The Wolves in the Walls: drama and storytelling
This scheme of work is based upon The Wolves in the Walls by Neil Gaiman. It is a humorous and quirky storybook based on a young girl’s persistent attempts to warn her family that she can hear wolves in their walls. No one takes her fears seriously, and the wolves eventually come out of the walls causing absolute havoc and forcing the family to flee their home. By the end of the story, the family manages to scare the wolves away but in the final moments the author playfully hints at new animals who may have taken up residence in the walls.
Primarily, the activities are directed towards upper KS2 students who have limited experience of drama and different drama conventions. In designing this scheme, there is limited exposure to the language of the story, relying more heavily on the bold illustrations to draw students into the narrative and foster an inclusive learning environment. Through a conventions-style approach, there are opportunities for students to develop their knowledge of the characters in the story, including the wolves. By including activities that allow participants to explore the wolves physically and vocally, it is hoped that the stereotypical and one dimensional image of a howling wolf is avoided. In adopting the role of wolves, students are encouraged to introduce human characteristics into their work so that they can begin to gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives in the story.
Much of the drama unfolds through the eyes of Lucy using teacher-inrole. Despite being a child, she appears to be the most rational and astute member of her family. She is a positive role model in the story and recognition of her sensibilities should be emphasised and discussed throughout. Other than the illustrations, the inclusion of an installation based upon Lucy’s house is used to provoke curiosity amongst students and motivate them to discover more about the story. Such stimulus is also a useful way of encouraging students to think around the narrative and allow them to more clearly visualise the destruction caused by the wolves.
In line with the primary framework, the extension tasks cover other areas of the curriculum including art and technology in order to promote cohesive learning across a range of subjects.
- To begin to explore story through the medium of drama
- To develop a sense of inquiry in response to dramatic stimuli
- To experiment with different qualities of physical expression
- To gain experience in simple forms of physical theatre
- To challenge the actions of characters in the story they believe have acted wrongly
- To create contrasting atmospheres through vocal and physical methods
- To use different drama conventions to examine characterisation within the story
- To strengthen problem solving skills through the drama
- To make connections between the fictional context of the drama and the real world of the classroom
Number of lessons: 3