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Posts Tagged ‘drama’

We started our first meeting of the year with Key to the Arts Drama.  It was a happy discovery to find that one of our Brownie parents is also a Drama teacher in her real life. Laura led the girls through the meeting and we planned camp in the background.  The Owls were prepared to help but she had it all in hand.  It was a lovely break for us… and Laura did a fantastic job.

Some Drama resources that could get you started:

Happy New Year!

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My sister Jill is an elementary school teacher and we had a chat the other day about drama in Brownies and in the classroom.  One of her favourite drama units in her class is called Tableau Vivant (loosely translates to living picture in French). The lesson was early in the year but the kids kept asking to do it again and again.  She found it useful as a time filler or to transition from one activity to another throughout the year.  In her words, “the kids loved it.”

The gist is, the leader will yell out a theme to a group, the group has a few minutes to decide what they’re going to do.  The leader calls “3, 2, 1…Tableau” and they make a Living Picture based on their initial topic.

But before you can get there, you need to have a chat about what makes up a proper tableau…

The Elements:

  1. No moving – especially the eyes (focus on a spot).  You can blink.
  2. Use facial expression to convey emotion.
  3. Don’t hide your face.  Face the audience (be aware of your audience)
  4. Use high, medium and low positions.  Jill says “I usually use a baseball theme … some should be high: you’re reaching for a pop fly, others medium: you’re pitching, and the rest should be low: you are sliding into home).
  5. Practice off balance positions – teach them to have most of their weight on one leg and the rest on the other  (they can’t move)  Tell them to plant their toe/heel depending on how they’re leaning.

Jill’s Notes:

  • Practice each element separately
  • Say 3, 2, 1, tableau to count them into it.
  • Every time, comment on the ones who are doing it correctly and showcase them to everyone.
  • Have the audience (the other kids) pick out each element when another group presents.
  • It is meant to be a group picture, but build up to it.  Start with individual pictures (baseball, etc), then put them in groups and give them scenarios (“you are posing for a family portrait”, “you are at an amusement park”, “you are camping”.  Give them five minutes to decide who they are and then present it to the group.
  • Have the audience pick out the elements that each group did.
  • Encourage the audience to not just say it was good, but, say they used off balance position with good facial expression and they were all facing the audience and held their position, etc.
  • Once they get the hang of it, they can come up with their own ideas and present them.  Or you can read a story, split them up into groups with parts to illustrate (or they can pick their own).
  • In the classroom, after I’ve done the unit, I’ll just say 3, 2, 1 tableaux at random times and they freeze where they are (and they’re so still and quiet … it is a nice transition from one activity to another).

Sounds like a great drama meeting – and a good alternative to skits (which the girls still love).  But also works as a transition activity for later.

Thanks Jill!  XO

See also Creating a Tableau from Scholastic or try this variation called “Family Portraits” from the Canadian Improv games (the elements should apply for Family Portraits too, but this is a slightly different way to approach it.

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I just saw a neat activity/drama idea that has no equipment necessary but would get kids active while having fun. Move like an animal. That’s it. Get the kids deciding how the animal moves. Crab walk, snake slither, elephant trunk… Fun! Saw it Marilyn Denis Show.

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I attended a Guider training in January and it got me looking for resources for storytelling and drama.

Stories suitable for Brownies (especially at bedtime):

  • The trainer recommended The Storytelling Handbook: A Young People’s Collection of Unusual Tales and Helpful Hints on how to Tell Them by Anne Pellowski (1995).  I’ve taken it out of the library and it is definitely a good book.
  • Be on the lookout for the book Campfire Activities (1993 Girl Guides of Canada) if you can.  In there you’ll find Lee Piddle Thrigs (a delightful tounge twister that the trainer suggested) and a number of other wonderful other story and drama resources.  Sadly it is out of print, but ask around to see if someone has it, or look at yard sales.  I have it and use the legends frequently for bed time at camp.
  • “The Happy Prince” by Oscar Wilde – this worked beautifully to put a group of Brownies to sleep.
  • Also Riki-tikki-tavi from The Jungle Books, Volume two by Rudyard Kipling is good (but long)
  • Campfire Stories for Brownies has online links to stories.
  • Ten Tall Tales for Brownies by Ailsa Brambleby is just that… ten stories that take about 10 minutes each to read.  I was gifted this wonderful volume by a former Guider and it is one of the best collections of short stories I’ve found.  If you see it in a yard sale, give the seller money.  Worth every penny.
  • I also have a small personal collection of Brownie Stories from around the world (they all seem to have some variation of Twist me and Turn me at the end so the girls will recognize the theme).
  • A note about camp: we always recommend that girls bring a book or two to camp, but we NEVER read their stories as bedtime ones.  If you read one, you will end up reading em all.  Of course, a bedtime story is a good transition activity. I like to bring something like a legend that isn’t scary, but that is unfamiliar to them.  We tell the girls that they may read their own book, listen to me, or go to sleep.   When my story ends, lights go out.

If I was planning a drama or storytelling meeting, here’s what it would look like:

6:30 Arrival Game

6:40 Brownie Inspections

6:50 Brownie Circle

7:00 Program – Introduce Drama (or storytelling as a theme).

Icebreaker Game – as a group

Break into smaller groups – Fortunately, Unfortunately

Read a Story, practice it together, figure out how to present it?  Memorize and dramatize?  Read in parts?

7:30 – Presentations.

7:45 – Campfire and Close.

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