Can you believe it? We are almost at the end of the school year – and this series of Monday tips based on the book “The Classroom of Choice” by Jonathan Erwin. We have been discussing how to meet your students’ need for fun in the classroom. Today – drama games.
As a child, some of your favorite games probably involved imagination and role-playing. As we age, the demands of daily life can erode our imagination. Drama games can help exercise the imagination, and thus help retain the creative potential that we had as children. Drama games can also help students develop key skills such as listening, self-expression, articulation, concentration, focus, self-control, spontaneity, and confidence. Finally, drama games give students a chance to move, to interact, and to enjoy the two kinds of freedom (freedom to and freedom from) that we discussed previously.
Games for verbal expression
Tongue twisters – This verbal game provides good exercise for clear articulation and can be a good transition between classroom activities. They also help develop focus and concentration.
Quacking up – This warm-up can be used to get people laughing and bonding.
1. Give each student a card with the name of an animal on it or whisper to each student the name of an animal. Choose animals whose sounds are easy to imitate.
2. Have the class stand in a circle.
3. Ask them to close their eyes, and tell them when you say, “Go!”, they are to make their animal sound and see how many others of their kind they can find and stand together using the sense of hearing.
You can also use this to form cooperative groups.
One-minute please – Pick a student’s name from a hat. The student must pick a 3 x 5 card from a deck that the teacher has prepared. On the card is a subject that the student must talk about for one whole minute. This activity can be used to review and helps students learn presentation skills and how to think on their feet.
Games for physical expression
Walk this way – Students stand in a circle, each person a couple of paces behind the person in front of her, and begin walking around and around the circle. The teacher calls out, “Walk as if ,” filling in the blank with a descriptor (You weigh 2000 pounds, you are in pain, you are on the moon, you are on a hot sidewalk with bare feet, you are getting yelled at, you are angry,…). For the next few moments, everyone pantomimes walking as if they weighed a ton.
Musical statues – The teacher plays a dance tune. When the music stops, everyone freezes absolutely still, like statues. Anyone who moves is out. The judging becomes stricter until only one person is left.
Three props on a box – The teacher selects three props (possibly from the unit) and places them on a box. A student selected at random has to come up and tell a story involving all three props. The more incongruous the props, the more fun and challenging the game is for everyone.
First lines – Each pair of students is handed a card with the first line to an improvised skit on it, and they take it from there. Let the action continue until they need to be rescued.