Clever Cresta

story by Katie Aaron , illustrated by Sarah Davis

Learning Intention:

I am learning how to perform a story in the form of a play so that I can practice relevant skills such as fluency, tone, pace and pitch in a cooperative group setting.

Success Criteria:

  • I can create a voice for a character based on my interpretation of their personality.
  • I can learn and rehearse a particular role by drawing understanding of dialogue and actions from a story.
  • I can perform in a play for an audience.

Understanding text:

Read the text as a class, or if you have a digital subscription, you may prefer to listen to the audio version and have students follow along. Following this, have students identify the characters who speak in the story. These should include:

  • Barny the crab
  • Cresta the crab
  • Opal the mermaid
  • Pinch the crab.

Ask students to consider each of their personalities in the story and think about what they imagine each character to sound like. Revisit the following lines and have students take turns of reading them out in what they perceive to be the characters’ voices:

  • ‘Of course you do. Every great band has a singer. (Opal)
  • ‘We don’t need a singer, Opal. And we don’t WANT one either. (Barny)
  • ‘Hmm. She’ll probably play it so loud no one will hear the rest of us.’ (Pinch)
  • ‘It’s an instrument for her to play. It can make a nice sound. Opal will have to blow into it and that will stop her singing. (Cresta)

If you have a digital subscription, you can use the interactive audio recorder to have students record their voices and playback as a comparison of interpretations.

Oral language and communication:

Explain that students are going to perform this text as a play by reading the dialogue, narrating the story and performing the actions. To do this, they will need to learn their lines and actions and know when to say and perform them.

Divide the class into three groups. Assign the roles of Barny, Cresta, Opal and Pinch and explain that these students will read the lines of their characters that appear in quotation marks. Further explain that the rest of each group will be narrators, which means they read all the other words that tell the story. To do this, narrators should take turns of reading a paragraph each.

Narrators should also be assigned non-speaking roles to act out when it’s not their turn to speak, including Boris Octopus to perform his whirling dance, the band members to play, some seagulls to swoop, soar and screech, some kookaburras to cackle and the other sea creatures to gather and listen to the music.

Once all roles have been assigned have students sit with their groups and read through the story together. While doing this, each student should use a highlighter to mark their own lines. Remind students to pay attention to the way things are said in the story, where necessary (e.g. mumbled, moaned). Have groups read through the story aloud a few times with their group until they are fluent in their lines.

Next, draw students’ attention to the action of the story, such as:

  • The ocean swirled with creatures jiving, bopping, spinning.
  • Barny was furious. He swam out to the rock.
  • They dashed about. Searching under and over rocks.
  • Then she kept checking her reflection until she was satisfied.

Students may wish to use a different colour to highlight the action they will need to do as part of their role. Have them continue to rehearse together, incorporating the actions required to act it out as a play. Once groups have had enough time and are ready to perform, bring the class back together. If possible, move desks aside so that groups can have an open space to spread out and perform their play.

Assessment for/as learning:

Have each group act out their play for the rest of the class and encourage feedback from the audience using the Two Stars and a Wish method for the overall performance of each group.