Discipline: theatre

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Arts Education Branch


Module One: Foundation: Actors make creative choices by understanding the use of body, voice and imagination.

Sample Lesson # TWO Building Actors’ Tools: Projection and Articulation Grade: 3
Standard: 5.2 Develop problem-solving and communication skills by participating collaboratively in theatrical experiences.

Student Objective: Speak loudly and clearly with emotion and inflection.

Resources / Materials: Nametags, Music, Bellows, Balloon/Water Bottle Model, Vocal Diagrams, Story: “It’s the Pichilingis Again” from Drama of Color by Johnny Saldana, Cue Cards

Opening Phase



(Suggested 5 minutes)

1. Enter Theatre Space: Classroom teacher brings students into class pantomiming activities in a chosen setting.

2. Body: Facial muscle isolations (raisin-face, sun-face, massage facial muscles, tongue stretch, horse-lips, shake faces).

3. Voice: Mumblitis. Articulation exercises; tongue twisters.

Exploring/Creating Phase


(Suggested 10 minutes)

1. Expression: Working with a partner, retell a familiar nursery rhyme or fairy/folktale.

2. Emotions: Use emotion cards. Practice dialogue from story (It’s the Pichilingis again) using different emotional expressions.

Review/Preview/ Vocabulary

(Suggested 5 minutes)

1. Journals: Three or four students share journals.

2. Vocabulary: projection, articulation, expression, diaphragm, dialogue (Use diagrams and model to illustrate.)

Improvising/Inventing Story

(Suggested 10 minutes)

1. “Color the Phrase” Activity: Standing in a circle, each student speaks the same line of dialogue from the story: “I have forgotten the coffee Pot.” To the person next to him. The students use clear expression, articulation, and projection. The student to whom the line was spoken mimics back the way the first person delivered it, then turn to the next person and says the line differently (emotion, intonation, accent, etc.) This continues until all have a turn. Teacher models.

2. Story: Read/storytell story. Make a list of “tricks.”

Sharing/Reflecting Phase


(Suggested 15 minutes)

Performance: Small groups (3 or 4) become pichilingis and select a “trick” from the list; discuss the trick briefly. Place groups throughout the room, as far apart as possible. group plans the trick and uses it on leader in role as traveler; the students project to be heard by everyone in the room.

Criteria: Loud enough to be heard, Clear enough to be understood, strong expressions


Journal Prompt

(Suggested 5 minutes)

1. Discuss: Why is it important to project, articulate and use expression when speaking (other than for acting)?

2. Journal: Describe the “trick” your group used.

Connections/Extensions: Oral Presentations, Self-Expression
Teacher Task: For the next lesson, teacher will have students Enter class and share some tongue twisters.

It’s the Pichilingis Again”

From Drama of Color

By Johnny Saldana

Pichilingis are mischievous Mexican leprechauns, of sorts. There is no strong story line, per se, in this folktale. It is a collection of incidents about the supernatural pranksters. This story is best used as a springboard for verbal improvisation in grades 3-5. In fact, the session design is geared to introduce children to the dos and don’ts of verbal improvisation and small-group work.
For this particular story drama the teacher can retell the tale in her own words, but focus more on the description of the pichilingis’ pranks that on the portion of the family moving away from their home. Inform the students they will create original scenes with the pichilingis.

When my great-grandmother was alive, she would tell of experiences she had had as a young girl living at home with her mother. If they went away for an afternoon, perhaps to visit friends or join a village gathering, the house would be in shambles when they returned. The pichilingis had been up to their mischievous pranks.

The pichilingis could be seen in every place imaginable. You could be walking along a road and suddenly catch a glimpse of one up in a treetop. Sometimes toward evening, you could see them dancing and shouting along the river bed. And at night, while people were sleeping, they would drop down and drag them off their sleeping mats. The people would wake up at a different place then where they had gone to sleep.
The pichilingis were a nuisance to everyone, but sometimes they would choose a particular family to annoy. My great-grandmother used to tell this story.
There was a family that had somehow attracted the attention of the pichilingis. Every single member of the family was a victim of their pranks. They would be sitting down for a meal with the food on the table ready to eat when suddenly a glob of mud would fly through the air and land in the beans. Or they would go out to milk the cows in the morning and all they would find was a puddle of milk on the ground. The pichilingis had been at it again.
Needless to say, the family soon reached the point of despair.
“What are we to do?” the wife asked her husband. “Everything is always disappearing. Why, we can’t even eat peacefully anymore.”
She wanted to leave at once, but her husband was reluctant.
“How can we forsake out house and abandon all our friends?” he wanted to know. “After all, I was born on this ranch.”
But the husband, who was also tired of the pichilingis’ pranks, finally agreed to leave.
The family packed its belongings and placed them on the burros. Everyone in the community came to see them off. They all knew why the family was leaving.
After a sad farewell, the family started down the road. They traveled all afternoon until it began to get dark. “There’s a clearing just ahead,” said the husband. “We’ll camp here tonight.”

In the distance they could see the lights from the campfires. When they finally arrived at the campsite, they unpacked and prepared their dinner. The wife’s spirits were high and she prepared a wonderful meal. When they had finished eating it, the husband asked her to make some coffee.

“Dios mio!” cried the wife. “I have forgotten the coffeepot.”
“It’s over here,” they heard someone shout.
They turned toward a large mesquite where the voice had come from. To their great surprise, they saw a dozen or so pichilingis sitting around a campfire. The silhouette of the coffeepot flashed with the movement of the fire. All the unfortunate people could do was shake their heads in disbelief and go to sleep.
When they awoke the next morning, they found the coffee pot in the middle of their campfire.
“What’s the use of going on?” said the husband. “If the pichilingis are going to be with us, we might as well be at home.”
The family packed the burros and started back home.
The pichilingis stayed with the people who lived on the ranchos for many years. But one day, they suddenly went away and never came back.
They went to a mountain called the “Casa Santa.” That’s where Noah’s Ark is sitting. The pichilingis are the ones that take care of the ark.
They say that a lot of people go to the mountain to visit. You can go inside, but if you have evil thoughts or if you steal something, the pichilingis won’t let you out again.


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