Theatre Arts: Folktale Improvisation
Grade level: 6th grade
Approximate time: 45 minutes to an hour
Theatre Arts: Folktale. Children will present reader's theatre by improvising folktales from different countries.
Historical and Cultural Context: Groups of students will produce an improvisation of a folktale story from an assigned reading of a folktale.
Aesthetic Valuing: Students will perform and discuss their improvisations with the rest of the class by performing it.
Artistic Perception: Students will perform their improvisations with the rest of the class using appropriate facial emotion, body movement, clear and loud voice and correct stage presence.
Learning about different cultures through improvisation is important for students. This gives children the opportunity to expand their minds and raise their cultural awareness. They can see that there are others who live among us that are from other cultures and that they are not much different from ourselves. By allowing children to learn about other cultures, they can enjoy the different cultural styles from around the world. They are able to recognize and appreciate the cultural differences of other cultures.
Folktale: a story, usually of anonymous authorship and containing legendary elements, made and handed down orally among the common people.
Improvisation: the spontaneous use of movement and speech to create a character in a particular situation, usually without a script.
The students will see an example of a folktale which everyone will read together. The folktale the students and teacher will read is from Turkey and is called The Most Wonderful Gift. After reading the folktale, the teacher asks questions to the class to ensure that they understood what the folktale was about. So class what was the main point of the story? What was the most wonderful gift? If we were going to act this out, what would be one way we could do it? Can I see some hands of volunteers who want to come up and help me improvise The Most Wonderful Gift. Then the volunteers and the teacher act out the folktale. Before the class performs the Most Wonderful Gift for the class, the teacher reminds the students some of the things they do during a performance. Remember to speak loud and clear, so people in the back can hear you. Make sure when you are up there that you position yourself, so everyone can see you and that you are talking to the audience. Stage presence is important. Don't be embarrassed and be expressive. If your character is crying or sad, show us that you are. Facial emotions tell the audience a lot about what is gong on.
1. Divide the class into 3 or 4 groups depending on the class size, but have at least 4 or 5 students per group.
2. Each group receives and reads a small folktale that's written up like a story.
3. Each group discusses how they are going to perform the folktale for the rest of the class. Each performance must be at least five to seven minutes. Props can be used, but if you take anything out make sure you put it back.
4. Groups have about 10-15 minutes to practice.
5. Each group will perform their improvisation of the folktale in front of the class.
The groups will perform their folktale for the rest of the class.
No clean up would be necessary for this lesson, only if they made props for their improvisations. Scraps of paper would have to be thrown away. Scissors, tape, and staplers put back in their places.
This could also be moved into an art lesson. The teacher could have each group draw a picture on butcher paper that describes their folktale. These could then be displayed around the classroom.
Tales Alive! Ten Multicultural Folktales with Activities as retold by Susan Milord. Williamson Publishing. Charlotte, Vermont 1995.