In a busy curriculum, the Arts are often side-lined. Yet, they are of huge value to students and are thoroughly enjoyed by many. The Arts stimulate creativity and develop imagination. They also are an engaging way to introduce and reinforce learning.
Essential Resources wants to make it easy for teachers to incorporate the Arts into their curriculum – even those with little prior knowledge. We have worked with experienced educators and authors to create a selection of music, visual arts, dance and drama resources for primary teachers.
There are countless ways to teach drama in primary school.
Mad About Drama is one of our drama resources for primary teachers. Author Ginny Thorner outlines the MAD model to teach drama, particularly process drama. This model focuses on three elements: motivation, action and discovery.
Motivation is the starting point for a piece of drama. This can range from student inquiries or interests to a piece of music. One of the drama lessons for primary school presented in the book uses the solar system, for example, as a motivation.
Action is the doing of drama. It is where students use the motivation and “rules” of drama to act out a performance.
Discovery is the critical part, where students connect their learning to themselves. It is also when they make predictions, generalise and bring up more questions.
Drama as a teaching tool promotes meaningful, active and reflective thinking.
Reading playscripts is a means of developing children’s reading skills (word recognition and comprehension). Oral language proficiency (pronouncing words correctly and speaking to an audience) is also strengthened.
The scripts in Readers’ Theatre have been adapted specifically to suit this purpose. They are stories children should already know well and feature a high degree of word and phrase repetition.
Process drama is another effective teaching tool. As it says in Dance and Drama Bites, “It is the form of drama that empowers children to own their learning. You, the teacher, are responsible for introducing conventions, elements and techniques that the children can mould to express their own ideas and opinions.”
Similarly, process drama is an avenue to “peel back the layers that underpin any issue.” Engaging in process drama enables students to uncover new meanings and gain insights into various issues.
This is seen in our drama in the classroom NZ resource, Mad About Drama, which uses class inquiry as a motivation for drama.
Here are the music resources for schools we would recommend:
This music resource guides the use of SOLO taxonomy for tracking musical development. In doing so, it closes the gap between current understanding and students’ desired goals.
A specific focus is how SOLO taxonomy can prompt deeper thinking in performing, composing, improvising, listening and appraising.
The first book of this series provides an option of te reo Māori (and translations) for those learning the language.
Furthermore, there is a yearly overview based on the Achievement Objectives of the music strand in the New Zealand arts curriculum. Each unit plan outlines the learning intention with activities that cover the elements, skills and key competencies.
Here is a series of performing arts resources that use poems to explore music, drama and dance.
Play Me a Poem is a music resource for primary schools. Teachers use poems to cover various aspects of the music curriculum, including listening, playing, singing, and music theory.