This week with Acting Bug classes, I got some new students, introduced some new themes, and wrote a scene for the kids to learn about blocking! With a focus on stage directions, silliness, and stopping them from facing their butts to the audience, I had my work cut out for me.
Writing The Story
Writing a short scene for kids is the second best element of teaching this class to actually watching them act out scenarios. Knowing that I have one young student who cannot read, a larger ratio of girls to boys, and some kids with leadership skills, I want to adapt scenes that work best for my group. I started with a children’s book theme favorite: kings, queens, dragons, and castles. Other ideas for themes could have been space, talking animal stories, stories of superheroes, or even scenes from well known children’s books. When I subbed for a teacher last semester, she had a syllabus with fairy tale scenes like Cinderella talking to her evil stepsisters. When you want to cater to the number, genders, and interests of the students in your specific class, writing your own yields the best results.
To start, I had the kids sit around and do a reading of the script. Once we read through, I started to block little sections and then went back to revue. Repetition, pausing to ask for more emotion, and fixing spacing issues were the biggest elements to work with in this class. I wrote myself in as the narrator to set the tone and will stop doing that after a couple of weeks. I had my “narrator voice” and my “director voice” sound different so the kids would know when we were stopping to adjust.
My hope is that I will be able to hand the baton off to some of the kids with leadership in the class. The oldest boy enrolled is the most vocal and quick to make jokes. I hope to give him small scenes and ask him to facilitate the other kids and myself in storytelling soon. That exercise will continue to equalize everyone in the class and ask the kids to engage their creative genes.
If you are an acting teacher for little ones, I encourage you to write for your classes! What else do you do to engage with 7-10 year old thespians? Let us know on Twitter!