student working at desk

Observing To Make Meaning – Idea File

After watching without sound, students write a plot summary of the excerpt from Pinocchio. Students then review the video with sound and compare perceptions.
Grades: 5-7


Teaching Concepts:

  • Observation is an integral part of creating.
  • Students can infer meaning while viewing a scene without sound.

Academic Content

  • Drama Elements: technical and performance elements
  • Drama: non-verbal expression

Lesson Idea

  1. Ask students to recall or imagine a time when they watched people interact without being able to hear what was being said (e.g., through a window or from a distance).
  2. Show the excerpt from Pinocchio with the volume turned completely silent.
  3. Have students write a story line (plot summary) to go along with the action they observed.
  4. Now show the same video excerpt with sound and have students compare their assumptions with the actual performance.
  5. Have students assess how close their assumptions were to the meaning of the actual scene, focusing on the observation skills/intuitions that led them to their interpretations (elements of production, elements of performance, etc.).

Author: Mary Henson

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K-12The Arts