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Drama Activities

Role Playing | Improvisation | Dance | Mime | Sociodrama | Masks

 

 

 

Role Playing

Ask children to spend 5 mins thinking about what they would like to be,.e,g prime minister, famous character, slave, and ask them to act it out.

Acting in pairs

Think up a pair of characters, e.g two nurses, two burglars, two astronauts in space, etc. and they have to work out how to work together .

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Improvisation:

Examples of activities for under 10's :

Wind Em Up:

Pretend game that involves asking children to be "wound up" by the pretend crank on their back. They can be any object, e.g. a robot, a kitchen appliance etc. which has been wound up. Then they slowly act out becoming unwound, and eventually coming to a stop.

Life Saving

Children pretend to be a team of doctors, firemen, paramedics etc. fighting to save a life.

 Um Monologues

Reference:

Edwards, L. (1999). Exploring Dance and Drama, Book 4. Primary Arts, South Victoria, Australia.

Time - 30-40mins

Grade - 5 / 6

Skill Development: Oral language, public speaking, voice projection, improvisation

Procedure

Ask children to sit back with a partner. Take it in turns to brainstorm different topics, one word at a time, e.g. colours, the universe, school, etc.

First round is practice, second round is scored by counting the number of words they got,

Third round you loose a point every time you make the sound um, er, ah.

Fourth round, the children can pick one of the topics they brainstormed, and have exactly one minute to talk about it. Appoint an Umm counter for the class, equipped with a class list to count off the umms.

 

There's no need to count how may umms each child got, just make them aware that they say it.

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Dance:

Reference:

Edwards, L. (1999). Exploring Dance and Drama, Book 4. Primary Arts, South Victoria, Australia.

 

Time: 40 mins

Grade: 4 to 6

Skill Development: Listening, Movement, Props, Discussion, Cooperation, Performance, Interpretation.

 

Picture the story:

1. Break kids up into groups of six and ask them to sit in a circle on the floor. Place a few props in the center of the group, e.g scarves, hats, feathers, ropes, money etc. It is a good idea to have one prop per child.

2. Ask each group to focus on the props put infront of them without discussing them.

3. Ask the children to close their eyes and try to imagine the story that is being told using these props. Play a piece of music while their eyes are closed.

 

Music: An instrumental piece is best. Movie soundtracks can be good for creating mood.

 

Discuss the story:

When the music is finished, ask the children to share their stories and images with one another. Ask each group to choose one person's idea, or combine several ideas to put a movement piece together to tell a story, using the props to perform for the rest of the class.

Allow 10 mins to piece it together.

 

Story Dance:

Allow each group to perform their piece using the props while the music is playing, incorporating the rhythm into their performance. At the end of each performance, allow the audience to describe what they think they saw.

 

Remind children that no interpretation of a performance piece can be wrong.

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Mime:

Reference:

Edwards, L. (1999). Exploring Dance and Drama, Book 4. Primary Arts, South Victoria, Australia.

 

'Pairs on Chairs'

 

Time: 20 mins

Grade: 4 &endash;6

Skill Development: Concentration, Mime, Focus, Body awareness, creativity, cooperation.

 

Ask the children to find a boy/girl partner, collect a chair and find a place in the room. Each pair needs to improvise a scene where one person would be sitting in a chair and the other offering them a service. The only catch is that you are not allowed to speak.

E.g hairdresser, dentist…

 

Watch each performance quickly, and discuss which ones were effective and why.

There may be a number of groups who pretend to speak without sound. This is not mime, but pretending to speak.

Use one example and discuss how you could design a scene where you never had to speak.

E.g. person sitting on a seat, pretending to be on a moving bus. Old person struggles up the isle, young person stands up, smiles, and motions for the older person to sit. Both continue the journey looking forward as though on a moving bus.

 

Ask each group to design another mime scene using the chair.

 

Watch each and discuss the difference.

Quick Games/Ideas

'A day in the life of...'

'Changing Shapes' - children are given a pretend shape to hold, e.g a square, which turns into a cylinder, circle, etc.

'Mirror images'

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Sociodrama

Improvisation

Primitive tribe in a remote area is visited for the first time by an outsider....

Your town is engulfed by nuclear radiation,.....

You live in the 'slums' of downtown Big City, you are trying to support your family....

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Masks

 

The power of masks

This lesson plan was developed by Curriculum Corporation.

Learning areas

The Arts

Level

Middle to lower primary

Description

Students move through a series of study centers to examine cultural contexts for masks. They design and build a mask for themselves. This activity is a part of the unit Behind the mask'. The unit explores the idea of masks, from facial expressions and mime, through face painting and tattooing to more formal masks.

Purpose

To develop an appreciation of the various purposes for masks and the skill to make a mask for a special purpose.

Duration

2&endash;3 sessions

Possible outcomes

In relation to The arts &emdash; a curriculum profile for Australian schools, work in this activity could lead to the achievement of outcomes in the following strands:

Visual arts

Creating, making and presenting

Arts criticism and aesthetics

Past and present contexts

This also has links to other learning areas such as Mathematics and Studies of society and environment.

Materials required

Each student will need paper, pencil and coloured pencils or textas.

The class will need:

 

  • face paints
  • cardboard and white paper
  • elastic or tape
  • staples
  • glue or sticky tape
  • strips of newspaper
  • papier-mâché glue

A range of work stations presenting a variety of materials, for instance:

  • examples of face decoration;
  • party masks, and pictures of cartoon super heroes in masks
  • masks from other countries such as Europe, Africa and Indonesia
  • pictures and artifacts showing animal masks including those of Ancient Egypt and Indian totems

Many of these may be brought to class by students as a result of the resource hunt in step 1 below.

Procedure

The following focus activities could run concurrently in the classroom, or sequentially, as listed here. If organised as a set of learning centers, student tutors and/or parents may facilitate the learning. Students make several masks and contribute to a class exhibition.

1 Introducing masks

Discuss students' ideas about masks, encouraging a broad range of views. Invite students to participate in a resource hunt and contribute to establishing the learning centers. With the class, label, describe and categorise the items collected (for example, masks or face designs; masks for fun, for hunting).

2 Focus on painted faces

Students examine examples of face decoration and are challenged to think about people who decorate their faces, how it is done and why.

Ask students to draw a picture of their partner's face, design a pattern and draw it on the picture. Encourage them to think about patterns, lines and colours and then write about their design, explaining their choices of pattern and colours. Students finish by decorating their partner's face. Extra care needs to be taken when painting near the eyes.

3 Focus on disguise and deception

Students examine masks used for disguise or deception, and discuss why people wear these masks, and when. Have students design, make and appraise a party mask for themselves. It should keep their identity a secret but still allow them to speak clearly and eat easily.

When the masks are completed use the following questions to help with appraisal.

  • Did you stick to your plan?
  • Did you have to change anything?
  • What was the most difficult part of making the mask?
  • Were the materials you used right for the task?
  • What would you change if you made another mask?

4. Focus on masks for magic

Have students examine pictures, artifacts and/or masks from other countries where masks are designed to scare away evil spirits or invoke the power of the spirit world to protect the owners or wearers. Focus discussion on the feelings aroused by the mask in the person wearing it and someone looking at it.

Students design, make and appraise a tube mask. Begin with a piece of cover paper rolled into a cylinder big enough to fit snugly over the head, and stapled when it fits. Explain and model techniques such as curling, pleating and fringing paper. Invite students to write about their masks, giving them names, deciding who would wear their masks and when, where and why they might be worn.

5. Focus on animal masks

Using stimulus material, explore animal masks. Explain to students that many cultures have made masks to represent admired animals, in the hope of taking on some of their attributes, such as strength, cunning, swiftness.

In groups, have students list animals they think represent strength, cleverness, sneakiness

Individuals then choose an animal with a particular quality they think is sometimes a part of their character and design, make and appraise a papier-mâché mask of that animal.

Provide strips of newspaper, white paper and papier-mâché glue. Instruct students, as necessary, in the techniques of making papier-mâché. Depending on the shape of the animal's face, they could put the papier-mâché over a balloon, or on one side of a blown-up (empty) wine cask.

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