Monday morning and a rainy day in a lovely primary school in Tameside – it was time to brighten things up with some drama workshops, all about the colours of ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers.
This wonderfully imaginative book contains a series of letters written by The Crayons to Duncan, a boy who loves to draw. Blue is overused and stubby, Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking because they both believe they are the true colour of the sun and Pink is only used by Duncan’s sister, sadly only being seen a girls colour! There’s plenty more colours and each one has a letter to Duncan addressing his/her problem as a colour.
How could I bring these letters to life for the four Year 3 and 4 classes at Pinfold Primary? The school had booked one of our ‘Explore Days’, which offer up to 4 workshops on themes of your choice. We have a huge list of topics to choose from, or – like in this case – you can choose your own theme, based on the needs of your pupils. The fantastic thing about an Explore Day is that so many classes can take part and explore the subject – leading to inspired ideas back in class. So, my plan was to explore the book physically, using drama activities, and help children develop their understanding of the style and language used by the writer.
My plan included activities which would allow children to physically create the characters, drawings and colours, and to use personification activities which would explore the motives, thoughts and voices of the objects in the story. My initial discussion with the teachers about the workshops had focused on the imagination of the book and linking drama activities to English – this is something we love to do!
Year 3 LOVED bringing the colours to life and performing the Crayons! We worked through an activity which asked children to think about why other, everyday objects might want to ‘quit’ their jobs and pupils came up with some wonderful ideas. They communicated these through drama improvisations, ensuring that all pupils were able to access the activity and that important speaking and listening skills were being developed. Children also voiced the characters, turned their bodies into everyday objects and were totally engaged in every part of the workshop. They were a joy to work with!
In the afternoon, Year 4 completely mastered the art of improvisation – hot seating the characters with insightful questions and then thinking and speaking as the characters to answer questions during the ‘Talk Chalk Show’ activity (which was one my favourites!) We even had a few teachers performing too! We also used imaginary crayons to colour an imaginary picture, developing our visioning and team work skills.
The feedback from the school was great, they felt the Explore Day had been a huge success. One of the class teachers told us that she didn’t usually have time to explore stories through drama, but that this was a great way to engage the children and give them a WOW experience at the start of their topic.
Teachers also commented that the sessions “pushed children out of their comfort zone” and that the session was really meaningful as it allowed to them explore the “why” of the story through innovative, drama activities.
If only every Monday was as colourful! I’m looking forward to the next book I get to work on!
If you’d like to find out about our bespoke Explore workshops, give us a call or pop us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org