Drama Activities for the Classroom
Here are five creative drama lesson ideas that can help you truly stand out as a teacher! Kids love to use their imaginations, and drama activities are perfect for helping kids learn while having fun.
Story of Your Name-This game provides an excellent way for kids to get to know each other better. You may choose to play right when school starts to help kids learn each other's names, or later in the year to build classroom community. One at a time in a circle, or in small groups if the class is large, players take turns telling the story of their names. You may choose to give this as homework at the end of the day. Kids go home and ask parents to tell them the story of their name. Or you may choose to give kids a few minutes to think about the story of their name in class. If a player does not know the story, or if it is something they do not wish to share, they can make up a story. Players may then guess if the teller is being truthful.
Leave Some Weight Behind-- This classroom management game offers a great way to reset the tone of class when energy is just "off."
Explain that there are some days when you wake up and everything just seems to go wrong. Even if nothing happens after you get to school, you may still be upset about something that happened earlier. Say, "But I like to be a good teacher and I want to leave that behind me when I come here. So, I'm going to go ahead and take what's bothering me outside and leave it outside."
Pantomime packing up your troubles in a bag and taking it outside the classroom door. When you come back in, announce, "I'm leaving that weight behind."
Invite any kids who wish to do so, to take turns thinking of something that is bothering them, "picking it up," and taking it outside the classroom to leave it there. They may put it in a "bag," or a "suitcase," large or small and take it out the door. When they re-enter the space, they allow themselves to forget about it for the rest of the day. Players can say what it is as they leave with it, or remain silent.
Myths-This activity can turn a rainy afternoon in the classroom into a magical story time. Kids learn about myths while creating their own stories and working cooperatively together.
Move the desks aside and make a "fire" in the middle of the room. Explain that long ago, tribes of people who lived on earth told stories to explain how things came to be. Tell a myth such as "How Crow Carried Daylight," or "How Polar Bear Lost his Tail." There are dozens of myths to read on the internet. Find one that intrigues you and that you feel you can tell without reading.
Let the kids know that they will have the chance to make up their own myths. Use a clever way to put the kids in pairs or small groups, such as having them "fly" in slow motion around the space like crows. Then have them gently touch the tip of their "wing" to the crow nearest them. Once they are in pairs or small groups, invite them to find their own space in the room and send one person to come choose a myth out of the hat. Kids have fifteen minutes to create their own myth and act it out. One person is the narrator while the other(s) act it out.
Coach the kids to start their stories like this "A long time ago, there were no stars in the sky. . ." or "A long time ago, giraffe had a very short neck."
Kids perform for each other at the end of class.
How the stars appeared in the sky
How Giraffe got his long neck
How the moon was made
Why the sun is so bright
Where clouds came from
Why Anteater has a long snout
People Maps-Kids learn about each other and about geography in this fun, interactive lesson. Use the gym or an outside area if you can. Create a huge outline of the US with rope or blue tape. One at a time, invite kids to stand approximately where the state they were born in is! If they were born out of the country, they must stand outside the US in the direction of their country.
• Human map showing the farthest you have traveled.
• Map of where most of their ancestors come from.
• Arts integration unit-kids are assigned a country in Europe or Africa or South America. They form a people map of that country. One at a time, they can leave their country and "explore" other countries. Kids have to come up with a statement about their country if the explorer's ask!
Queen of Hearts: This game teaches kids about how people can treat each other differently based on perceived status.
Write down the different cards and characters they correspond to on the board (below). Explain to the kids that each person will be receiving an identity that everyone else will know, but they will not.
Participants line up facing away from leader. Leader sticks a playing card on each person's back. Players mill about, talking with one another, treating each other as they would due to their status in the castle. After a period of time, leader stops the game and asks participants line up in order, highest status on one end, lowest on the other . Note: there are thirteen "identities" here, depending on the number of players, and time allotted, you could play the game twice, or toss in two of certain characters.
Eight-lady in waiting
Give each player a card and have them tuck it away. Instruct them to interact with the other players as that character.
How did it feel to be the king?
How did it feel to be the stable boy or the donkey?
What surprised you?
What did you learn about yourself?