Warm up Activities

Identity card (Another name game):

    • Draw an image of a food that you like on the front. For example: “My name is Amanda and I like apples.” So I draw an apple.
    • Write your first and last name.
    • Write your email and/or other contact information.
    • What your focus is? (Masters of Education, Diploma in ESL, etc.)
    • One thing that you would really like me to know about yourself (E.g. you are not a morning person, you are addicted to listening to Pink Floyd, you have 5 children, you love eating popcorn in ice cream, etc.)

Get in a circle, show your card and say: My name is ____ and I like __________. Next person continues, keep going around the circle.

Adaptation: (1) you must repeat the person(s) before you before saying your own (2) Have the whole class repeat (3)add a beat (pat, pat, snap snap) either one person at a time or whole class

The Wind Blows:

Getting to know you activity, various different styles (everyone across the entire room, single chair in the middle, etc

Considerations: what to do about kids who purposefully move slow to have extra/more turns? Put rules in place- only one turn per person, talk about it, ask is the game working?  Or crashes (intentional), use of chairs might help, or in gym, use of bean bags/cones?

Duck, duck, goose,

adaptations: substitute other animal names or animal sounds eg baa, baa, baa , neigh

Strategies by Brigitte, Paula, Isabel, Alina

1. Look up!(Dude!)
(Thanks to Matt Buchanan whose website I use all the time for drama games and warm-ups.)
This warm-up is used to focus the group and helps the group to function as an ensemble. I also like to use it to get kids comfortable with looking each other in the eyes and not looking away.

The class stands in a circle, the leader calls out “look up” and each member must look up into the eyes of someone in the circle. If that someone is looking back at them they say “dude! and sit down.

Variation: Instead of going out if you make eye contact with someone, you could race to change places.
I often say you may not look at the same person twice in a row to avoid patterns.

2. Collective Drawing
• Provide markers/crayons/pens and paper to groups of 4-5 people. This activity is done silently.
• One person begins drawing a shape or outline
• Teacher signals to switch after a short amount of time (5-10 seconds)
• Drawing is then passed to the next person who adds and/or continues the drawing
• After the final round, the groups discuss their drawings and come up with a description for their picture/image ( e.g. 3 words) and share with the whole class
Adaptation: The group can use their drawing to create a story or play

3. Translator (Gibberish)
• Four people begin the activity: 2 actors and 2 translators
• The audience suggests a setting for the scene to the players (e.g. at the bus stop, at the zoo, in a taxi etc.)
• Actors improvise the scene, speaking in gibberish
• Translators improvise and “translate” what the actors are saying
• An audience member can call “freeze” at any time and come into the scene to replace an actor or translator

Considerations:
*New players can continue the same scene or teacher/audience can call out new settings
*Actors should wait to allow for translators to speak. For young students and/or beginners, the order should be Actor 1, Translator 1, Actor 2, Translator 2. As students become more comfortable, you may allow several utterances before translators speak

Strategies by Kim Sturn, Maria Yioldassis, Lynn Mamen, Una Simpson 

Quick Ball Pass:
Start with all of the players in a circle, with one person holding a ball. The starter throws the ball to the person directly across from them. That student then throws the ball to the person to the left of the starter. Play continues the same way, which each person throwing the ball to the person to the left of the person they got the ball from, until all players have touched the ball. Each time a person throws the ball the person calls out the name of the person being thrown to. Once the group has found its rhythm, add another ball into the mix without breaking the momentum. Add several more balls and see how long the group can go without dropping the ball. For an added challenge, use balls of varying sizes. Variation: Students can call out the name of the person they are passing the ball to before passing the ball to help everyone learn the names of each other.

Mirrors:
Mirroring is one of the best exercises for developing concentration. Work with a partner. Someone should be Player 1, the other Player 2. Players sit close together, looking into each other’s eyes for at least 10 seconds. Teacher can ask students, what are some emotions your face can show: anger, surprise, fright, happiness, sadness, worry… Teacher can tell the students to pay attention to/ carefully observe your partners: brows in motion; what expression does the mouth show in different combinations of mouth corner and lip positions?
First step, Player 1 starts a slow movement of his or her facial features while Player 2 imitates it exactly. It is important to go slowly. After a few minutes, Player 2 starts the motions while Player 1 imitates them exactly.
Next step, students commence the slow movement of their arms, hands, and upper body using the space around them. This time Player 1 is the mirror and must reflect exactly all of Player 2’s expressions and movement. Students take turns initiating simple activity pantomime. Some examples: eating peanut butter, peeling an orange and eating it, molding an imaginary object from clay, putting on clothing, saying “hello” or “good bye”, feeling sleepy or sick. After a few minutes reverse roles. Remember to go slowly and take your time. Remind the students to pay careful attention to the facial and body movements.

Machines:
Especially with ESL or younger students, you may wish to begin this activity with some pictures of various appliances or machines and discuss their function. Explain that you will be giving each group of students a card, naming the machine they are going to create with their group. In order to assist with turn taking and participation for younger students, you may wish to give each student a number within their group, in order to know when it is their “turn” to join the machine. Highlight the following guidelines for their activity:

1. Every part of the machine should be connected (though not necessarily touching) to at least one other part of the machine.
2. Each person has to make both a movement and a sound.

Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5. Next, give each of the groups a card with the name of their machine on it. Students will be given time to create their group machines and then present them to the whole class. Machine ideas include: washing machine, cuckoo clock, pottery wheel, car wash, pinball machine, blender, cell phone or sewing machine.

My Fault
You will need two plastic bottles filled with some water
Have everyone walk around leisurely in a circle, and hand 2 players the bottles. As soon as a player makes eye contact with a player with a bottle, throw the bottle. The game continues. When the bottle is dropped, both the thrower and the receiver lie on the floor and shout “My Fault” as loud as possible. After , one of them picks up the bottle and the game continues.
Variations: the bottle is red hot and they need to throw it as fast as possible or burn there hands, the bottle is extremely heavy and act accordingly

by Erin, Danielle, Chantal, & Roger

The warm-up strategies we presented included tableaux and voices in the head.

Here are some basic definitions:

In tableaux actors use their body language and facial expressions to create an acting snapshot. It is a silent frozen picture, a freeze frame of a moment in time.

Voices in the head allows an actor to infer, create and speak a character’s inner thoughts. It can be used in conjunction with tableaux. A shoulder touch or “tap in” allows the audience to hear what’s going on in the character’s mind.

Our first tableaux activity was called “Postcards”. It was found on this website: http://www.cpsd.us/web/curriculum/drama/games.html#busstop

Here are the instructions from the website:

Divide the class into two teams, A and B. Each team invents three places (real or imagined) they would want to receive a postcard from. Examples might be the Grand Canyon, a Buddhist Monastery in Tibet, and Atlantis. Team A stands, ready to improvise. A member of team B reads the first location and team A has 60 seconds to put themselves into a “postcard” (a frozen tableaux) that evokes the location. Teams take turns performing.

We tried this activity with more than two teams (groups of 5 or 6).

In our next tableaux activity, we asked students to pick a scene from their favourite fairytale. Groups of 5-6 people performed their tableaux (a frozen scene from a fairy tale) while the audience had to guess what fairytale they were performing. Finally, we added sound to our tableaux scenes by using the “tap in” strategy. Students were asked to individually come up with a phrase that their character may be thinking or saying in that moment of tableaux. Groups came up to perform their tableaux once again, this time, with the teacher tapping people on the shoulder (randomly) so that the audience could hear the “voices” of the characters. Amanda suggested that the teacher could also try “tap in” during tableaux without prompting the actors to think about what their character may be thinking, feeling, or saying. Having students “think on the spot” in this way could result in a more creative, comical performance.

Strategies by Debbie, Apinder,Patricia, Jenny, Harpreet
GRAFFITI WALL

Overview
During the Graffiti Wall strategy, students brainstorm ideas and record them on large sheets of chart paper. This is a creative way to collect thoughts from all or most of the students in the classroom.

Purpose
Graffiti walls can be used as a preview or warm-up activity to introduce a new topic or to help students organize prior knowledge about content they are about to study. This strategy can also be used to help students share reactions to texts as preparation for a class discussion, writing assignment, or another project. The purpose of the Graffiti Wall strategy is to help students “hear” each other’s ideas.

Steps
1. Place students in groups of three or four.
2. Provide each group with a large piece of paper with a topic written in the middle. The topic can be the same or different for all groups.
3. Give students two minutes to think and record their ideas on their paper.
4. Have students stop writing, stand up, and move as a group to a different piece of paper.
5. All of the groups continue the above process until each group has contributed to every piece of paper.
6. Bring the whole class together to review everyone’s contributions and to identify patterns and categories in what has been written.

Hints and Management Ideas
• Use a “numbered heads” strategy (i.e., give students a number) to form groups.
• To make the activity more interesting, introduce graffiti as a concept, explain its history, and what it means.
• Use coloured markers or paint to make the activity more interesting. Using colours will also help to identify the writers. This makes students more accountable for staying focused and writing appropriate responses.
• Remind students not to read the other responses. They should write what is important to them.
• Allot “think time” as well as “writing time” in order to help the groups stay on task.
• An alternative method is to pass the paper around instead of having the groups move around.

Benefits of Graffiti Wall
• Graffiti is an inclusive activity that can involve all students in the class (including ESL students). Students can choose to draw pictures instead of writing.
• Graffiti is an independent activity in which students can think and write their responses freely. Nervousness over presenting their information is eliminated.
• The end product is the collective thoughts/ideas of all the class members on a given topic.
• When students have appropriate “think time”, the quality of their responses improves.
• At the end of the activity, students can summarize all the ideas listed on their paper and present the results to the class.
• This technique can be helpful for learners who are reluctant to join group discussions, as it
• leads them naturally to share their ideas with a group.
• It helps learners see the importance of turn taking and allowing each other space to think and formulate ideas.
• It is also a useful assessment for learning tool, as it allows learners to express what they already understand about a topic, so that future learning can be planned more effectively.
• The activity mobilises learners’ prior knowledge of a topic, but the level of that knowledgeis unimportant. The level of learners’ drawing skills is also unimportant.

Extensions:
Some teachers cover a section of the wall with butcher or chart paper, while other teachers use a whiteboard or chalkboard.
The ideas on the graffiti board make an effective springboard for a discussion. You could begin a conversation by asking students to summarize what they see on the board or what they notice about areas of agreement and disagreement.
Graffiti wall can be used as a summary at the end of a unit.
Graffiti wall can applied across the curricular subject areas and across grade levels.

References:
Facing History and Ourselves. (2011). Retrieved on July 20, 2011, from
http://www.facinghistory.org/resources/strategies/graffiti-boards-reacting-diff

eworkshop.on.ca Online Teaching Resource – Graffiti. (2006). Retrieved on July 20, 2011, from
http://www.eworkshop.on.ca/edu/pdf/Mod36_coop_graffiti.pdf, as referenced from,
Bennett, B. & Rolheiser, C. (2001). Beyond Monet: The Artful Science of Instructional Integration. Toronto, Ontario: Bookation.

Quality Improvement Agency. Teaching and Learning Programme. Retrieved on July 20, 2011, from
http://tlp.excellencegateway.org.uk/tlp/it/resource/assets/documents/graffiti_wall_cl.pdf

CHORAL READING/CHORAL SPEAKING

Overview
During the Choral Reading strategy, students are reading text out loud in a group. This is a safe way for students to share their reading with the class. During the Choral Speaking strategy, students are orally reciting text in a group. This is another safe way for students to learn in a group.

Purpose
Choral Reading and Choral Speaking can be used as a strategy for students to work on their correct pronunciation, timing, fluency, and rhythm.

Steps*
1. Have the students stand in a circle or some kind of group formation.
2. The teacher reads or speaks (depending on which strategy the teacher is using) the passage to the students all the way through.
3. The teacher reads or speaks the passage again but this time one line at a time.
4. Students then repeat or echo each line one at a time as the teacher says them.
5. The teacher and the students read or speak the passage again but this time, they do it in unison (altogether) all the way through.
6. The teacher shows the students a youtube video to model the rhythm of the song.**
7. The teacher sings the song and adds the actions and the students repeat them.

Hints and Management Ideas
• Have the students who are stronger readers/speakers sit beside the students who need some extra help. This way the students who need extra help can hear the strong, clear voices of the students who are stronger readers/speakers.
• To keep the material interesting, pick texts that are relevant to the current curricular topic you are covering in class or take suggestions from the students, i.e. the lyrics from their favourite song.
• Print the song lyrics/passage on coloured paper or have the students highlight words that they should be emphasizing, etc.

Benefits of Choral Reading/Choral Speaking
• These strategies help students learn the correct pronunciations of each word
• They can help with reading comprehension because the students are hearing the passages out loud
• They can help students learn timing, i.e. how long to pause between lines
• These strategies promote learning in a non-intimidating way
• They can help students gain fluency and more confidence in their ability to read aloud and speak
• They can learn rhythm as well as how to use accompanying movements as the read and speak
• These strategies are inclusive and can be used with ELL learners and students with LD
• They help children enunciate clearly
• Students learn cooperation as they blend their voices together
• Students practice sight vocabulary by re-reading lines

*These steps are just one way to do Choral Reading and Choral Speaking. There are other ways to do it too. For more ideas, please refer to the SaskEd reference below.
**We feel this step is effective but it is optional.

Soundscape / Sound Collage / Sound Effects

Overview:
• A soundscape is a set of sounds, noises, or rhythms that make up an environment. In drama, a soundscape is used to create atmosphere or to accompany an important moment of a scene. The goal of a soundscape is to simulate realistic noises of a specific setting or environment.
• Participants create sounds using a combination of voice, body movements, and/or instruments (traditional instruments or with found materials).

Warm-up Activity: Rainstorm Simulation

This is a rhythm activity. Participants sit in a circle with eyes closed. A leader begins by rubbing hand palms together. Person to right picks it up until the whole class is participating. Then the leader switches to finger snaps and that moves around the circle. Next is thigh slaps, then foot stomps. Reverse the order to show the storm dying out.

Source: Cornett, Claudia E., Katharine L. Smithrim. The Arts as Meaning Makers: Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2001. (p. 339)

Teacher Model: Farm Soundscape
-Students sit in circle formation with teacher (and other participants) in the middle.
-In order to focus on just the sounds being created, students are asked to close their eyes and/or face away from the circle (this will also help with potential performance anxiety during student participation activities)
-Once the soundscape is finished, the audience is invited to guess the scene/environment

[Our example: farm soundscape = animal noises (rooster, cow, bird whistles, sheep, stomping), machine noises = (sprinkler, tractor), human noises (digging)…]

Whole-class Review and Practice: Farm Soundscape
-An option is to continue with the farm scene/soundscape: review and brainstorm sounds heard on a farm
-(Optional) During the brainstorm/discussion:
-use visuals of a farm scene showing specific animals, vehicles, humans, nature that can be heard on a farm
– use technology, such as a SMART Board, to provide examples of sound clips with realistic sounds
-Some suggestions for discussion:
-What did you hear in the (modelled) soundscape?
-What other sounds could have been included?
-How can we make farm sounds with just our voices, with our voices and body, with materials in the classroom…?
-Practice and experiment making farm sounds as a class when ideas are volunteered

Whole-class Participation: Farm Soundscape
-Let students choose or appoint a specific sound for a class rendition of a farm soundscape
-(Optional) Introduce a ‘conductor’ to lead the soundscape:
-signal the beginning (everyone makes sounds at once or cues in individuals like an ‘orchestra’) **be careful of participation comfort levels and the potential for singling students out
-signal (raising or lowering hand) for sounds to become louder or softer
-signal the end

Student Activity: Variety of Soundscapes
• In small groups, students are given a specific scene/environment (i.e. beach, jungle/rainforest, construction site, restaurant/lunchroom, city street, sporting event)
• Students work cooperatively to brainstorm and practice sounds to create a soundscape for their scene
• Student options: -have a conductor
-use just voice or incorporate other materials/instruments
-keep soundscape a mystery until performance
• Volunteer groups can perform their soundscape (with audience facing outward or with eyes closed). The group can tell what their soundscape is before performance or the group can invite the audience to guess their scene/environment after performance.

Extensions:
• Create a soundscape for a specific setting in a piece of literature
• Combine tableaux and soundscape: one group is the landscape (tableaux/frozen picture) of a specific scene, another group is the accompanying soundscape that provides the appropriate sounds/atmosphere

Conscience Alley 

This drama technique can easily be applied to a range of subjects across the curriculum, whenever a character is faced with a decision.  It may be that you reach a certain point in your drama lesson, or while reading a story aloud, or describing a historical event, when such a moment occurs. Turn the situation round on the children/students so that they have to consider the issues involved. For example the wolf in Red Riding Hood  might explore his guilty feelings about tricking  Red Riding Hood vs. the benefits of eating her; the conscience of Robin Hood considering the benefits of stealing from the rich to give to the poor as opposed to the moral wrongdoing and how the rich will feel about it and what they might do; the conscience of Rosa Parks as she weighed the consequences of refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger; Ben Johnson debating whether or not to take steroids.

Procedure:

The class forms two lines facing each other. One person (the teacher or a participant) takes the role of the protagonist and walks between the lines as each member of the group whispers their advice. It can be organised so that those on one side give opposing advice to those on the other. When the protagonist reaches the end of the alley, he/she makes their decision. Sometimes known as Corridor of Voices, Decision Alley or Thought Tunnel.

Organization:

Divide the class into 4 equal groups. Group one and two will form the corridor. Group one will think about the benefits of going forward with a decision. Group two will think about the negative aspects/ or conseequences/or wrongful aspect of making a decison. Each group will think of a phrase to whisper to the other students as they go through the corridor. Group three and four will walk through the corridor listening to the advice. Groups can change places after the first round. With younger students, initially the teacher may want to brainstorm positive and negative aspects of a decision and write them on a T-Chart.

The students can then choose one thing to say when they are part of the corridor. The next time the corridor is used, students might write their own phrase on a piece of paper and then say it when they in the corridor. This forces students to come up with their own idea and commit to it rather than copying someone else phrase. For students who are stumped, the teacher may need to help them come up with a phrase. After the two corridors are complete the teacher could have students put their phrases on a T-chart on the board and then review them with the class.

Example Lesson: Zoo Dilemma

The children had been looking at discussion texts in literacy. They read “Zoo” by Anthony Browne, and discussed character’s feelings about things they saw in the zoo. Character reactions were explored using hot seating and still images. Pictures from the story were then used to investigate the thoughts of the animals in the story and their feelings about being in captivity. Children were then divided into two groups, one thinking about the positive reasons for having zoos, and the other thinking about the negative points for having zoos. The teacher then became a zoo inspector faced with the choice of leaving the zoo open or closing it down. The class formed a conscience alley to voice both sides of the argument, drawing on the drama and discussion from earlier in the lesson. The exercise was repeated, this time looking at making effective use of body langauge and tone. The reasons and opinions used in the conscience alley then fed into a written argument about keeping animals in captivity.

Other Dilemmas:

–       Theft in the classroom-Bakugon, Club Penguin Cards, Lunch

–        Being bullied-To tell or not to tell

–       Completing your homework on time

–       Cheating on a test

Strategies: http://dramaresource.com/strategies/conscience-alley

 

Conscience Alley – facilitated by Trish Ineson
Also sometimes known as Corridor of Voices, Decision Alley or Thought Tunnel, this drama technique can easily be applied to a range of subjects across the curriculum whenever a character is faced with a decision.  It may be that you reach a certain point in your drama lesson, or while reading a story aloud, or describing a historical event, when such a moment occurs. Turn the situation round on the children/students so that they have to consider the issues involved. For example the wolf in Red Riding Hood  might explore his guilty feelings about tricking  Red Riding Hood vs. the benefits of eating her; the conscience of Robin Hood considering the benefits of stealing from the rich to give to the poor as opposed to the moral wrongdoing and how the rich will feel about it and what they might do; the conscience of Rosa Parks as she weighed the consequences of refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger; Ben Johnson debating whether or not to take steroids.
Organization:
Divide the class into 4 equal groups. Youcould number the students off 1, 2, 3, 4. Group one and two will form the corridor. Group one will think about the benefits of going forward with a decision. Group two will think about the negative aspects/ or conseequences/or wrongful aspect of making a decison. Each group will think of a phrase to whisper to the other students as they go through the corridor. Group three and four will walk through the corridor listening to the advice. Groups can change places after the first round.
With younger students, initially the teacher may want to brainstorm positive and negative aspects of a decision and write them on a T-Chart. The students can then choose one thing to say when they are part of the corridor. The next time the corridor is used, students might write their own phrase on a piece of paper and then say it when they in the corridor. This forces students to come up with their own idea and commit to it rather than copying someone else phrase. For students who are stumped, the teacher may need to help them come up with a phrase. After the two corridors are complete the teacher could have students put their phrases on a T-chart on the board and then review them with the class.
Example Lesson: Zoo Dilemma
The children had been looking at discussion texts in literacy. They read “Zoo” by Anthony Browne, and discussed character’s feelings about things they saw in the zoo. Character reactions were explored using hotseating and still images. Pictures from the story were then used to investigate the thoughts of the animals in the story and their feelings about being in captivity. Children were then divided into two groups, one thinking about the positive reasons for having zoos, and the other thinking about the negative points for having zoos. The teacher then became a zoo inspector faced with the choice of leaving the zoo open or closing it down. The class formed a conscience alley to voice both sides of the argument, drawing on the drama and discussion from earlier in the lesson. The exercise was repeated, this time looking at making effective use of body langauge and tone. The reasons and opinions used in the conscience alley then fed into a written argument about keeping animals in captivity.
Other Dilemmas:
Theft in the classrooElectronic devices- Bakugons, Club Penguin Cards, Lunch
Being bullied-To tell or not to tell
Completing your homework on time – Pros and Cons
Cheating on a test – Consequences vs. benefits
http://dramaresource.com/strategies/conscience-alley
Reflection:
In class, this strategy was used as a social responsibility lesson to get students to think about the reasons why taking something from another student is wrong. Hopefully, after the teacher reviews the positive and negative aspects of stealing, students would be more thoughtful about what may happen and how another would feel if their property is stolen. This a practical use for the strategy and a more active way to discuss the common problem of theft in the classroom. I also like the idea of using it with literature to deepen the understanding of a charater as they have to make a decision. After all the children have gone through the corridor of voices, it would be good to have them repeat one of the comments that they heard in the corridor that was a new or interesting way to think about when making the decision. It would also be valuable to have the students share there decision for the dilemma and explain how comments in the corridor of voices helped them to decide. I think that this is a useful strategy for late primary to upper intermediate for social repsonsibility, literature comprehension, and character understanding in drama.

A soundscape uses a combination of sounds, which may include vocal and instrumental sounds, to create a specific atmosphere, location, mood, or to accompany important moments of a scene. The teacher acts as the conductor using their hand to increase or decrease the volume, while the students are the orchestra.

Process:

  • Tell students you will create a rainstorm soundscape as a class. A leader begins rubbing their hands together for gentle drizzle. Moving clockwise the sound travels around the circle until everyone is doing the same action. The leader continues doing the other actions (snap fingers for gentle rain drops, pat thighs for heavier rain and stomp on the ground for ferocious rain), each time making its way around the circle. The activity is then completed going the opposite way through the sounds so that the volume decreases.
  • Play a soundscape for students from a YouTube video or CD.

http://www.shockwave-sound.com/sound-effects/jungle_sounds.html

  1. Have students close their eyes and listen for the different sounds. Ask them what sounds they heard and where do they think they were?
  2. Write sounds on the board.
  • Students are encouraged to use their bodies, voices, any available instruments and what is around them to create sounds. Allow students to practice their sound for a minute on their own.

–       Use voices only to begin and then allow some students to try instruments and body percussion

  • The teacher then shows the class the signals they will use when conducting (arm raised high (loud), arm low (quiet), closed hands (stop)
  • The class can be conducted in assigned parts (birds, animals, and rain)

–       Students can sort themselves into categories

OR The teacher can tap individual students on the back, gradually adding to the soundscape
– give students the option of stepping into the middle, closing their eyes to hear and feel
the soundscape around them

OR The whole class can begin at once

  • Finally, have students walk around the classroom repeating their sound

Extensions:

  1. Students could work in small groups to create a soundscape, then create a map of their soundscape using images and words, and share with class.
  2. Create a soundscape by recording sounds in nature, downloading them and creating a layered soundscape OR record the voices of students creating a soundscape.
  3. Use created soundscapes for background music in a student play

Other soundscape ideas:

Beach, carnival, zoo, construction site, city/downtown, hockey game, dentist, coffee shop

Machine Game 

Suitable for: K – 6. ELL, music

Possible uses:     • ice breaker, movement break
• exercise to prime kids for working cooperatively
• group awareness / trust building/ develop a sense of cooperation
• vocal warm-up for a singing class

Introduction:

Students brainstorm some machines they are familiar with. You could also show pictures of different machines or a video clip of machines moving.  Have students stand up and try out some simple repetitive movements they could do with their bodies to imitate part of a machine.

Directions:

1. Divide players into groups or use with the whole class. The teacher takes on the role of  the
operator of the machine (later this role could be transferred to a student). The teacher invites
one person to begins building the machine using a simple repetitive machine–like movement
such as tapping their hand with their fist or stamping  with one foot.

2. When they feel ready each student in the group thinks of an action and silently adds their
movement to become part of the machine.

3. Once everyone in the group has joined the machine the machine operator speeds it up or slows
it down using a scale from 1 to 10.
Variations:

• The operator could stop the machine and have the players freeze as a  tableau.  Then to add
some fun try to make the parts of the machine laugh. Anyone who laughs or moves is out.
See if anyone is left at the end they win or becomes the next machine operator.

• Build a new machine (or keep your machine) and  add a sound/ vocalization to your
movement (e.g. ping, ping, ping, bong)

• Build a new machine (or keep your machine) but do it to music. Choose music with a
machine–like beat or sound…….Have fun!

 

Drama Telephone:

Description

Students are numbered off into groups of two and sit single file, facing the opposing team. The student at the end of each row (team) begins. The teacher will have cue cards with one vocabulary word printed on it. Once each student at the end of the row has seen the word the teacher will say “Go!” and the students will then whisper the word into the ear of the person they are sitting beside. The rule is that they cannot repeat the word. Once the word has reached the student sitting at the front of the row, that student will then act out the word. So for example, if the word is basketball, they may act out as if they are dribbling the ball. Once they have acted the word out and said the word aloud then the class would move onto the next word. The team who says and acts out the word correctly would get a point. If both teams do so correctly, then both teams would be awarded a point.

Adaptations

  • If teachers would like to use this game as a part of the class spelling program, then rather than acting out the word, the student at the front of the row would have to correctly spell out the word on the black/white board.
  • If there are students in the class who do not feel comfortable going up in front of the class by themselves, you may give students the option of going up in pairs to ease any anxiety.

Benefits

  • This game is a great way for students to work on articulating pronunciation of words by really fixating on using their teeth, tongue, and lips when speaking.
  • It is also a great way for students who are ESL learners or students who are learning new vocabulary to really focus on the correct pronunciation of words.
  • If you choose to have students write the word on the board, this will allow them to     practice spelling and see others spell new words from a unit or from their weekly spelling list.

    Magic Object:
    Purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to develop a sense of imagination that breaks the static labels we have assigned to objects in our world. Today everything has a name and a specific use. This creates meaning but hampers our ability to think about the fluidity and changing nature of things. Students are encouraged to think in abstract and creative ways. To undo our formal training and think of each object as anew broadens and refreshes the mind. Playing this game helps support the idea that every perspective is “right,” there is no wrong answer in dramatic play. Students will learn that exaggerated movements and actions are key elements of the game.

 

Organization:

 

In an intermediate class of thirty you can divide the students into three groups of ten. In a primary class of twenty four you can divide the students into two groups of twelve. These are only suggested groupings and are not mandatory for successful implementation of the game. Experiment with the size of your groups to determine what works best in your class.

 

Procedure:

 

In a circle formation pass around an object and ask each student use it in a different way than its known function. For example, if your object is a wooden spoon each player must use it for something else other than stirring. The first person in the circle might swing it, depicting a baseball bat. The next person might use it as a hand held mirror. The object goes around the circle until each person has had a turn. You may repeat an idea but the goal is to try and come up with your own portrayal. Emphasize the importance of exaggerated movements in this activity.

 

Connections

 

The object can be passed around the circle again and this time each player repeats their idea but adds a sound effect, word, or short phrase to enhance their portrayal. For example, player one who used the wooden spoon as a baseball bat might say, “Smack, homerun.” Each player takes a turn adding sounds to their actions. Write down all the sounds and group them by the number of syllables they contain. Students organize themselves with their syllable group and create a symphony orchestra to represent the object passed around (the wooden spoon).

 

The object can be passed around for a third time and this time each player uses the sentence frame, “A wooden spoon is like a _______ that ________.”

This is a great way to learn about similes and students can easily create a simile poem about the object afterwards. For example, player one might say, “A wooden spoon is like a baseball bat that hits homeruns.”

 

Barn Animals:
Description:

Begin with asking the students to name 3 barnyard animals that make noise (take volunteer suggestions). Ask the students to pick a sound for each of the given animals, and let the class practice making the noise. Label off students into one of the three animal groups. Having the students in a large circle in a ‘numbering-off’ technique might work best. Tell students that in a moment they are going to close their eyes, and make their animal noise. Their job is to find the rest of the animals like them and link arms in a group. Once they have found someone/a group of animals like them they continue to close their eyes and find others. Give students cues to start and finish (I use “lights on” to start and “lights off” to freeze). Afterwards, students can discuss strategies and challenges they had. This game is designed to help refine listening skills.

Notes:

  • Game best played in open, contained area (eg. gym). Students should also be reminded to hold onto elbows and put arms up to act as a ‘bumper’. Be sure to talk before hand about safety, such as moving slowly around the space.

Strategy 1: Gibberish “Ping Pong”

Gibberish “Ping Pong” is a game played in groups where students have to guess what the other group members are performing with only moving and speaking gibberish (saying only ping pong).

Preparations: – Students in groups of 4

– A list of guessing items for your theme

Activity:          1. In your groups, divide evenly between being the actors and the guessers.

2. Teachers provide each group with a list of items they may act out.

3. Teachers need to explain that actors can move but only speak using gibberish. (ie. Ping pong pong ping pong)

4.  Allow 2 minutes for the actors to prepare and act before the guessers can guess.

5. Now switch roles

 

Extension:      May incorporate a scene from a novel to be acted out with gibberish.

As well, students can only act without making a sound.

Examples to be acted with gibberish

  1. Argument over a last piece of pizza
  2. Excitement over winning a hockey game
  3. Being surprised over a birthday present
  4. A parent teaching child how to tie his/her shoe

 

Strategy 2: “Mission Impossible”

Mission Impossible incorporates different activities such as charades, teamwork, drawing, and sculpting.  This can be used as a fun way to review a unit.  The multiple options let students use whatever technique they feel comfortable with.

Preparation:    • Students in groups of 4/5 (can be larger or smaller depending on the class size)

• Have playdough, pencils, and paper for each group.

• A list of guessing items for your theme.

 

Activity:            1. In groups, students pick on person to begin and be the “actor”.

Community Guessing List

 

  1. Fireman
  2. Teacher
  3. Nurse
  4. Policeman
  5. Bus Driver
  6. Dad
  7. News Reporter
  8. Children
  9. Actor
  10. Dentist
  11. Baker
  12. Mom
  13. Doctor
  14. Soldier
  15. Principal
  16. Mayor
  17. Prime Minister

2. The teacher explains the theme and how students in groups will try to name as many of the guessing items in the theme as possible, within a given time.

3. When the teacher signals “go”, the “actors” go up to the teacher, the teacher gives them an item to get their group to guess.

4. The “actors” go back to their group and either silently acts, draws, or sculpts the guessing item to get their group to guess the correct answer.

5. Once the team gets the correct answer, a new “actor” goes up to the teacher, tells the teacher the answer to receive their next guessing item.

6. This continues for a given amount of time.

 

Extensions:      Other activities can be substituted or added to the “mission” such as humming or using describing words that start with the same letter (alliteration).

The example in class was “People in a Community” theme.  After this game, the class can go over the roles and responsibility each person has in the community.

 

Strategy 3: Tableaux “Freeze Dance|”

 Freeze Dance can be performed with smaller children to get them used to creating still images with their bodies. The “Freeze Song” by Debbie Wood allows a child to explore how their body moves during the music. It helps get children ready to listen for and follow directions. During the freezing time children, get used to creating images with their bodies.

Preparation:

  • Have children spread out around the classroom.
  •  Listen to the song and talk about following directions.

Activity:

  • Have the children listen to the song and dance following the instructions.
  • When the song asks them to freeze, have them freeze.
  • Listen to the song again and the second time ask the students to freeze in various animal positions.
  • Let the children choose a theme that they want to freeze in the final time playing the song.
  • This can continue for any given amount of time.

Extensions:

  • The freezing part of the song can incorporate themes
  • Freezing can incorporate more than one person, small groups can have to freeze together as an object
  • The music can be faded out so the children are focusing on the tableaux and not on the dance.

Guided Visualization (or Guided Imagery)

“This strategy creates an opportunity for children to use their imaginative thinking to recall past experiences or begin to create new settings or situations. This is an excellent way to start a new drama. By closing their eyes the children can concentrate on their sense of hearing in combination with their imagination. The teacher can read a description of a place using words to paint a picture in the mind’s eye. Children in groups can do this for each other by writing their own descriptions of landscapes and settings and reading these aloud to the rest of the class.”  (Baldwin & Fleming. Teaching Literacy through Drama: Creative Approaches. 2004)

Each time we do calming exercises, we turn down the volume on stress, and prevent some of the tension that leads to conflict. Guided visualizations also give us a way of detaching from negative emotions like fear and anger.

**If you would like the specific script Alex read out, just e-mail one of us.

Benefits:

  • The context of listening to stories is familiar to learners and teachers – Children enjoy and are usually good at visualizing.
  • Guided visualizations are “calming” and can be used as a form of behaviour management to help teachers create a positive classroom climate.
  • It allows students the imaginative use of the five senses; students can concentrate and focus on their sensory and emotional selves.
  • Kids watch so much TV these days; it is an exercise to stimulate the visualizing function of the brain.

Possible Extension/Ideas:

  • Before exams/tests/assessments, get children to visualise themselves easily answering questions or visualise their excellent results being handed to them!
  • You can do a drawing or writing extension to this activity.  For example, have students draw out a “scene from their mind”.  Students can pick one particular part of the story-visualization, something that stood out for them. You can also ask the students: What was the picture in your mind? or How did you visual it? Students will draw this. (Same activity for writing)  In our example, this could be… when the water covered your feet, or the scene of the waves rolling.
  • It can be used as a story starter.
  • The idea of visualization closely relates to making connections – when we ask students to draw from their own experiences.
  • You can connect this to Adrienne Gear’s 5 Reading Powers (Connect, Question, Visualize, Infer, Transform).

The following poems are from the Visualization section of Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power:

A Visualization Chant

You don’t use your eyes when you visualize

You don’t use your eyes when you visualize

You don’t use your eyes when you visualize

You use your brain!  Yah!

 

Visualize Song (to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle”)

When my teacher reads a book, Then my brain begins to look!

Seeing pictures in my head, As the story’s being read,

Making pictures, me and you, You can THINK some pictures too!

 

Other Notes:

  • Be aware of cultural or religious issues regarding “visualization”.  It can be thought of as a meditation and relaxation technique and some families may be sensitive to this, and not allow their children to be involved.
  • When practising making connections, some students may not have the background knowledge or experience necessary to imagine it.  For instance, if the student has never been to a beach, he/she may not be able to visualize it authentically.
  • ESL students may require some pre-reading language or vocabulary building so that they have a fuller portfolio of images on which to draw when they begin to visualize.

Caption Making

Materials Needed:  Pictures from newspapers and magazines, glue, felt pens, white paper

In groups of 2-3, students choose a picture taken from magazines or newspapers.  Working together, students will create a caption showing what the subject might be saying in the picture.  Glue the picture onto white paper.  Draw clouds/speech bubbles for the caption and insert the “message”.

Possible Extension/Ideas:

  • Older students may choose a picture from a magazine or newspaper of their choice and make their own captions.
  • Act out their caption by having one of the students show the picture and posing a question about the picture.  Another student can act out the answer and other students can guess their message.
  • Linking this to a specific story or series of stores (e.g. Pigeon books, Piggie and Elephant series, by Mo Willems) – the students can create their own versions of the stories and write their own captions to the illustrations done by Mo Willems
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