Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Drama techniques, Elements of Drama, Esl Drama, improvisation, Improvisation around bullying

Improvisation for beginners

What is improvisation?

Improvisation is theatre without a script. The performers hear it for the first time at the same time as the audience. Improvisation is shared creation. Improvisers make it up on the spot, often working from a suggestion from others. We build ideas step by step, using, “Accept the offer and build on it.”.

 This means that the improvisers must  listen carefully and add to what their partner is offering.

Beginner improvisation activity: 1, 2, 3 Counting

This is a very popular warm-up and one Augusto Boal mentions in his book ‘Games for Actors and Non-Actors’. The premise is simple yet requires concentration.

  1. Divide the group into pairs and ask the members of each group to name themselves either A or B.
  2. Ask them to count to three as a pair with A saying ‘1’, B saying ‘2’, A saying ‘3’, B saying’1′, A saying ‘2’, B saying ‘3’ etc.
  3. Now ask the As in each group to come up with a sound and movement that will replace ‘1’. The pair will continue counting with each partner substituting the sound and movement for the number ‘1’.
  4. Now ask the Bs in each group to come up with a sound and movement that will replace ‘2’. The pair will continue counting with each partner substituting As sound and movement for the number ‘1’, and Bs sound and movement for the number ‘2’
  5. Now ask A to come up with another sound and movement, this time for the number ‘3’. By now, there should be no numbers heard, only the unique sounds and movements that have been substituted for each number.

This exercise is simple and low-pressure yet begins to awaken the creative muscles by calling on students to create movement and sound on the spot.

Warm up improvisation activity: Word Ball

Word ball is another simple game but regards a high level of concentration. It works by gathering the students into a circles and ‘throwing’ words around.

  1. Choose any word to begin with (e.g. cat) and place your hands as if you were holding the word in them, then ‘throw’ the word using both your voice and your hands to a member of the group.
  2. The member of the group must ‘catch’ the word, and then throw the first word that comes to mind (e.g. cuddly) to the next member of the group.
  3. The next member ‘catches’ this word, and throws the first associated word that pops into their head (e.g. teddy bear) to the next person. The exercise continues like this until everybody has had plenty of chances to throw words around. Try to dissuade students from hesitating and encourage them to simply go with the first thing that comes to mind, reminding them that there is no such thing as wrong or right when it comes to improv.

Some  Simple Rules for improvisation:

It’s time to introduce some basic rules of improv. Although there is no right or wrong, there are rules that can help in the creation of improvisational theatre.

RULE ONE: Offer and Accept

There’s nothing worse when doing improv than working with somebody who constantly negates your ideas. e.g.

A: Wow, did you see that elephant over there?

B: No. What are you talking about?

Negating an idea forces your partner to do all the work by coming up with idea after idea. In the example above, B has stopped the flow of the scene by rejecting A’s offer. If he had accepted it, the scene could continue quite easily:

A: Wow, did you see that elephant over there?

B: WOW! That’s the biggest elephant I’ve ever seen! Where do you suppose it came from?

Yes, and improvisation activity:

This is a nice little game that trains students to accept offers and add to them. Like in the second example above, B accepts the existence of the elephant, and offers a question as an addition to his acceptance.

  1. Divide the class into two even lines, call one line A, and the other line B. Have the two lines face each other
  2. Begin with the students who are at the top of the lines. Ask the student in the A line to come up with an offer. The student in the B line must accept and add to it. A must then accept B’s addition, and add to it again. e.g.:

A: Would you like to cut my hair for me?

B:Yes!I have a hairdressing set in my room, let’s do it there.

A: Great! I’ll bring a picture of what I want it to look like.

3.   When they’re finished, each student will go to the end of the opposite line (i.e. The student from line A will go to the end of line B, the line B student will go to the end of line A), and the next two students will have their chance to go.

  1. Keep this game going until all students have had a chance to be in both lines.

RULE TWO: Keep Questions Direct

Open-ended questions can really stump your partner as you are essentially forcing them to do the work in the scene. For example, starting a scene by saying

– What’s going on here? means someone else has to supply the information for the scene. A better way to go about it would be to say

-Why are you Riding that horsurs Here, you are still asking a question but are also supplying your partners with information while you do it.

The most basic ground rule is that there is no right or wrong. Something that inhibits a lot of students is the worry that they are somehow doing something wrong. Improv is about going with your impulses and creating something from them. While there are some rules we will cover in this lesson that can make improv easier, there is no right or wrong.

Teach your students to repeat these questions and answers to themselves when they are feeling unsure:

– How do I do it?

– Just do it.

– Am I doing it right?

– Yes

What are you doing? Improvisation activity:

Group stands in a circle. One person goes into the centre of the circle and starts an action (such as brushing her teeth).

A person goes into the centre, and asks, “What are you doing?”

The person brushing her teeth answers by saying something other than what she is doing. “I’m dribbling a basketball.”

The first person then leaves, and the new person starts “dribbling a basketball.” Then a new person goes in and asks, “What are you doing?”

And so on…

Encourage students to make new choices each time. (No repeats.)

Newspaper Headlines

In a group of 3 pr4, chose one of the following headlines:

Airline removes passenger who won’t stop doing pull ups.

Arrest over theft of £5million gold toilet from palace.

Fisherman gets shock, as he reels in dinosaur like fish with huge eyes.

Two headed snake, named Double Dave found in the forest.

Woman dreams of swallowing a ring and wakes up to find she has.

Queen returns pet monkey to girl.

Make a still image, freeze frame, mime, improvise the story.

 

Airline removes passenger who won’t stop doing pull ups.

 

Arrest over theft of £5million gold toilet from palace.

 

Fisherman gets shock, as he reels in dinosaur like fish with huge eyes.

 

Two headed snake, named Double Dave found in the forest.

 

Woman dreams of swallowing a ring and wakes up to find she has.

 

Queen returns pet monkey to girl.

Some other links:

Therapeutic Storytelling 

Anti bullying workshop for children

 

Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, Getting to know you games

Back to school “Getting to Know you Games”

Group Of Children With Teacher Enjoying Drama Class Together

Back to school “Getting to Know you Games”

Game: Data Processing
Level: Elementary+
Other benefits: The main aim of this activity is to provide the students
with the opportunity to ask each other personal questions. The game can
also be used to develop listening skills.
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Instructions: Get the class to work together and get them to get into a
straight line:
• Alphabetically by their first name
• Alphabetically by their surnames
• Alphabetically by their best friend’s name
• By hair length
• By shoe size
• By birthdays
• By how many brothers and sisters you have
Extension: If the students are more advanced, get them to do this exercise
by not using sound. They can only use body movements and gestures.

Game: Action Name Game
Level: Beginners+
Other benefits: This is another effective but simple game to practice
greetings and introductions. It also promotes awareness and teamwork
skills.
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Instructions: Have everyone sit in circle. The first student says, “Hi
my name is ____” The student then does an action, and the rest of the
group says, “Hi _____, pleased to meet you,” and repeats the action.
This continues until everyone has a chance and the rest of the group has
greeted them and repeated their action.

Game: Adjective Introduction
Level: Beginners+
Other benefits: This is a good game for both learning classmates’ names
and practising adjectives.
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space, ball or a bean bag.
Instructions: The students form a circle and the teacher gives one of
them a bean bag or a ball. When they have the ball/beanbag, they must
introduce themselves and say an adjective that best describes them, for
example “Hi, my name is Annie and I’m funny.” When Annie is finished
introducing herself, she throws the ball to someone else in the circle. This
continues until everyone has had a turn.
Extension: To make this activity more difficult for more advanced
students, the adjective they choose must start with the same letter as their

Other links:

More ESL Games

ESL Storytelling Activities

Posted in Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, English as a second language, Esl Drama, Fairy Tales, Movement activities, Movement stories for children, Storytelling in the Early years, The Enormous Turnip

The Enormous Turnip – Drama workshop for children

Read the story of “The Enormous Turnip”

Warm up: Enormous, Enormous Turnip. All the children except the child who is It, sit in a circle. It walks around the circle, tapping each player on the head, saying “Enormous” each time until he decides to tap someone and say “Turnip” That child becomes the turnip and runs after It, trying to tag him before It can take his seat. If It successfully reaches the turnip’s seat without being tagged, the turnip is the new It. If the turnip tags It, then the turnip keeps his spot in the circle and It must either continue to be It for another turn or sit in the middle of the circle until another It is tagged.

Circle time: Ask the children to sit in the circle. Ask them if they can name the different characters in the story. Ask the following questions:
How would the different characters move? What would they sound like?
What do you think they were doing before they were called to help with the Turnip?
How do they feel about pulling the Turnip up and eating it?

Character exploration: Get the children find their own space in the room. When the teacher calls out a character the children have to become the character and move around the room.
Old Man: Hunches over and moves very slowly with a walking stick.
Wife: Busy doing housework and moves very busily and quickly.
Boy: Plays football, does headers, keepy ups and scores goals.
Girl: Skips along happily.
Dog: Moves like a dog and barks.
Cat: Moves like a cat and meows.
Mouse: Moves like a mouse and squeaks.

Movement story: https://dramastartbooks.com/2017/10/08/2712/ Get the children to participate in the above Enormous Turnip Movement Story.

Mime: All the children find a space and they curl up and imagine that they are a turnip seed. The seed are get bigger and bigger until eventually they grow into a large Turnip and are pulled from the earth.

Still image: They make a still image of the moment they find out that they are going to be turned into turninip soup.

Thought tracking: The teacher goes and taps each Turnip on the shoulder and they must say one word how they feel about being eaten for dinner.
Voice exploration: Each child says the following sentence
Please, please don’t eat me for your dinner.”
In a happy voice
Sad voice,
Surprised voice,
Shocked voice,
Tired voice,
Angry voice,
Scared voice,
Excited voice.

Group work: Divide the class in to groups of 3 or 4. The group have to use their bodies to make the one big, Enormous Turnip. They have to move as the turnip but stay connected.

Freeze Frame: Divide the class into groups of 8. Each group have to make six still images that tell the story. They can show it to the other groups.
Improvisation: For older children they can add dialogue to their freeze frames.

Closure: The children stand in a circle. Child A says “If I had a turnip, I would turn it in to an Apple.” Child B says “If I had a turnip, I would turn it in to an Apple and a banana.” Child C says “If I had a turnip, I would turn it in to an Apple, a banana and a cat” and so on until everyone gets a chance. If they make a mistake or stumble they are eliminated and sit down.. The last child standing at the end wins.

Play: https://dramastartbooks.com/2017/10/08/the-enormous-turnip-a-five-minute-playscript-for-children/

 

Posted in Drama for children, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, Hot seating

Developing a Character

Group Of Children With Teacher Enjoying Drama Class Together

To develop a unique character answer the following questions and then use the hot seating technique for character exploration.

Personal details:
Name:
Age:
Job:
Details of family:

Where were you born?
Where did you go to school?

Past:
Your biggest secret:

What was your ambition (goal) as a child?

Briefly describe one childhood story from your character’s past. This can be happy or sad.

Personality:
Describe the personality that everyone sees on a daily basis:
For example: friendly, happy, lively, outgoing …

Describe the personality that people see when they get to know you better.
For example: more relaxed, calmer, less nervous …

Make up two personality traits or habits that show something about your character.
For example: a twitch could show that they feel nervous talking about themselves …

What’s your greatest fear?

What are your likes and dislikes?

Movement
How does your character stand or sit typically?

Walk?

Are they comfortable making eye contact?

Voice
How do they talk?
For example: do they speak slowly, steady, quickly? Or do they mumble, talk loudly, shout, or talk without expression?

Hot-seat your character.

Now that you have created a character, you should know all about their hopes and dreams and have invented a past and personality for them. Try to make some answers detailed, rather than using one word answers.

• What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?
• What’s your greatest dream for the future?
• Can you describe yourself in a sentence?
• What do you do with your spare time?
• Do you find it easy to make friends?
• What’s been your happiest memory so far in your life?
• Would you describe yourself as an opinionated person?
• Do you think you’re easy to get along with?
• What annoys you?
• If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be and why?
• Where do you see yourself in 20 years’ time?
• If you could give someone younger than yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
• What are you afraid of?
• How do you think you’ve changed over the years?
• Would you say you’re happy with your life as it is?
• What makes you laugh?
• Who’s the most important person in your life?

Posted in Action Poems, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Elements of Drama, Movement activities, Movement stories for children

More Action Poetry for Children

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Five Currant Buns in a Baker’s Shop
Directions: Five children can be the current buns and six children can be the
customers. One child can be the baker. Everyone else can say the rhyme below The
baker lines up his currant buns in the shop. When each customer comes in to choose a currant bun, the children say the customer’s name. Then the baker selects a currantbun for the customer to buy.

Five currant buns in the baker’s shop ,Big and round, with a cherry on the top. Along came ……………….. with a penny one day, Bought a currant bun and took it away.
Four currant buns in the baker’s shop, Big and round, with a cherry on the top. Along came ……………….. with a penny one day, Bought a currant bun and took it away.
Three currant buns in the baker’s shop, Big and round, with a cherry on the top. Along came ……………….. with a penny one day, Bought a currant bun and took it away.
Two currant buns in the baker’s shop, Big and round, with a cherry on the top. Along came ……………….. with a penny one day, Bought a currant bun and took it away.
One currant bun in the baker’s shop, Big and round, with a cherry on the top. Along came ……………….. with a penny one day, Bought a currant bun and took it away.
No currant buns in the baker’s shop, Nothing big and round, with a cherry on the top. Along came……………….. with a penny one day, “Sorry,” said the baker, “no more currant buns today.”

In A Dark, Dark Wood
Directions: As the children say the poem below they must all mime going into the dark woods, opening the door of the dark house, looking in the cupboard, feeling the shelf and opening the box. Every time the poem is said the teacher can decide what is in the box, for example a ghost, a dragon, a dinosaur or a cake. The children must give the appropriate reactions to whatever the teacher, says is in the box for example if it is a ghost they must scream whereas if it is a cake they should pretend to eat it.

“In a dark, dark wood, there was a dark, dark house.
And in that dark, dark house, there was a dark, dark room.
And in that dark, dark room, there was a dark, dark cupboard.
And in that dark, dark cupboard, there was a dark, dark shelf.
And on that dark, dark shelf, there was a dark, dark box.
And in that dark, dark box There was a …………….. !”

Five Little Ducks
Directions: Before you start, choose five children to be the ducks and one child to be the mother duck. Each time the verse is said by the rest of the children ducks must waddle away quacking. When the mother duck says, “quack, quack” only the appropriate number of children must come back. Do this until there are no ducks left and then the mother duck must cry at the end.

Five little ducks, Went out one day, Over the hill and far away. Mother duck said: “Quack, quack, quack, quack.” But only four little ducks came back.
Four little ducks, Went out one day , Over the hill and far away. Mother duck said: “Quack, quack, quack, quack.” But only three little ducks came back.
Three little ducks, Went out one day Over the hill and far away. Mother duck said: “Quack, quack, quack, quack.” But only two little ducks came back.
Two little ducks, Went out one day, Over the hill and far away. Mother duck said:“Quack, quack, quack, quack.” But only one little duck came back.
One little duck, Went out one day, Over the hill and far away. Mother duck said: “Quack, quack, quack, quack.” But none of the five little ducks came back.
Sad mother duck, Went out one day, Over the hill and far away. The sad mother duck said “ Quack, quack, quack, quack.” And all of the five little ducks came back.

Posted in Aesop's fabes, creative arts, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, Esl, Esl Drama, expressive arts, fables, Fairy Tales, Freeze Frame, Hot seating, Mime, Panchatantra plays, Role playing stories, Still image, Storytelling, teacher in role, Voice Production

Drama Lesson based on “The Lion and The Clever Rabbit”

The following is a Drama workshop to do with children in primary or elementary school. It is a useful workshop if you want to focus on the issue of Bully and isolation. It is based on the fable from the Panchatantra called “The Lion and the Clever Rabbit”. Here is a link to a version on you tube.

Once the teacher has told the story or watched the video ask the children to get into groups of four.

Physical warm up: In each group there is a monkey, an elephant, a snake and a rabbit. Get the children to move around the room and sound like their different animals. Get them to find the animal that is like them from the other groups and interact and play with them. The teacher gives a loud roar and the animals are frightened.

Teacher in role: The teacher in role as the Lion roars at them. She says “I’m very hungry and I’m going to eat all the animals in the jungle one by one.”

Still Image: In their animal groups the children make a still image of how they feel when they think the Lion is coming to get catch them and eat them.

Thought tracking: Once all groups are in the still image then the teacher out of role goes and touches them on the shoulder. Each animal has to say how they feel at that moment.

Conscience alley: Once the children are out of their still image they make two lines facing each other. The teacher in role as the the Lion walks in between the line as the children speak out as his conscience. The children in the line on the left hand should speak out that it is wrong to scare and eat the other animals and the children on the right hand side should speak out saying that he is right to scare and the eat the animals.
Examples: The left side could say “the animals are scared”, “what about their families?”,
“they want to stay in the jungle and play with their friends”.
The right side could say: “none of the other animals like you”, “you are hungry and you need to eat”, “you have no friends so you don’t care what they think of you”.

Hot seating: The teacher in role as the Lion sits in the hot seat. The children who are being themselves ask the Lion why he is behaving this way. Why does he want to eat all the animals in the jungle? Why is he horrible and mean to the other animals?

Group discussion: Get the children to get into role as their original animals. Tell them that they are going to change the ending of the story because the way the Clever Rabbit treated the Lion was as bad as how the Lion treated the other animals. They must come up with a more positive ending.

Group improvisation: The groups all improvise their endings in front of the other groups. The teacher takes on the role as the Lion in each group.

Role on the wall: Put two outlines of a Lion on the wall. Let the children choose words that describes the Lion before he got stuck in the well and one for after he was rescued from the well.

Closure|relaxation activity: Sleeping Lions – get the children to lie still on the floor and pretend to be a sleep. If they move then they are out and have to wake up with aloud roar.

Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Elements of Drama, Endings, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, expressive arts

Drama Activities for ESL Students



Game: The Dog Show 

Level: Pre Intermediate +

Aim: Questions

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear Space

Instructions: This is a communication activity where the students have to use their imagination. There is an opportunity for the students to use mime and provides a chance to use the teacher in role drama technique. Get each student to imagine that they are a dog owner. They must each mime interacting with their dog. Once they have done this and got use to the size of their dog get them to imagine that they are competing in a dog show. The teacher takes on the role as a judge of the show. She/he interviews each of the dog owners individually and ask them the following questions.

What type of dog is it?

Where did you get him from?

What type of personality does he have?

What dog tricks can he do? Can you show us?

Why should you dog win the show?

The Judge/teacher can decide at the end of the activity who wins the show. The winner/winners can take a photo at the end with their dogs. (Still image).

Game: Alibi

Level: Pre intermediate +

Aim: To ask questions and to communicate in a spontaneous manner.

Minimum number of participants: 6

Resources needed: A clear space.

Instructions: Explain what an alibi means. Create a crime scene scenario.
Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5. Get one group to be the suspect send them out of the room to get their story straight. Meanwhile the suspects are getting their story straight. Get the other group to be the investigators to compile a series of questions. After the students are finished preparing invite the suspect back and the interrogation begins. Each group interviews each suspect and then they compare notes and decide whose story didn’t match up and they must come to a consensus who they will officially excuse.

Different scenarios

Bank robbery

Kidnapping

Shop lifting

Extension: More advanced students could hold a trial in which each group could be assigned different roles.

Posted in Animal Stories, Christmas plays, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Drama workshop for childre, Elements of Drama, Endings, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, fables, Fairy Tales, Hot seating, Mime for children, Role playing stories, Story sacks, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques, teacher in role, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo drama workshop, Voice Production

The Gruffalo – Drama Workshop

Posted in Action Poems, Aesop's fabes, Animal Stories, co-operation, creative arts, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Drama workshop for childre, Elements of Drama, Endings, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, expressive arts, Fairy Tales, Freeze Frame, Hot seating, Mime, Movement stories for children, Panchatantra plays, Still image, Story sacks, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques, teacher in role, The three billy goats gruff

Using drama strategies in the classroom

Posted in drama for kids, Drama techniques, Elements of Drama, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, Role playing stories

Puppet Activities:

image

 

Puppet Activities:

Blind Storyteller: Have one person sit in front of the group facing them. Have two or three people stand behind him with their puppets. The sitting person cannot see the people behind him. Have him tell a story about these three puppets. The “actors” then have to act it out as he narrates. This can have some super funny results!

Puppet Show: Have the group break into smaller groups and come up with their own puppet show ideas.

Emotional Puppets: Have the people in the group get up one at a time and have their puppets act out an emotion. The rest of the group must guess what emotion they are acting out.

Me as a Puppet:  Give each person in the group various puppet making supplies and have them make a puppet that reflects themselves. I suggest sticking to one kind of puppet such as a paper plate stick puppet. The puppets do not have to look exactly like the person. Instead they could have some of the person’s attributes such as being shy, loud, having freckles or glasses. The rest of the puppet could be imagined, or what the person would like to look like if he had the choice. After making the puppets you might sit in a circle and introduce the puppets. An interesting script might be to say one thing or two things about your puppet that is the same as you and one thing that is different.

Forum theatre: Two puppets  go up to the front and start a scene. They have to act out the scene as best they can. At one point the  facilitator yells “freeze”! And all the puppets must freeze. One of the audience puppets then goes up and takes the place of one of the acting puppets. They must then say something to start a completely new scenario.

Music Video: Have the group divide into small groups. Have them pick out their own music and make up a music video to show the group!

Puppet Talk Show: This talk show is all about puppets! Have three people come up and sit at the front. Also have a talk show “host” (a facilitator is probably best) who leads the show. Have the puppets introduce themselves (they could be regular puppets or they could be famous people. eg. Elvis, Miley Cyrus, Snow White, The Little Mermaid) The “audience” members get to put up their hands and ask the puppets questions. You can use markers or sticks as microphones for the puppets to speak into. The host can encourage interaction between puppet guests as well as audience members.

What If?:  Two/three people are chosen. Each chooses a puppet and stands at the front of the group. The audience or facilitator suggests a “what if?'” question, eg. What if  you missed the bus to work? The group would then have to act out that scenario, coming up with a solution. Once they were finished you could have other volunteers come up and act out alternate endings.

For more drama ideas, click here.