LOADING...


Putting a Tale on it's Feet

Last changed: 05/01/2018 12:32pm
K , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Theatre English Social Studies
Grade Level Program Integration
5 45 min


Five, 45 minute sessions with a Sharing (no additional production elements required) or other culminating project for individual classes or the entire grade level during the fifth session

Classes are typically held once a week. However, at the discretion of the teacher(s) the program may be completed in 1 or 2 weeks or spread out further to allow time for completion of classroom activities/assignments designed by the Teaching Artist with the Classroom Teacher(s).

The program can be designed and scheduled to introduce, integrate throughout or serve as a follow-up to the selected curricular unit.

*If the school calendar does not allow for 5 visits, the Teaching Artist can provide an adjusted version of the residency with 3 or 4 sessions.
In-School Short Term Residency
All Year
$10 0
yes In-Person


Copy of any additional stories if selected from outside of the curriculum

Props needed for Drama activities to supplement available classroom resources

Originals for handouts or prompts to be used with activities during class or conducted by the classroom teacher to deepen student learning between sessions

Original of script created by the class for student or teacher use


Easel and large pad of paper, if available

Grades 3-5 - non-lined paper and pencils for each student

Copy of selected text from the classroom

Copies of script for students, if needed.


Open space in classroom or multi-purpose space large enough for entire class to participate on their feet simultaneously or spread out to work in small groups.

If selecting a Sharing for the entire grade, will need a large enough space for all classes to meet together to present and view. Could be a stage, but not required. Should be scheduled for each class individually in session 4 and for the entire grade for session 5


I can identify the literary elements of character, setting, events and/or theme and describe them in a grade-level a story.

I can use body, gesture and/or voice to create the setting and communicate characters from a grade-level story.

I can collaborate with peers to apply elements of dramatic structure to a grade-level story and create a drama/theatre work to share informally with an audience.



Many students struggle with remembering and explaining what they have read, especially when confronted with new and unfamiliar material. In Putting a Tale on Its Feet, students interact with the text to discover and communicate meaning. Movement and acting exercises promote imagination and creativity as students work individually, with partners and in small groups to build comprehension and retention. Going beyond reading and telling to being and doing; they create the setting, develop characters and sequence the action of short stories, folk tales, fables, myths, legends, biographies or poems. The focus on exploration rather than performance assures equal participation by all students throughout the creative process.

What students will do:

Students participate in a series of simple improvisation and movement activities. Drama activities naturally nurture self-regulation skills as the students work “alone together” (focusing on their own participation and allowing others to do the same) and are guided to discuss, reflect and give/receive feedback. Based on a reading of the selected text, students explore physical transformations into a wide array of characters, animals, objects and living/nonliving components of the setting. Rather than “casting parts”, students initially have the opportunity to portray all elements of the story or poem leading to each class collaborating and problem-solving to create its own unique way of sharing the text. Students gain a clear understanding of Who, What and Where and may go deeper into When, Why and How.


Consider these popular selections or choose your own:

Mossy by Jan Brett - Home and Habitats
Skippy Jon Jones by Judy Schachner - English and Spanish dialogue
George and Martha by James Marshall - Friendship
A River Ran Wild by Lynn Cherry - Civilization's Effects on a River
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back, by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London - Seasons and Phases of the Moon
Patience Wright, America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea - Colonial America/Revolutionary War

*See Additional Notes for more texts/topics



Text and theme are flexible, working equally well with class favorites or challenging texts from the grade level Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum.

Additional samples include:

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White, recreating portions of the book
Poems by Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky and Douglas Florian, emphasizing character and dialogue
Nature Themes such as the Four Seasons, using a variety of books, poetry and music
Native American Legends (“How the Butterflies Came to Be” or “How the Fawn got its Spots”), exploring animals

Most often, younger children act out the story as a teacher or their peers read it aloud and older children narrate or create their own dialogue.

The program may also be designed to connect with and serve the goals of the Art or Music curriculum. To explore this option include Arts Specialists in the initial planning meeting.

*All ACTive Learning programs have been developed and implemented by a professional Theatre Educator in collaboration with Classroom Teachers and Arts Specialists.
1-3 are welcome, if the classroom teacher desires. They can be most helpful in the 4th and 5th sessions to facilitate preparing and implementing the grade level Share.

Grade K

Grade K: Reading Standards for Literature: Key Ideas and Detail #3: With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Grade K: History: Change, Continuity, and Context: K.1: Compare life in the past to life today.
Grade K: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation. a. With prompting and support, identify characters and setting in dramatic play or a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade K: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6; Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. With prompting and support, use voice and sound in dramatic play or a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 1

Grade 1: Reading Standards for Literature: Key Ideas and Details #3: Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using details. a. With prompting and support, identify similarities between characters and oneself in dramatic play or a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade 1: History: Perspectives: 1.3: Compare perspectives of people in the past to those in the present.
Grade 1: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation. a. Describe a story’s character actions and dialogue in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama). b. Use body, face, gestures, and voice to communicate character traits and emotions in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade 1: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. With prompting and support, use movement and gestures to communicate emotions in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).

Grade 2

Grade 2: Reading Standards for Literature: Craft and Structure # 5: Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
Grade 2: History: Change, Continuity, and Context: 2.1: Create a chronological sequence of multiple events.
Grade 2: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation. a Interpret story elements in a guided drama experience (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama). b. Alter voice and body to expand and articulate nuances of a character in a guided drama experience (e.g., (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama).
Grade 2: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. Contribute to group guided drama experiences (e.g., process drama, story drama, creative drama) and informally share with peers.

Grade 3

Grade 3: Reading Standards for Literature: Key Ideas and Details #3: Describe characters in a story (e.g. their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.
Grade 3: History: Change, Continuity, and Context: 3.3: Generate questions about individuals who have shaped significant historical changes and continuities
Grade 3: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation. a. Apply the elements of dramatic structure to a story and create a drama/theatre work. b. Investigate how movement and voice are incorporated into drama/theatre work.
Grade 3: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. Practice drama/theatre work and share reflections individually and in small groups.

Grade 4

Grade 4: Reading Standards for Literature: Key Ideas and Details # 3: Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Grade 4: History: Perspectives: 4.1: Explain connections among historical contexts and people’s perspectives at the time.
Grade 4: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation. a. Modify the dialogue and action to change the story in a drama/theatre work. b. Make physical choices to develop a character in a drama/theatre work.
Grade 4: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. Share small-group drama/theatre work, with peers as audience.

Grade 5

Grade 5: Reading Standards for Literature: Key Ideas and Details #2: Determine the theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Grade 5: History: Causation and Argumentation: 5.10: Use evidence to develop a claim about the past.
Grade 5: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation. a. Describe the underlying thoughts and emotions that create dialogue and action in a drama/theatre work. b. Use physical choices to create meaning in a drama/theatre work.
Grade 5: Theatre: Performing: Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work. a. Present drama/theatre work informally to an audience.
Get to Know Our Arts Provider:

ACTive Learning Through Drama with Barbara Washer