Posted in Drama for children, Hans Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde, Oscar Wilde's Stories, Plays, Plays for Children, Role playing stories, Storytelling in the Early years, The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid

The Little Mermaid – A Children’s Play.

 

 

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Characters: Three storytellers, Little Mermaid, 5 mermaids, King, Granny, Sea Witch, Prince, Prince’s fiancée, 4 people.


Storyteller 1: Once upon a time, deep down in the ocean…
Storyteller 2: …there lived a king who was a widower. He lived with his old mother and six beautiful daughters.
Storyteller 1: The six princesses were mermaids. The littlest mermaid was the prettiest of them all.
Mermaid 1: Come everyone, let’s play.
(The six mermaids are all on stage. Two of them are playing with a ball, one is skipping, one is reading a book and two of them are playing a game of tag.)
Mermaid 2: I have an idea. Let’s swim up to the surface of the water so we can see the outside world.
Mermaid 3: That would be so exciting and fun.
Mermaid 4: We are not allowed.
Mermaid 5: We must be in our fifteenth year before we can venture up to the surface.
Little Mermaid: I know, we can ask Granny to tell us stories from the outside world.
(Granny enters.)
Little Mermaid: Granny, please tell us about the outside world. What’s it like?
Granny: It is amazing. There is air to breathe and big ships that glide on the ocean full of humans.
Little Mermaid: What’s a human?
Granny: They are like us, but they have two legs instead of tail.
Mermaid 2: They walk instead of swim. Isn’t that right, Granny?
Granny: Yes, my dear.
Mermaid 3: Do they live for 300 years like mermaids?
Granny: Oh no, dear. They might live for 70 years if they are lucky.
Mermaid 4: What happens to them when they die?
Mermaid 5: Do they turn into foam on the waves like us?
Granny: No, when they die, their body dies but their soul lives on forever.
Little Mermaid: Oh, I wish I was fifteen so I could swim to the surface and see the wonderful outside world.
Storyteller 1: One by one, the mermaids turned fifteen.
Storyteller 2: One by one, they swam to the surface and saw the wonderful world.
Storyteller 3: And one by one, they came back and told their sisters about their adventures.
(Each mermaid takes it in turn to swim to the surface and return and mime telling their sisters about their adventures. This could be a movement sequence or a dance. Music can be played in the background. Everyone leaves the stage except the Little Mermaid.)
Little Mermaid: My sisters are so lucky they have all gone to the surface except me. I can’t wait to be fifteen.
Storyteller 1: Eventually, the Little Mermaid turned fifteen. (King, Granny, and her five sisters enter the stage carrying a birthday cake and some presents.)
Everyone: Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday, Little Mermaid.
Happy Birthday to you.
Little Mermaid: Thank you, everyone, and thank you for all the presents.
King: The best present is yet to come. I give you permission to swim to the surface of the ocean.
Little Mermaid: I’m so excited.
King: Off you go, but remember to be back before dark.
Storyteller 1: The little mermaid swam to the surface.
Storyteller 2: She burst through the surface and gasped for air.
Storyteller 3: She couldn’t believe her eyes.
Little Mermaid: Oh my goodness, the world is more beautiful than I imagined.
(A ship floats by with people laughing and dancing inside it. They are eating and drinking.)
Little Mermaid: This must be a boat. My sisters told me about them. (She swims over and peers in the window.)
Person 1: (Raises his glass.) Happy birthday to the prince.
Person 2: Have some more birthday cake. (He cuts some cake and gives it to the prince.)
Little Mermaid: That must be the prince. He is so handsome. He has the same birthday as me.
Storyteller 1: The mermaid watched the party continue into the night.
Little Mermaid: It is dark. I should leave, but I don’t want to leave the handsome prince.
(Thunder and lightning noise.)
Little Mermaid: What’s that noise?
Prince: (Looks up into the sky.) There looks like a storm brewing.
Storyteller 2: The wind started to blow really strong, the rain came down in buckets, there was a loud clap of thunder and the lightning lit up the sky.
(The partygoers look scared and they move side to side.)
Storyteller 3: A huge wave tipped the boat over on its side. Everyone was thrown into the sea.
Everyone: Help, help.
Person 3: Where is the prince?
Person 4: He was next to me.
Person 1: Look, he is going under the water.
Person 2: Someone must help him.
(They struggle to save him but they can’t reach him.)
Little Mermaid: I must save the handsome prince.
(She dives down into the ocean and brings him to the surface. She uses all her strength to hold his head up.)
Little Mermaid: He is still alive. I must get him to the beach.
Storyteller 1: She arrived on the beach with the prince. He was still sleeping.
Storyteller 2: Some people saw him on the beach and ran to his rescue. The Little Mermaid swam off before she was seen.
Little Mermaid: He is safe now. I can go home.
(She swims underneath the water.)
King: Where have you been? I was so worried. (He hugs her tightly.)
Little Mermaid: I got stuck in the storm. I’m home now.
(King leaves the stage and the Little Mermaid looks sad and forlorn.)
Storyteller 3: The Little Mermaid felt very sad. She longed to see the handsome prince again.
(Enter her five sisters.)
Mermaid 1: What’s the matter, Little Mermaid?
Mermaid 2: You look so sad.
Mermaid 3: We thought you would be happy now that you are allowed to swim to the surface of the ocean.
Mermaid 4: You should be happy and excited.
Little Mermaid: Swimming to the surface of the ocean was all I ever wanted, but…
All Mermaids: But what?
Little Mermaid: When I went to the surface, I met the most handsome prince, but I will never be able to see him again. That’s why I’m sad.
Mermaid 5: Well, I have an idea. You could visit the Sea Witch and ask her for her help.
Mermaid 1: That’s not a good idea at all.
Mermaid 2: The Sea Witch is evil.
Mermaid 3: She won’t do you a good turn for nothing.
Little Mermaid: What choice do I have? I’m desperate to see the prince again.
Storyteller 1: Little Mermaid swam towards the Sea Witch’s house. The journey was long and treacherous. She had to fight her way passed sharks and avoid whirlpools and some very dangerous mermaid-eating plants.
Storyteller 2: Eventually, she arrived at the Sea Witch’s castle
Sea Witch: Hello, Little Mermaid. I was expecting you.
Little Mermaid: (Bows, looks scared.) You were?
Sea Witch: Yes, I see everything in my cauldron. I will change your fish tail into legs so you can walk on land, but every step you take will be extremely painful. It will be like walking on sharp swords.
Little Mermaid: I’ll do anything to be with the prince again.
Sea Witch: This comes at a price. I want you to give me your voice.
Little Mermaid: I’ll give you anything.
Sea Witch: If the prince marries you, you will become a proper human. If he marries someone else, you will die and become the foam of the waves. Either way, you will never return to the ocean and your family again.
Little Mermaid: I’ll do it. Here, take my voice.
Storyteller 3: The Sea Witch took the voice and in return gave her a bottle with a potion in it.
The Little Mermaid swam towards the surface. She swam towards the beach. When she arrived, she drank the magic potion. It didn’t taste good and she fainted.
Storyteller 1: The next day, the Little Mermaid was lying on the beach. She opened her eyes and the prince was bending over her smiling.
Prince: Who are you? Where did you come from?
Little Mermaid: Shakes her head and points to her mouth.
Prince: You have no voice? Here, let me help you?
Storyteller 2: The prince helped the Little Mermaid to walk, but every step was more painful than the last.
Prince: Come back to my palace. I’ll take care of you. You are the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.
Storyteller 3: As the days passed, the prince and the Little Mermaid became closer and closer. The Little Mermaid longed to tell him that she loved him.
Storyteller 1: One day, the Little Mermaid heard some bells ringing.
(The prince comes in.)
Prince: I’m getting married today. My father arranged for me to marry a princess from a nearby kingdom.
(Enter the Prince’s fiancée.)
Prince’s fiancée: You must be the beautiful girl that the prince found on the beach. Please come to our wedding. We are getting married on the big boat out there.
Little Mermaid: (Nods her head.)
Storyteller 2: Everyone celebrated the wedding on the big boat. As the first ray of dawn lit, the Little Mermaid threw herself into the sea and her body dissolved into foam.

 

For more children’s plays based on Hans Christian Andersen’s stories click on the link below.

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Posted in creative arts, Drama, Drama for children, Esl Drama, Legends, Plays, Plays for Children, Role playing stories, Saint Patrick’s day, St Patrick

St Patrick – A play for children based on an Irish Legend

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Characters: Three narrators, three slave traders, Patrick, Patrick’s mother, Patrick’s father, Rich Merchant, three sheep, God, Ship’s captain, three druids, High King, snakes (as many as you want.)
Narrator 1: Once upon a time in the north of France there lived a young boy called Patrick
Narrator 2: Patrick was young and carefree. He lived in a village with his family and friends.
Narrator 3: One night while the whole village was fast asleep, the village was raided by evil slave traders.
(Patrick and his parents are asleep. Slave traders enter the stage very quietly. They have their swords drawn.)
Slave Trader 1: Take any valuables you can lay your hands on.
Slave Trader 2: The only thing of value in this village is this young boy.
Slave Trader 3: Yes, he is young and hearty, he will make an excellent slave.
Slave Trader 1: Seize him.
Slave Trader 2: And leave the rest, they are of no use.
(Slave Traders 1 and 2 tie up Patrick’s parents.)
Patrick’s Mother: Please don’t take our son. He is our only child.
Slave Trader 3: Silence woman.
Patrick’s Father: Where are you taking him?
Slave Trader 1: We are going to sail to Ireland.
Patrick’s Father: What are you going to do with him Ireland?
Slave Trader 2: We will sell him at the market.
Slave Trader 3: People will pay good money for a strong and fit slave.
Slave Trader 1: And there is nothing you can do about it.
Narrator 1: That very night, the slave traders and the boy set sail for Ireland.
Narrator 2: Patrick was very frightened because he had only ever known a comfortable and safe life with his family in the north of France.
Patrick: I’m so scared I’ve never been anywhere by myself before.
Narrator 3: Eventually, they arrived in Ireland and the slave traders sold him to a rich merchant.
Rich Merchant: He looks very hearty and strong. I will be able to work him hard. How much do you want for this boy?
Slave Traders: Five pieces of silver.
Rich Merchant: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Boy, come with me.
Patrick: Where are we going?
Rich Merchant: You are going to work as a shepherd. You must take care of my sheep on the mountain. You can live in this stone hut. Now get to work.
Patrick: I know nothing about sheep.
Rich Merchant: I paid good money for you, so you must keep the flock safe. Make sure none of them run off or get injured.
Narrator 1: Patrick worked very hard on the mountain. Soon he became good friends with the sheep as they were his only company. (Patrick sits on a rock and looks very sad.)
Sheep 1: Baa, baa what’s the matter Patrick?
Sheep 2: You always look sad.
Patrick: I miss my family and friends very much. I want to go home.
Sheep 3: I’ve an idea that could help.
Patrick: What is it? I’ll try anything that will help me return to my family.
Sheep 3: Why don’t you ask God to help you escape and return you safely to your family.
Patrick: That’s an excellent plan. (He kneels.) God, please help me escape so I can return to my family in the north of France. (He waits for a response but there is none.) Nothing, I guess I’m stuck here.
Sheep: Be patience. God works in mysterious ways,
Narrator 2: In the seventh winter, Patrick was fast asleep in his hut one night when God came to him.
God: It’s time to leave the mountain and return to your family, friends and village. There is a ship in Wexford waiting for you.
Patrick: (wakes up) God, that’s a very dangerous plan. If I get caught I’ll surely die.
God: Well, just make sure you don’t get caught.
Sheep 1: You must go.
Sheep 2: God has spoken.
Sheep 3: We will miss you.
Patrick: I’ll miss you too, but I need to return home.
Sheep: Go quickly, bye and safe journey.
(They all hug.)
Patrick: Bye and take care.
Narrator 1: Patrick trekked through the mountains. It began to snow. He was cold and hungry.
(Music maybe played as Patrick mime going through the treacherous terrains.)
Narrator 2: He arrived in Wexford just as a big ship was to set sail.
Ship’s captain: All aboard.
Patrick: Where are you going, Captain?
Ship’s Captain: The north of France. Hop on if you want a ride.
Narrator 3: After many days, Patrick arrived home. (His parents are busying working in the fields. They notice someone walking towards. They look carefully realise it is their long, lost son.)
Patrick’s Mother: You are home. I’m so happy to see you.
Patrick’s Father: I prayed to God every day for seven years for your safe return.
(They all hug each other.)
Patrick: I’ll never leave you again.
Narrator 1: A few years later. Patrick is sleeping.
God: Patrick I need you to return to Ireland and tell the people all about me and Christianity.
Narrator 2: Before he returned to Ireland he became a monk.
Narrator 3: And then a bishop. And in 432 he returned to Ireland to tell the people about God and Christianity. (He puts on a bishop’s hat.)
Narrator 1: Patrick arrived carrying the Christian cross. The pagan druids of Ireland were not impressed.
Druid 1: What do you want with your funny ideas and your big cross.
Patrick: I’ve come to tell you stop worshiping your pagan gods. There is only one god and he is three people. The father, son and holy Ghost.
Druid 2: We should get rid of him.
Druid 1: He doesn’t agree with our pagan rituals.
Druid 2: Three people in one God. That makes no sense.
Druid 3: He is a ridiculous person.
Druid 1: How are you going to explain your God to our people.
(Patrick looks around and picks up a shamrock)
Patrick: I’ll explain it. One shamrock, Three leaves. One God, three people.
Druid 2: We have many gods and they aren’t stuck in one person.
High King: Stop this nonsense at once. Patrick, you are free to believe in whatever God you wish. Travel the land and spread the word. However, I think it will be a hard sell.
Narrator 1: Patrick travelled the country and when he reached Mayo he decided ….
Patrick: I will spend 40 days and 40 nights alone on this mountain, praying to God.
Narrator 2: While he was on the mountain top he realised there were lots of snakes. They started to surround him.
Snakes: Hisssssssssssssssssssssss
Patrick: These snakes are annoying and dangerous.
God: Banish all the serpents to the sea,
Druids and High King: Did you see that?
Patrick: All the snakes are gone.
Druid 1: I’m converted to this one god with three divine people.
Druid 2: Me too.
Druid 3: Me too.
High King: You shouldn’t have judged so quickly.
Narrator 2: Word spread and all of Ireland became Christian.
Patrick: Mission accomplished at last.
Narrator 1: Since that day there has never been a snake seen in Ireland.
Narrator 2: Patrick stayed in Ireland and he dies on the 17th March 461.
Narrator 3: Since then the 17th March has been St Patrick’s day.

For more Irish Legends on Stage, click on the link below.

 

Posted in Action Poems, Drama for children, drama for kids, English teaching games, Esl Drama, Goldilocks anD the three bears, Movement activities, Movement stories for children, Plays, Plays for Children, Role playing stories, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques

Goldilocks and the Three Bears Movement Story for children.

 

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All the children sit in a circle. When the children hear the following words in the story they must jump up and do the following actions. The words are in bold to assist the teacher.

Goldilocks: Skip around the space.
Bear/Bears: Walk slowly and growl.
Bowl/Bowls: Clasp fingers together and stick out arms to make a round shape.
Porridge: Wiggle body up and down.
Chair/s: Squat down and stick out arms.
Bed/s: Lies straight on the floor.
First: Holds up one finger.
Second: Holds up two fingers.
Third: Holds up three fingers.

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Goldilocks. One day she decided to go for a walk in the woods. Soon she became tired. She saw a little cottage in the woods. came upon a house. She knocked, there was no answer so she decided to go inside and rest.

At the table in the kitchen, there were three bowls of porridge. Goldilocks was hungry. She tasted the porridge from the first bowl.
“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.
So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.
“This porridge is too cold,” she said
So, she tasted the third bowl of porridge.
“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.
After she’d eaten the three bears’ breakfasts she decided she was feeling a little tired. So, she walked into the living room where she saw three chairs. Goldilocks sat in the first chair to rest her feet.
“This chair is too big!” she exclaimed.
So she sat in the second chair.
“This chair is too big, too!” she whined.
So she tried the third and smallest chair.
“Ahhh, this chair is just right,” she sighed. But just as she settled down into the chair to rest, it broke into pieces!
Goldilocks was very tired by this time, so she went upstairs to the bedroom. She lay down in the first bed, but it was too hard. Then she lay in the second bed, but it was too soft. Then she lay down in the third bed and it was just right. Goldilocks fell asleep.

As she was sleeping, the three bears came home.
“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” growled the Papa bear.
“Someone’s been eating my porridge,” said the Mama bear.
“Someone’s been eating my porridge and they ate it all up!” cried the Baby bear.
“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” growled the Papa bear.
“Someone’s been sitting in my chair,” said the Mama bear.
“Someone’s been sitting in my chair and they’ve broken it all to pieces,” cried the Baby bear.

They decided to look around some more and when they got upstairs to the bedroom, Papa bear growled, “Someone’s been sleeping in my bed,”
“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed, too” said the Mama bear
“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed and she’s still there!” exclaimed Baby bear.

Just then, Goldilocks woke up and saw the three bears. She screamed, “Help!” And she jumped up and ran out of the room. Goldilocks ran down the stairs, opened the door, and ran away into the woods. And Goldilocks never returned to the home of the three bears.

For more animal move,ent storoes/plays, 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

 

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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 Clausin the next game.

 

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.

 

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 ask the question.

Posted in Drama for children, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, Plays, Plays for Children, Role playing stories, Story sacks, Storytelling, The Enormous Turnip

The Enormous Turnip – A five minute playscript for children

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Characters: Three storytellers, old man, old woman, boy, girl, dog, cat and mouse.

(Stage Directions: storytellers on stage left and the old man in the centre. All the other characters are in a line off-stage or they can be on stage, with each character miming doing their own thing.)
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time there lived a little old man.
Storyteller 2: One day he planted a turnip seed in his garden. (Old man plants his seed.)
Old Man: This turnip is going to be very big and very sweet. (Looks at the audience.)
Storyteller 3: The turnip grew and grew.
Old Man: I think it is time to dig up the turnip. (Old man mimes trying to pull it up.)
Storyteller 1: He pulled and pulled but he couldn’t pull up the turnip.
Old Man: I know, I will ask my wife to help me. Wife! Wife! Please help me to pull up the turnip. (Wife holds on to him at the waist and they try pulling up the turnip.)
Storyteller 2: His wife came and helped him.
Storyteller 3: They pulled and pulled but they couldn’t pull up the turnip.
Wife: I know, I will ask the boy to help us. Boy! Boy! Please help us to pull up the turnip. (She calls for the boy and the boy comes to help them.)
Storyteller 1: The boy came and helped them. (The boy holds on to her at the waist.)
Storyteller 2: They pulled and pulled but they couldn’t pull up the turnip.
Boy: I know I will ask the girl to help us. Girl! Girl! Please help us to pull up the turnip. (He calls for the girl and the girl comes to help them.)
Storyteller 3: The girl came and helped them. (The girl holds on to him at the waist.)
Storyteller 1: They pulled and pulled but they couldn’t pull up the turnip.
Girl: I know, I will ask the dog to help us. Dog! Dog! Please help us to pull up the turnip. (She calls for the dog and the dog comes to help her.)
Storyteller 2: The dog came and helped them. (The dog holds on to her at the waist.)
Storyteller 3: They pulled and pulled but they couldn’t pull up the turnip.
Dog: I know, I will ask the cat to help us. Cat! Cat! Please help us to pull up the turnip. (He calls for the cat and the cat comes to help them.)
Storyteller 1: The cat came and helped them. (The cat holds on to him at the waist.)
Storyteller 2: They pulled and pulled but they couldn’t pull up the turnip.
Cat: I know, I will ask the mouse to help us. Mouse! Mouse! Please help us to pull up the turnip. (She calls for the mouse and the mouse comes to help them.)
Storyteller 3: The mouse came and helped them. (The mouse holds onto her at the waist.)
Storyteller 1: They pulled and pulled and then suddenly they and then suddenly they pulled up the turnip. (They all fall over.)
Storyteller 2: Everyone was very happy and they all thanked the mouse. (Everyone shakes hands with the mouse.)
Storyteller 3: Everyone had turnip soup for dinner. (The wife mimes giving each one of them a bowl of soup and they mime drinking it.)

 

Posted in Drama for children, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, Plays for Children, Role playing stories, Storytelling, Voice Production

Some Improvisation Activities for ESL Students.

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Improvisation is an effective way for ESL students to develop language skills that they can use outside of the classroom. Improvisation develops skills such as confidence and empathy. The following activities give students an outlet to express a range of emotions. A variety of tenses, vocabulary, question forms, idioms and proverbs are the focus of this section.

Game: Forwards/Backwards
Level: Elementary+
Other benefits: The main language is to practice target language and the present tense.
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space and copies of simple dialogues; see below for examples. Any of the dialogues from the teaching language books can be used.
Instructions: Divide the group into pairs and give each pair a copy of a simple dialogue. Give each pair time to practice their dialogues. When they have memorised the dialogues, get them to perform them in front of the class. Get the group to repeat it in slow motion, fast forwards, hopping on one leg, replacing the words with numbers or the alphabet, backwards, or jumping up and down.

Dialogue 1: Introductions
Adam: Good morning. What’s your name? Where are you from?
Anna: My name is Anna. I’m from America.
Adam: My name is Adam and I’m from Alaska.
Anna: Pleased to meet you. (They shake hands.)
Anna: Goodbye. (Waves and walks off.)
Adam: See you soon.

Dialogue 2: Giving directions
Betty: Hello, you look lost. Can I help you?
Brian: Yes, please. I’m looking for the football stadium. Do you know where it is?
Betty: Of course. Go straight (points straight), turn left and it is next to the big shopping centre.
Brian: Thank you very much.
Betty: You are welcome.
Brain: Goodbye. (They wave goodbye.)

Dialogue 3: Greetings
Carl: Hello, how are you?
Cathy: Not so good.
Carl: What’s the matter?
Cathy: I’ve a headache.
Carl: I hope you feel better soon.
Cathy: Thank you.

Extension: If the students are comfortable, get them to continue the dialogue until it comes to a natural conclusion. This is a good introduction to improvised work.

Game: TV Channels
Level: Elementary+
Other benefits: The focus is to listen and be observant as well as to react quickly.
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Instructions: A volunteer sits in the centre of the circle. The rest of the students are the TV channels. The student in the centre of the circle is watching the television. He/she is channel surfing. When they point to someone in the circle, they have turned on the channel. The person must speak; they can be a news channel, weather, sports, documentary comedy, drama, or a soap opera.
The channel surfer stays on the channel for about 30 seconds and then moves on. They can always come back to the same channel. Everyone should have a chance at being a TV station.

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