In arts integration, our teachers have found the Actor’s Toolbox to be an essential and easy tool to incorporate drama into their everyday teaching. This small guide will provide you with the basic tenets of the toolbox and ways in which you can implement them.
The 5 Tools:
Explain to the students that actors all use these 5 tools when they are creating a scene. Have students stand in a circle and experiment with each tool. Tell them to pull out their voice tool and use their voices to show a lion. Once they do this, have them physically put the tool back into their “box” and try out another one. This time, have the students use their bodies to show what a monkey would look like in a frozen picture. Repeat this with each of the tools.
Have the students close their eyes. Tell them to use their imagination tool and to picture the following scene in their minds. Then describe a scene from a story that you will be covering in class. Make sure you describe it in detail – the color, the characters, the setting, etc. Once they picture it in their minds with their imaginations, have students then depict the scene using one of their tools in a frozen picture somewhere within the classroom. You can then have them do this in small groups of 3-4 people with various scenes from the book either before, during or after reading to increase comprehension and to deepen critical thinking skills.
This is a very basic understanding of the Actor’s Toolbox for the beginning arts integration classroom. However, it is also a great way to dip your toes into the water to try out the program before jumping all the way in. Use this for reluctant teachers, as a way to kick off your program, or as a reinforcement for another arts technique that you’re already using. As simple as this is, the return of investment is astounding.