Blocking and Stage Direction

LESSON 5: Blocking and Stage Direction


LESSON OBJECTIVE: Students will demonstrate their ability to block by creating a map for their fairytale scene.


MATERIALS NEEDED: Stage direction group instructions, word papers, computer and projector access, appropriate connection cables, colored pencils

“Do You Want to Build a Snowman” video link:

“For the First Time in Forever” video link:


PREPARATION: Decide on 4-5 short quotes from the fairytale from lesson 1 (number depends on how many students are in your class).  Type and print out the quotes (one quote per colored paper) and cut them at 1-3 words – depending on how many stage directions you want to send the students to. 


Create the stage direction map instructions…instructions for students to follow to different stage areas and collect the word left there.  You can use the same instructions for each group but pick a different starting point with each group so that they aren’t all going to the same stage area at the same time.  Print out instructions on colored paper to match the quote (red instructions find the red words, etc.).


HOOK: Have the students get in four or five different groups. Give each group a sheet of paper with stage directions listed on it in a certain order, like clues for a treasure map. Each group will have different instructions and thus will have a different result. Words written on paper will be placed in different areas around the stage. The students will follow their instructions, piecing together the words—thus creating a short quote from the fairytale read in lesson 1.


Have a stage direction “key” with the nine areas drawn on the white board in case anyone needs a reminder.


Step 1

CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING: Review the following: What is stage direction? How is it helpful to a director? Why is stage right/left on the opposite side of where the audience would think it would be? Why is it called up/downstage?


Step 2

TRANSITION: Ask students questions such as: What is blocking? How can blocking help a story to be more powerful?


Step 3

MODEL: Before watching the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” scene from Disney’s Frozen, invite the students to pay attention to how the blocking tells the story.


Step 4

DISCUSSION: What blocking did you see? What moments were most powerful because of the blocking?


Step 5

MODEL: This time, instruct the students to watch for examples of how blocking can show a difference between characters. Show the “For the First Time in Forever” scene from Disney’s Frozen.


Step 6

DISCUSSION: Ask the students questions such as: What differences did you see in their blocking? What do we know about Anna and Elsa because of these blocking differences?


Step 7

TRANSITION: Ask the students questions such as: How can blocking progress a story? Invite them to think about the “For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)” scene from Disney’s Frozen, more specifically the moment in which Elsa accidentally strikes Anna with her ice powers.


Step 8

MODEL: Invite two students that are familiar with Disney’s Frozen to recreate the blocking from the “For the First Time in Forever (Reprise)” scene. Secretly remind them (just in case) that Elsa’s back is turned when she strikes Anna with her ice powers.


After they perform, ask the students questions such as: Does Elsa realize what she’s just done? What is it about Elsa’s blocking in the moment in which Anna gets struck by ice that creates the most tension possible and progresses the story even quicker? Answers may include that Elsa’s back was turned.


Step 9

INDIVIDUAL PRACTICE: Have each student take out his or her fairytale scene and read through it, imagining what blocking could help to tell the story best. Have the students write their blocking ideas in stage direction code directly in their script (in pencil!). Draw a stage direction key on the white board just in case someone needs it.


Step 10

MODEL: On the stage direction key on the whiteboard, draw little line dashes to indicate that a character moves from here to here during a scene. Emphasize that that is just one example of how a director could record blocking for a scene. Invite the students to create their maps in whatever way is most comfortable, memorable and/or readable for them. Provide colored pencils so that each character’s blocking in a student’s scene could be outlined in a different color.


Step 10

ASSESSMENT: Have each students draw two copies of a blocking “map,” one for himself or herself, and one for the teacher. One copy of each student’s map will be turned in to the teacher.


Step 11

INDIVIDUAL PRACTICE: Any remaining time in class will be spent rehearsing fairytale scenes.