I was invited to be a guest presenter at the Literacy fair at one of my schools. I wanted to have an interactive session that would enhance their comprehension skills at the same time. I decided to go with trying out my first Tableau.

I chose the book

The Araboolies   by Sam Swope

I love this book because the messages are so clear. Dare to be different. Don’t judge someone by the colour of their skin. Stand up for what you believe in.

I set up by hanging curtains around my” stage”. I made a” movie poster” on the white board.

As each group entered, I had the children come to the “stage”. They were so excited that I had transformed the reading area into a”real” stage.I told the children that tableau is a French word for a canvas prepared for a painting. I told what the word tableau means in English for our time together by saying:
tab·leau An interlude during a scene when all the performers on stage freeze in position and then resume action as before.

I explained to each group that we would be doing three things.
First I would read them a story.
Then we would act out the story in scenes. I would take photographs of them acting out the scenes.

( In this photo the students demonstrate how the Araboolies pile into one big  bed like a bunch of puppies.)







Finally we would re-tell the story together as a group.

Each group was so excited by the process. I had chosen three parts of the book to use as a scene for our tableau. Each group then chose their favourite part to add to mine.

Some of their favourites included piling into the bus like the Araboolies, piling into bed like a bunch of puppies and of course “calling in the army”.

When we finished and the children were re-telling the story it was exciting to see that even the most shy children could really re-tell the story.




( The Araboolies TAKE ONE!! )




I gave colour copies of the photos we took to the teacher. She decided to make a book of their tableau.
It was certainly an activity that had students engaged and reinforced comprehension in many different ways. I will try this again!!