Kamishibai: Japanese Storytelling

Kamishibai: Japanese Storytelling

Students explore the questions, What is a culture? and How is a culture reflected in storytelling and art? They learn about the Japanese tradition of storytelling called kamishibai. Then they prepare for a kamishibai performance for another class by drawing a story scene, writing text summarizing the scene, learning to use their voices expressively in telling a story and how to speak in front of an audience.

Grade 3
Content Area Social Studies
Key Benchmark SS 3.6.1: Explain that different cultures have unique values, beliefs, and practices (including ways of sharing stories).

LA 3.6.5: Vary oral expression, level, pacing, and intonation according to content and purpose.
Art Form Drama
Art Benchmark FA 3.3.1: Create a dramatization based on a story.
School Year 2005-2006
Artist Kelsey Rothrock
Unit Plan

GLO #5 - Effective Communicator
Assessment Questioning (Social Studies); Work Sample (Social Studies, Art); Read Aloud Checklist (Drama, Language Arts)See PDF files for details.:

Lesson Plans

LP 1 Introduction to Theatre

The actor gives an introduction to theatre by leading the class in theatre games and establishing rules and procedures for theatre activities. Each lesson will include vocal warm-ups and exercises. (Language Arts) The teacher reads the story by Allen Say called, The Kamishibai Man with the class to introduce this form of storytelling.

LP 2 Reading the Folktale

The actor reads Allen Say’s version of a traditional Japanese folktale, Under the Cherry Blossom Tree. The class discusses characters, setting, and plot. The students then listen to several short poems, making pictures in their minds, then use descriptive words to describe their mind-pictures to the class. (SOIAL STUDIES) The teacher reads the story and students listen for clues about the culture from which it comes. Comparison of the culture of rural Japan and rural Hawaii.

LP 3 Mind Pictures Become Tableaux

Students listen again to Under the Cherry Blossom Tree. Then each group is given a scene from the story and asked to create a tableau depicting the scene. The rest of the class tries to guess which scene it is. Discussion about what makes the tableau effective in conveying the key story idea. (ART) Kamishibai Illustrations (3 sessions) Students work on an illustration for the scene assigned to them from the story. Each student has his/her own scene to illustrate. (LA) Students begin writing a short text to summarize their scene. This is what will be taped to the back of the illustration and read to the audience while the picture is shown.

LP 4 Visualizing What You Read

The session begins with students listening to the story again, this time visualizing each scene. Class makes a vocabulary list of words that convey what they have visualized. Then students practice reading their kamishibai text to their partner, while visualizing what they are reading about.

LP 5 Using Our Voices Expressively

Students participate in several theatre games in which they are asked to use their voices in many different ways. In groups, they practice reading their story panels with various kinds of expression and decide which one fits best. The final decision is read to the class.

LP 6 One-Minute Stories

Students read short fables, then try telling the story in their groups in 3 minutes, in 2 minutes, in 1 minute. Then one student from each group is asked to tell their fable to the class in 1 minute. Time is also spend rehearsing the kamishibai performance, blocking the movements that will be used during the presentation. (SOCIAL STUDIES) Students list the key information about how kamishibai storytelling was done. (LA) Students work in small groups to tell part of the story of kamishibai, using the chart made in Social Studies class.

Lp 7 Introducing the Performance

Each student receives a card that includes a section of what the class wrote about kamishibai storytelling. In the performance, each student will read their card as the introduction to the telling of the story. Discussion of how to use the voice with emphasis on volume and pacing.

LP 8 Rehearsal

Students rehearse their performance, including movement around the performance space, reading the introductory cards, and showing and reading the story panels.

Additional Photos for "Kamishibai: Japanese Storytelling "

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Introduction to Theatre
Reading the Folktale
Mind Pictures become Tableaux