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Role-play slideshow: How the Tortoise got cracks in his shell

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Get your free PDF download of the scripted role-play called “How the Tortoise got cracks in his shell.” Just scroll down near the end of this article for the free download link.

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This is one of several Character Education role-plays appropriate for middle school students that teaches anti-bullying and Character Education concepts.

Role-play description

What is the role-play about? You can watch the slideshow to find out. You can also read the description below.

Character Education role-play description: The Grandmothers of the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya tell stories to teach the children important lessons like don't be greedy. One of those children, Ann Njeri Mwangi, orally shared this tale with me in 1990.

Many of the birds were invited to a party in Heaven. Tortoise convinced them that a way must be found to bring him along as he was such a Sweet Talker. Read about his elaborate con job.

Listen to this Character Education tale and see if you agree it also has a strong message about the necessity of being a strong Leader and Trustworthy.

Role-play directions

Note to the teacher: In addition to the role-play, you can also read it in story form. You might want to read the story to the class first and then have the class act out the role-play. Here’s the link:

Teacher Says or Asks: We will now act out the role-play based on the last story you just heard called “How the Tortoise got cracks in his shell.”

The role-play features three guy actors: Tortoise, Parrot, and Bird #1.

The role-play also features four girl actors: Mrs. Tortoise, Spokesperson from Heaven, Bird #2, and Bird #3.

The medium-size to big-size parts are Tortoise, Mrs. Tortoise, Parrot, and the Heaven Spokesperson. All the other birds have smaller parts.

The rest of the class will take turns reading the parts of Narrator 1 and Narrator 2.

Who is interested in playing these roles? (Either pull names or accept eager student volunteers.)

Other lesson plan links that go with the story

Here are the other lesson plan links that go with this story:

  1. Section 1: Lesson Objectives
  2. Section 2: K-W-L MODEL discussion (‘K’ and ‘W’ questions)
  3. Section 3: Vocabulary
  4. Section 4: Story
  5. Section 5: Popcorn Review
  6. Section 6: Role-Play
  7. Section 7: Main idea discussion (Questions are built into the role-play.)
  8. Section 8: Writing assignment
  9. Section 9: K-W-L MODEL discussion (‘L’ questions)

Free scripted role-play PDF download link

To get the free scripted role-play PDF download link, click the link below. You can download the role-play to your computer, print it off, and duplicate it for the students in your class.

A paper-saving suggestion

To save paper, you might only want to duplicate ten copies of the role-play and then have your students share the script between them. If you have an overhead projector or some way to project the role-play from the slideshow onto the wall or screen, you could save paper altogether.


In the fictional story, Tortoise adds feathers to his body in order to fly. In a real-life story, Tortoise adds a wheel to replace an amputated leg. Just for fun, watch the bonus video: Tortoise Gets a Wheel for a Leg


Other Character Education role-play slideshow links

  1. Role-play slideshow: Accept me for who I am
  2. Role-play slideshow: Animal Justice for the Hyena and the Hare
  3. Role-play slideshow: Be part of the Solution
  4. Role-play slideshow: How the Tortoise got cracks in his shell
  5. Role-play slideshow: How to tactfully handle acquaintances who leach on to you
  6. Role-play slideshow: Jackie learns how to be a good friend
  7. Role-play slideshow: Making friends with kids from other schools
  8. Role-play slideshow: Sarah and Jennifer end their friendship
  9. Role-play slideshow: Three outcomes for Denise

Other anger management role-play slideshow links

  1. Role-play slideshow: Angry Blake
  2. Role-play slideshow: Sam self-mentors versus psychological warfare
  3. Role-play slideshow: Control your anger with SPAM
  4. Role-play slideshow: A role-play that demonstrates the SPAM method
  5. Role-play slideshow: SPAM and Stairstep Thinking
  6. Role-play slideshow: Aftermath of the first kiss
  7. Role-play slideshow: Debbie tries to fix her mistake
  8. Role-play slideshow: Pranks, Idle Threats, and Promises
  9. Role-play slideshow: Matt falsely accuses Jonathan of stealing

Other fight or flight role-play slideshow links

  1. Role-play slideshow: Bully Jake and Eddie
  2. Role-play slideshow: Jake tries to rebuild his trust level with others
  3. Role-play slideshow: Tyler chooses between Dennis and Shawn’s gang
  4. Role-play slideshow: A Mediation session with Shawn, Tyler, and Dennis
  5. Role-play slideshow: Thicken Your Skin to Put-Downs

Other basic needs role-play slideshow links

  1. Role-play slideshow: A false rumor about Brittany
  2. Role-play slideshow: It all happened because Mark overslept and missed breakfast
  3. Role-play slideshow: Oscar the Outcast
  4. Role-play slideshow: Who will make the Princess laugh?


Other Perception role-play slideshow links

  1. Role-play slideshow: Julie’s big challenge
  2. Role-play slideshow: Joshua’s experiment in sending positive peer pressure
  3. Role-play slideshow: The Confrontation
  4. Role-play slideshow: Frogs and newts or gold coins (coming soon)
  5. Role-play slideshow: Jessica’s painful experience (coming soon)
  6. Role-play slideshow: Jessica and Tonya combine their resources (coming soon)
  7. Role-play slideshow: Clever Angie thinks fast (coming soon)
  8. Role-play slideshow: Christy and Laura both like Brandon (coming soon)
  9. Role-play slideshow: Roxanne and Courtney jump to the wrong conclusions (coming soon)
  10. Role-play slideshow: The misunderstanding (coming soon)
  11. Role-play slideshow: Six blind men and the elephant (coming soon)
  12. Role-play slideshow: Wild Boar (coming soon)


See Debbie Dunn’s articles on | School Conflict Resolution | K-8 Classroom Activities | Women’s Health | Storytelling Website

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