This worked very well to calm a very excited class down.
Sit your class in a circle and get them to suggest words to describe the setting or what you might see in the setting.
Then go round the circle and suggest noises you might be able to hear in the setting.
Give the pupils a few minutes to decide on the noise they want to make and then build the noise up from quiet to loud and back down to quiet. Take your time on this to make it really atmospheric.
Get 4 volunteers (depending of the size of the class) to step outside the circle- they will be a selection of the main characters or just all one character. Get the rest of the class to start their noises very very low and then get the characters to carefully step into the circle and walk around- build up the noises.
When you finish ask the students who were walking around the scenes how it felt where they comforted, scared, excited?
As a class or in groups, have your student’s think of the best villain, hero, damsel in distress, friend and narrator they can think of from any books or plays.
Get them to really describe the character and what makes them the best.
Get your student to act like these characters- from their heads to their toes.
Start by getting them to simply stand like a statue of the character, the walk, then have them miming an action that the character might do daily eg. Putting their shoes on having breakfast brushing their teeth.
Do they have a catch phrase?
Meet another character- how do they react?
Have the class sit back down and think about the story and the characters role in it. What is the most important point of the story for that character?
How does that character change the narrative or impact on the story?
Acting the scene
This works particularly well if you have already read some of the book- but is not impossible if you have not, it might just need a bit more description from you.
If your class is particularly unsettled or over excited you could have a small group of students standing and acting and the rest of the class sitting and making the sound effects.
Take a part of the story which describes a journey or adventure.
Have the students embody the main character. As a warm up get them to think about their posture, how they would walk with different emotions (eg. when the Iron Man is scarred, angry, happy).
Play around with speed and stopping on command and freezing.
Start the journey, paraphrasing the different parts of the journey but with specific actions you would like them to act out (eg. Opening doors, peaking round corners, etc.)
Now try act out different emotions the character might go through (eg. The main character seeing something scary or being really brave)