Educational Guide

Grandad's House Premio Nacional de las Artes Escénicas para la Infancia y la Juventud 2011

We suggest a series of activities, as a guideline, for teaching professionals to integrate in the educational goals for their course, if they deem it convenient. The material presented here can be extended and adapted to the group’s age and preferences.

We have divided the activities into two groups:
1) Activities to be carried out before the performance.
2) Activities to be carried out after the performance.


This section includes two subsections.
a) An overview of what constitutes a ‘theatre’, in the tangible and artistic sense. (This subsection targets students who are experiencing their first visit to a theatre).
b) Specific activities to prepare them for the performance they are about to see.


General aims:

Discovering the theatre as a means of expression.
Learning about the theatre space and its rules: How to be a spectator.
The children learn new words and their meaning.
They practice their ability to observe.


At the oral level

Remember the plays they have seen: Which were they? When? How many? What do they remember about them? Which characters did they like the most? Which scenes, costumes and theatrical makeup? Do they remember the name of the playwright?

Distinguish the difference between the language of TV, the cinema and theatre.

Differences in the behaviour of the spectators in each medium.

At the written level:

Have the children think of a short story and put it on paper. Children who are too small to know how to write can use symbols.

Differentiate the three main parts of the story: Rising action, climax and denouement.

At the visual level:
Make a mock-up of a theatre.

The parts of a theatre building; the people who intervene in putting on a performance (here you can include vocabulary games to integrate new words related to the theatre: the wings, forestage, proscenium, scenography, puppet, usher, spotlight, author, lighting technician and so forth) and the role fulfilled by each person.

Make the sets and costumes out of paper.

Use make-up to paint different characters on their faces. Point out the distinctive features that serve to identify a character.

At the theatrical level:

Dramatic representation of the character that impressed them the most or a character from the story they invented.

Improvised plays about everyday actions: getting out of bed, breakfast, on the way to school and so forth.

The role of the director. Carry out the activity in a way that gives most of the students an opportunity to direct a play.

How to work with sound: distinguishing between tone and volume. How to use different tones and volumes to characterise each role.


General aims

To complete messages based on an oral suggestion. To practice mental alertness. To build vocabulary.
To use spoken language as a method for understanding and communication.
To make the children familiar with team work: taking turns, taking others into consideration and accepting different opinions.
To develop the ability to express emotions.
To stimulate the imagination, fantasy and creative skills.


Considering that the teacher does not have the original text of «Grandfather’s House», if we suggest reading the original book by Isidro Ferrer, «Una casa para el abuelo» (published by Sin Sentido), which uses illustrations to tell the story.

On this basis, we suggest the following activities:

At the oral level:

Introduce the author and the title of the story. Divide the children into groups of 4 or 5. Ask them to imagine a story with that title and anything related to it. What does it remind them of? What do they think the author looks like? What period would she belong to? Combine the suggestions made by each group and write them down, along with the associations found.

The title mentions the grandfather: What is each child’s grandfather or grandmother like? What are their names? Are they alive or have they moved to another house? Do they have white hair? Do they walk slowly or quickly? Do they tell stories? What do they enjoy doing with their grandchildren?

If you have the script: Read the script. Have the children express the emotions the play evokes. What is the plot about and how is it told?

What subject does the play address?

At the written level:

Divide the children into small groups and have them invent grandfathers of their own and draw them.

Have them choose the one they like the best.

The children give the grandfather a voice.

They build the other ‘house’ where the grandfather would like to live.

They invent the story the grandfather would tell.

The children search for what the grandfather would to in this new place and the things that would make him comfortable and happy.

At the visual level:

The children staple the stories they have invented.
They make a photo album of grandfathers with all the pictures they have drawn.
They make some of the characters out of plasticine, clay or paper to work with subsequently.

At the theatrical level:

The children add voices and sentences to the characters they have created.
 They perform the story with the main characters and other puppets that appear on stage.


General aims:

To develop expression, disinhibition and improvisation.
To exercise the children’s memory by remembering the sequences of the narratives.
To promote interpersonal relationships. Team work.
Have the children think about the customs and way of life of other periods. Further discussion on the passage of time.
Learning about resources and elements that are foreign to our culture and can enrich it.
Stimulate the children’s inventiveness, their ability to find metaphors and make comparisons.
Have the children perform the theatrical technique of mime to acquire greater precision in their gestures (pain, joy, anger, sadness, doubt and so forth)
Encourage them to read.


At the oral level:

Summarise the play they have seen: Who was the main character? Where did he live? With whom? What other characters were there? Which one did they like the most?
Establishing relationships: Who does the character remind you of? Why? Do you know a similar story? Make a critical appreciation: Did you like the play or not? Why? What would you change? Would you recommend it to someone? Why?

We suggest a series of forums on the topics addressed in the play:

The death of a loved one

The relationships between three generations: Grandmother, mother and granddaughter

Homework: The distribution of housework

Gender equality: solidarity

The passage of life: learning and becoming more mature

Vocabulary building: words used in the play that the children have not understood.

At the oral level:

Summary of the play.

The author proposes an ending but you would have liked a different one. Invent it.

What would you have changed in the plot?

At the level of imagination:

Shuffle a deck of cards, pick a few cards and use them to create a story.

We add our character to other characters and decide:
What it is like where they live.
The relationship between the characters.
What do they do during the day?
How they speak and communicate with each other. Do they have an invented language?

At the visual level:

Draw strange characters. A fantastic being.

One child starts the drawing and folds the paper over to hide all but the last line drawn. The next student continues the drawing and so on until the fantastic character is finished.

The scenography has two parts: An above ground part with houses and an underground part.

Have the children build different types of houses using recycled materials: milk cartons, yoghurt containers, shoe boxes and so on. Each child invents an above ground and an underground part.
– At the theatrical level:
Reenact the main character in the play.
Distinguish the features of the body and voice of the little girl, the mother and the grandmother. How does the body change over the years? How does the voice change?

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