Secondary English – Using Drama in your classroom!

Don’t worry; they don’t all need to be on their feet in your tiny classroom!

The Drama Studio is not always available in my school and I like to keep lessons lively so these are some ideas and resources that have worked really well with my KS3 pupils.

Warm up idea:
When calling the register set a theme, such as ‘you must answer with the name of a celebrity whose first name started with the same letter as your last name’. Or, an action for each letter – people who have a vowel as a first name have to jump on one leg when their name is read until the end of the register, people whose names begin with b,c,d,f,g,h must moo like a cow until the register is read. This breaks down barriers and stops them getting worried about looking silly and being self conscious because everyone is doing it.

Save me because…
This can be assessed as a Speaking and Listening exercise and works especially well with lower ability pupils or pupils with ALN. The premise is that a group of professional people are in a hot air balloon making their way to a promised land, the balloon starts to sink and someone needs to be chucked overboard. I have the pupils sat on tables of 4 or 5 and give them each a number that correlates to the person in the balloon – this way it avoids arguments early on! They then have to argue why they need to stay in the balloon, for example, the ‘Teacher’ may argue the importance of education (although in my experience, we usually get kicked overboard!)
(Download the resource as a pdf here)

Doorbell dinner party
This is from ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ and works really well in the classroom. Using the resource provided, give a few of your more confident pupils a role and send them outside of the door. You will then need a host and someone who can make a doorbell noise. Once the doorbell goes a guest in character enters, the host needs to ask them questions to work out who they are, they should respond in character. This works best if you have about 5 guests who all enter the room within about 2 minutes. The pupils can remain sitting in their seats and get to ‘guess the guest’ after 3 minutes (I use a timer on the board). Once you’ve played this a couple of times and they understand the premise it works really well using characters from your class reader or a Shakespeare play.
(Download the resource as a pdf here)

Improvised Script
This is a very short script that pupils can quickly memorise, they then must deliver the script using different emotions and expressions each time. It helps pupils to understand tone, delivery and clarity of speech. It works well in seats or pupils can stand up to show examples. I found that it helped less confident readers to express themselves.
(Download the resource as a pdf here)

Joanna Fliski
Teacher of English, Media and Drama – Lliswerry High School.

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