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The Paperbag Princess

Context for this Lesson


Focus Question: What can we learn from  seeing a story through someone else's perspective?


Introduce: Today we are going to use dramai to explore a story but first we are going to get our bodies and minds up and moving and ready to play.
Name Game: In our story that we are going to hear today there is a dangerous dragon who speaks with a low voice and a prince and a princess who speak with higher voice. I’d like each of you to choose to say your name with a low voice or a higher voice. Share names.
ENGAGE through Artifact the students by asking them to join you in a circle. Place a bone in the middle of the circle. Ask them to consider what it is, what it came from, why it might be here. Bones are things that are left behind. How do you suppose this one got left behind? (take student predictions) This bone reminds me of a big thing that happened to a girl named Elizabeth. She had to track down a dragon following bones, just like this one. Let’s see what happened to Elizabeth.


SHARE the story of The Paper Bag Princess

EXPLORE the story

1) Narrative pantomime: In this story Elizabeth had to track down a dragon by following the bones. Let’s see if we can step into her shoes and find out what that felt like: “Well it started out to be a nice morning, but then it got a lot worse. A dragon has broken into your house. You stand up and dust yourself off. You scratch your head. Start by looking down, you think. Hey, what’s that over there? You walk over a few steps, bend down, and see the shape of a dragon’s footprint. You place your hand into the giant footstep. It’s a big dragon all right. You start to follow the prints. You walk up a mountain and down a mountain. You go through tall grass. You walk on sharp rocks. Suddenly you stop. You look down!! What’s that??!! Something is lying on the ground, something really big. It’s white and hard and smelly. As you look closer you realize that it’s a bone. Maybe a bone from something the dragon has eaten. You feel scared. It better not be part of your friend. You see a large cave. You hide behind a rock. A small wisp of smoke is coming out from the entrance to the cave. You think this must be the dragon. Slowly, carefully you walk into the cave its dark, and dirty, and smelly. (Just the kind of place that dragons like to live.) You turn a corner and stop there in front of you is a big, green, smelly dragon!!!

2) Dragon Machine: Now let’s see if we can create the dragon that Elizabeth sees when she enters the cave. As a group, create the dragon. Ask for one volunteer to be the head of the dragon and work backwards through the body. Have the dragon try to roar and breathe fire.

3) Teacher-in-role: At the end of the story Elizabeth’s friend the prince said that he didn’t believe she was telling the truth about tricking the dragon. And when Elizabeth returned to her town no one believed her there either. They said kids can’t trick dragons. Elizabeth was very upset because she had tricked the dragon. Do you think you can talk to Elizabeth and help her with her problem? When I put on this scarf I am going to pretend to be Elizabeth. Let’s see if you can help Elizabeth with her problem . . . In role as Elizabeth explain that you want to try and show adults that kids can do a lot of things. Brainstorm with the students things that kids can do. Have kids physicalize their answers, by acting out their suggestions.

4) Statue Maker: Explain that the students gave Elizabeth such good ideas that she decided to make some statues for her town to show all the adults all the cool things kids can do. Have students dance to music and then freeze into still statues of “cool things that kids can do.” Elizabeth can come and “buy” different statues to put around her town.


• What was your favorite part about acting out the story today?

• How did it feel to be the Elizabeth tracking the dragon?

• How did it feel when we became the dragon together?

• What would you like to tell the people in Elizabeth’s town about kids and what they can do?