Saturday, November 5, 2011

Magic Chicken on stage and screen

Book:  The Wizard, the Fairy, and the Magic Chicken by Helen Lester, Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
Presenters:  three
Props:  Moon wand, Wizard hat, Star wand, Fairy wings, Pickle wand, Chicken hat (or similar)
Technology:  Scans and PowerPoint
Audience:  K-2

For our K-2 Book Adventure theme of “Magic Tales and Tricks” we acted out one of my favorite picture books and also scanned some of the pictures to project on the screen.  We just used simple hats and wands to be the three title characters.  I was Wizard, Sheila was Fairy, and Terri was Magic Chicken.  Brad didn’t do this program, but it was his idea to use PowerPoint with this story, and he’d done a slightly different version for Storytime in the past.   

We each demonstrated what we could do, one at a time, stepping forward and pushing the others out of the way when it was our turn.  Then we’d cast our spell with a “Zip!” (Wizard), “Zap!” (Fairy), or “Zoop!” (Chicken), and the “magic” happens on the screen.  So when Wizard changes a pig into a bicycle, the pig shows on the screen, then it’s “Zip!” and the image is of flickering lightning, followed by a bicycle.  Munsinger’s illustrations are great, but for this part we used photos of the objects.  Sometimes it’s too hard to crop a single image out of a page when it’s not surrounded by white space.   The book has Wizard kiss a pig to make the magic, but that didn’t make sense with the images on the screen; just pointing the wand worked better.

After each character has done silly magic, they each create a monster.  For these we did use Munsinger’s illustrations…they weren’t perfectly croppable, but close enough.  I don’t like to distract from a story with a lot of PowerPoint effects, but I liked this one:  When the monsters all look at the magicians, we use the “emphasis: grow” effect, so they all get larger at once.  Then the three of us run around for a bit until we’re ready to try our magic.

Wizard makes a cloud, but it doesn’t stop his monster.  So that’s an image of the monster;  then a cloud appears above him;  then that “grow” effect again so he grows right over the cloud.  Same thing for Chicken and her monster and rain.  We didn’t have an image for Fairy’s thunder so we just had the kids all stomp.  When the three friends finally all worked together, the cloud and rain images reappeared, plus Brad had added a cool (and loud) thunder sound effect. 

Using another PowerPoint effect, we showed all the monsters full size, then shrank them:  that’s just copying five or six identical images, each one smaller than the next, stacked on top of each other.  Then you use the “exit: dissolve” effect and click really fast, so the bigger sizes disappear one by one.  Three tiny monsters are left and you have them each do a “motion path” that you draw in a bunch of squiggly, spirally lines, so it looks like they’re running crazily over the screen.  

This act-out/PowerPoint combo worked very well.  As the three characters, we could play around and show enough personality so the focus was really on us.  And the screen let us show the magic happening, but not to the point where it was distracting.  More posts on the “Magic Tales and Tricks” program will come soon…. 

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