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Lesson 2: Storytelling - Games and Linear Thinking
Bradley Fuerst
9-12 Elective    90 Min. Block/ 2-45 Min. Class Periods



Lesson created on 6/29/1999 11:41:00 AM EST.
Last modified 11/19/1999 2:33:06 PM EST.


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Abstract  (help)


Students may be apprehensive, thinking that storytelling is an activity which they aren't able to do. This lesson provides activities which will dispel these misconceptions/misgivings by engaging the students in two theater games/ that allow the student to activate their lateral thinking skills through the use of Matthew Johnstone's What's the Story - Storytelling/Riddle Solving game and the improvisational "Circle Story" game. After students have had the opportunity to play both games students will share their observations on the storytelling experience from Lesson 1 in their drama notebooks. The Drama Coach should continue to support student learning by tying in concepts from the powerpoint presentation from Lesson 1 when possible.

National Standards  (help)


NSTE Content Standard 2: Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes. NSTE Content Standard 6: Comparing and incorporating art forms by analyzing methods of presentation and audience response for theatre, dramatic media (such as film, television, and electronic media), and other art forms.

Pre-requisite Skills  (help)


Skills of Improvisation Cooperative Learning Skills

Teacher Information  (help)


a. Time Frame: 90 Minute Block/Two 45 min. Class Periods b. Materials: What's the Story? by Matthew Johnstone, c. Resources: Internet Access to the WWW d. Procedures and Strategies 1. Linear Thinking Skills Using a Tableau: Ask five students to volunteer to create a tableau representing a final scene of a movie they saw this summer. After the students have been given one minute to decide what they are going to do, the rest of the class will try and guess what movie the tableau represents. After the movie has been identified, ask the students to outline the events led up to the "end result." After students have outlined the basic plot of the movie, introduce the students to the concept of linear thinking. The Drama coach should make the following points: 1) When filling in the "gaps," the class had to go back to the beginning to identify the main characters and the situation in which they existed. 2) The students had to identify the main problem of the movie and events which followed. 3) Only by going back to the beginning and identifying the problem and the resulting effects, was the class successful in explaining the tableau represented by the students on stage. 4) The students had to use their linear thinking skills, an inner resource they are able to offer for effective storytelling. 2. What's the story? Game. Transition: Now I am going to give you another fun way to exorcise your linear thinking skills. Matthew Johnstone, a gifted artist from (fill in the blank) has created a series of cards which are similar to the tableau our students created in class." Explain the parameters of the game: a.) The class will be divided into groups of five. b.) Each group will get a laminated card with a picture on one side and a basic description on the other side which offers some explanation of the picture. c.) Each group should select a "Know-it-all" who will be the only one aware of the solution or reason behind the picture. d.) The rest of the group will serve as the "Inquisitors." They are able to ask only Yes/No questions in order to find out the reason behind the picture. e.) The "Know-it-all" can only respond by answering "Yes," "No," or "Irrelevant." An "Irrelevant" response means that the question asked has no bearing on the solution to the picture. f.) The game should be treated like a detective story where the "Inquisitors" attempt to find out the reason behind the picture. g.) Once the group has come up with the solution, allow the group to come up with a completely new story behind the picture to share with the class. Once the Drama Coach notices that many of the groups have guessed the solution to the picture, notify all the groups that they need to wrap it up in two minutes, then bring the class back together and ask a couple of classes to explain their picture and offer their own story. 3. Circle Story Game Transition: In order for you to arrive at a solution for your pictures, each one of you had to ask questions which would help you understand 1) The character(s) in the picture, 2) The situation in which the character(s) existed. 3) the problem or conflict which led to the final picture created by Matthew Johnstone. You again, had to use your linear thinking skills to fill in the gaps. We are now going to play a game which utilizes your linear thinking skills by creating our own story as a group. Explain the parameters of the Circle Story Game. a.) Gather the class in a circle sitting on the floor or in desks (whichever the Drama Coach is comfortable with). b.) Pick a student who will begin a story by saying "Once upon a time...." After the student has told the beginning of the story for approximately 30 seconds, the next student in the circle going clockwise will pick up where the first student left off. c.) Advise the students that it is absolutely essential that they pay close attention to everybody's addition to the story, so that they

Assessment  (help)


Students will be evaluated on the degree to which they participate in the performance of the tasks/games assigned during this lesson. The teacher should look for attentiveness, active participation in the games, and successful location of the web-based storytelling assignment and purpose.

Student Activity  (help)


1. Tableau Activity - See Teacher Information 2. "What's the Story?" Game - See Teacher Information 3. "Circle Story" Game - See Teacher Information 4. Location of Story-telling assignment on the Web

Technology Requirements/Integration  (help)


The Internet will be used to locate stories. A list of Storytelling sites will be offered on the URL which is being developed for this unit. The internet has an abundance of stories which can be accessed more efficiently than taking the class to a library.




Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.

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