Drama Lesson Plans
Looking for Drama Lesson Plans?
A role playing game or short play scripts allow us to explore many aspects of life and to react to situations in a make-believe world. Drama play is an amazing tool for getting students up and moving, thinking, interacting with one another and more personally involved in their learning.
|Repetitive Fairy Tales||Body Sculpture||Freeze Frame||Simulation||Object Empathy||Christmas Play||Student Writing||Colourful Performance Poems|
Drama Scripts or Spontaneous Role Play?
Drama activities can be integrated into many areas of the curriculum whetherit is a formally scripted and rehearsed skit, an activity used to practise acting techniques, or drama games that encourage "thinking outside of the box".
Below you will find some ideas for your own drama lesson plans. Be sure to download the free sets of cards that go with some of the drama activities.
A Few Ideas ....
Ho Hum to Ha Ha Ha!
Practise Performance Skills While Working on Material to be Memorized
(multiplication tables, mathematics or science formulae, capital cities, poems, ...... anything that needs repetition to learn)
Voice Elements (volume, projection, timbre, diction, dialect, tone, pitch, articulation, pace)
Body Language (stance, gestures, breathing, facial expression)
Emotion (anxious, ecstatic, fretful, deliriously happy, bored ...)
Role (teacher, car salesman, fairy tale ogre, 3 year old child, lottery winner, gum chewer)
After the students have had some experience in "playing" with the various dramatic elements add to the challenge.
Have a class set of cards ready with roles described so that each student can perform the lines differently. Cards could be given out so that students have a few minutes to prepare their version. Try a little ad lib - as they gain experience, a card could be pulled to perform on the spot.
A simpler version for younger children would be to use Fairy Tale or T.V. characters with whom they are familiar. For example spelling practice could include the instructions :
- "Spell yummy the way the Big Bad Wolf would say it for Red Riding Hood."
- "Spell help the way Grandma would when the Wolf comes to eat her."
- Spell tomorrow the way Rapunzel would say it when she was in the tower."
Drama lesson plans for Math?
For a greater challenge try telling a whole fairy tale with the characters speaking only the line to be memorized. In this game, the teacher could narrate the story while the characters act it out. For example:
Goldilocks and the Triangular Bears
Once upon a time there were three bears who lived in a little house in the forest. Since their porridge was too hot to eat, they decided to go for a walk along the triangular path through the woods. Papa Bear, waving to Mama and Baby Bear to follow, said gruffly:
The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides!
Mama Bear nodding her head happily agreeing to go, replied lightly:
The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
Baby Bear, not sure where they were going, asked in a squeaky little voice:
The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides?
As soon as the bears were gone, a little girl with long golden hair came to the door of the tiny house and knocked on the door while calling out:
The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides?
Would you like the rest of the story?
Once the students have the idea, groups could be given the task of creating their own repetitive fairy tales.
(This story could also be used to find other words to use instead of "said" when writing dialogue!)
Students Confused About Area and Perimeter?
Try this group activity to help solidify the concepts.
A Bit of a Stretch
A little body sculpture can exercise the mind and the body.
This drama lesson plan can be used in a variety of subject areas. For example after studying musical instruments, groups of 4-5 students could be given the task to "sculpt" an instrument using their bodies. They might have to figure out how to show the cylindrical shape of a clarinet with the keys sticking out at the sides or a curled french horn with its large bell. Add some more hilarity by asking the sculpture to make the sound of the instrument.
More ideas for sculptures:
- Science - structures show types of bridges etc.
- types of crystals
- younger students can make snowflakes
- machines incorporating levers, wedges, pulleys .....
This is also a great one for including a drama lesson plan in music.
- Math - geometric shapes 2D and 3D
- Geography - create a relief map showing physical features of a country
- Spelling - give students words to be "spelled" using their bodies as letters
(the effect is similar to outlining words to get their shape with tall letters, tails etc.)
Retelling a story can be dramatic. Assign groups of children a particular event in a story, a chapter in a book or a verse from a song to illustrate as a living picture or tableau. The challenge is to get all the important details in the "picture". Give enough time for the groups to discuss and practise their scene. They can present one tableau at a time and discuss with the others what they thought was important to put in and what was left out. Often good debate can be had when others disagree with what was in the scene.
An interesting way to present is also to set up all the scenes in order around a circle (may need the gym) and while playing appropriate music go around the circle with a spotlight or flashlight highlighting one tableau at a time to tell the story.
To Live It Is To Learn It
Computer simulation games are very popular, but you don't need a computer to have a simulation. This form of drama play can be used to let students feel as though they are actually living out a situation in real life.
The simplest form is an impromptu stepping into role by teacher and students. It takes a little practice for the students to catch on to this technique, but once they recognize what the teacher is doing, they will quickly get into role themselves. If, for example, the class was studying a Pioneer unit and already had some knowledge of the era, the teacher could spontaneously step into the role of a teacher of the time. Modelling the language and style of interaction the teacher would dramatically give a command to one student, "John, stoke the fire. It's getting cold in here." Of course John may be a little taken aback by this, but with encouragement would then join in the simulation by pretending to go back and stoke the fire. This would be an indication to the class that they were no longer in the 21st century school and should respond accordingly.
A few sessions like this could prepare students for a full day or week simulation in which slates and the old style of teaching would be in effect. The students would have to "live it", so no modern technology would be allowed. This could extend to games played, dress and food eaten at school. Of course this would not include the old forms of punishment!
Major simulations can involve much more planning but are excellent experiences for all involved. This type is probably easier with older students since they must have a fair bit of background knowledge and do a lot the work themselves.
As an example, this simulation worked well with 2 classes of grade 6 students. It would fit in with a study on World Events, Government, The United Nations or World Trade.
Divide each class into 4 countries and assign each group a type of government (democratic, military dictatorship, monarchy, communist, tribal). Groups work together to create a number of items for their country. All decisions, however must be made according to the type of government. So the democratic country starts with an election, the other leaders can be assigned or names drawn from a hat (to avoid a military coup!).
some decisions to be made or items to be created on the first day or two:
- name of the country
- motto and symbol (perhaps national anthem)
- flag designed and made to mark country's territory in the room
- a constitution or bill of rights or set of laws (depending on Government)
- currency named and actually made in large quantity
(for an interesting study, assign each group a definite amount of money and at the end determine the countries have a profit or loss)
- teacher should supply one large map showing the location of all countries - groups make their own map of their country showing physical features, cities towns etc.
- looking at the location and natural features of their country determine what is the main product or service that they have to trade with other countries
(art supplies should be divided up in such a way that each country has something - some more, some less - but other supplies must be purchased or bartered for from another country - (to be realistic I suppose some could be stolen or the military could come in and take over!)
- other items may be needed according to your topic
By this time all people in the group should be assigned a specific role as determined by the needs of the group. Roles may change (just like changing jobs) as the simulation progresses.
Each day, situation cards are given to each country which provide them with a problem to solve or a task to complete. Some of these would be "in country" and some would involve contact with the other countries. Inevitably conflicts arise which will necessitate a summit meeting or an intervention by another country. The simulation should have a major closing event such as a Mini Olympics, a World Fair or a United Nations meeting.
The nature of the situations presented and the closing event would be determined by the specific focus of your topic. Some ideas could be taken from items in the news, which allows students to work on "real" problems.
Don't forget to download the free role playing game cards to accompany this drama activity.
Have a set of Object Empathy cards ready. Each card gives the name of an object, where it is, what's happening to it and a "finally" statement to give an ending to the situation.
You are an almost empty tube of toothpaste in a dark drawer.
You are taken out of the drawer, your cap is removed and fingers squeeze and squeeze.
Finally, you are rolled up from the bottom, the last bit of toothpaste squeezed out and you are thrown into the garbage.
With a little practice putting themselves into the "mind" of the object, students can get quite good at expressing the implied emotions and creating some ad lib dialogue to go with their actions.
The object cards could also perform double duty as story starters for working on
"point of view".
Working on drama skills?
Visit the Teachers' Drama Workshop.
In the English E-bookshop
3 Lesser known
Grimm's Fairy Tales
retold in stage play format