Primary drama – Ideas to get reluctant children involved

I used to hate drama at school, being very self conscious and took that dislike of the subject into teaching it, trying to swap lessons with other teachers to avoid it but since investigating techniques for teaching drama and trying some myself, I’ve realised that it can be fun and have set about trying to ensure that children who seem as self conscious as I was benefit from working in the subject. It surprised me really that many boys were anti drama as I’ve often watched them playing war games in the playground so I think it’s the enjoyment and comfort zone that’s been missing in the past.

Here’s an activity, tried with my class, that can help spice up your drama sessions and get reluctant dramatists actively involved.

Acting Through Sound

In this drama activity we decided to write and perform a play which was performed only through sound. There was to be no movement and no speaking. We had only the sounds our voices could make plus a few implements to make additional sounds with.

We did ‘A Day At The Beach’ but you can do any simple play that you feel the children can cope with.

We began with the sound of pouring water into a container (making tea for the picnic), a sawing sound for the sandwiches and then the sounds of a car engine.

For the journey, we had beeps for traffic jams, bells on bicycles, a quiet rumble for the engine and then the squeal of brakes as we arrived.

The children did crunching noises for feet on pebbles, a rain stick for the sound of the ocean, accompanied by seagull cries.

For the lunch there was the sss.. of the fizzy drinks bottle, the pouring and sipping of tea, the crunch of an apple and the rustle of a crisp packet.

We had a song (hummed) for the radio, the rustle of dad’s newspaper and the closing of four car doors for the start of the journey home.

We asked the audience what they thought it was about and we were pleased to get suggestions that were close to the answer.  It was agreed by the class that it was a lot of fun and despite my nerves, we probably will do it again!

Dave Lewis
Portsmouth High School Junior Dept

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