This page (Page #1) has creative
activities for use in the classroom. Kids love to learn more
about the plays origin and subject. Check out these
articles and activities related to ArtReachs popular titles: Harriet
Tubman, Jungle Book, Little Mermaid,
Snow White, Reluctant Dragon, Treasure
Island, A Thousand Cranes, Nutcracker
Prince, Mulan. Dont
forget, a Teachers Guide will come with your School Play Package and
contains tons of creative new ideas for your teaching lessons!
Ideas for Harriet Tubman: Take
My Hand and Follow Me
Themes for Classroom Lessons, Teachers
Caring for Others:
Why do you think Harriet put herself in danger to help others? Do you
care that much about other people? Is it better to help others or to
take care of yourself instead? If you knew someone was very unhappy,
would you go to great lengths to help them have a better life?
To many people Harriet is a great hero. Do you think
so and why? Talk about heroes in movies and talk about why they are
considered heroes? Do you have heroes? Who are they and why do you
look up to them? What is the difference between movie heroes and
heroes in real life?
Who are your
heroes and why?
Why did Harriet take the extreme stand of refusing to let her
runaways return home when the trip became too hard for them?
Reading and Writing:
Most people enslaved during Harriet's life were forbidden to read or
write. Can you imagine why? How would your life be different if you
were not allowed to read and write?
Why do you think the songs were sung by the performers and the
audience? What do you think the spirituals meant to the enslaved
people who created them? What do you think these lyrics meant to
them? Also, discuss what they meant in terms of the Underground Railroad.
"I'm bound for the promised land."
"A band of angels coming after me, Coming
for to carry me home."
you were forbidden to read and write?
Own Words: Discuss these quotes:
"Live free or die."
"I never ran my train off the track and I
never lost a passenger."
"I go ahead make a place for you."
Dramatics for The Jungle Book
classroom to jungle with The
Create Your Own Jungle: Push back the
desks and draw a magic circle on the floor. You may do this by
putting objects from the classroom in a circle on the floor.
Leave room for action inside the circle.
Now discuss thing that you might find in the
jungle: tigers, wolves, bugs, birds, rocks, logs, flowers,
snakes etc. Have each student choose a "jungle thing
in their minds. Have them keep it a secret! Now have two
or three students step inside the circle and become their "jungle
thing. Others may enter the circle one by one to
encounter these objects. Have them guess what things they have
met. Now switch roles: The "jungle things now
are just people and the people are the "jungle
things. How do they react to one another? If one
encounters a flower he might sniff it; another might encounter a
snake and jump over it. You can also do this activity
without the guessing game. Have students enter the
"jungle and simply enjoy it.
This is the Law of the Jungle..."
Old and As True As the Sky!" -- Rudyard Kipling
Raised by Wolves: What do you think it
was like for Mowgli to have brother and sister who are wolves?
What if you were raised as an animal in the wild? Consider if
your family was made up of porcupines, lions, elephants or
squirrels. What would you wear? What would you eat?
What sound would you make when you are hungry or frightened?
Have children perform the animal they might have been raised by and
have the others guess what it is. Tell the class what your
childhood was like living in the jungle.
School Performing The
Have an Underwater Sea Party!
The wording of your under the sea birthday
party invitations can say "Calling all Jellyfish, Sharks, Squid
and Seals, too...There's going to be an adventure, and we'd love to
share it with you! You're O-Fish-ally invited to come under the sea.
It's (your child's name) Under the Sea Birthday Party!". Then
include day, time, address.
Here is a slightly different idea for your
under the sea party invitations. Make your under the sea birthday
party invitations as "messages-in-bottles." Simply fill
clear plastic bottles with sand, mini sea shells, glitter, etc. Write
your invitations on parchment paper, then roll them into scrolls, and
insert invitations into bottles.
Decorate your under the sea birthday party room
with green and blue balloons. Hang green "seaweed"
streamers from the ceiling, chairs, or from the top of a windowsill.
Cut out starfish, seahorses, and other sea animals from construction
paper. Tape cutouts to some of the streamers.
Cover the lights in the room with blue
cellophane paper, which will give the party "under water"
feeling. Spread out any stuffed sea animals that you might have
around the room. Have Mylar fish and dolphin balloons free-floating
in the area, and have lots of blue latex balloons on the floor to
create "ocean atmosphere." Hang a fish net in the corner of
the under the sea birthday party room.
Put a blue or turquoise tablecloth on your
under the sea party table, and then spread multi-colored confetti
around it. Put plastic fish in a clear bowl for table centerpiece.
Hang a personalized theme "Happy Birthday!" banner in the area.
Guest Arrival and Introductory Activities
Seascape Gel Bags: Here are some directions for
your under the sea birthday party guests to follow for this activity.
Cut small fish from foam paper. Fill a Ziploc
bag with blue hair gel so when the bag is closed it's about 1/4"
thick. Place the fish shapes, colored beads, and some glitter in the
bag. Squeeze out excess air from the bag before sealing it.
Place the bag, sealed end first, inside another
bag. Seal the second bag and cover the zipped end with clear tape.
Have children make the fish move by running their hands over the
surface of the bag.
Sea Life Mural: Tape a wide sheet of butcher
paper on the wall at kids' eye level. Spread posters and pictures of
tropical fish, dolphins, sharks, and other sea animals for
ideas. Provide the kids with paints and markers, and let them
create a mural of sea life.
fascinated with sea life!"
Little Mermaid -- French Chefs,
Lindsey School, Chesterland, OH
Since kids are fascinated with sea life, any
theme related items as keepsakes will do the trick! For your under
the sea party favors, you can have such items as beach balls, fish
squirts, straws, sticker sheets, toy dolphins, and starfishes.
Under the Sea Birthday Party Games
Pin-the-Tail on the Whale:
This classic game is easy to design and set up. Just draw a large
whale on paper, leaving out the tail. Then cut out "whale
tails" for all your guests. Put children's initials and a
double-sided tape on each tail.
At game time, blindfold the kids one by one,
spin them around, and get them to pin their tail shapes where they belong.
Shark Chase: Get the kids
to spread out on one side of the party area - they are fish. Scatter
five or more hula hoops around the opposite side of the area (the
hoops are the fish's "homes").
Select one child to be a shark, and have that
player stand between the "fish" and their "homes."
When the "shark" calls Shark!, he or she runs after the
"fish" and tags as many as possible. The fish must reach
home - step inside the hula hoop - to be safe from the shark.
Any player who is tagged becomes a shark for
the next round, and tags remaining fish. For each round, take away
one hula hoop until only one hoop is left. The game continues until
all the fish are caught.
Beanbag Fish Toss: Place
candies or small prizes in three or four pails. Place the pails
against the walls. Have a couple of beanbags for children to throw.
(It's ideal that you make a beanbag that looks like fish, but it's
Have the kids take turns throwing beanbags into
a pail. Allow children to choose a prize from whatever bucket the
beanbag lands in. Be sure every under the sea birthday party guest
receives a prize.
Octopus Alert: Here is a
great outdoor game for under the sea birthday party, and it will
require water balloons. Choose one person to be an octopus. Arrange
everyone else in a big circle around the octopus. Have the kids in
the circle toss a water balloon back and forth, trying to keep it
away from the octopus.
If the octopus pops the water balloon by
batting it out of the circle, the person who threw it is out. Last
child left in the circle wins.
Musical Sea Animal: Have
your party guests sit in a circle. Play lively music in the
background, and let the kids pass around a sea animal toy. Whenever
the music stops the person holding the toy - goes out of the game,
and receives a prize (e.g., favor bag). Play until everyone has won a prize.
Creature Magnets: Draw
various sea creatures (e.g., seahorses, tropical fish, octopuses,
etc.) on crafting foam, and cut out creature shapes. At game time,
have the kids glue craft eyes onto the creature's head. Next, get
them to draw a mouth with a marker. They can decorate the creature
with sequins, beads, rickrack, and other craft materials.
Fish Story: Here is an
activity where the kids can create their own story. Invite all
your under the sea birthday party guests to write a beginning
sentence on a slip of paper about sea life. (e.g., "Once upon a
time, deep under the water surface an octopus was born.") Put
all the slips of paper into a bowl.
Have the kids sit in a circle. Choose one
player to pick one slip from a bowl, read it out loud, and then add a
sentence related to the original one (but even more exaggerated than
the last). The round continues until everyone has had a chance to add
a sentence. Then a new slip can be drawn from a bowl.
White and the Seven Dwarfs
Discussion / Questions: Let's
talk about fairy tales!
Did you know that there are many versions of Snow
White and the Seven Dwarfs. Does anyone know a story
different from the Disney movie? Has anyone read the story,
Little Snow-White, by The Brothers Grimm? (Introduce the
children to the concept of different stories - the play is NOT
exactly like the Disney version, neither is the original Grimms'
What is the difference between the story
"Snow White" and a Snow White story? (A Snow White
story is similar to the familiar story, Show White, but it can have
different characters, different names, different location, etc.)
are many versions of Snow White!"
Perth Youth Theatre, AU - Newington Children's
Theatre, CT - ArtReach's Snow White
What are the basic elements of a Fairy Tale?
"Once upon a time&ldots;"
"Kind person (treated badly)
"Royalty or famous person
"Magic person and magic spell
"Lived happily ever after."
What if Show White wore a green dress... Could
she be "Snow Green", or "Forest Green"? Or
blue? "Sky Blue and the Seven Dwarfs"? What about
"Sun Gold and the Seven Daffodils"? (Encourage the
children to be creative - maybe your play will be different, maybe?)
Can you make up another Show White story?
About a girl in Japan? About a boy in Africa? About a
girl in your town? About you? What about a fish in the
ocean? The Prince is a rock star? The Dwarfs are
Puppy-dogs? The mirror is a TV! (Work with the
children to create a whole new Cinderella story using the elements
above. This is always lots of fun.)
What are some other fairy tales besides Snow
White? (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast,
Why are some stories called folk tales, some
called fairy tales? What is folklore? (Folk tales are old
stories told and retold over many years, fairy tales are generally
folk tales for kids and usually begin with "Once upon a time
-" Folklore is like folk tales, but may not be an
entire story - witches flying on brooms, frogs turning into princes,
are bits of folklore.) Do you know of any folk tales or
folklore that are not fairy tales? (King Arthur, Headless Horseman,
Paul Bunyan, Loch Ness Monster, Tooth Fairy, Dragons, Ghosts,
Goblins, Witches, etc.)
ArtReach's The Reluctant Dragon
There are many kinds of dragons
you may like to represent in your production of Artreach's The
Reluctant Dragon. First you might consider the illustrations in
the many book versions of Kenneth Grahames original short
story. You may of course, receive requests from your young performers
to represent Mortimer as the dragon in the popular movies, How to
Train your Dragon. Dont forget to look at the Chinese tradition
of Dragons, which can be very colorful and an exciting way to
introduce your students to a new culture. Finally, consider making
just the mask to represent Mortimers costume.
Easy! Coolest Homemade Dragon
Costumes: Heres a great blog with terrific ideas on how to make
dragon costumes for young performers: http://www.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/dragon-costumes.html
Reluctant Dragon - Have fun with costumes for all!
How to Make Wheelchair Costumes
for Kids: Turn
wheelchairs into costumes! Dragons and spaceships! Use this article
to imagine your own ideas for wheelchair costumes. Article: An
Oregon dad of disabled children creates larger than life Halloween
costumes for his children and with help from DreamWorks and generous
donors, other disabled children can shine too. Whether he's making a
medieval knight or a dragon, Ryan Weimer's unconditional love for his
sons Keaton, 9, and Bryce, 2, has led him to create sensational
costumes for his children every year.
Read More: http://ideas.coolest-homemade-costumes.com/halloween/creative-costumes/
Idea - An Introduction to Fencing
Use the resources hiding in your
community! Find experts and sponsor workshops related
to your school's performance.
Find new ways
to involve everyone in the community!
Young Footliters, Iowa City - ArtReach's Treasure
There are hidden experts in your
community. Call theatres and other community organizations and
ask about who might be available to do workshops. Young
Footliters of Iowa City identified the local Fencing Center.
These experts offered free workshops fo the community as a way to
invlve others in the rehearsal process. It's a great way
to enhance publicity for your special event.
Registration: 1-3 pm (Grades 1-6) 4-6 pm
(Any Grade) Where - The Iowa City Fencing Center, 415 Highland Ave,
To celebrate Young Footliter's upcoming
production of Treasure Island,
the Iowa City Fencing Center has generously offered to hold an
introduction to fencing class as a fundraiser for Young Footliters!
This program will take you from how to stand on
guard to fencing your first bout in just two hours. You'll discover
how to outwit your opponent with the play of your blade and the
movements of your feet, while experiencing the thrill of scoring your
first touches. This is a safe activity for all ages 6+.
This is a safe
activity for all ages 6+.
Young Footliters, Iowa City - ArtReach's Treasure
Clothing: Participants will need to wear
long, comfortable pants, a t-shirt, and bring clean, dry athletic
shoes to put on.
Paperwork: There will be a registration
form and waiver form for participants to fill out when you arrive.
Adults and children ages 6 and up are welcome
to participate, so parents and siblings can fence too. And of course,
anyone is welcome to stay and watch.
of Sadako Sasaki and A
Before the play read Sadako's
true story. Discuss how her life has changed the world.
Sadako Sasaki was born on January 7, 1943 in
Hiroshima, Japan. She was two years old when the atomic bomb was
dropped on August 6, 1945, roughly two kilometers (1.25 miles) from
her home. Sadako will forever be remembered as a symbol of innocent
victims of war. This story is to remember her life and tenacity of spirit.
will forever be remembered as a symbol."
Denver Academy, CO - ArtReach's A
The play opens with meeting Sadako and her
inviting the audience to hear her story. She loves to run and
practices every day with her best friend and classmate, Kenji. They
are preparing for a race next month and Sadako really wants to win.
Kenji thinks that Sadako is fast enough to win the race. Sadako runs
home to tell her parents, who are preparing for dinner and the
upcoming Obon festivities.
Obon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the
spirits of one s ancestors. It is tradition to light a candle for
each ancestor who has died. Sadako and her parents are remembering
her Grandmother, Oba Chan, who died in the bombing of Hiroshima.
you remember that old story about the crane?"
Denver Academy, CO - ArtReach's A
As Kenji and Sadako are out practicing for the
upcoming race, Sadako becomes very dizzy and falls. She is rushed to
the hospital. No one seems to know what is wrong with her. After a
number of tests, the doctors conclude that Sadako has Leukemia, or
the atom-bomb sickness. She has to stay in the hospital for a few
weeks to get some tests done. This means Sadako will miss the
race she has been practicing for. While in the hospital, her parents
and Kenji visit often. Kenji has come up with a plan to make Sadako
He reminds Sadako of the story of a Thousand
Cranes: Don't you remember that old story about the crane? It's
supposed to live for a thousand years. If a sick person folds one
thousand paper cranes, the gods will grant her wish and make her
healthy again. Sadako gets right to work making her thousand cranes.
However, her leukemia is also progressing and getting worse. This
makes her tired and it more difficult to fold the cranes.
Chan tells Sadako that the cranes will be completed."
Denver Academy, CO - ArtReach's A
One night while she is sleeping, the spirit of
her grandmother, Oba Chan, comes to visit Sadako. Oba Chan takes
Sadako on a journey through the spirit world showing her the spirits
of others who died because of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima. Oba
Chan tells Sadako that she must stay in the spirit world with them.
Sadako is not ready, she hasn't folded her thousand cranes. Oba Chan
tells Sadako that the cranes will be completed.
Sadako died on October 25, 1955, ten years
after the bomb fell. Her friends and classmates completed her
thousand cranes for her. In 1958, they had a monument built to honor
her memory in the Hiroshima Peace Park. Sadako s wish is engraved on
the base of the statue:
our cry, This is our prayer, Peace in the World.
About Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker
Classroom Discussion for
How to say
"Tchaikovsky" is said like
Ch-eye-cough-ski. 'Pyotr Ilyich' is said like 'Peter Il-itch'.
Nutcracker' is performed all over the world around Christmas time.
Nutcracker Prince - Wakefield Country Day School, Washington VA
Type of music:
Romantic classical music. Some famous works:
1812 Overture (for orchestra, choir and real canons!).
Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
Swan Lake (a ballet).
Sleeping Beauty (a ballet).
The Nutcracker (a ballet, see next page for
list of pieces)
Piano Concerto No. 1.
Eugene Onegin (an opera).
The Queen of Spades (an opera).
Marche Slave (Slavonic March for orchestra).
Tchaikovsky's music is some of the most popular
classical music around today. Many people who don't normally listen
to classical music will recognize a tune or two by him.
His music often has very beautiful tunes.
His music is full of strong emotions. These
strong emotions can be heard and understood very easily.
The strongest emotions are probably in Symphony
No. 6 (the 'Pathetique'). This symphony was first heard only nine
days before he died.
His music sounds Russian to people outside
Russia. However, it sounded like Western European music to people in
Russia at the time it was written.
His ballets are the world's most popular
ballets. And 'The Nutcracker' is performed all over the world around
The 'Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' from 'The
Nutcracker' is famous for using an instrument that was very new at
the time-the celesta. This looks like a small piano and makes a
tinkly sound (this instrument also appears at the beginning of the
'Harry Potter' film music).
Although the 1812 Overture is very popular,
Tchaikovsky didn't really like it!
History of The Legend of Mulan
(400 AD Onward)
Ancient texts from the past
1,500 years reveal the real history behind The
Legend of Mulan and how it developed into what we have today.
Around 400 AD, a poem began circulating
imperial China. It told of a young girl (most likely in her early
teens) who made the momentous decision to take her father's place in
battle. Although modern historians now believe this poem to be
fictitious, early historians (most notably, Zhu Guozhen) insisted
that the Ballad of Mulan was an autobiography. Regardless of the
authenticity of the original tale, this amazing story went on to
inspire one of the greatest legends ever told.
For over a hundred years, the Ballad of Mulan
was passed down via oral tradition, until it was finally written down
during the Tang dynasty. Around this same time, several authors (Wei
Yuanfu, Bai Juyi, Du Mu, and Li Rong) also wrote accounts verifying
touching story of honor, virtue, and sacrifice."
Legend of Mulan - Jeugdtheater Crea Deinze, Deinze, Belgium
The early narratives about Mulan were are all
very short. They provide enough information to verify that Mulan took
her father's place in battle, served for twelve or thirteen years
without her femininity ever being discovered, and was rewarded by the
emperor for her accomplishments. Due to the brevity of these
accounts, later authors became fascinated with Mulan's story and
began embellishing it. After all, Mulan's story has such a fantastic
premise that it begs to be told in a more elaborate form.
Around 1500 AD, Xu Wei wrote the play Mulan
Joins the Army. Although this play was short (the unannotated
manuscript is twelve pages), Xu Wei inserted reimagined the story in
a way that would capture the imaginations of the common people.
Xu Wei took a lot of liberties with this play and wasn't overly
concerned with historical accuracy. For example, the play included
Mulan with bound feet&ldots; which is the ancient equivalent of
having a woman soldier wearing sexy armor. One version of the
manuscript even explicitly instructs the actress playing Mulan to
change clothes in full view of the audience.
The play primarily focuses on Mulan's life as a
woman. After she spends a long time preparing to go to war, the
narrator blitzes through a decade of military service to show the
audience Mulan resuming her life as a woman. Although no records
exist of Xu Wei's play ever being performed, the printed manuscript
circulated widely throughout China. Thus, in its written form, this
play inspired a renewed interest in the legend.
After the Ming dynasty fell, the Chinese people
found themselves under barbarian rule. During this time, the
Chinese people took solace in Mulan's story, as they desired for such
a hero to rise up amongst them. The most famous retelling of Mulan's
story to be written during this time was Romance of Sui and Tang by
Chu Renhuo, which was written to incite feelings of animosity against
those who oppressed the Chinese. In the novel, Mulan is a biracial
teen who is initially loyal to the barbarian khan. Although she
begins fighting against a Chinese enemy, she is captured by a Chinese
princess, who turns out to be such a benevolent captor that Mulan
eventually desires to return home to bring her family to dwell
together with the princess. However, the khan intercepts Mulan and
tries to take her as his concubine by force. When Mulan realizes that
the khan will not allow her to refuse, she commits suicide on her
continues to be an inspiration to live virtuously."
Legend of Mulan - Jeugdtheater Crea Deinze, Deinze, Belgium
The Complete Account of Extraordinary Mulan was
a very different novel, in that it encouraged its readers to withdraw
from society and rise above evil by living virtuous lives. The
author, who seems to be a pacifist, uses the novel to glorify
monasticism. The novel begins by focusing on Mulan's grandfather, an
ambitious young scholar. As he pursues enlightenment, however, he
learns the virtue of inaction. After his granddaughter Mulan is born,
he teaches her the art of magic but warns that responsible use of
magic is so difficult that he has never found an occasion where the
use of magic would be proper. Although Mulan eventually learns how to
use her power for good, evil still triumphs in the end.
One of the most famous early film adaptations
of Mulan's story was the 1939 motion picture Mulan Joins the Army.
Because this coincided with the early stages of Word War II, after
the Japanese had already captured Nanjing (China's capital city at
the time), the filmmakers desired to make it into a call to arms.
This film glorifies warfare and is the first adaptation of the legend
to introduce romance into Mulan's story.
After Word War II ended, China was now under
communist rule. The people of Hong Kong, who were under British rule,
began to wonder if they had anything left in common with the
mainland. In 1998, the first English-language film adaptation of
Mulan's story was released. Although Disney's Mulan was a success in
America (it was the second highest grossing movie in 1998), it was
poorly received in China. Almost immediately after the release of the
Disney film, Starlight International Media announced plans to produce
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior.
Throughout the film, Mulan struggles to put the
needs of the masses above her own emotions. Being that she cares for
certain comrades more than others, she repeatedly makes decisions
that put her men at risk in attempt to rescue her closet friends.
When her dear friend Wentai fakes his own death, Mulan is thrown into
depression until she finally learns to detach herself from the battlefield.
Disney's film, is purported to draw inspiration
from both Chinese and American cultures. Mulan's story has traversed
the globe several times and has touched the hearts and minds of
countless generations since the story was first conceived over a
millennium ago. While we may never know the details of her true story
(if she really did exist), Mulan continues to be an inspiration to
live virtuously when faced with crisis. Throughout the ages, the
legend has continued to tell the story of a woman who is prepared to
sacrifice everything out of filial devotion to her father.
The legend always has been, and always will be, a touching story of
honor, virtue, and sacrifice.