The Practical Primary Drama Handbook
This book helps professionals to understand the importance and potential of drama for learning and offers step by step practical examples of how drama can work in schools across a range of curriculum subjects.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Chapter 1: Drama in Schools – Some Basic Questions Answered
- What do we Mean by Drama in Schools?
- What do we Mean by ‘Whole-Class Drama’?
- Why is Role Play and Drama Important for Every Child?
- What is ‘Drama in Education’ and ‘Drama for Learning’?
- What Drama Skills do Young Children Already have?
- How does Drama Link to Story?
- Is there a Difference Between Theatre and Drama?
- Who should be Teaching the Drama?
- Who should Lead and Manage Drama in the School?
- How can I Get Support to Teach Drama?
- Chapter 2: Drama and the Curriculum
- Where is Drama in the Curriculum?
- Where Else could Drama be in your Curriculum, Now and in the Future?
- What about Assessment of Drama?
- The Renewed Primary National Strategy Framework for Literacy (DfES, 2006)
- Arts Council England Level Descriptors for Drama
- What about Assessment Through Drama?
- How does Drama Link to Every Child Matters?
- Chapter 3: Drama Publications
- Which Recent Documents and Official Publications can Help me to Teach Drama?
- What Drama Books and other Resources can Help me Plan and Teach Drama?
- What about BBC Radio Drama Programmes for Schools?
- How do I Choose Picture Books and Stories for Drama?
- What can the Internet and World Wide Web Offer my Drama Teaching?
- Chapter 4: A Time and Place for Drama
- Do I need the Hall or a Special Drama Space to do Drama in?
- What about Doing Drama Outdoors?
- Off-Site Drama Environments
- What shall I do About My Role-Play Areas?
- The Role of the Adult in Role-Play Areas
- What about Drama Clubs?
- Why should we Take Children to the Theatre?
- What About School Plays?
- Chapter 5: Planning ‘Whole-Class’ Drama
- How do I Decide what the Drama will be about?
- Where does the Dramatic Tension/Interest Lie?
- What can Help me Structure a Drama Lesson?
- How would I Begin to Plan a Whole-Class Drama?
- How do I Introduce the Idea of Whole-Class Drama to Children?
- What should the Adult/s be doing During the ‘Whole-Class Drama’?
- How does ‘Playing Alongside’ Translate into a Drama Setting?
- But how do I Work in Role with Children?
- So how do I Choose a Role for Myself?
- How do I Decide Roles for the Children … or do they Decide?
- How does My Role Influence Theirs?
- Starting the Drama: What shall I Use as the Opening ‘Hook’?
- Shall I Start with a Warm-Up/Drama Game?
- How do I Make Sure they do Not Just Mess about when I Start to do Drama?
- What Basic Drama ‘Ground Rules’ or ‘Drama Contract’ do we Need to Have Agreed before we Start?
- The Drama Contract
- What Basic Control Signals will I Need During the Lesson?
- How is it Best to have the Children Positioned at the Start?
- Keeping the Drama Going: How do I Decide the Next Drama Move?
- How is it Best to Group the Children?
- Should I Change the Groups During the Lesson or Keep them the Same?
- How Can I Make Sure my Lesson is Balanced?
- What Should the Teacher be Doing During the Lesson?
- What Happens if the Drama Lesson is Going Badly?
- Bringing the Lesson to a Close
- In what Ways can I Support the Children's Reflection at the End of the Lesson?
- What about Children as Audience?
© Patrice Baldwin 2008
First published 2008
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Glossary of Drama Strategies and Conventions[Page 151]Collective Role/Collective Voice
A group or whole class of children speak in turn as one character. This shares the ownership of the character and responsibility for a character's development. They have to listen carefully to each other to be sure that the contributions fit with the one character.Conscience Alley (or Decision Alley/Thought Tunnel)
The class divides into two lines facing each other with a corridor down the centre through which a character can walk. As the character walks between the lines, one side tries to persuade him/her to take one course of action and, the other, the opposite course of action. Or one line gives the pros and the other the cons. Each person has opportunity to speak to the character when he/she is standing nearest them. The character can join one line to indicate a decision has been made in accordance with that line. The line can be made longer if people break away once they have spoken and add themselves on to the end of the line.Eavesdropping
A character (often the teacher in role) listens in to scenes, as if they are eavesdropping on them. This can be done in an exaggerated way with hand to ear. The rest of the class also sits still and listens until it is their group's turn to be eavesdropped upon, while the others listen.Freeze-Frame
A freeze-frame is made by in-role action being halted mid-flow to a given signal, for example, the teacher calling ‘Freeze’. Those in the scene need to then remain very still, as if frozen. At a further agreed signal, for example, ‘Action’, the freeze-frame can be broken or thawed, and the action can then carry on again.Image Theatre
This involves presenting a series of still images. Often the images are contrasting, for example, hopes/fears, ideal/reality. The groups might move between the images in slow motion or back and forth between the two. Time may be given to discuss the comparisons and consider what steps would be needed by a character to move from one situation portrayed to the other, for example, how to get from fear to hope or from the reality to the ideal.Mantle of the Expert
This involves children taking on the role of experts, usually involved in taking on a significant task for an imaginary external customer. For example, the children might be in role as designers with a brief that they are fulfilling for an imaginary development company[Page 152]Passing Thoughts
This is thought-tracking ‘on the move’. A character stands in the centre and in turn the whole class can pass by the character and speak the character's thoughts aloud. Alternatively they can pass by the character and offer advice or reassurance at a key moment.Performance Carousel
This is a theatrical way of seeing the linked work of several groups in sequence. All groups imagine they are on stage waiting still and silent for their spotlight turn. One at a time seamlessly each group performs, while the rest are still and silent. The groups might move into a still image starting position and all freeze at the end of their group performance before melting down into stillness between group scenes.Physical Theatre
This involves performing in ways that use the body as objects, properties, scenery, and so on, rather than just as people. The body is used in a versatile and creative way to become whatever the drama requires.Ritual
This involves everyone carrying out repeated agreed actions, words or sounds for a significant purpose within the drama. Ritual makes actions and words significant and important and might give them symbolic meaning.Rumours
In a short amount of time everyone makes up and spreads a rumour among the whole class. Some rumours may be true and others may not. Good false rumours are not easily distinguishable from truth. Afterwards the rumours may be gathered for collective consideration. This quickly creates many plot possibilities.Sensory Journey/Tour
One person has their eyes closed. Their partner guides them around the drama space, talking to them and leading them on an apparent journey in another environment linked to the drama. They can use touch, texture, sound and words to feed into the experience for the blindfolded person. The partner may be led by the elbow or just by verbal instruction with no touch.Small Group Play-Making
This is self-explanatory, other than to say that the group usually comprises up to four children and the play they make is usually a short scene. Often the class divides into groups for this activity based on a theme. They usually bring the scenes back together afterwards to show each other (possibly using Performance Carousel).Sound Collage
This involves building a setting or atmosphere creatively through sound effects. The sounds are usually made from the body or objects found in the room. Sounds can be repeated, overlap, be loud, quiet, and so on. The activity is usually done by a group and links to a purpose within the drama. Often the sound collage is presented to an audience who keep their eyes closed.[Page 153]Still Image
A still image is of course a still picture. It is not necessarily the same as a freeze-frame. A freeze-frame is a type of still image. We might ask children to make a still image and this would involve a creative devising process, whereas a freeze-frame is not planned, the children just ‘freeze’.Tableau
A tableau is another type of still image. It often ends up involving the whole class. It usually is built up gradually, with the addition of one or two people at a time.Talking Objects
This involves the children portraying themselves as objects in a scene. The objects usually enter the scene one at a time. They can speak, tell you about themselves and characters and events they have witnessed. They can be questioned and can talk to each other. Characters might pass by the talking objects and the objects might speak to the character or about the character. Also, the objects can speak to each other.Teacher in Role
This involves the teacher taking a role in the drama. They will signal clearly to the children when they are in or out of role and may use a piece of costume or prop to make this clear. The teacher only stays in role for as long as is necessary to the drama. They do not need to act, just present a set of attitudes with seriousness and consistency.Teacher as Narrator
This involves the teacher telling, or telling back, parts of the drama as if he/she is a storyteller. This may be used to gather and share what has happened in the drama so far and to move the drama forward in time so that it does not get stuck. It enables the teacher to model narrative storytelling.Thought-Tracking
This involves speaking the inner thoughts of a character out loud and is often an opportunity offered to the whole class at a key moment. It may be that a child gets an opportunity to speak the character's thoughts aloud when the teacher is passing nearest to that child. Sometimes a touch on the shoulder is used as a signal that it is their turn to speak the thoughts of the character.Voice Collage
This is usually carried out by a group or class. A voice collage is built up (maybe spontaneously or maybe rehearsed) that links to the drama. It involves using only voices. The voices can speak words, make sounds, repeat, overlap, interrupt, and so on. When voice collages are being performed it is usually most effective if the audience have their eyes closed.
References[Page 154]2002) Drama in Schools: Second Edition. London: Arts Council England.(2004) With Drama in Mind: Real Learning in Imagined Worlds. Stafford: Network Educational Press.(2002) Games for Actors and Non-Actors. London: Routledge.(2006) Renewed Primary Framework for Literacy and Mathematics, http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/primary framework/ (accessed 20 February 2008).(May 2003a) Excellence and Enjoyment: A Strategy for Primary Schools. London: DfES. (Ref DfES 0377/2003).(2003b) Drama Objectives Bank. London: DfES. http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/secondary/keystage3/downloads/en_dramaobjs032103bank.pdf(2004) Speaking, Listening, Learning: Working with Children in Key Stages 1 and 2. London: DfES.(2003) Saving a Place for the Arts? A Survey of the Arts in Primary Schools. LGA research report 41. London: NFER., and (1995) Drama for Learning: Dorothy Heathcote's Mantle of the Expert Approach to Education. London: Heinemann.and (2007) Drama for Learning and Creativity (D4LC). Norwich: Norfolk County Council and National Drama.(2004) The Guardian Tuesday 30th March, http://education.guardian.co.uk/egweekly/story/0,5500,1180330,00,html(
Recommended Reading[Page 155]2001) Drama Lessons for 5 to 11 Year Olds. London: David Fulton.(2004) With Drama in Mind: Real Learning in Imagined Worlds. Stafford: Network Educational Press.(2002) Teaching Literacy Through Drama: Creative Approaches. London: RoutledgeFalmer.and (2001) Planning Process Drama. London: David Fulton.and (2006) Improve Your Primary School Through Drama. London: David Fulton., and (1998) Starting Drama Teaching. London: David Fulton.(2000) Structuring Drama Work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., and (2000) Drama and Traditional Story in the Early Years. London: Routledgehttp://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446214268.and (2007) Speaking and Listening Through Drama. London: Sage Publicationshttp://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781446214268.and (1998) Beginning Drama 4–11. London: David Fulton.and ([Page 156][Page 157][Page 158][Page 159][Page 160]