This topic is discussing a kind of workshop teaching technique that uses tabletop Bible drama kits with action figures to help kids visualize, retell, and discuss the story by recreating and re-enacting it on a small scale. It's a great story-learning activity especially in the Rotation Model where you don't have to come up with a new "table" each week because we rotate the kids, instead of changing the story each week.
The Story Table or "Diorama" Workshop borrows from other workshop techniques, such as, storytelling, puppets, drama, and "construction." It also borrows from time-honored story-visualization techniques, such as, felt Bible stories and Godly Play storytelling. It takes advantage of the availability of a wide-array of Bible toy and action figure kits.
However, this workshop takes these story construction concepts to another level and scale. They create a more tactile and interactive story telling experience that occupies more of the student's attention and class time. By scaling up the size and number of movable props in the story, the technique also creates more points of contact for students, and moves away from the "sit and watch the teacher tell the story" techniques of the past.
A technique that's easier to do in the Rotation Model
In a traditional Sunday School class, it would be hard to come up with a new table setting and props for a new story each week. And it would start to get "old" for the students. But in the Rotation Model, set-up and exposure is easier because we re-use the Story Table each week for the same story with a different group.
Story Table scenes and props can be more elaborate, in part, because Rotation workshops don't believe in skimping, and also because the regular use of this workshop allows us to accumulate and reuse resources. When you're going to use the same scenery and props each week with a different group, it's easier to justify the expense and preparation. The more elaborate technique also stretches the age-range upward for this technique (in the past, such story techniques were reserved for younger children). The drama props come from a variety of sources, some purchased, some re-purposed, and some homemade.
This workshop topic will continue to be expanded here at Rotation.org, and we invite you to post your questions, suggestions, resources, and ideas below.
Our "Soul Station" Story-Diorama Workshop
By Rotation.org Member ZBCC
We have a new workshop in our rotation called "Soul Station". The technique of this station is that students re-enacting Bible stories through the use of dioramas --small tabletop sets and action figures.
The room is stocked with Bible action figures (some made out of dressed up Barbies/GI/Lego/Playmobil and other re-purposed toys), props, backgrounds, blocks, paper, craft supplies, etc.
Preschool students hear the teacher tell as story through pre-prepared diorama objects, early elementary are assigned characters/props to find and then assist with moving the figures throughout the story and middle/upper elementary read the story at the beginning of class and then create a diorama all on their own.
I have attached some pdf resources that we developed for our first lesson for you to see how we are doing this.