Changing Roles

Art and Language Arts Activity

In this activity, students explore the folklore of different cultures.



  1. Tell students that they are going to put on a festival of the arts that celebrates the traditions of many cultures. To do so they are going to research myths, folktales, and traditional stories, then choose one to act out.

  2. Form acting troupes of four each and have them choose names for themselves. Explain the guidelines for putting on the plays:

  3. Each troupe can make its own masks. Or you might prefer to have students especially skilled in the visual arts make all the masks. Actors should be able to hold them up before their faces on a stick, which can be rulers, dowels, or even tightly rolled-up newspapers.

  4. Arrange a time for the festival and encourage performers to practice (and time) their plays before the dress rehearsal. Invite other classes and community members to the performance. Have students make posters, invitations, and souvenir programs.


Invite student artists to research historic clothing from ancient civilizations, to wear in the performance.

After the dress rehearsal, have a panel of students, made up of one student from each troupe, discuss their plays, explaining why they chose the material they did, how they shaped it, and what they learned from presenting it.

Have a similar panel answer questions from the audience after the performance.

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