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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Lesson Plan



Lesson Plan:

Creating Props

Students create a stick horse and role-play selling it to Toad.
  • Length: three 30-minute classes


  • Students understand the importance of props in drama.
  • Students create a prop focusing on texture.
  • Students experience how props and characters contribute to drama.

Resource Used:

Wind in the Willows: Toad and His Horse
Found On: Performance Excerpts
Video Length: 00:05:13


props, role playing, texture

TV/VCR, stick horses or broomsticks with horses’ faces at top, 8-1/2" X 11" construction paper in the shape of a horse’s head (enough for the class), glue, dowel rods, a variety of textured materials (e.g., feathers, yarn in cut pieces, cereal, aluminum foil in shredded pieces, etc.)

Instructional Strategies and Activities

Horse Mania

From July to December 2000, Lexington played host to a public art project that brought residents and tourists alike downtown and created a lively new atmosphere in Lexington. Seventy-nine life-size fiberglass horses, sponsored by local businesses and individuals, were embellished by regional artists; put on display across the city; and then sold, with the proceeds going to charity. Several horses sported coats of various textures and make particularly good examples for the discussion of texture with students.

Horse enthusiast Kathy Hillard visited Lexington to see the Horse Mania exhibit and has posted an album of photos she took at Look for these “textured” horses on her pages:

  • Chard-de-Neigh by Gayle Cerlan (Page 2)
  • Hi Ho Silver by Blake Eames (Page 4)
  • Stonewall by Damon Farmer (Page 8)

Day 1

  1. Review children’s nursery rhymes about horses. Here is one example:

    This is the way the ladies ride.
    Trippety-tee, trippety-tee, trippety-trippety-tee.

    This is the way the gentlemen ride.
    Gallop-a-trot, gallop-a-trot, gallop-a-gallop-a-trot.

    This is the way the hunters ride.
    Skibedy-gee, skibedy-gee, skibedy-skibedy-gee.

    This is the way the farmers ride.
    Giddy-up go, giddy-up go, giddy-up giddy-up go.

    This is the way the ploughboys ride.
    Hobbeldy ho, hobbeldy ho, and down into the ditch.

  2. With students standing in a circle, perform the nursery rhyme together once. Then show the class a stick horse. Pick students to ride around the center of the circle representing ladies, gentlemen, hunters, farmers, and ploughboys as the class says the rhyme. Ask students what difference the stick horse made. You could also personalize this chant for each class member; i.e. “This is the way that Timmy rides.” Each student would create a personal movement or gallop that other students would copy.

  3. Introduce the term “prop.” Talk about the stick horse as a prop. Ask what props would be needed for another nursery rhyme, such as this one:

    Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross
    To see a fine lady upon a white horse
    With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes
    She shall have music wherever she goes.

  4. Prepare students to view the video with some background information about Toad’s enthusiasm for horses. Ask students to look at the props used in the video, particularly the stick horse. View “Wind in the Willows: Toad and His Horse.”

  5. Talk about the props used in the story. You may choose to watch it a second time without the sound, asking students to try to remember three props from the scene as they watch it. After viewing, discuss students’ reflections.

Day 2

  1. Tell students they’ll be creating a stick horse and pretending to sell it to Toad. Ask students to think about what Toad likes and what makes his stick horse a good prop. View the “Wind in the Willows: Toad and His Horse” video again.

  2. Discuss how texture contributes to visual art. Texture is the element of art that refers to the perceived surface quality or “feel” of an object—its roughness, smoothness, softness, etc. You may want to conduct a mini-lesson about texture by passing around some of the materials you’ve gathered for the lesson and having students feel and describe the texture of each. You might also take another look at some of the Horse Mania horses on which texture plays an important part and help students observe the variety of textures.

  3. Ask students to create a horse that Toad would like. Provide a variety of textured materials to create a horse’s head and a one-foot dowel rod for the stick part of the stick horse. Give each student a horse-head shape and allow them to select the materials they prefer to glue on the head. Good options include feathers, yarn, leaves, aluminum foil, and cereal. Let the creations dry overnight. Help students attach the horses’ heads to the dowel rods to complete their stick horses.

Day 3

  1. Discuss Toad’s interest in buying a horse. Tell the class what you might say if you were selling Toad a horse. Role-play “selling a horse” with a student. Define role playing for the class.

  2. View the video to examine what Toad likes about horses and to give students some ideas about what strategies they might use to sell Toad a horse. Example: This stick horse is made of __________ because this makes the horse very ______. [to Toad] You would like this horse because __________.

  3. Have students role-play selling their horses to Toad.


Support • Connections • Resources


Performance Assessment

Performance Event: Students create a horse’s head out of textured materials, then role-play selling the horse to Toad.


  1. Choose material to make a horse’s head for a stick horse.
  2. Pretend you are selling this horse to Toad. Tell Toad what this stick horse is made of and why it’s made of that material.
  3. Tell Toad why he would like this horse.

Performance Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
Student creates horse’s head using textured material. Student describes work with enthusiasm and detail. Student role-plays the event without prompting from the teacher. Student speaks loudly enough so that everyone can hear. Student creates horse’s head using textured material. Student describes work in detail. Student role-plays the event with limited prompting from the teacher. Student speaks loudly enough so that everyone can hear. Student creates horse’s head using textured material. Student role-plays the event with extensive prompting from the teacher. Student does not speak loudly enough so that everyone can hear. Student does not complete art project. Student does not follow directions in role-play. Student speaks loudly enough so that everyone can hear. Student does not participate.


Academic Content

Academic Expectations:

  • 2.22: Students create works of art and make presentations to convey a point of view.

Program of Studies:

  • Experience dramatic works with attention given to the elements of drama (plot, character).
  • Recognize elements of drama in dramatic works.
  • Experience art with attention given to the elements of art (line, shape, color, form, texture, space, value) or principles of design.

Core Content for Assessment:

  • AH-EP-1.3.1: Students will observe dramatic productions and describe literary elements, technical elements, and/or performance elements using drama/theater terminology.
  • AH-EP-1.4.1: Students will identify or describe works of art using elements of art and principles of design.
  • AH-EP-4.4.2: Students will choose media to create artworks with a basic understanding of how to use the media.


Mary Henson


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