Add a Little Dramatic Play to Learning
No Time for Drama Lesson Plans?
Try teaching the core subjects through drama play. Here are a few ideas to get started.
Drama Lesson Plans for Language Arts
This is the easiest of the subject areas to work in since most of us would consider drama to be part of our language arts program. There are informal ways to incorporate drama skills into some unexpected topics
Spelling B-mote - Practicing spelling can be more fun when students are asked
to use the various drama performance skills when spelling their words.
Voice Elements • vary the tone, pitch, volume, speed
• add hesitations and a gestures to show syllable breaks
• speak with an accent
Body Language • move body to illustrate the character of each letter as the word is spelled
- a swaying movement for the fluid letter ‘s’
- stiff with arms out for the rigid letter ‘t’
Movements do not have to show the shape of the letter, but rather the
“feel” - perhaps a punch in the stomach for the letter ‘f’.
Students should be told that there is no right or wrong to their choices
for each letter.
Emotion • spell the word using the emotion suggested by the
teacher or leader
• spell using the emotion suggested by the word
• spell using the opposite emotion suggested by
the word e.g. ‘boring’
• for difficult words - assign a specific emotion to
individual students and go down the line spelling the
same word in the different emotions
Role • spell the word as if:
- you just won 3 million dollars
- you are a 3 year old with a temper tantrum
- you have a mouth full of jelly beans
- you are the ogre hiding under the bridge
Many of these methods can be used for rote learning in other areas such as multiplication facts or formulas in math.
Reading Sequence Scramble
This drama play works best in a large empty space. You may want to try it in the gym or outside.
Divide the class into groups - one for each major event in a story or one for each chapter in a novel. Give each group a card with the outline of the event which they must rehearse and present in pantomime.
Have the groups present their pantomimes out of order. Once they have all performed, they must try to put themselves in the correct sequence without talking!
When the students think they are ready, groups should perform again to see how well they did in reorganizing. (Some group presentations may make it difficult to figure out what the event might be. In discussion see if the students can figure out what scene or event is missing.)
When discussing the characters in a story or novel, make a chart listing their character traits and how they behave differently. List gestures and other body language or facial expressions, either described by the author or imagined by the readers. Also discuss and add to the chart descriptions of the language used by each character, including peculiarities in speech etc.
Suggest an event from every day life that did not actually happen in the story.
e.g. The bank machine eats his/her card and won't give it back!
Challenge individual students to become one of the characters in the story and act out the given scene showing how that character might react to the situation. Repeat the same scene showing how the different personalities react to the same set of circumstances.
The scene could be repeated with two or more characters together in he same situation. The actors must then ad lib the interactions between the characters when dealing with the problem.
Drama Lesson Plans for Math
Body Sculpture can add some laughter to a geometry review of 2D and 3D shapes. Divide the class into groups with enough students to make the shapes that you are working on. Groups must try to be first to correctly make the shape called out by the teacher or leader.
• make a rectangle, square, rhombus ..
• make a cube, sphere, tetrahedron ..
• make a cube with a cone inside,
..... a square inside a sphere
- Divide the class into 2 groups.
- Explain that each student is equal to 1 unit (metre, kilometer, foot, mile etc.) when standing (for perimeter) and 1 unit square when lying curled up on the floor (for area).
- have the students practice the two positions first before playing by calling out "area" -students curl up on the floor, call out "perimeter" - students stand with hands at sides
- begin calling out specific dimensions that each group must make
1) "Make the perimeter of a field 3 by 4." Students must make the perfect rectangle with the correct number of units (bodies) standing and shout out the correct perimeter as soon as the figure is made.
2) "Show the area of a floor 2 by 6." Students must curl up on the floor, side by side in 2 lines of 6 to cover the correct area and shout out the correct area.
- As the students progress, call out new measurements quickly to keep them moving.
- Assign one group to be the AREA and one to be the PERIMETER. When the dimensions are called the perimeter group fences in the other group by standing around the outside of the AREA. Both measurements must be shouted out.
- In order to try larger numbers, have the class work as one large group and use game show music to make it a "Beat the Clock" activity. You will probably only have enough students to do either area or perimeter for each round.
Tell a good math story .......... Goldilocks and the Triangular Bears?
Drama Play in Science
Research- Don't Just Stand and Deliver!
This could be used for review or as another take on the research project! If for example you were working on an animal unit, pairs of students could be assigned one animal to research, but instead of presenting their findings in a written report or display, they would present a short skit.
Set out the requirements for the task. In the play, the humans must run into the creature in the wild, showing its natural habitat. Through costume and dialogue the
students must reveal why they are there (hunters, hikers, scientists, swimmers). Details about the animal’s appearance, behavior, food, etc. must be given and the “plot” should make clear the results of contact between the humans and the animal.
Simple Machines Save the Day
Challenge your class to save Rapunzel. Have students work in groups to write a script for a rescue scene in the story of Rapunzel. The hero(s) (doesn't have to be the prince) must use at least 3 simple machines to rescue the damsel in distress from the tower. While the rescuer(s) work, Rapunzel must shout down suggestions or questions using the correct terminology. e.g. "Are you sure that pulley is strong enough to hold me?" Since full size equipment could be a problem, props could be made from cardboard, or the entire play could be performed with puppets and small props.
Try Some exciting Colourful Performance Poems
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