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Putting a Tale on its Feet

Last changed: 05/20/2019 12:27pm
K , 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Theatre Social Studies English
Grade Level Program Integration
5 45 min


Five, 45-60 minute sessions with a Sharing (no additional production elements required) or other culminating project for individual classes or the entire grade level during Session 5

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 to allow time in between for completion of classroom activities/assignments designed by the Teaching Artist with the Classroom Teacher(s).

The program can be designed and scheduled to 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

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

Copy of selected text from the classroom for Teaching Artist's use

Copies of script for students, if desired



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 to use in Session 4 and for the entire grade for Session 5.



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

I can use body, gesture and/or voice to create the setting, communicate characters and demonstrate plot 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.



Success in reading empowers students in school and in life!

In Putting a Tale on its Feet, all children discover and communicate meaning from even the most challenging text, through dramatic games.

Imagination and creativity extend the journey beyond basics of reading and telling, through the joy and excitement of being and doing. The focus on every child’s exploration assures equal participation, as each builds comprehension and retention throughout the creative process.

Students will:

Alone Together, Students Explore…
Simple improvisation and movement activities naturally nurture self-regulation skills as students work simultaneously “alone together”, focusing on their own participation and allowing others to do the same.

The “How” of Transformation.
Based on guided readings of the selected text, children explore physical transformations into a wide array of characters, animals, objects and components of setting.

An Ensemble Approach Enriches…
Rather than “casting parts”, the Teaching Artist facilitates each child portraying all elements of the text as they create tableaus, movement, dialogue and narration.

The Culminating Presentation.
Engaging with partners and interacting in small groups, students are guided to brainstorm, demonstrate, reflect and give/receive feedback as each class creates its own unique collaboration of the text to share.

Teachers select fiction/nonfiction texts from the Language Arts, Social Studies or Science curriculum.

Popular Themes/Related Texts:

Colonial America - Patience Wright, America’s First Sculptor and Revolutionary Spy by Pegi Deitz Shea
Habitats/Home - The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Mossy by Jan Brett
Multicultural - Skippy Jon Jones by Judy Schachner, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Friendship – George and Martha by James Marshall, Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Nature/Environment – Native American Legends, A River Ran Wild by Lynn Cherry,
Thirteen Moons on Turtle’s Back by Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London,
Poetry - Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Douglas Florian
Aesop’s Fables



Putting a Tale on its Feet has been successfully adapted to all ages, grades and reading levels.
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 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 Through Drama 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