Drama is a fantastic tool for learning across the curriculum. It is a fun way to embed learning about a range of topics; and it brings a host of benefits including building confidence, developing language and communication skills, encouraging cooperation, developing emotional intelligence, inspiring creative thinking, and the list goes on! This is the second of three Skills not Frills videos giving teachers ideas and tips for using drama in the classroom. See Drama #1.
Drama #2: Bringing Language to Life
Use drama for a creative approach to literacy sessions
Drama makes learning fun and memorable!
Physicalising language can help pupils to understand it
ACTIVITY 1: Become the Word
- Words relating to your theme can be written on cards to individual learners before you begin, ensuring they understand and remember the meaning.
- Allow time to devise a way to represent the word physically as individuals at first.
- Then, in a circle, one learner at a time comes into the centre, announces what word they represent and then ‘becomes the word’ with a physical position, stance, or face in freeze frame.
- The next learner builds on this word, to build a richer understanding of the theme and extending their vocabulary as a group.
Variation 1 – Use key vocabulary related to a location or them to help learners memorise it, e.g. a castle.
Variation 2 – Re-create a freeze frame from a story or scene, helping learners to sequence the events.
Variation 3 – Focus on a set of appropriate adjectives, verbs, or adverbs related to your theme or characters, extending your learners’ understanding and confidence to use ambitious and descriptive words in their writing later.
ACTIVITY 2: Shakespearian Insults
Introduce difficult language through Shakespeare- which is full of insults! Getting students to hear and repeat complex language before they see it written down will help them to explore it and feel ownership of it. Warning- This will certainly challenge your learners on the importance of fair play and healthy competition!
- Teacher introduces each insult, and pupils repeat. Discuss the meaning and historical context of the insults to aid understanding.
- Get your students to have a word-off, which is like a dance-off but with language! Divide the class into two lines facing each other, and ask the group to work collaboratively to decide which of the Shakespearian insults they want to use in what order. Encourage them to add movement and facial expressions to the delivery, and rehearse before you begin!
Variation – How about having a ‘Wow word off’ with ambitious adjectives/ verbs/ adverbs inserted into highly descriptive sentences! Divide the class into mixed ability groups and provide some examples to begin the process, then encourage your learners to devise their own imaginative and highly descriptive phrases designed to either insult the other team, or impress them immensely!
What next and where to find more help?
LINKS: More games to try with your pupils
Find a list of Shakespeare insults here.
This is part of a series of 15 ‘Skills not Frills’ videos and resource sheets, created with the help of A2:Connect Arts Champions. Arts Champions are teachers who work with us to share their practice and expertise with other schools/teachers in the region.
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