How excited are your class by reading? Bored or ecstatic everybody can get involved with this and all responses are fair and valuable!
To start get the class to go round in a circle and say a word that describes how they feel about reading- the first word that come into their head.
Now build on this with the word and action to go with the word.
Introduce the idea of the story machine whilst the class is still in a circle.
Have 4 volunteers create a story machine by joining together one after another making their movement and saying their word. They must have at least one part of their bodies touching each other. Get them to think about how they come into their machine and position themselves on different levels. Make sure they can hold their positions and do their actions faster and slower.
Split the class into groups and asking them to remember their words and actions. Get them to create machines that they will then perform back to the class.
Get the class to give feedback.
You could use something such as a tambourine to create a beat for the movement of the story machines.
What is a story? Metaphors for good stories
Brainstorm metaphors for what a ‘good story’ is for them (write on post its) e.g.
a flying carpet (takes you to another world)
a fantasy holiday (escape)
a crazy clown (funny)
This can be an individual activity or you could extend the activity into group work.
In groups, devise the idea as a tableau. Perform to the class and see if they can guess the metaphor.
From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary
Play some fill the space games to warm the class up. Get the pupils to walk around the room at different degrees of urgency. Make sure they are not bunching together- repeat the activity until they are properly spreading out.
Explain that in this space there are lots of hidden portals to different worlds that they have to find. Tell them their hidden portal will be something that they have never spotted before- a crack in the wall or a stain on the floor etc.
Give the class a few minutes to find their portal- make sure they are not bunching around the same ones.
Give the class independent thinking time to come up with their stories as to where their portal leads to. This can just be thinking time or they could write ideas on a post it.
If portals are written down students can go and read the other portal worlds or you could have some pupils tell the class about their portals and worlds.
Portal extension: If you get the students to write on a post it where their portal takes you. Then get them to pick a different portal and give them time to do some free writing and write a diary entry of what then found when they went through the portal.
If you want to tie the activity into the set text you could suggest that the portal leads you to a character or a setting. You could also extend the activity if it going well to why the portal has ended up in your school and what happens to you if you go through it?
Pass the Parcel
This is a good activity to build the tension and the excitement for the actual story.
At each unwrapping have quotes from the book- they can introduce the characters, be descriptions of characters or of settings or some action that doesn’t give too much away!
If you have music that works well and matches the feel of the book then you could use that as the pass the parcel music.
At the end it is the book that is wrapped up- read the first chapter (or appropriate) to finish the game.
Big Fat Lies
This is a funny game that students find exciting as they are usually not allowed to tell lies in the classroom.
How did you get to school this morning?
Model this by making up a fantastic story of what happened to you before you reached school this morning.
Split the pupils into pairs and give them two mins to make up their own stories. Encourage as much detail as possible and have a couple of the pupils tell their stories to the class at the end.
After two mins get them to swap and the other student makes up their story.