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Story Settings

Context for this Lesson

Teaching Strategies: 
School or Organization: 

Topic: Story Settings
Purpose: Identify different settings and the characters and objects that inhabit them.
Prior Knowledge: Understanding of the vocabulary of setting and character.
Materials: Hat, Images of objects/animals/people


Questions from a Hat (Images from a Hat)

Define setting as a group. Explain to the students that they are going to explore the idea of setting today through drama. 
Students will sit in a circle. Teacher will pass around a hat that contains images of various objects (tree, flower, pencil, animal, etc.). Each student will pull an image out of the hat and answer the question: "What setting can this object/animal/person be found in?" Write the answers on the board. Go around the circle twice. If they get the same picture, ask them to think of a new setting the object could be in. Ex: "Where else do we see trees? Where else do we see pencils?"
"Now that we have identified some different settings, we are going to create these settings using our bodies."

Whole Group Images

Invite students stand in a circle. Choose one of the settings they identified during Images from a Hat. Ask: "What is another object/animal/character that might be in this setting?" Listen to a few responses. Choose a dynamic object and explain that the students have a challenge. They have to create that object using just their bodies in a frozen image. "What does frozen mean?" Practice freezing. Choose one of the objects. They have 5 seconds to create that frozen image. "5-4-3-2-1, FREEZE!" All the students create the frozen picture at the exact same moment. Teacher takes a moment to reflect back what they see and how everyone's frozen picture looks very different.
Variation: Build the entire setting, one object at a time. For example, you could create the setting of a park and ask students come up, one at a time and add something to the setting--an object, animal or person. Encourage them to introduce their character or object by saying "this setting needs," then coming up and freezing as that thing. ("This setting needs a slide," "This setting needs trees," etc.) Add 4-8 students to image.
Extension: Create a full group frozen image of a setting from a book you are reading in class. If they are focused, tap the frozen statues on the shoulder and have them make a sound or say something in their character's voice.

Describe: What did we just do? What settings did we create?

Analyze: What was challenging about creating frozen images with our bodies? What was easy? How does the setting affect the story? How does it affect the characters?

Relate: What is your favorite story setting? Where else do we see settings being important? (movies, video games, etc.)