Students will choose storybooks to turn into mini-plays, and they will write an outline of their mini-plays.
A favorite picture book from your own childhood.
Invite students to join you on the rug for story time. Introduce the story. Tell them why you chose it (what it means to you, why you remember it from your childhood, who read it to you, etc.) Begin reading the picture book to the students. Go all out, like it is story time at Barnes and Nobles. Stop the story halfway through (at an important and pivotal point) and have students get in groups with people around them. They need to create a short skit for how they think the story will end. Give them three minutes to discuss and one minute to perform. Have everyone perform their one minute guesses for the ending. After students have performed, read them the rest of the story.
Have students move to their seats, picking up their journals on the way. Instruct students to write in their journals answering the following prompt: Journal Entry: What is your favorite picture book or story from your childhood? Why? What does it mean to you now? **Have students write a brief synopsis of the story beneath their answer.
Ask students if they have ever seen a movie that came from a book. Examples? How do you think they did that? What about a play from a book? Ever heard of that? (If not, give some examples. Like Wizard of Oz, Wicked, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Holes, The Giver, etc.) Explain that they are going to do something similar with the stories that they came up with.
Talk about this project a little bit. Tell students the basics of what they will be doing over the next few class periods. They will be turning their stories into short plays that they will then perform in class. Tell them that they are going to READ the first part of the story (1-2 minutes of it) and then they will act out the rest of it in their groups (4-3 minutes) for a performance that is a total of five minutes. These performances must include every person in your groups. You will need to pick a story that you can read to the class, so someone must own it or borrow it or be able to check it out of the library. They will learn different ways to make their mini-plays better every class, things to add onto it or enhance it (like blocking, characterization, etc.).
At this point, the lesson could go one of two ways. Either you split them into predetermined groups, or you allow them to get into a group of three or four. (I let them get into their own groups).
Ask students to share their journal entries/story ideas with their classmates. Have each group choose which one they are going to adapt into a short play. Have them begin writing an outline.
Check for understanding:
Have them write an outline for their plays, that they turn in (doesn’t need to be graded), so that you can check that everyone has a story, and see who needs help next class.