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 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

img_0197

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 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 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.

 

 

Posted in creative arts, 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, expressive arts, Mime, Mime for all ages, Mime for children, Mime for kids, Movement activities, Movement stories for children, Role playing stories, Still image, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques

Mime Workshop and Mime Activities for all ages

Mime theme image 2

Main objective of workshop: Mime encourages confidence and awareness of self and of others. It encourages physical control, simplicity of thought and movement and more importantly it stimulates the imagination.

Sub aims:

  • To introduce relaxation exercises and understand their role in a drama class.
  • To promote group work and co-operation.

Relaxation exercises

Be a star: Lie sown on your back and spread your arms, palms up to the side and open your legs. Stretch the limbs all together. Feel you are making a four pointed star. Suddenly the star collapses. Feel the tension disappear.

Be Hercules: In the same position, imagine that the body is being pushed down by a heavy weight so that all parts of the body are being pressed into the ground suddenly the weight is removed. Feel yourself float on the ground.

Shake off the ants:  In the same position, imagine you are tied to the ground but you can wiggle. A colony of ants finds and begins to crawl over you. Commence to wiggle the body until the last ant leaves you. Then collapse.

Be a rubber puppet: Imagine you are made of rubber and there are strings attached to your shoulders which someone can pull from above. You are being pulled up and you find your limbs fly out in all directions. Even the feet can be pulled off the ground at times, finally the strings are cut and the body relaxes.

Mime Activities:

What’s in the Box: All the students sit in a large circle. The teacher asks them to imagine there is a magic box in the centre of the circle. The teacher can ask what size is it? What colour is it? Ask can everyone see it. This is a fun mime game. Everyone sits in a circle. Ask the children if they can see the box in the centre of the circle. Ask them what colour it is? What shape it is? Tell them it can be a different shape and colour, depending on where you are sitting in the circle. This is because it is a magic box.  The teacher goes into the centre of the circle first and mimes opening the box and taking out an object. She then mimes holding the object and the class must guess what it is. When the children guess correctly the teacher mimes putting it back in the box and closing it. The child who guessed correctly takes a turn at taking an object out of the box.

Pass the object: This is a follow on from the Magic Box game. The teacher mimes taking an object out of the box, for example a mouse, a rotten egg, a cream cake, chewing gum, lipstick or a puppy, and the children guess what it is. When they have guessed she passes the object around the circle. The children should react as if they were holding the actual object in their hands. Eventually the last child in the circle gets rid of the object and the teacher goes to the box and takes out a new.

Locomotion: Get the students consider the ways that people walk. The teacher gets the children to walk around the room. Then call out different ways of walking

Walk like  a …..

•           Toddler

•           child in high heels

•           child wearing heavy wellington boots

•           child splashing in a puddles

•           child stuck in mud

•           child walking on stony beach

•           child walking on hot sand

•           someone walking on fire

•           someone walking wearily

•           an old frail person.

Chain Mime: Divide the class into 2 or 3 groups. Have at least 6 in each group. Number the students from one to six. Get each member of the group to leave the room except for number one. The other groups stay in the room. You then give number one an action to mime. You then call number 2 into the room and number one mimes to number 2. They do not talk. Number 2 can not say anything and she has to do mime exactly what she saw to number 3, then number 3 comes into the room and watches number 2 very carefully. Number 3 does the mime for number four and so on. When number 6 comes into the room she has to guess what the original mime was. This is like broken telephone but it is done through mime. Here are some suggestions for mimes:

•           Riding a horse

•           Skiing

•           Washing dishes

•           Eating hot food

•           Counting money

•           Telling someone you love them

•           Eating spaghetti

•           Singing

•           Playing tug of war

•           Washing your dog

•           Ballet dancing

•           Moon walk

•           Playing basketball

•           Singing opera

•           Walking in the desert

•           Playing tennis

•           Making pancakes

•           Opening a present that you do not like

The other groups watch how the mime changes with each person. This is a fun game and helps with observation skills.

Basic Situation: Divide the class into small groups and they must use body language and facial expression to 5 ways of showing that their are

•           Cold

•           Hot

•           Surprised,

•           Frightened

Meetings

The class gets into pairs. Each pair stands back to back. When the teacher calls out go they must turn around and pass their partner if

•           They were strangers

•           They were a casual acquaintance

•           Meeting some one they haven’t seen for 10 years

•           Meeting someone that owes them money.

Group Mime: Divide the class into groups and give each group one of the following outlines for a group mime. Allow the class 10 to15 minutes to prepare

The Concert   

  • Audience arrive for outdoor concert
  • Band enters with different instruments
  • Audience is very enthusiastic, claps, jumps up and down and waves hands in the air.
  • One person faints
  • Security arrives and removes him and her
  • No one takes any notice
  • Band plays on
  • Girl gets up on the stage and tries to touch members of the group
  • Security removes them
  • It starts to rain and after awhile everyone goes away disappointed

Hijack

  • Passengers board the plane
  • Welcomed by the air hostess
  • The plane takes off
  • One hijacker takes over the plane and an other one holds up the passengers
  • One passenger faints
  • This distracts the hijacker for a second
  • Pilot overcomes him
  • Airhostess holds him and the handcuff are put on him
  • Pilot overcomes the second hijacker and handcuffs him to hijacker 1
  • All the passengers have a strong drink and cheer the pilot as he brings the plane to land.

The Bank Robbery

  • Cashiers arrive bored and yawning they open up their desks and talk to each other
  • People come in and walk up to the cashiers and put in and withdraw money
  • Suddenly two robbers come in wearing masks
  • They make everyone lie on the floor and they hold up the bank clerks and make them hand over the money
  • Little old lady trips up robber and he falls and spills the money
  • Security guard then holds up robbers and takes off their masks.

Other ideas/themes for group mimes: Camping, The Circus, Christmas morning, The big mistake.

Starting  to use mime in a Drama session;

Start beginner groups on occupational mimes and later move to emotional mimes. Mime starts within and is then portrayed by the body. Never forget that through mime is that art of movement it is also the art of stillness.

Occupational Mimes: lift a bucket, box, brush. Place the same objects on a shelf or table, place them, carefully on top of each other. Use scissors, shears, pickaxes, fishing rod. Use activities such as sewing buttons, cooking, putting on clothes, painting, cleaning windows.

Character Mimes: Portray different types of character, the young girl, the old woman, the rich lady, beggar, clown. Watch people around you.

Emotional Mimes: These are the hardest to portray. Feel, understand, convey happiness at receiving a gift. Sadness at hearing bad news, shock, horror, love etc..,

More mime games

What’s the Chair?

Place a chair in the centre of the circle and particiapnts take turns to mime what they imagine it to be:, for example:  a post box, a kitchen sink, a dog, a naughty schoolboy, a new car.

The person who guesses correctly takes their place in the middle.

Take over

•           in a circle, walking on the spot

•           leader makes a gesture, in time, that the everyone else imitates

•           continue for 8 beats or so, then shout the name of a particiapnt and they must change or add to the action

•           this can continue until the group have warmed up

What’s my job?

All sit in a circle.  Give everyone an occupation (e.g. policeman, astronaut, postman, teacher).  Use each occupation twice, and make sure the occupations are kept secret.

Students use the space to mime their own occupation.  Their task is to spot the person with the same occupation as them.  When they have done this they should approach their partner, and without speaking, check that they are both miming the same job.

They should sit down in their pair when they think they have found them.

The game continues until everybody is sitting down.  The teacher should check they are all correct at the end of the game!

Other links:

Movement Story – The Magical Music Shop

Solo Mimes for Children

Cu Cuchulain – A group mime

Occupational Mime