Thursday, April 28, 2011

Humpty Dumpty Drama (part 1)

I have this habit of keeping things.  It's not very feng shui or zen.  It's just how I support my creativity habit.  One of the things I have kept for a gazillion years is this tiny book titled, "Eggs".

Last week this little book brought me Humpty Dumpty.  I had this idea it could be turned into a musical drama using on-the-spot ideas from the children combined with a pre-written melody.   

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Overview of the Dumpty Drama process

Part 1
  • speech and movement foundation with the rhyme
  • speech and movement ostinati created by the children 
Part 2
  • transfer of speech and movement to Orff orchestra
  • perform the rhyme and 2 ostinati simultaneously with movement and Orff Orchestra 
Part 3
  • create a newscast of the Humpty Dumpty Drama
  • perform the newscast with the musical interlude (musical interlude was created in parts 1 & 2) for an audience

Part 1
1.  The first thing I did was take a couple of minutes to write a short tune in F pentatonic.
2.   Prepare blank paper to record ideas after the movement segment.  

You can use chart paper or chalkboard.  Whatever you have in your learning space.  I like to use paper so I can store it for use at a later date if I decide to take this drama beyond this first part.

3.   Share the rhyme and an image if you have one.  Images are so useful with small children.  We chanted the rhyme and then I sang my version.  The kids learned it quickly.

I like to talk about the images children see in their mind's eye.  
  • "What's going on?"  
  • "Who is Humpty?"  
  • "Why/how did he fall?"  
  • "Did anyone see him fall?" 

4.   Everyone "be" Humpty.  We sit on an imaginary wall.  We fall and lay splayed in a variety of ways.  We make noises Humpty might make.

Gather at the chart.  Brainstorm all the things Humpty said and add them to the chart. You will use these to create an ostinati later.

5.   Everyone "be" King's Men.  We march around.  We speak formally.  We view the bits of Humpty.  We comment.

Gather at the chart and record things the King's Men were saying and thinking.  This chart is from last week's process and you can see that somehow we were so engaged in the talk part I forgot to write all the ideas down.  
The kids reminded me about this step and I only wrote down the words we ended up using for our ostinato.

6.  Choose one or more of the Humpty comments and turn them into an ostinato.  We chose two comments,  "Help me!  ahhhh!"  (4 beat ostinato).  

Perform this ostinato with voice and body action.  We had so much fun with this...the kids really loved falling when they said "ahhh!" and using silly voices for Humpty.  

Perform the ostinato, maintaining independence, while teacher/other children sing the Humpty tune.

7.  Choose one of the King's Men comments and turn it into an ostinato.  We chose, "We can't help, we wish we could!" (4 beat ostinato)

Perform this ostinato with action.  I guided them to marching while they were speaking in a strong, soldier's voice.

Perform this ostinato, maintaining independence, while teacher/other children sing the Humpty tune.

This is an excellent place to take a break then take up where you left off in the next session.  
Next session you will need the Orff Orchestra.  
If you don't have Orff instruments I would use small and large percussion instead.

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