The Module Descriptor gives lots of ideas on how to cover the different topics both modules so do use it. Below are some additional ideas to give variety and to keep things interesting for the teacher also.
Team Building. Games suitable for team building are as follows:
Ball Pass: students must pass a tennis ball from the first person in their team to the last one without using their hands. (This can done using knees or feet when sitting down or using theirs necks. They may come up with their own one too).
Island to Mainland: students must travel from one end of the room to the other using three mats as stepping stones, they must figure out a way to transfer all the students in their team from the island to the mainland. (This can be done by two students travelling across, one following the other with the mats, and one student returning to collect a second and so on).
Anyone Who?: students sit in a circle with one student standing in the middle. The student in the middle asks Anyone Who likes or Has….? e.g. Pizza or runners on, respectively, and those who do, swap places until another person ends up in the middle and so on.
Fruit Bowl: students sit in a circle with one student standing in the middle. Each student is given the name of a fruit, three fruit repeated throughout the group, the student in the middle calls out a fruit and the students swap places and another student ends up in the middle and so on. Fruit bowl can also be called out and all the students must swap places at the same time when this happens.
Additional Activities. Games:
Alphabet game: This is a category game. The teacher must establish the category at the outset. Some examples are food, fruit, vegetables, colours etc. Students must name something from the category that begins with a letter of the alphabet. The alphabet starts with the teacher and continues around the circle. Students who pass are out as are students who name the wrong thing and then the letter moves on the next person. Students must use the sentence A is for…, B is for…etc.
Famous Person Name game: The teacher starts by naming a famous person. The next person in the circle must name a famous person whose name begins with the first letter of the surname of the previous celebrity’s name. For example Brad Pitt would mean the next name should begin with P, Pierce Brosnan perhaps. And so on. If a student passes they are out or if the use a name already said or a character, not a real person then the letter moves on to the next person.
TMATTY: This stands for Tell Me About The Time You…. Students must tell the class about a time they experienced a specific event describing it in detail. For example, tell me about the time you saved some one from drowning or bumped into a celebrity on the street or got locked outside your house in your pyjamas. This can then lead on to improvisation, storytelling, script writing or public speaking. It can also be a nice start to the second year.
Adverts: Adverts can be a good start to improvisation or even for a performance task. You can give the students items to advertise or simply give them a list to choose from. This can start as a circle exercise with items on the floor in the centre or you can get students to work in two’s. More imaginative items can also help to stimulate creativity for example: Smiling Pills or Magic Pens, Jumping shoes. Items such as these can also add to the fun element of the activity.
Hot Seating: A student in role is asked questions by the group to discover additional information and ideas about the character. This can be used when doing presentation pieces to develop character or when exploring social issues. If students are particularly nervous about performing in front of the class this can be done in a circle with a talking object passed around so that each student can take a turn.
Ideas and Activities for class contd.
Talk Show: The classroom becomes a Talk Show studio. The teacher is in role as the Talk Show host and students act as guests or audience members. This can help students develop roles or discuss certain topics without the pressure of being themselves.
Freeze Frame: Students work in groups to create Freeze Frame tableaux. It can be abstract or on a theme. It could be scene from a film, a play a moment in time or capturing an idea. The teacher can unfreeze students and ask specific questions or a student can be asked to leave the room to guess what is happening. This can be useful when doing Mime or Non-verbal Communication.
The Vocal Train: Divide the group into 6 sub groups and sit them in a large circle. Group one must say Coffee, group two, Cheese and Biscuits, group three Beef and Carrots, group four Plums and Custard, group five Fish and Chips and group 6 Soup. Each group begins after the previous group has said their phrase once. The number of times they say their phrase is broken down into 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. See below.
Coffee x 6
Cheese and Biscuits x 5
Beef and Carrots x 4
Plums and Custard x 3
Fish and Chips x 2
Soup x 1.
Soup should be drawn out so as to imitate the sound of the train going through a tunnel.
The Tune Collector: A student is selected to be ‘on’. All the other members of the class must choose a song to hum. When the teacher asks them to start they all hum at the same time. The student who is on must guess as many of the tunes as possible, in the time given, by moving amongst the group and listening to them.
Ideas and Activities for class contd. Boom Chicka Boom:
This is an exercise in vocal expression. Students must say the rhyme below in different vocal styles for example as a Preacher or as a Whisper or Seductively etc
Leader: I say a boom.
Leader: I say a boom chicka.
Leader: I say a boom chicka boom.
Leader: I say a boom chicka rocka chicka rocka chicka boom.
Leader: Oh Yeah, one more time.
Media. Presentation of scene from a movie. Students must chose a short scene, one to two minutes, from a movie and bring it to class giving a brief explanation of the story of the film, the plot of the scene and the characters involved prior to it’s viewing. It can be beneficial if the teacher presents a few beforehand so the students understand what is required. Making a list of film styles or genres can also be enjoyable for students especially if they are expected to give examples of films they have seen themselves. It can also stimulate lengthy discussions about plot, text and subtext which can be helpful when examining these topics later on.
Non-verbal communication. Movement to Music is an enjoyable way for students to study non-verbal performance and communication. Combining mime, rhythm and music it can make students feel less vulnerable than miming alone as there is no silence. It also highlights the importance of facial expression and body language.
Ideas and Activities for class contd. Self-Expression. This can be a good time to do a little Public Speaking. A short talk about themselves can get them in the mood. Giving an opinion about a social issue they feel strongly about followed by a discussion can link with Social Ed. and can help when looking at Passive, Aggressive and Assertive behaviour in Module 2.
Listening Skills. Improvised telephone conversations are a great way to improve students listening skills and it links in with their work experience. Get each student to create a fictitious business with a name and description of what it does e.g. Shapes and Shades hairdressing salon. Students must take turns to telephone each other. Possible topics for phone calls can be, making an appointment, leaving a message, requesting information or making a complaint.
Character Development: This activity gives the student an opportunity to create an original character and act as that character in different situations. It incorporates group work and improvisation and can lead into the study of plot and sub-plot.
Starting with a simple Character Sketch (see sample below) students fill in each section with information about a character from a television programme to help them understand how characters develop and the information needed for a good character. They can read this aloud to the class. They then must fill in the Character Sketch creating an original character form their own imagination which they will perform in situations given by the teacher.
Working in groups of two or three, students will then perform as their characters.
A party, all characters are guests and must introduce themselves to each other. This can also be developed where one of the guests has an item stolen and accuses the other guests. It gives lots of opportunity to show the characters personalities. Student can be chosen as the victim and the perpetrator by the teacher.
Two or more characters are stuck in a lift.
A character is suspect in a murder case and is investigated by the class. This can be done in twos or threes or the class can take turns to ask questions of the character as they sit on a hot seat. The details of the crime can be decided on while the student waits outside the door. A vote can determine their guilt or innocence.
Ideas and Activities for class contd. Character Development, Improvisation and Media:
(This can be a good team building exercise too)
Divide the class into groups of three or four students.
The class as a whole must choose a soap opera or television series that they are familiar with. Each group must now create a new character for the soap opera and report back to the class to ensure there is no overlap. Write the characters names and some details on the board. Each group is now given a task to complete based on the TV programme and the new characters.
1. Design costumes for each of the new characters.
2. Decide on a location where all the characters can be at the same time.
3. Describe a scenario for all the characters to be involved in, in the chosen location.
Students can them improvise some of the action that might take place. They can work in their groups or in twos to improvise the action.
Characters can be siblings, long lost relatives etc in keeping with the soap opera format.
1. Fancy dress costumes.
Students can prepare for this activity by watching an episode of their chosen soap opera the night before class as homework.
Ideas and Activities for class contd. Script Writing, Directing and Acting:
Using possible themes from Social Education, two or more students write a short script, 2-3minutes, to be directed by them and performed by another group of students in the class. The must cast their script and rehearse it with their chosen actors for performance in front of the class.
A student tells her friend or mother that she is pregnant.
A parent confronts her child about their drunken return home the night before.
This can be done in conjunction with work on Passive, Aggressive and Assertive behaviour in Module 2 or for the Acting section of the Modules.
All of the above activities can lend themselves to discussion and can also be used for ideas for presentation pieces.
Don’t expect things to go exactly according to your plan, be flexible. Some groups are very creative and other struggle with simple tasks so allow for the fact that sometimes things will go in a different direction but as drama is a creative process this is ok. As long students learn from the process and participate in the activities then you can count things as a success.
As with any of the topics in the Modules it is not necessary to follow a specific order and if you can combine more than one topic it helps students understand the creativeness of drama and also can help if you are pressured for time.
Reflection in the Drama Journal. What we did today: