A Guide to Teaching Drama Part 3 - Easing Yourself In

Guide to Teaching Drama part 3

Read Part 1 & Part 2? Ready to give things a go? Ease yourself into drama teaching by making it a regular part of your usual classroom activity first - and not an individual session at all.

Find or create appropriate opportunities in your day where you can spend approximately 20 minutes utilising drama activities in the classroom. This introduces a new concept to a class, gauges their likes and dislikes, and steadily builds your own confidence in delivery.

Good times to try might be:

First thing
Get your class geared up for a good day

  • Call and answer the register using different emotions, voices, accents or languages.

  • Sing the register!

  • Wake the body up by shaking each limb in turn. Count down from 10 each time and finish by shaking the whole body altogether.

  • Use a fast paced drama game to focus everybody and speed their brains up!

After lunch break
Rein them in after all the trials and tribulations of lunch time

  • Calm them down with some carpet-time breathing exercises. Imagining their bellies are like balloons; they expand with each inhalation and deflate with each exhalation.

  • Refocus their attention by asking them to clap at the same time as you. Everybody ready to try and make one big class clap! (It’s harder than you think!)

  • Play ‘Just a Minute’ by inviting one child up to talk about everything that happened at lunch time without stopping for a whole minute. (Or recapping the morning’s classes, or their favourite hobby, sport, holiday etc.)

Before or after story time/class reading
Jump into a story’s world or explore it further

Before:

  • Play charades and ask the students to guess the story title!

  • Invite students to action each word of the story title:

    • E.g. The Princess and the Pea

      • The = body in a T shape

      • Princess = curtsy

      • and = plus sign with fingers

      • the = T shape with fingers/hands

      • Pea = curled in a ball

After:

  • Can a student retell the story (so far) in two minutes? Then again in one minute? In 30 seconds? In 15 seconds?! (Excellent for identifying key details!)

  • Invite students to create still images in groups, recreating locations and/or situations from the story. Older groups can choose 3 or 4 and sequence them.

  • Develop this by adding improvised dialogue. When you tap a student on the shoulder they should speak a line of dialogue which they think their character might say in that scenario. (I call this the iPad game - like a touch screen.)

All of these activities can also then be utilised in a drama session itself. Therefore, they’re great stepping stones for moving from class to drama, and also bring some familiarity into your first drama session together.

Where possible, I would recommend starting with one of these, adding another week on week for perhaps half a term, before going for gold on your first full session outside of the classroom.

As for what to do in that first session… hold fire until Part 4 which breaks down the different components of drama and goes through each approach that you can take during a drama session.

- Sarah