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:
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
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
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.