Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 8.58.35 PMI love this activity that Cynthia recently posted! I’m going to call it ‘Silent Film‘.

I always hesitate to use actors when reading novels because there is often a lot of narration and not a ton of actual action, but this is a great way to make ANY chapter actable–by pulling out the action moments. Smart lady 🙂


I finally tried out this activity today (15 April) to review a story with my students, and it was great! We did have a few hurdles to jump through. Here is how it went:

Good: I projected the script on the board since the kids didn’t have a copy of the text (Cynthia had the kids looking through the chapter from the book when she used this event).

Good: I used the ‘Numbered Heads Together’ structure for the activity. Kids worked in groups of three and had to decide as a group what the event was–just talking, no writing. Then, I called out a letter (Person A, B, or C), and that person grabbed their group’s whiteboard and wrote down the event. They had to write it down exactly as it was written in the original text (forcing them to re-read it, versus working from their often inaccurate memories), and any group that got it right on their first try received a point.

Bad: I think I chose the wrong kids to be actors. They are good actors, but they needed too much ‘think time’. It was taking them FOREVER after they saw the scene to figure out what they were going to do. Meanwhile, the rest of the class was waiting…waiting…waiting. Choose your actors carefully!! I think that I would also give all of the events to the actors at the beginning so that they have time to look over upcoming events while the groups are thinking and discussing the current scene.

Bad: I chose bad scenes. Some of them were good, but some of them were too abstract. I had three girls, and I told the class that their roles could change throughout the course of the activity. Not a good idea. I needed to stick with one person for each character and not have anyone be an abstract something like a plant. It confused the actors and the rest of the class!

Good: After two scenes, I fired those actors and switched to a ‘charades’ format. I called up one person at a time to be the artist and draw the scene, and the activity continued the same way. This allowed us to do abstract scenes, and there was no role-switching. Not as entertaining as acting it out, but it was a good fix.

Bad: I didn’t keep track of points; I left that up to groups…and they either didn’t keep track or were not very honest. Punks!

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