pigs a hug, but she warned them, “Remember to watch out for the big bad wolf.” The little pigs waved goodbye to their mother, and they trotted into the woods. They were laughing and smiling, and soon they came across a man who was carrying some straw. The first little pig said, “May I have some straw to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the first little pig some straw to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The first little pig built his house of straw.

The two other pigs trotted on down the road. They were laughing and smiling, and soon they came across a man who was carrying some sticks. The second little pig said, “May I have some sticks to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the second little pig some sticks to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The second little pig built his house of sticks.

The third little pig trotted on down the road. He was laughing and smiling, and soon he came across a man who was carrying some bricks. The third little pig said, “May I have some bricks to build my house?” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the third little pig some bricks to build his house. Just before they left, the man warned him, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.”

The third little pig built his house of bricks. The first little pig had just finished building his house of straw when the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The first little pig replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So, he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down.

The first little pig trotted very quickly to his brother’s house made of sticks. The second little pig had just finished building his house of sticks when he heard a knock on the door, and to his surprise, it was his brother. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared.

He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The second little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So, he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down.

The two little pigs trotted very quickly to their brother’s house made of bricks.

The third little pig had just finished building his house of bricks when he heard a knock on the door, and to his surprise, it was his two brothers. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”

The third little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” The wolf huffed, and he puffed. He huffed, and he puffed, but he couldn’t blow the house down. He heard the three little pigs inside the house. They were laughing. This made the wolf very angry indeed. He decided he would climb to the top of the roof and come down the chimney.

The third little pig heard him on the roof, and he came up with a clever plan. He put a big pot of boiling water on the fire, which was just underneath the chimney. The wolf came tumbling down the chimney and landed into the big pot of boiling water and “SPLASH!” That was the end of the big bad wolf. The three little pigs lived happily ever after.

Warm-up: One child is chosen or volunteers to be Mr. or Ms. Wolf and stands at one side of the clear space. His/her back is to the other children, who are standing at the opposite end of the space. The rest of the children shout out: “What’s the time, Mr. /Ms. Wolf?” The wolf does not turn around. He/she replies in a rough, wolf-like voice: “Four o’clock.” The children walk forward the number of steps the wolf calls out (in this case, four). The children ask again: “What time is it, Mr./Ms. Wolf?” The wolf replies: “Five o’clock.” The children take five steps forward. The children continue to ask the question and to walk the appropriate number of steps forward. Eventually, when the wolf thinks that the children are near enough, he/she will say: “Dinnertime!” Then the wolf turns around and chases the children. They must try to rush back to their starting place. If Mr./Ms. Wolf catches one of them before they reach home, that child is the wolf in the next game.

Choral speaking: Teach the children the following poem. Get them to think of different actions for the straw, sticks, bricks, pigs and wolf. They say the poem in unison.

 Straw, Sticks and Bricks

Straw, sticks and bricks.

Straw, sticks and bricks.

The pigs built their houses

Out of straw, sticks and bricks

The wolf came by,

He blew the straw down.

He blew the sticks, but the bricks were strong

The pig lived happy all the days long

In their house of bricks.

Occupational mime: Divide the class into groups of 4: three pigs and one wolf. The pigs move round the room in a “follow the leader” style. The pig at the front of the line is doing the actions. The first pig mimes collecting materials and building a house of straw. Second and third pigs follow, copying the mime. When the house is blown down by the wolf, the first pig moves to the end of the line. Second pig then heads the line and mimes building house of sticks. Finally, third pig takes a turn and mimes building a house of bricks. The wolf moves around the room avoiding pigs as they build until it is time to blow the house down.

Role-play: Encourage different movements such as gathering straw, breaking sticks or lifting heavy bricks. Encourage the wolves to use their body and facial expression to look fierce and threatening. Give everyone in the group the opportunity to take on the role of the wolf. When the children are comfortable with the character movements, get them to use speech. Ask the following questions:

What does the wolf sound like?

What would he say to the little pigs?

What do the pigs sound like?

What would they say to the wolf?

Talking objects: Ask children if they can take on the role of the wolf. They use their breath to blow down the house. Get them to huff and puff and huff and puff and blow the house down. Everyone sits in a circle and the teacher presents the group with objects that can be blown down by the breath, the wind or a hurricane such as a leaf, balloon, paper, tree, car or even a bridge. Every child becomes an object; they enter the circle and give the group some information about who they are. For example: “I’m small, I’m green and live on a tree.” Once the rest of group have guessed correctly, everyone blows the object down.

Conclusion: The teacher discusses with the group reasons why the wolf gets very angry. The teacher asks the children how they can show the wolf how to relax using his breath. The wolf uses his breath to blow things down, but he could use his breath for relaxation exercises.

Tummy breathing: The children find their own space on the floor. They lie down and place their hands or a stuffed toy on their tummy. They inhale on a count of three. They see their hands or stuffed toy rising as their tummy fills with air. They exhale on the count of four and they see their hands or stuffed toys falling. Repeat this process 10 times. When everyone is finished, ask the children the following questions:

How do you feel?

What did you notice about your hands/stuffed toy when you inhaled and exhaled?

How would this exercise help the wolf?

Burst balloon: The children all lie on the floor. The teacher gets them to imagine that their body is a balloon. They are going to close their eyes and inflate the balloon. They fill up their tummies with air. Then when they are full, the teacher counts to three and the children shout bang and they let all the air out of their bodies like a deflated balloon.

Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, Getting to know you games

Back to school “Getting to Know you Games”

Group Of Children With Teacher Enjoying Drama Class Together

Back to school “Getting to Know you Games”

Game: Data Processing
Level: Elementary+
Other benefits: The main aim of this activity is to provide the students
with the opportunity to ask each other personal questions. The game can
also be used to develop listening skills.
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Instructions: Get the class to work together and get them to get into a
straight line:
• Alphabetically by their first name
• Alphabetically by their surnames
• Alphabetically by their best friend’s name
• By hair length
• By shoe size
• By birthdays
• By how many brothers and sisters you have
Extension: If the students are more advanced, get them to do this exercise
by not using sound. They can only use body movements and gestures.

Game: Action Name Game
Level: Beginners+
Other benefits: This is another effective but simple game to practice
greetings and introductions. It also promotes awareness and teamwork
skills.
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Instructions: Have everyone sit in circle. The first student says, “Hi
my name is ____” The student then does an action, and the rest of the
group says, “Hi _____, pleased to meet you,” and repeats the action.
This continues until everyone has a chance and the rest of the group has
greeted them and repeated their action.

Game: Adjective Introduction
Level: Beginners+
Other benefits: This is a good game for both learning classmates’ names
and practising adjectives.
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space, ball or a bean bag.
Instructions: The students form a circle and the teacher gives one of
them a bean bag or a ball. When they have the ball/beanbag, they must
introduce themselves and say an adjective that best describes them, for
example “Hi, my name is Annie and I’m funny.” When Annie is finished
introducing herself, she throws the ball to someone else in the circle. This
continues until everyone has had a turn.
Extension: To make this activity more difficult for more advanced
students, the adjective they choose must start with the same letter as their

Other links:

More ESL Games

ESL Storytelling Activities

Posted in Closure activities, Creative Visualisation, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Endings, English as a second language, Movement activities, Relaxation activities for kids, Relaxation games

Closure/Relaxation Activites

cropped-img_0052.jpg
Relaxation is very important in Drama. The following activities will enable children to reduce stress and to help them release mental, physical and emotional tension. A relaxed body also leads to good voice production – benefiting all aspects of the voice such as pitch, pace, pause, inflection and projection.

Game: Be a waxwork
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space
Instructions: The children must imagine that they are a waxwork in Madame Tussauds’ Museum in London. Everyone can decide which very famous person they want to be. The children get into position and then the leader walks around looking at the waxworks and tries to guess who is who. When she has guessed everyone there is unfortunately a fire in the museum and all the waxworks melt slowly to the ground.

Game: Smoke in the chimney
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space
Instructions: The children imagine that they are smoke rising from a chimney. They move, undulating slowly. They stretch their bodies as much as they can and then they finally relax.

Game: Puppet on a string
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space
Instructions: The children imagine they are puppets with strings attached to their shoulders that someone is pulling from above. The leader tells them that they are being pulled up and their limbs fly out in all directions. Even the feet can be pulled off the ground at times. Finally the strings are cut, and the body relaxes.

Game: Floating tongue
Minimum number of participants: 1 (and the Leader)
Resources needed: Clear space
Instructions: The children are told to hold their tongues out of their mouths. They must make sure that their tongues don’t touch any part of the mouth. Then the leader tells them to clench their jaws and relax them slowly. After that they let their tongues completely relax. They should do these five times.

Game: Lion’s roar
Minimum number of participants: 1
Resources needed: Clear space
Instructions: Each child imagines that s/he is a mighty lion with a loud roar. But the roar is bottled up inside the lion. S/he should stand up like a proud lion; scrunch up his/her face and hands, ready to let the lion’s roar go. Then the leader tells them to take a deep breath and let the roar out. Tell them to stick out their tongues and hold their arms and hands out in front of them as they roar.

Game: The rock
Minimum number of participants: 1 (and the Leader)
Resources needed: Clear space and chairs
Instructions: Each child sits on a chair with knees bent, feet firmly on the ground and back straight. The leader tells them they are rocks embedded in the sea. They should feel the cool and refreshing sea water against them. Tell them to take a deep breath of sea air and let it go gently, imagining the sound of seagulls in the distance. Tell them to breathe in and out slowly and gently, feeling each breath with their whole body. When their bodies are completely relaxed, gently tell them to slowly open their eyes. Have them discuss how this felt.

Game: Happy place
Minimum number of participants: 1 (and the Leader)
Resources needed: Clear space, mats
Instructions: The children should lie down on mats and close their eyes. Tell them to imagine they are in a place where they feel happy and safe. Tell them to think about: what they see; what they hear. Tell them in their happy place they should feel safe, peaceful and relaxed. Tell them to put their left hand on top of their right hand and that when they do this in future, they will go back to their happy place. Then gently ask them to slowly open their eyes.

Devise your own closure activity a and post in the comments. For more closure or relaxation activity click on the link below.

Posted in Christmas drama games, Christmas plays, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, English as a second language, English teaching games, Fairy Tales, Hans Christian Andersen, Plays, Plays for Children, Role playing stories

Christmas Drama Games for Children

 

christmas tree

 

 

Free Audiobooks

If you want to redeem coupons to get free audiobooks on Audible for the following audiobooks click here.
Fairytales on Stage 2
Bible Stories on Stage
Christmas Stories on Stage
Panchatantra on Stage

 

 

Game: What’s the time Santa Claus?
Age: 3 years +
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Benefits: This activity is based on a popular traditional children’s game that can also be used very
effectively in a drama session as a warm-up game. This game also helps children with their listening
and co-ordination skills.
Instructions: One child is chosen or volunteers to be Santa Claus and stands at one side of the clear space. His/Her back is to the other children, who are standing at the opposite end of the
space. The rest of the children shout out: “What’s the time Santa Claus?” Santa Claus does not turn around. He/she replies: “four o’clock.” The children walk forward the number of steps that Santa Claus calls out (in this case, four). The children ask again: “What time is it Santa Claus?” Santa Claus replies: “five o’clock.” The children take five steps forward. The children continue to ask the question and to walk the appropriate number of steps forward. Eventually, when Santa Claus thinks that the children are near enough he/she will say: “Christmas time!” Then, Santa Claus turns around and chases the children. They must try to rush back to their starting place. If
Santa Claus catches one of them before they reach home, that child is Santa Claus in the next game.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: Elves and Reindeers
Age: 5 years+
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space.
Benefits: The children work as part of a pair but it helps them practise giving clear directions to
their partners.
Instructions: This is a fun game that children enjoy. Divide the group into pairs. Child A is the Elf and child B is the reindeer. The elf must guide the reindeer around the clear space by giving them very specific directions. The elf can say for example: “go ten steps forwards” or “put your hands in the air and turn around five times”. The elf must make sure that their reindeers do not bump into other elves and reindeers in the group. They can switch roles after a few minutes.

Christmas Drama Games for Children

Game: Mrs Claus’s Knickers
Age: 5 years +
Minimum number of participants: 3
Resources needed: Clear space.
Benefits: This helps to improve eye contact and children body language. It also stimulates the
imagination as the children must come up with unique questions.
Instructions: The children sit in a circle. One child sits in the middle of the circle and everyone
in the circle takes it in turns to ask him/her a question, for example: “What did you have for
breakfast?” The child in the middle is only allowed to answer “Mrs Claus’s Knickers’ and they must not laugh or smile. If they laugh or smile they must change places with the child who asked the question.

If you would like a free audio copy of Christmas Stories on Stage click here.

More Christmas Drama Games for Children.

 

Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, English as a second language, Esl Drama, Fairy Tales, Movement activities, Movement stories for children, Storytelling in the Early years, The Enormous Turnip

The Enormous Turnip – Drama workshop for children

Read the story of “The Enormous Turnip”

Warm up: Enormous, Enormous Turnip. All the children except the child who is It, sit in a circle. It walks around the circle, tapping each player on the head, saying “Enormous” each time until he decides to tap someone and say “Turnip” That child becomes the turnip and runs after It, trying to tag him before It can take his seat. If It successfully reaches the turnip’s seat without being tagged, the turnip is the new It. If the turnip tags It, then the turnip keeps his spot in the circle and It must either continue to be It for another turn or sit in the middle of the circle until another It is tagged.

Circle time: Ask the children to sit in the circle. Ask them if they can name the different characters in the story. Ask the following questions:
How would the different characters move? What would they sound like?
What do you think they were doing before they were called to help with the Turnip?
How do they feel about pulling the Turnip up and eating it?

Character exploration: Get the children find their own space in the room. When the teacher calls out a character the children have to become the character and move around the room.
Old Man: Hunches over and moves very slowly with a walking stick.
Wife: Busy doing housework and moves very busily and quickly.
Boy: Plays football, does headers, keepy ups and scores goals.
Girl: Skips along happily.
Dog: Moves like a dog and barks.
Cat: Moves like a cat and meows.
Mouse: Moves like a mouse and squeaks.

Movement story: https://dramastartbooks.com/2017/10/08/2712/ Get the children to participate in the above Enormous Turnip Movement Story.

Mime: All the children find a space and they curl up and imagine that they are a turnip seed. The seed are get bigger and bigger until eventually they grow into a large Turnip and are pulled from the earth.

Still image: They make a still image of the moment they find out that they are going to be turned into turninip soup.

Thought tracking: The teacher goes and taps each Turnip on the shoulder and they must say one word how they feel about being eaten for dinner.
Voice exploration: Each child says the following sentence
Please, please don’t eat me for your dinner.”
In a happy voice
Sad voice,
Surprised voice,
Shocked voice,
Tired voice,
Angry voice,
Scared voice,
Excited voice.

Group work: Divide the class in to groups of 3 or 4. The group have to use their bodies to make the one big, Enormous Turnip. They have to move as the turnip but stay connected.

Freeze Frame: Divide the class into groups of 8. Each group have to make six still images that tell the story. They can show it to the other groups.
Improvisation: For older children they can add dialogue to their freeze frames.

Closure: The children stand in a circle. Child A says “If I had a turnip, I would turn it in to an Apple.” Child B says “If I had a turnip, I would turn it in to an Apple and a banana.” Child C says “If I had a turnip, I would turn it in to an Apple, a banana and a cat” and so on until everyone gets a chance. If they make a mistake or stumble they are eliminated and sit down.. The last child standing at the end wins.

Play: https://dramastartbooks.com/2017/10/08/the-enormous-turnip-a-five-minute-playscript-for-children/

 

Posted in Drama for children, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, Hot seating

Developing a Character

Group Of Children With Teacher Enjoying Drama Class Together

To develop a unique character answer the following questions and then use the hot seating technique for character exploration.

Personal details:
Name:
Age:
Job:
Details of family:

Where were you born?
Where did you go to school?

Past:
Your biggest secret:

What was your ambition (goal) as a child?

Briefly describe one childhood story from your character’s past. This can be happy or sad.

Personality:
Describe the personality that everyone sees on a daily basis:
For example: friendly, happy, lively, outgoing …

Describe the personality that people see when they get to know you better.
For example: more relaxed, calmer, less nervous …

Make up two personality traits or habits that show something about your character.
For example: a twitch could show that they feel nervous talking about themselves …

What’s your greatest fear?

What are your likes and dislikes?

Movement
How does your character stand or sit typically?

Walk?

Are they comfortable making eye contact?

Voice
How do they talk?
For example: do they speak slowly, steady, quickly? Or do they mumble, talk loudly, shout, or talk without expression?

Hot-seat your character.

Now that you have created a character, you should know all about their hopes and dreams and have invented a past and personality for them. Try to make some answers detailed, rather than using one word answers.

• What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
• What’s your greatest dream for the future?
• Can you describe yourself in a sentence?
• What do you do with your spare time?
• Do you find it easy to make friends?
• What’s been your happiest memory so far in your life?
• Would you describe yourself as an opinionated person?
• Do you think you’re easy to get along with?
• What annoys you?
• If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be and why?
• Where do you see yourself in 20 years’ time?
• If you could give someone younger than yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
• What are you afraid of?
• How do you think you’ve changed over the years?
• Would you say you’re happy with your life as it is?
• What makes you laugh?
• Who’s the most important person in your life?

Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Goldilocks anD the three bears, Hans Christian Andersen, Role playing stories, Story sacks, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques, Therapeutic Story

Storytelling in the Early Years

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Benefits of Storytelling in the Early Years:

 Promote a feeling of well-being and relaxation
Increase children’s willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
Encourage active participation
Increase verbal proficiency
Encourage use of imagination and creativity
Encourage cooperation between students
Enhance listening skills

Identify the children’s interest
• Animals
• Superhero stories
• Stories about thing children like to do – getting dirt, playing with friends, first experiences.
Where do you find good stories?
• Made up stories
• Picture books
• Family stories.

Key elements of a successful story time
• Know and like your story
• Know and like your audience
• Make sure they match each other
• Be flexible.

The secret to making stories exciting and fun
• Vocal production
• Body Language.

Vocal Production
The following three core elements of vocal production need to be understood for anyone wishing to be an effective speaker:
• Volume – to be heard.
• Clarity – to be understood.
• Variety – to add interest.

Volume
This is not a question of treating the voice like the volume control on the TV remote. Some people have naturally soft voices and physically cannot bellow. Additionally, if the voice is raised too much, tonal quality is lost. Instead of raising the voice it should be ‘projected out’. Support the voice with lots of breath – the further you want to project the voice out, the more breath you need.
When talking to a group or meeting, it is important to never aim your talk to the front row or just to the people nearest you, but to consciously project what you have to say to those furthest away. By developing a strong voice, as opposed to a loud voice, you will be seen as someone positive.

Clarity
Some people tend to speak through clenched teeth and with little movement of their lips. It is this inability to open mouths and failure to make speech sounds with precision that is the root cause of inaudibility. The sound is locked into the mouth and not let out. To have good articulation it is important to unclench the jaw, open the mouth and give full benefit to each sound you make, paying particular attention to the ends of words. This will also help your audience as a certain amount of lip-reading will be possible.

Variety
To make speech effective and interesting, certain techniques can be applied. However, it is important not to sound false or as if you are giving a performance. Whilst words convey meaning, how they are said reflects feelings and emotions. Vocal variety can be achieved by variations in:
Pace: This is the speed at which you talk. If speech is too fast then the listeners will not have time to assimilate what is being said. Nevertheless, it is a good idea to vary the pace – quickening up at times and then slowing down – this will help to maintain interest.
Volume: By raising or lowering volume occasionally, you can create emphasis. If you drop your voice to almost a whisper (as long as it is projected) for a sentence or two, it will make your audience suddenly alert, be careful not to overuse this technique.
Pitch – Inflection – Emphasis: When speaking in public, try to convey the information with as much vocal energy and enthusiasm as possible. This does not mean your voice has to swoop and dive all over the place in an uncontrolled manner. Try to make the talk interesting and remember that when you are nervous or even excited, vocal chords tense and shorten causing the voice to get higher. Emphasise certain words and phrases within the talk to convey their importance and help to add variety.
Pause: Pauses are powerful. They can be used for effect to highlight the preceding statement or to gain attention before an important message. Pauses mean silence for a few seconds. Listeners interpret meaning during pauses so have the courage to stay silent for up to five seconds – dramatic pauses like this convey authority and confidence.

BodyLanguage
Remember that you can convey so many feelings, attitudes and actions with your body. Apart from expressing emotion, you can use your body to act out character’s descriptions or episodes within the story.Bring your whole body into the story and you are onto a winning storytelling technique.For example, how would you act out a cowboy galloping along on his horse? This would probably involve your legs, your arms and moving your whole body in imitation of the rider.Bring your pirate to life by closing one eye to illustrate his patched eye, clench your fist and stick out a hooked finger for his ‘hook’ hand, and limp along for his peg leg. How would you act out a Ninja? You might do karate chops and raise your leg into the air as well as jerky head movements.

Ways to practice your storytelling technique
Record on your phone
• A mirror will let you observe your face and body
• Going over it in your head while driving, walking or on a bus. This will bring out the imaginative sparks.
• Relax and taking it too seriously will lead to a lack of enthusiasm and fun.

Participation stories
Children love to move, to see things develop in front of them and they love to talk, laugh and make themselves part of the story.
• Refairns -Breathing – take a deep breath just before you want to join them. “And the the giant said …..”
• Hand gestures
• Conduct the children with a sweeping motion
• Children will begin repeating when repetition become obvious, if you let them know what you want.
Actions
How to make sure the children are focused during story time
Play a game of Magic Glue. Get everybody to stand up. Tell them to pick up their right leg with your hands. Now stick it to the floor with the magic glue. Push it down really hard in to the ground. Ask them “Is it stuck? Everybody stuck? Good, Now your left leg. Can you move your feet off the floor? You can show all sort of movements as you show them your feet is stuck to the floor. Have fun with it. Say things like “let’s run with our feet stuck to the floor, let jump with our feet stuck to floor, let’s skip with our feet stuck to the floor.
Sounds
• Insert sounds for words such as bell – ringing sound, giant – stomping sound.
Individual parts
If you are going to do this choose a very repetitive story such as Goldilocks and the three bears.

Game: Pop-up Story Book
Age: 3 years+
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space, a story book.
Other Benefits: This is an excellent listening game that can be played with any number of children. It helps them to engage in the storytelling process.
Instructions: The teacher chooses a story to read that the children are familiar with. Each child is given a word. For example if the teacher was reading ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, child A is given the word Goldilocks, child B, baby, child C, porridge, child D, bed and so on. When each child has been given a word the game can begin. All the children lie on the floor. When the child hears his/her word s/he must jump up. If they miss their turn they are out and can’t pop-up anymore.

Movement Story

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Read the following movement story to the children. When they hear any of words underlined they must do the corresponding action. The teacher should go through each action at the beginning.
Boast/boastful/boasting – stand up straight and puff out chest
Woods – children make themselves into trees.
Animals – each child choose a different animal found in the woods and move like that animal.
Hare – make bunny ears with your hands.
Fast – children move as fast as they can
Run/ran – run on the spot
Tortoise – children bend over as if they have something heavy on their back.
Slow/slowly – children move in slow motion around the room.
Once upon a time there was a very boastful hare who lived in a woods with lots of other animals. He was always boasting about how fast he could run. He boasted “I’m the fastest animal in the woods. No one can run as fast as me.” The other animals were tired of listening to him. One day the tortoise said to the hareHare, you are so boastful. I challenge you to race.” Hare laughed and said “Tortoise, you will never beat me. You are too slow and steady.” They decided whoever got to the other side of the woods the fastest was the winner. All the other animals in the woods came to watch the race. The hare ran as fast as he could through the woods. After a while he thought to himself “I’m so fast that slow tortoise will never beat me. I think I will take a quick nap.” Soon, he fell asleep. The tortoise walked slowly through the woods. He passed the sleeping hare. The animals watched the tortoise near the finishing line. The animals cheered loudly. The hare woke up and ran as fast as he could through the woods to the finishing line but it was too late. The slow tortoise had won the race. All the animals in the wood congratulated the tortoise. The hare had to remind himself that he shouldn’t boast about his fast pace because slow and steady won the race.

More Movement Stories and Activities can be found in Movememt Start. Click below.

Other Storytelling Techniques

IMG_0284Story Stones

This is an excellent storytelling technique. Collect stones and put little pictures on them. Each child chooses a stone and the group can make a collective story.

The pictures on the stones influence the direction of the story. Once the children get use to idea of telling stories, you can get them to share their own stories. The story stones can be used to explore tell individual stories.

 

Story Path

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This story telling technique is known as a story path. It is fun and inexpensive. The children take it in turns to travel along a path which is a long sheet of paper with a hand drawn path and various images in order to tell a story. The story can be focused or they can make up the story as they go, The children can help create the path. The teacher can discuss the important elements of the story and deciding on appropriate images or cues can be a group decision.

Storytelling Jar

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To keep storytelling fun and exciting you can use a storytelling Jar. Fill the jar with coloured notes and on each not put a word or a picture. Everyone selects a note and the story can be decisive from the note. This can be a collective story or children can individually tell a story.

Story Cubes

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Just like the story stones and storytelling prompts jar, the DIY stone cubes can be used to provide some inspiration on how to start your story. Follow the instructions over at the “grey luster girl” website to create your own story cubes. Once done, you can toss the cubes around and see what object they land on. Whatever you land on, that’s the object you can include in your storytelling! You can also use multiple story cubes to structure your story. For example your story cubes can be used decide on the hero in your story, the setting, the villain and any other extra props to include.
http://greylustergirl.com/diy-story-cubes-travel-game/
You can also buy story cubes at https://www.storycubes.com

Story Sacks

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What is a Story Sack?
A story sack is a teaching and learning resource. Typically it is a large cloth bag containing a favourite children’s books along with supporting materials to help make sharing the book more engaging and interesting.

Why make a Story Sack?
Story sacks are fun way for educators and children to share stories together, They were developed by Neil Griffiths as a popular, no threatening way to encourage educators and parents to start to share stories with children in a way that is positive, expressive, interactive and fun.

Who uses Story Sacks?
Originally, it was mainly schools and preschools that used story sacks however they are increasingly used by other groups such as childminders, libraries health visitors, speech therapists, play specialists, social workers, children’s hospitals, family centres and adult learned.

How do you make a Story Sack?
Start with a cloth bag or you can use a pillow case, a basket or a box, you just need something to contain your resources, Then you need to choose your story. You need to fill the sack with items. Here are some if things that are often included:
• Soft toys/ puppets of the main characters
• Costumes/props/scenery/photos to support the story
• An audio recording/video of the story
• A language based game
• A non related non fiction book
• Craft and activity ideas
Things to remember when choosing Story Sack items
Read and re-read your story. Ask yourself what are the main themes, who are the main characters, settings, colours, numbers, letters, sounds, communication/ listening skills. Can you incorporate first experience, new vocabulary and other topic based activities? What other activities can you link to the book that you have chosen.

Here are some ideas for story sacks based on famous stories
The hungry caterpillar by Eric Carle
• Soft toy caterpillar/butterfly
• Lifecycle of a butterfly
• Days of the weeks/number sequencing cards
• Play food props
• Non fiction books about butterflies/caterpillars
• Activity ideas – fruit printing, painting butterflies.

Little red riding hood
• A little red riding hood doll
• Puppets for wolf/grandma/woodcutter
• A basket full of flowers
• A red cloak
• Pictures of forest
• Non fiction book about the forest/wolves
• Activity ideas – recipe for making cakes for grandma.

Include some learning targets and a short guide of questions to ask/discussion points to consider and other ideas to extend the activity. Finally, it is worth laminating the activity idea cards to protect them and including a list of what is in the bag so nothing gets lost.
For more information and ideas on Story Sacks
http://www.literacytrust.org.uk/assets/0000/3210/Story_sack_guide.pdf
http://www.twinkl.co.uk/resources/story-sack-resource-pac

Posted in Drama for children, Drama strategies, English as a second language, Esl, Esl Drama, fables, Freeze Frame, Hot seating, Movement activities, Movement stories for children, Still image, teacher in role, The Hare and the Tortoise

The hare and the tortoise, a fun drama workshop for children.

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Read the following movement story to the children. When they hear any of words in bold they must do the corresponding action. The teacher should go through each action at the beginning.

Boast/boastful/boasting – stand up straight and puff out chest
Woods – children make themselves into trees.
Animals – each child choose a different animal found in the woods and move like that animal.
Hare – make bunny ears with your hands.
Fast – children move as fast as they can
Run/ran – run on the spot
Tortoise – children bend over as if they have something heavy on their back.
Slow/slowly – children move in slow motion around the room.

Once upon a time there was a very boastful hare who lived in a woods with lots of other animals. He was always boasting about how fast he could run. He boasted “I’m the fastest animal in the woods. No one can run as fast as me.” The other animals were tired of listening to him. One day the tortoise said to the hareHare, you are so boastful. I challenge you to race.” Hare laughed and said “Tortoise, you will never beat me. You are too slow and steady.” They decided whoever got to the other side of the woods the fastest was the winner. All the other animals in the woods came to watch the race. The hare ran as fast as he could through the woods. After a while he thought to himself “I’m so fast that slow tortoise will never beat me. I think I will take a quick nap.” Soon, he fell asleep. The tortoise walked slowly through the woods. He passed the sleeping hare. The animals watched the tortoise near the finishing line. The animals cheered loudly. The hare woke up and ran as fast as he could through the woods to the finishing line but it was too late. The slow tortoise had won the race. All the animals in the wood congratulated the tortoise. The hare had to remind himself that he shouldn’t boast about his fast pace because slow and steady won the race.

Physical warm up: Get each child to find a clear space. They must make sure that they are not touching anyone else. The children crouch down on the floor and make a ball shape with their bodies. The
teacher explains that all children are magic rocks and that the teacher is a magic wizard. The teacher waves the magic wand and says: “Magic rocks turn into hares.” All the children turn into hares and move around the room as hares. The teacher then says: “Magic rocks turn into magic rocks.” The children return to their clear spaces and crouch down on the floor again as quickly as possible. The magic wizard can change the magic rocks into animal they can be found in the jungle.
Variation: The children can take it turns to be the magic wizard.

Role on the wall: Divide the class into groups of four. Give each group either an outline of the hare or the tortoise and ask the children to write inside the image the different characteristics or personality traits of the hare or the tortoise. If they are too young to write, get them to draw inside the image. Each group talks about their image and what they put inside.

Still Image: Ask each child to make a still image of the Hare at the beginning of the race. The teacher taps each child on the shoulder and they must say how they feel. Then get them to make a still image of the hare at the end of the race. The teacher taps each child on the shoulder and they must say how they feel. Can they tell the difference?

Freeze Frame: Divide the class into pairs. They have to make six images that tell the story of the hare and the tortoise. They then show their freeze frame to the rest of the class.

Teacher in Role: The teacher takes on the role of the tortoise. She tells the children she feels sorry for the hare because he thought he was the fastest in the forest and now he is upset. Ask the children what do they suggest they could do to make him feel better.

Hot seating: One of the children volunteers to be the hare. The hare sits in the hot seat and the rest of the children asks him questions.

Closure: The children sit in a circle. Each child finishes the following sentences “if I could be an animal I would be a………

Turn on some music and everyone dances as their animal.

 

Posted in Aesop's fabes, creative arts, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, Esl, Esl Drama, expressive arts, fables, Fairy Tales, Freeze Frame, Hot seating, Mime, Panchatantra plays, Role playing stories, Still image, Storytelling, teacher in role, Voice Production

Drama Lesson based on “The Lion and The Clever Rabbit”

The following is a Drama workshop to do with children in primary or elementary school. It is a useful workshop if you want to focus on the issue of Bully and isolation. It is based on the fable from the Panchatantra called “The Lion and the Clever Rabbit”. Here is a link to a version on you tube.

Once the teacher has told the story or watched the video ask the children to get into groups of four.

Physical warm up: In each group there is a monkey, an elephant, a snake and a rabbit. Get the children to move around the room and sound like their different animals. Get them to find the animal that is like them from the other groups and interact and play with them. The teacher gives a loud roar and the animals are frightened.

Teacher in role: The teacher in role as the Lion roars at them. She says “I’m very hungry and I’m going to eat all the animals in the jungle one by one.”

Still Image: In their animal groups the children make a still image of how they feel when they think the Lion is coming to get catch them and eat them.

Thought tracking: Once all groups are in the still image then the teacher out of role goes and touches them on the shoulder. Each animal has to say how they feel at that moment.

Conscience alley: Once the children are out of their still image they make two lines facing each other. The teacher in role as the the Lion walks in between the line as the children speak out as his conscience. The children in the line on the left hand should speak out that it is wrong to scare and eat the other animals and the children on the right hand side should speak out saying that he is right to scare and the eat the animals.
Examples: The left side could say “the animals are scared”, “what about their families?”,
“they want to stay in the jungle and play with their friends”.
The right side could say: “none of the other animals like you”, “you are hungry and you need to eat”, “you have no friends so you don’t care what they think of you”.

Hot seating: The teacher in role as the Lion sits in the hot seat. The children who are being themselves ask the Lion why he is behaving this way. Why does he want to eat all the animals in the jungle? Why is he horrible and mean to the other animals?

Group discussion: Get the children to get into role as their original animals. Tell them that they are going to change the ending of the story because the way the Clever Rabbit treated the Lion was as bad as how the Lion treated the other animals. They must come up with a more positive ending.

Group improvisation: The groups all improvise their endings in front of the other groups. The teacher takes on the role as the Lion in each group.

Role on the wall: Put two outlines of a Lion on the wall. Let the children choose words that describes the Lion before he got stuck in the well and one for after he was rescued from the well.

Closure|relaxation activity: Sleeping Lions – get the children to lie still on the floor and pretend to be a sleep. If they move then they are out and have to wake up with aloud roar.