With so much to cram into our daily classroom timetables, it is often difficult to set aside a specific time to formally teach drama skills, find a play script, assign roles, rehearse and perform. With a little creativity, however, it is possible to integrate drama play into the other areas of the curriculum. You can reinforce learning in many subjects through focused drama lesson plans.
Start with Drama Skills
If we were presenting a drama workshop for the students, we would want to cover skills such as:
- Voice Elements (volume, projection, timbre, diction, dialect, tone, pitch, articulation, pace)
- Body Language (stance, gestures, breathing, facial expression)
- Emotion (anxious, ecstatic, fretful, deliriously happy, bored …)
- Role (teacher, car salesman, fairy tale ogre, 3 year old child, lottery winner, gum chewer)
All of these skills can be presented and practiced by including them in a cross-curricular drama activity.
Drama Lesson Plans for Language Arts
This is the easiest of the subject areas to work in since most of us would consider drama to be part of our language
arts program. There are informal ways to incorporate drama skills into some unexpected topics.
Practicing spelling can be more fun when students are asked to use the various dramatic methods when spelling their words.
– Vary the tone, pitch, volume, speed ….
– Add hesitations and a gesture to show syllable breaks
– Speak with an accent
– Move body to illustrate the character of each letter as the word is spelled
for example – a swaying movement for the fluid letter 's' or stiff with arms out for the rigid letter 't'
Movements do not have to show the shape of the letter, but rather the "feel"
– Perhaps a punch in the stomach for the letter 'f'. Students should be told that there is no right or wrong to their choices for each letter.
-spell the word using the emotion suggested by the teacher or leader
-spell the word using the emotion suggested by the word eg 'worry'
-spell the word using the opposite emotion suggested by the word eg 'boring'
-for difficult words – assign a specific emotion to individual students and go down the line spelling the same word in the different emotions
spell the word as if:
-you just won 3 million dollars
-you are 3 years old
-you have a mouth full of jelly beans
-you are the ogre hiding under the bridge
Many of these methods can be used for rote learning in other areas such as multiplication facts or formulas in math.
Drama Lesson Plans for Math
Body Sculpture can add some laughter to a geometry review of 2D and 3D shapes. Divide the class into groups with enough students to make the shapes that you are working on. Groups must try to be first to correctly make the shape called out by the teacher or leader.
-make a rectangle, square, rhombus …..
-make a cube, sphere, tetrahedron …..
-make a cube with a cone inside, square inside a sphere ……
Can you think of a way to use this for reinforcing the concepts of perimeter and area with an integrated lesson plan?
Drama Play in Science
This could be used for review or as another take on the research project! If for example you were working on an animal unit, pairs of students could be assigned one animal to research, but instead of presenting their findings in a written report or display, they would present a short skit. Set out the requirements for the task. In the play, the humans must run into the creature in the wild, showing its natural habitat. Through costume and dialogue the students must reveal why they are there (hunters, hikers, scientists, swimmers …..). Details about the animal's appearance, behavior, food, etc. must be given and the "plot" should make clear the results of contact between the humans and the animal.
Add a little drama to learning. It's fun to spice up lessons in science, math, social studies, physical education and some of the other unusual suspects.