Thursday, December 19, 2019

Toss Your Tale

A Game of Dice
William Joseph Shayer 1787-1879
I am always looking for new ways to help my storytelling students with their performance skills. This year I have quite a few students who speak very softly when sharing their stories. Of course we practice how to use a microphone but I always discuss that the microphone is there to assist them, not do the work for them. 

Recently, some of the students told their stories during class and I realized this would create a problem when they were telling from the stage. I improvised a game that day and asked for a volunteer to demonstrate the new activity. It was fitting that the child who volunteered is one of the quieter students. I happened to have a large, foam dice (found at the Dollar Store) in my rolling classroom (suitcase) that day and the new game Toss Your Tale was born.

  • A student stands at one end of the room. The teacher stands at the other end. Make sure there is a good distance between you and the student.
  • The student tosses the dice as far as they choose and the teacher moves to that spot. (Interestingly, none of the students chose to throw it softly so it landed close to them but rather threw it as far as possible.)
  • The number rolled on the dice corresponds to what they will do, making sure their voice carries enough (without shouting) so the teacher can hear exactly what they are saying.
  • The teacher repeats what they have said to demonstrate that they have heard the student clearly.

Dice numbers:
  1. Share one line of story dialogue using the emotion you give them. For example, they may have to speak as if they are mad, happy, bored, frustrated, angry, etc.
  2. Describe a character from your story.
  3. Share something that is happening in the middle of your story.
  4. Tell the end of your story.
  5. Describe something from your story using one of your five senses: taste, touch, hearing, seeing, smell,
  6. Describe a gesture from your story, demonstrating and exaggerating it.

Of course, you may change the choices for each number if you choose. If you have a large enough space, for example, if you have access to an auditorium, you could also play this game by breaking up the students into pairs. Each pair has one dice and the set of corresponding numbers above. All pairs play the game simultaneously; switching partners so each student has a chance to play the game,

The students enjoyed this game and everyone was able to use their voice effectively. A lovely side effect of this game was that the children instinctively added body language, facial expressions, and gestures, regardless of what number came up on the dice. It is my hope that the skill will carry through the next time we practice their stories.

The link below will lead you to another interactive game I invented for my students where I also use a foam dice.

Dicing Up Your Story

These games are free for you to use in your work. However, I do ask that you respect copyright and offer attribution.
You can find additional original interactive activities and worksheets in my book Story by Story: Creating a Student Storytelling Troupe.

Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and web links may change or  break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links.  At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.


Karen Chace 2019 ©
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