Frozen Picture/Stage Picture
Context for this Strategy
Frozen Picture/Stage Picture is an activity that invites students to work quickly in small groups to create a visual representation of an idea, theme, text, event, or character using their own bodies. Students work collaboratively to make meaning both through their bodies and their words.
Invite students to sit on the floor or at their desks facing a small empty space. Introduce the strategy: What makes a successful Frozen Picture that involves multiple people? Invite students to generate a list of the ways actors tell a story in a frozen image without words. For example: actors use their body and face, defined point of view, imagination, levels, physical frozen action, and the relationship between bodies. Invite a group of volunteers to stage the first group image with clear characters and/or a conflict based on an interesting, accessible prompt for the group. For example: “Summer time” or “Our School” or “First day of Kindergarten” or “The accident.” Ask the volunteer group to stand in front of the rest of the class; give each student a number (for example, 1-5). Next, randomly call a number and the person assigned to that number steps forward and makes the first part of a frozen image with her/his body. Call another number and invite that person to look at what has begun and add to the image. Continue until all of the students have joined the image. While the Frozen Picture is still frozen, ask the audience students: What do you see? What could be happening in this image? What about the bodies/characters that you see make you say that? What is a title for this image? What else could we title this image? The performers return the audience and new group of volunteers are selected and the process repeats itself. Once all students understand the procedure, build images spontaneously on a 5 or 10-count with students joining the image at any time within the count. Or, build images without a theme and make a theme based on what is built. Or make an image, title it, and then invite participants to spontaneously build another related image either backwards or forwards in time. Give them a ten second transition to move to the new image.
- What did we do in this activity?
- What performance choices helped us to explore the vocabulary word/character/concept?
- How do our images connect to our larger inquiry?
- Find a different way to join the image that you haven’t done before (a new level or viewpoint).
- Make sure you are building on the image that is already there!
- Audience, let’s think like a director: is this picture telling the story we need to tell? What suggestions might we make to strengthen or clarify the image?
- READING/WRITING and SOCIAL STUDIES: Give the students a quotation, a photograph or illustration from a book, or passage from an informational text and have them build an image of the picture.
- SCIENCE: Students can build group images of scientific concepts (meiosis, states of matter, etc.).