It was great to be back with the Story Makers this morning. What a windy morning it was too; which made the journey in quite amusing (for anyone watching at least), carrying in a bag of crafty items and the usual gear. This week we looked at backdrops as we continued to explore 'Space Tortoise.' We looked at backdrops last term, but approached it slightly different way this morning.
Up first were a few fun warm up games to get everyone ready for the activities ahead. This morning we had an emphasis on teamwork. Drama is a team subject; Anthos Arts likes to promote the importance of working together, respecting peers and using everyone's ideas to create work. We focus on this a lot with our Chameleons and the Anthos Young Company, hence wanted to incorporate this idea into the Story-Makers group too. The game we used to help develop this was a variation of the shape game, which worked well as the group are already familiar with it. The group had to work in small teams to make shapes of objects found in different areas. As the group progresses we will continue to support and encourage this.
As stated many time since the beginning, the classes aim to introduce participants to different elements of theatre and performance. These are tied into the themes and setting of the stories we look at. This term the group have shown a keen interest in the space aspect of the story and so it made sense to spend some time on this. Backdrops seemed a sensible direction to go in, as it provided a window for the group to express this interest artistically, and contribute towards a final piece of shared work with their peers.
Using some lovely black velvet and string, we had a space wall. The Story Maker's task was to create stars to fill the wall and make it look like space. The group were keen and set about using glitter pens and colouring to make unique stars they could peg to the wall. We offered the group a selection of shiny and coloured card and encouraged them to create their own stars the way they wanted. Some drew and cut out their own stars, while others decorated pre-cut ones. Eventually the group graduated onto more complicated designs (of their own decision), adding planets, moons and asteroids to our space wall.
Possibly the highlight of the whole morning was actually discussing space with the group and finding out what they knew. At the start I asked what you might find in space with the aim of having someone say stars which would then leading into the explanation for the activity. However, I completely underestimated the depth of knowledge our early years group possessed. Before we got to stars we had covered aliens, planets, space stations and rockets and debated whether the holes on the moon had been dug by aliens (because aliens live in holes: facts.). While we eventually found our way to stars it was great fun having this talk and also to get the group talking with each other about what things they might find in space.
To round off the session we wanted to see if we could make the stars twinkle. Using torches each Story Maker got to explore space and see which stars, planets and various space objects twinkled back at them. In doing this we also discovered that the torches could be used as shooting stars by standing behind the space wall and shining it through. It's always great when these guys build on the activities planned and new fun.
All in all, a very fun morning indeed. It is brilliant seeing how engaged each of the group is with the term's story (an apparent strong interest in space has helped). They have made some great work and the discussions we've had this term have been just wonderful. Next time we shall be stepping back from space and looking at making some props. Some of our Story Makers will also be joining us next weekend to see Dinosaur World Live; a show featuring near life size dinosaur puppets which I am particularly eager to see. Exciting times ahead!