Drama in the Classroom

No, not the kind of drama you're thinking of.  There does seem to always be some sort of drama in elementary school classrooms!  Drama-as in elements of drama.  We read The Strongest One: A Zuni Tale this week and studies text features of drama.

I used a Mimio lesson to review the terms and their meanings. Necessary, but where's the fun in that?  If you really want kids to be engaged and understand the text features of drama, let them jump right into the drama.

I assigned parts and we approached it as real actors do (according to my limited knowledge).

1.  Real actors read through their scripts independently several times to understand the story.  (I think their director usually isn't chopping paper for a project during this time, but whatever.)

2.  Real actors have a couple of read throughs to practice as a cast.

3.  Real actors block out their movements so they know where to wait, come on, stand while on stage, and exit.

4.  Real actors practice multiple times to get everything just right.

5.  Real actors make illustrated signs to hold up so everyone knows who they are in the story.  Okay, maybe not, but it's easier than costumes.

6.  Real actors perform for an audience (also known as our book buddies).

We had a blast!  The kids loved it, I loved it, and they learned a lot.  After our performance, I put our drama text features list up on my Mimio. They used their script to explain all the terms to their book buddies.

It's a little trickier to find reader's theater for the upper elementary set.  Zoom on PBS Kids GO! has tons of fun scripts on their site.  When I taught fourth grade, I used these and had the kids do this in small groups.

I got the laptop cart on Friday after our performance, and the kids used this for their buddy reading time.  It was a big hit.  Most of them have an element of humor-just enough to grab on to your reluctant readers.  I'm going to add the link to my student computers as a new choice for computer stations.

They have videos of them from the show, too, here.  I couldn't get the link to work on Friday.  I'm hoping it was just a random glitch.  I think this would be a fun alternative to Tumblebooks.  I still love Tumblebooks, but variety is the spice of life, right?

Hope your weekend is drama free!


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1 comment

  1. Thanks for sharing this website! I agree it is often difficult to find reader theatre type activities for the upper grades. We are a bit behind and will cover drama in the next week or two, I will use this as a reference!

    Jess

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