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Four easy drama activities to excite your students

Are you calling out for new ways to excite your students? We have you covered with four fun and easy drama activities to mix things up in your classroom!
drama activities for exciting students

Frances Reed, author of Dance and Drama Bites, describes how process drama activities “empower children to own their learning.”

As we strive to create lifelong learners who are confident and creative, connected and actively involved, anything that “empowers children to own their learning” is worth exploring.

Process drama is focused on using drama to expose and explore the various roles in a particular situation. As Reed says:

By working through carefully structured drama conventions, students peel back the layers that underpin any issue. In doing so, they draw out new meanings and come to new understandings of the issues and people involved.

Process drama is a meaningful addition to your classroom. To help, we bring you four fun drama activities for primary school students.

1. Banana split

This is a quick and easy drama game known by many different names. It is a warm-up activity from the first book of the Mad About Drama series. Banana split is a great way for students to make decisions quickly and reinforce key drama terms.

Students will play in groups of five. When the teacher calls out an object, they have 10 seconds to make that shape, then freeze.

Next, the teacher describes drama terminology to help them think about their shape. Highlight those students who are representing the drama term well. Some possible shapes and related terms are shown below:

possible shapes

Banana split is from one of the lesson plans from Mad About Drama, ‘Welcome Home’. Using the Motivation, Action and Discovery model, the focus (‘Discovery’) of the drama lesson is on dealing with the consequences of behaviours.

2. Fitting in

Perform Me a Poem is another one of our drama resources.  It outlines performing arts lesson ideas centred around poetry. Inside are several drama activities that stimulate physical and mental agility and provide a new language for self-expression. This one uses the poem ‘Fitting In’ as a context to explore individuality, conflict resolution and materialism.

To begin, get the children into groups. Within each group, they are to create an imaginary concept of two groups of people who are different in some way. For example, The ‘reds’ are materialistic, and the ‘greens’ are into preserving the environment. The children build profiles of a typical ‘red’ and ‘green’ person.

They then create a role-play that places the two groups in conflict. For instance, building a large mansion over a nature reserve. How might this issue be resolved?

Finally, in pairs, ask the children to create a role-play of a friendship developing between two groups. What strengths do they each bring to form and maintain the friendship?

3. Designing a menu

Engage your students in a creative role-play, which gets them thinking about their food choices:

  1. The drama teacher plays a chef – feel free to put on your apron!
  2. The teacher tells the students she is opening a new, healthy-eating restaurant. They want an exciting kids’ menu. The problem is that most kids eat chicken nuggets and chips, but these are not suitable for the new menu. Could the students help come up with a tasty and healthy menu?
  3. In pairs or small groups, the children create their menu, which they present to the teacher.
  4. The teacher thanks the students for their ideas. She wonders, since they have so many good ideas, could they come up with a name for the restaurant?

From another one of our drama resources – Dance and Drama Bites – the focus is to give teachers “bite-sized” drama activities. These easily fit into an often overcrowded curriculum.

The theme or issue explored – for example, healthy food choices – must be the most significant part of the drama. Drama conventions should be secondary.

4. Types of clouds

‘Types of Clouds’ is another fun drama game part of the Dance and Drama Bites series. It comes from the second drama resource in the series that is geared towards older primary school students.

It is a ‘Role on the Wall’ drama where children, in groups, begin by drawing one of the specific types of clouds. Inside their drawings, they write the characteristics of the cloud. For example, cumulus clouds: fluffy, white, like cotton, and so on.

Next, each group prepares a news report for their cloud as well as a soundscape that reflects the mood of the cloud. Finally, they take turns presenting their drawing, report and soundscape.

Drama activities for primary school are an exciting way to explore issues and involve students in the learning process. Today, we have given you a taster of the countless ways you can bring process drama to your classroom. If you are eager to discover more, check out our primary school drama resources!

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