Students will demonstrate their ability to tell stories using body and movement by pantomiming a fairy tale for the class.
Brainstorm with the class the various ways that we use movement in everyday life to communicate certain ideas. For example: nodding our head means yes, curling an index finger can indicate we want a person to come to us, putting a finger to your lips means be quiet, waving a hand means hello or good-bye, etc.
Transition – Explain that by using certain gestures we can communicate without using words.
Instruction – Explain to the students that similarly, pantomime is a tool to help actors tell a story without words. Discuss that pantomime helps create an image for the performer and the audience of something that is not actually there.
Guided Practice – Have students form a circle and instruct them that they will be tossing around an imaginary ball. Lead the students at first, modeling how you would adapt your movement according to the size and weight of the ball. Pretend to use a tennis ball at first. Bounce it, squeeze it, and toss it in the air. Have students copy these actions. Now switch to a golf ball, a basketball, a bowling ball, a beach ball, etc., adapting your movement accordingly. Have the class follow your actions, or have student volunteers lead the different movement. Do this for about five minutes.
Checking for Understanding – Discuss with students how they adapted their movement each time the shape and weight of the ball changed. Discuss whether the activity was challenging, and if so, why. Have students continue to practice the skill of pantomime in their own space in the classroom with objects and actions that they use in everyday life. As they pantomime, students should follow the imaginary object/action with their eyes and show what happens when they are finished with the object/action. Some good everyday objects/actions for this activity include: peeling a banana, eating a piece of pizza with lots of cheese, sipping a drink through a straw, and picking up a coin. End the game after about five minutes. Discuss what students observed about their own movements and those of others. What was interesting? What was challenging?
Instruction – Explain that we might interact with objects differently than a character in a story depending on our experience and personality. Another part of telling stories is using our body and movement to create characters and situations different from us. How our character(s) pantomimes everyday interactions helps in this development.
Checking for Understanding – Add character to the everyday actions just completed in the previous activity. Call out the action and the character. Have students repeat all the above actions as if they are: three years old, an old person, an angry person, a person who is out on a sweltering day, a suspicious person, and a person in a hurry. Then discuss with the students what changed as they completed each movement.
Guided Practice – Divide the class into 5 different groups. Each group will be assigned a different fairy tale (Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, or Rumpelstiltskin), which they must create a pantomime of to share with the class. Give the students time to practice and clarify the plot if they need to. Then have them perform for the class.
Closure – Discuss with the students what they observed from telling the stories only using pantomime. Tell them they need to bring a children’s story for tomorrow’s class.