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Carol Brown, Section 3
Grade Level: Third Grade
Approximate Time: 45 minutes
  • TOPIC: Drama Lesson: Acting out the story Jane and the Dragon

    COMPONENT OBJECTIVES: Creative Expression: The students will develop vocabulary words through dialogue. The students will use pantomime and verbal interaction while dramatizing a story.

    Historical and Cultural Context: The students will reflect on and discuss the story, Jane and the Dragon, and portray their understanding of "stereotyping" through the actions of their character.

    RATIONALE: According to the Visual and Performing Arts Framework for California Public Schools, "Theatre is a collaborative art that enhances communication." Through the use of legends and folklores from various cultures, drama can be used to educate understanding for other peoples feelings. By giving students the chance to participate in theatre, we allow them to explore their creative potentials. We also give them the opportunity "to define personal and cultural insights and historical understanding as well as develop knowledge and skills about theatre."

    STRATEGY: A combination of direct instruction and guided discovery will be used.

    VOCABULARY (Relating to drama):

    Characters: the people in a play or story.
    Actors: the people who portray the characters.
    Setting : the time or place of a play.
    Set : the arrangement of the characters on the stage.
    Scene : a division of a play.
    Stage : the area or platform upon which plays are presented.
    Stage Presence : the way the actor comes across to the audience -- position, voice, facial expressions, and body movement.
    Script: the copy of the text of a play, movie, TV show, etc.
    Voice Projection: to throw one's voice out to the audience effectively.
    Pantomime: a drama without words, using actions and gestures only.
    Impersonating: to mimic; to assume the role of a character in a play or story.
    Ad-lib: to use words and actions that aren't in the script.
    Verbal Interaction: acting out a play using words.
    Dramatize : to present a play.

    Relating to the story:
    King: the male ruler of a state usually called a kingdom.
    Queen: the wife of a king.
    Prince: the son of a king and queen.
    Lady-In-Waiting: a woman attending, or waiting upon, a queen or princess.
    Court Jester: a professional fool employed by the court to amuse the king and queen.
    Scribe: one who copied manuscripts before the invention of printing.
    Knight: a man raised to an honorable military rank and pledged to do good deeds.
    Majesty: a title used in speaking to or of a king or queen.
    Dragon: a huge, fierce animal in old stories that is supposed to look like a winged lizard with scales and claws and is often supposed to breathe out fire and smoke.
    Sword: a metal weapon with a long, sharp blade fixed in a handle or hilt. Armor: a covering, usually of metal or leather, worn to protect the body in fighting.
    Helmet: a covering to protect the head that is worn by a knight.
    Courtyard: a space enclosed by walls that is near or in a large building.
    Castle: the home of the king and queen during the Middle Ages that has thick walls and towers to defend themselves from attack.
    Lair: a den or resting place of a wild animal.
    Stereotyping: categorizing people or things based upon a fixed idea or popular conception.


    Introduction: I will read the story Jane and the Dragon to the students, pausing to discuss vocabulary words from the book that may be unfamiliar to them. Then I will pose the following questions: How did Jane feel about the kingdom's expectations that she should be a lady-in-waiting? How did Jane feel about the Prince's reaction to her desire to be a Knight? What did Jane and the Court Jester have in common? Why didn't the Dragon hurt Jane? Did you expect him to? Why did the dragon steal the Prince? What did the King and his kingdom do at the end of the story? Next, I will discuss the term "stereotyping." What kind of stereotyping took place in this story? After a general discussion of student responses, I will tell the students that I have written this story into a script and I will walk them through it. Then they will choose their characters and act out the script. If they like, they can later perform it for another class.

    Pupil Activity Sequence:

    1. Have the students take turns silently acting out a character, of their choice, from the story. Encourage them to use broad actions and facial gestures. Let them know this is called pantomime.

    2. Have the rest of the class guess which character the student is impersonating.

    3. Choose a scene from the script and ask the students for volunteers to take turns acting it out. Be supportive of their work by applauding and using "I-messages." Ask for more volunteers to act out the scene.

    4. Have the students democratically vote for those who they felt best captured a character. These students will then portray that character in the class play.

    5. Give students the character identification signs to wear. The remaining students will be the People of the Court.

    6. Explain to the class how to project their voices so that the audience can hear.

    7. Explain how to read the portion of the script marked "Set" so that they know where to stand during the play.

    8. Explain that the "People of the Court" can say their parts in unison or the students can ad-lib similar phrases to be said at the same time.

    9. Pass out the scripts with the appropriate character parts highlighted for each actor.

    10. With your guidance, have the students act out the play.

    CLOSURE: Once the play is over, ask the students if it was easier for them to use pantomime or verbal interactions to dramatize the story. Ask the students if they can think of any stereotyping that might occur today?

    EVALUATION:The teacher will evaluate the students' understanding of the vocabulary words learned by their ability to use them correctly during the pantomime and verbal dramatizations of the story. The teacher will determine the students' understanding of "stereotyping" by seeing how they portray it through the actions of their character and by listening to the group discussion on how it is used in today's society.

    character identification cards
    Copy ofJane and the Dragon, by Martin Baynton (London: Walker Books Ltd., (1988)
    Scripts of Jane and the Dragon for each actor, with appropriate character parts highlighted, developed by Carol Brown for third graders.

    CLEAN-UP: Have the students return any desks and/or chairs that may have been moved to make room for the play. Also, have the students return their scripts and identification cards to the teacher. This lesson can be adapted for 4th - 6th graders by having the class write their own scripts. It can be utilized in cross-curriculum lessons, such as language arts.


    Court Jester
    Knight 1
    Knight 2
    Knight 3
    People of the Court
    SCENE 1. Inside the castle.
    SCENE 2. Courtyard; The dragon's mountain lair; Courtyard; The royal ball.
    Father King & Prince Knights
    X X X X
    Jane & Mother Court Jester
    X X X
    Scene 1
    NARRATOR: Jane and her mother are sitting next to the castle window, practicing their
    JANE: I don't like sewing. Every morning I have to sit here with my mother practicing
    my stitches, when I would rather watch the knights practice their swordplay in the
    courtyard below. (To her mom.) Mother, I want to be a knight.
    MOTHER: (Laughing.) Such foolishness! You will be a lady-in-waiting. Perhaps, like
    me, you will become lady-in-waiting to the Queen herself.

    NARRATOR: Jane is disappointed. She decides to talk with her father.
    JANE: (Walks to Father.) Father, I don't want to be a lady-in-waiting. I want to be a
    FATHER: What nonsense! Only boys can become knights.
    NARRATOR: Jane chooses to talk to the King about her desire to be a knight. Maybe
    he will understand. The King is standing in the courtyard watching his son, the prince,
    play in the royal sandbox.
    JANE: (Walks to the King.) Your Majesty, I wish to become a true knight just like the
    knights in the courtyard.
    KING: (Laughing.) Of course, of course.
    PRINCE: (Stands up.) You cannot be a knight. You are a girl! (He pushes Jane over
    into the sandpit.)
    NARRATOR: Jane stands up and brushes the sand off of her clothes. Then she walks
    over to the knights to discuss her problem with them.
    JANE: (Walks to the Knights.) You are all so lucky. I would like nothing more than to
    be a knight.
    KNIGHT 1: (Laughing and making fun of Jane.) Here, put on this fine armor and we will
    pretend that you are a knight.
    NARRATOR: The armor is much too big for Jane. It makes her look foolish.
    KNIGHT 2: Now, sit on this straw horse.
    [All Knights laugh.]
    NARRATOR: Jane is very sad and she begins to cry.
    KNIGHT 3: (Helps Jane down from the straw horse.) We're sorry! We didn't mean to
    be unkind.
    NARRATOR: Still crying, Jane decides to visit the Court Jester. If anyone can cheer up
    Jane it will be him.
    JANE: (Walks to Court Jester.) This has been a terrible day. All I want to be is a knight
    and no one will take me seriously. I told my mother, my father, the king, and the Prince.
    They wouldn't listen to me. I even told the knights and they just made fun of me.

    COURT JESTER: I understand how you feel. Let me show you something.
    NARRATOR: The Court Jester opens up a wooden chest and takes out a small suit of
    COURT JESTER: I wanted to be a knight as well, but I was too small. This armor is my
    secret; I put it on sometimes ... and dream a little. I want you to have it. (He hands Jane
    the armor.)
    NARRATOR: Jane puts on the armor.
    JANE: But what about your dream?
    COURT JESTER: I was never really brave enough. You dream it for me.
    JANE: (Jane pretends she is in a jousting match.) I will practice every day. I will
    practice my swordplay, my horseplay, and even my victory speeches. Thank you Court
    Jester. Thank you!
    (Everyone moves off stage.)
    (Dragon and Jane offstage)
    People of the Court King/Queen/Prince
    Scene 2
    NARRATOR: The King and Queen are standing in the courtyard, watching the Prince
    play in the sandpit. The people of the court are walking and mingling when all of a
    sudden they see something in the sky.
    PEOPLE OF THE COURT: (Pointing up to the sky at the right.) Look!
    QUEEN: Look! An enormous green dragon in the sky!
    NARRATOR: The dragon swoops down and captures the Prince.
    (Dragon enters stage, wraps his wings around the Prince and sweeps him offstage.)
    QUEEN: Oh, my! He has our son!

    KING: (Frantically looking in all directions.) Knights ... knights! Where are the
    COURT JESTER: Your Majesty, the knights have gone to the jousting carnival.
    KING: Is there no one who can save my son?
    (Jane, with armor on, rides away on a pony.)
    NARRATOR: Suddenly, a small knight rides away on the Prince's pony, chasing the
    dragon. The knight rides and rides until finally they reach the dragon's mountain lair.
    Jane Dragon Prince
    X X X
    JANE: (To the dragon.) Release the boy!
    DRAGON: (Roaring.) Make me!
    NARRATOR: Jane draws her sword and advances the dragon. There is a long and
    dreadful battle. Twice Jane has the chance to stab the dragon, but she does not. Twice
    the dragon has the opportunity to toast Jane with his hot breath, but he does not. At
    last, too exhausted to fight on, they sit down together on the floor of the cave.
    DRAGON: You could have killed me.
    JANE: You could have killed me. Why didn't you?
    DRAGON: (Sighing.) I don't like hurting people.
    JANE: Then why did you steal the Prince?
    DRAGON: Because it's expected of me.
    JANE: Then do the unexpected.
    DRAGON: (Sadly.) No, no! I couldn't. I'm not ... brave enough.
    JANE: Of course you are. It's easy.
    DRAGON: Easy for you, you're a knight and people expect you to be brave.

    NARRATOR: Jane starts laughing and takes off her helmet. The dragon looks amazed
    and says ...
    DRAGON: You're a girl! I could fry you for breakfast.
    JANE: Yes, that would be easy for you. It would be easy for me to be a lady-in-waiting,
    people expect it. But I want to be a knight. What do you want?
    DRAGON: (Sobbing.) I want to be loved.
    NARRATOR: Jane puts down her sword and hugs the dragon.
    JANE: I love you.
    DRAGON: Oh, thank you, thank you.
    JANE: Now I have to take the Prince home. The King and Queen will be dreadfully
    DRAGON: Will you visit me sometimes?
    JANE: Every Saturday. But now we really must go.
    NARRATOR: Jane and the Prince wave good-bye to the dragon as they ride the pony
    back to the castle courtyard. The entire court rushes out to greet them.
    People of the Court King Jane/Prince
    Narrator (Court Jester in front)
    X X
    PEOPLE OF THE COURT: They're back! The Prince has been saved! Yea!!
    KING: So who is this mysterious knight who saves my son?
    NARRATOR: As Jane takes off her helmet the people of the court gasp.
    JANE: I am Jane.
    KING: Dear Jane, how can we ever thank you?
    JANE: (Jane bows.) Your Majesty, I would like to become a proper knight please, with
    every Saturday off to visit a friend.

    PEOPLE OF THE COURT: A proper knight!
    KING: Certainly, certainly. Royal Scribe, write out a contract at once!
    NARRATOR: That night the King gives a royal ball with Jane as the guest of honor.
    KING: (To Jane.) You must choose a partner, Jane, and lead the dancing.
    NARRATOR: Jane bows to the King. Then she finds the Court Jester, takes his hand,
    and leads him onto the dance floor.
    JANE: Thank you for the armor.
    COURT JESTER: Thank you for the dream.
    NARRATOR: All of the people of the court gather around Jane and the Court Jester and
    sing a song ...
    People of the Court
    Narrator Jane/Court Jester
    X X X
    (Sing to the tune of "Skip To My Lou, My Darling")
    Lost my prince, what'll I do?
    Lost my prince, what'll I do?
    Lost my prince, what'll I do?
    Oh, what'll I do my darling?
    I'll go save him, that's what I'll do,
    I'll go save him, that's what I'll do,
    I'll go save him, that's what I'll do,
    That's what I'll do my darling.
    I'll be crowned a lady knight,
    I'll be crowned a lady knight,
    I'll be crowned a lady knight,
    A knight I'll be my darling.
    (All take a bow)

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