JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl

 

Some approaches using simple drama strategies

 

1) Activities after reading up to and including chapter 14

 Focus: “There is no knowing what we shall see!” cried the Centipede

 

  • Actions: use the 7 verses from the song (p54). Underline key words in each verse. Take the first verse and model how to mime key words in the first line. Then ask the class to help suggest mimes for key words for the rest of the verse. Once mimes have been decided, ask the children to mime as the teacher reads the verse.  Then repeat the above with the last verse.

  • Organise children into mixed ability groups with 3 in each group. Share the remaining 5 verses among the groups - one verse per group– (some groups will have the same verse as another group in classes of over 15).  Then allow the groups some time to work out actions for the key words. Ask groups to let you know when they have worked out their mimes. Stop the groups when 2 have finished. 

  • Read the verses and ask groups to stand and perform their actions as you read their verse. This will need to be carried out twice so children can get used to what is expected. 

  • Speculation: Ask each group to add something they think the travellers might see or experience – Suggest they start with the words  We may ( see )…. if they need a structure.

  • Freeze-frames/captions: Ask each group to prepare a freeze-frame to illustrate what they think the travellers will see. They should write  a caption on a large card. Then invite groups to show their freeze-frames and captions to the other groups. 

 

2) Strategies for reflection – after reading the whole  book

 

  • Ask the children to imagine that the mayor or New York decided to commission a sculptor to make sculptures telling the story of how James and the Giant Peach got to New York. The first sculpture showed the people of NY looking up at the creatures as they looked down from the peach.

  • Make a whole class freeze-frame to illustrate this moment – showing the fear on the faces of the people and the confusion on the faces of the creatures. Use paddle puppets/ or one piece of costume to indicate the insects. Then agree a caption for the sculpture, using the book as a guide to ensure everything tallies with the text.

  • Use digital media to capture the image for an imaginary  newspaper report and use modelled and shared writing to write the report. Alternatively, or additionally, ask children to add thought bubbles to the image as an extra illustration in the book or a comic book version of part of the story.