Key questions to guide formative assessment and/or develop the drama
I. Introduction to mythology
1. Read Iron John myth to the class.
2. Draw the image that touched you in the myth.
3. Working in pairs:
student ‘A’ lays picture in front of student ‘B’;
‘B’ tells a story beginning “Once upon a time...”;
‘B’ lays picture in front of ‘A’;
‘A’ tells a story beginning “Once upon a time...”.
II. Finding a story
1. Read and study a variety of myths. For example:
Oedipus and the Sphinx,
Rae te akeake,
Hinemoa and Tutaneki.
2. Re-tell the chosen myths, using a variety of dramatic elements and conventions, such as:
spoken thoughts aloud,
chorus of movement,
chorus of voice.
3. Combine the conventions within the re-telling.
Drawing parallels to our lives
1. As a class, discuss how the themes of these myths could be translated for today’s world. For example, the story of Icarus flying too close to the sun and causing his wings to melt just as his father predicted, could be updated to parents warning about unprotected sex, then a teenager ignoring them and getting pregnant.
2. In-groups, students discuss the theme they will choose.
3. Hot seat each character to get a sense of who s/he is.
Devise a story using flashback and freeze-frames, that is, students create still pictures that describe the key moments in the story.
1. Students think about the main crisis point in their story. Present that moment in a freeze-frame.
2. Students think of a moment before the crisis point of this story. Present this flashback as a freeze-frame and show the class.
3. Discuss how the story will finish.
Journal entry: Developing a character through flashback
Journal entry: Freeze-frame images to structure the story.
1. Groups show freeze-frames to the class.
2. Each group reflects on the previous group’s work, commenting o the effectiveness of:
point of focus,
clarity of crisis point.
Students learn from feedback received.
III. Shaping the story
Using the first freeze-frame as a starting point, improvise the story until the moment in time of their second freeze-frame.
Show to class.
Obtain/give feedback to answer these questions:
Are the character relationships clear?
Are the character’s intentions believable?
Move through the freeze-frames (from one improvisation to the next) until the story is devised.
Record the process as it happens by making notes on the worksheet provided.
Journal entry: Shaping the story
Assessment: Students are assessed on their ability to incorporate the elements and conventions into the adaptation of the myths to strengthen the modern day story. See Assessment criteria sheet.
Provide background information sheet: Understanding traditional shadow puppetry.
Journal entry: Features of traditional shadow puppetry
V. Creating the space
Create the space in the story that allows the action to flow.
Draw pictures of the different places in which the action of the story takes place.
VI. Defining the characters
Discuss and define each character’s traits, qualities, and attitudes, and use these to help describe their physical appearance. (For example, an inquisitive character might have a big nose.)
Role on the wall – use this technique to further define the character:
draw an outline of the character;
record the character’s external appearance outside of the outline, and put their inner feelings and attitudes inside.
VII. Designing and making the shadow puppet
Design the shadow puppet on paper, ensuring the parts that are to be jointed are overlapping. In pairs, students share the puppet designs and give feedback regarding the ways design reflects character. (Note: Patterns are given in the resource books listed under ‘Materials and resources’.)
Redraw the separate parts on a piece of cardboard.
Details can be cut out of the figure to allow the light to shine through. (Do not cut away too much cardboard, or it will weaken the puppet.) Decoration can added to the puppet for light to shine through, such as lace, cellophane, paper doilies, net or other loose-weave fabrics.
Cut out the puppet parts, and lay down in position to check overlap at joints.
Make the joints by piercing a hole at each joint position, then pushing a split pin through the holes and bending it back. (Note: The holes must be big enough to permit free movement of the joints.)
Wire or vertical rods to operate the puppet can be fixed on with ‘blue tac’ and masking tape. (Note: Considerable effective movement can be achieved by letting the arms hang freely and moving only one main rod attached as one arm control. Legs do not usually have controls, but instead hang from the body, but some degree of control is gained by the way the main body is manipulated.
Practice manipulating the shadow puppet.
Journal entry: Creating a shadow puppet
VIII. Role development
In groups, students ask questions (one at a time) about the character’s past, attitudes, and beliefs.
From the answers, create a history is created for each puppet’s character.
…over time – discuss aspects of the drama to clearly define the:
characters’ development over time.
Discuss methods of showing a change in time during the story.
…through setting – consider the puppet’s environment, for example:
country or city setting,
inside or outside.
Puppets then interact with the chosen objects.
…through intentions – choose an action of your puppet character in the story, and follow this process:
Decide what s/he is trying to achieve by the action.
Practice the action to show this intention.
Show the group.
Choose another action and repeat the process.
…through character’s feelings – in pairs, explore the puppet’s feelings. For example, is it:
Practice, and give feedback.
…through point of focus
Choose one scene – a particular moment in time that captures the dramatic action, or a theme, character or other aspect that gives purpose to the drama.
Place puppets in a variety of positions – where do they stand/sit? At what levels?
Experiment until a strong point of focus has been created in the scene.
Feedback – with the groups in pairs, have them give feedback to each other on the focus points of their scenes.
Feed forward – students take on board feedback by working to improve the point of focus in their scene.