Teaching Practice Tips -Day One- Drama

November 7, 2016

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Hello everyone!

I will be running a series of posts this week to support those of you on teaching practice. They may be useful for probationary teachers too. I will start with the teaching of drama. Drama is a tricky one to be inspected in because of the lack of structure. I was inspected in drama on my last teaching practice and I was horrified! It must have been okay because I got my A but still, it wouldn’t have been my preference at the time. Now, two years later,I can look back and see that it actually could be a great subject to be inspected in if you work it right!

So first of all, the drama lesson must link to your theme. I always find drama works best when based on a story or a book, be it a story book in the junior room or a novel in the senior classes. The strand units in drama are:


  • Exploring and making drama
  • Reflecting on drama
  • Co-operating and communicating in making drama

The Drama Lesson:

  1. Drama contract: remind the class of the drama contract- we are kind to each other, we take turns, we make smart choices etc.

2. Then, the drama warm up game. I would play two short drama games to begin the lesson.

Here is a link to loads of excellent drama games:



3. The development/body of the drama lesson.

This is the main part of the drama lesson. Remember, you must teach something new in the drama lesson. Drama, as envisaged in the curriculum, should be a creative experience for the children.There are a number of important SPHE  topics and themes which can be explored via your drama lesson.For example,  in the enactment of a story about characters in certain circumstances, at some particular time and in some particular situation, children can explore conflicts, issues, consequences, attitudes, emotions, concerns and preoccupations that are important to the understanding of real life. The use of a novel or story book therefore can inspire thought processes in children based on important issues such as friendship, bullying, family, sharing,looking after animals and so on. The elements of drama are Belief, Role and character, Action, Place, Time, Tension, Significance and Genre. Try work on at least one of these in each drama lesson.


Belief How can the child be encouraged to enter into the drama with full belief? Evident in the child’s trust in and ease with make-believe play
Role and Character How will the child move from role playing to entering into character? Taking on the characteristics, attributes and thought process of another person
Action What is happening in the drama? Action in drama comes from the interaction between characters and situations in which they find themselves in the drama
Place Where is the action taking place? How is real place and space used to represent this?
Time When is the action taking place?  The fictional past and fictional future will have a bearing on the drama
Tension How will tension drive forward the action of the drama? The characters will be faced with choices, desires and uncertainties.  Such tension causes characters to make decisions and moves the drama forward
Significance What is the relevance of the drama to the child’s life?  In what way can the child relate to the drama?


Some useful drama strategies are

Role on the Wall

Conscience Alley

Hot Seating

Freeze Framing

Flashbacks and flash forwards


Teacher in Role

Thought Tracking

Warm up games from teaching teachingresources.co.uk

Circle Games
The Wind Blows
This is a good game for mixing up cliques and a variation of fruit bowl which you already
know. Put chairs in a circle. Turn one chair to face out. Choose someone to stand in the
middle. They (or you) can call:
“ The wind blows for………..
everyone wearing a watch
everyone who supports Arsenal
everyone who can swim a length
everyone who had breakfast today
everyone who likes ice cream etc…
If the statement applies to a pupil, they must get up and change places. The caller finds
a seat. The last pupil left standing, becomes the new caller. No one an change places with
the person sitting next to them.
Fruit Bowl
As above but every one is a fruit e.g. apple, pear, banana. When you call that fruit, the
person standing tries to find a seat. Call Fruit Bowl for all to change.
Catch a Story
Have a ball or (better) a beanbag. Begin a story. Throw it to the person who must
continue the story. This is better than dragging around the circle and shy people can get
rid of the story after only one word.
A variation on this is “fortunately, unfortunately”. Each person must add a sentence,
changing the sentence of the main character. E.g.
Unfortunately the plane’s engines failed.
Fortunately the pilot had a parachute.
Unfortunately the parachute would not open.
Fortunately their was a haystack underneath. Etc.
Pupils build up a storm by joining in teacher –led sound effects one by one. It builds to a
crescendo and dies down to silence.
It was still and quiet.
A gentle breeze was heard.
(Teacher rubs hands together. children to her right
gradually join in.)
The breeze grew louder.
(Rub more vigorously)
A patter of rain was heard.
(tap hands on palms)
It began to thunder.
(Stamp feet)
This is reversed, dropping one noise at a time until all is quiet.
Zoom Eek
A Zoom (car) is passed around the circle. Anyone can stop it and reverse it by shouting
“EEK!” It must then change direction. No one can say “EEK” more than once. If you are
feeling very strong, you can send two cars in opposite directions but that takes a lot of
Change the Action
The pupils must copy your PREVIOUS action every time you shout change, so:
Teacher claps hands. Pupils sit still. Teacher shouts CHANGE and begins to pat her
knees. Pupils begin to clap their hands.
Teacher shouts CHANGE again and begins to click her fingers. Pupils now pat their
This is a good concentration builder.
Master Master, Who Am I?
You need a blindfold for this one. Blindfold a volunteer. A pupil selected by you must
approach them quietly, disguise their voice and ask Master Master, Who Am I? If the
volunteer guesses correctly, they get another go. If they are wrong, the successful
“voice” gets a turn.
Quick Change Artist
Have everyone sit in a circle and choose one person to be the quick change artist. Have
the artist go out of sight and change something on him/her self that is visible(i.e.
shorts on backwards, change hair, tie/untie shoes…). When the artist is done, have
him/her walk into the middle of the circle and turn around slowly to give everyone a
chance to see what has been changed. Then go around the circle having each person
guess what has been changed. The first person to guess correctly is the next artist.
Someone Moved
Have all players sit in a circle and then chose a person to be “it”. The “it” is to leave so
that “it” cannot see or hear. Have one to four players move in the circle. When “it”
returns he is to figure out who has moved in the circle
Everyone sits in a circle and is given a destination (name of a town) and in the middle,
the station master stands with all the destination names on a card. He/She then chooses
certain names; for example Bradford/Leeds. The two corresponding people then have to
get up and exchange seats. In the meantime the station master has to try to jump into
one of these seats. More than two destinations can be called out and then ultimately,
“All Change”.
The Ministers Cat
This is an alphabetical word game.
Everyone gets in a circle and claps hands to the beat.
Start with
“The ministers cat is an
Cat”, “the ministers cat is a
cat” etc etc.
Hula Hoop
Everyone stands in a circle holding hands. Have two people break hands and put their
hands through a hula hoop and rejoin hands again. The hoop must be passed the whole
way around the circle without breaking hands. Sometimes it goes over and sometimes
under…doesn’t matter. It is also fun to time the first try without telling the kids. Tell
them at the end after discussing what helped and what made it difficult. Then try to
“beat” the first “time”.
Chief Ape
Have all players sit in a circle and then chose a person to be “it”. The “it” is to leave so
that “it” cannot see or hear. Choose one person to be the chief and he will act out short
movements. Examples are clapping hands three times, stomping feet 4 times, etc. All
other players must do what the Chief does. Have “it” return to the group to figure out
who is the Big Chief, you can give him up to three guesses if there’s a large group.
Wink Murder
This is similar but the murderer kills other pupils by winking at them. The detective
must spot the murderer before there is a massacre. They link this if you specify a
gruesome method of murder for them to act out.
I’m Going Hunting
You play this game in a circle and your memory counts. One person in the circle will start
the game off by saying, I’m going hunting and I’m taking an arrow. The next person will
have to repeat what the person next to him said and then add something new from the
next letter in the alphabet. I’m going hunting and I’m taking an arrow and a bow. You
keep this going around the circle until one person cannot remember what he is taking.
That person is out and you see if the next person can complete the phrase. You don’t
necessarily have to choose something that you would normally take hunting-it can be
funny. You can also modify this game to a specific topic. This is a variation of My Aunt
Maud Went hopping.
Cross The Circle
Everyone is numbered around the circle as 1,2,3. hen you call their number, everyone
must cross the circle in role as…..a ballerina……….a panther………a moonwalker……..someone
who’s stuck in the mud……..a fashion model……whatever you can think of.
Cross Differently
Name a child to cross the circle to an empty chair in any way they like…walk…commando
crawl…hop….twirl…whatever. They call someone else who must cross in a
Energetic Games
The Line Game:
Divide the pupils into equal groups. You will announce an order that you wish them to line
up in, first group to do it and sit in a line on the floor wins a point. Use any of these
categories: ages (oldest in the front – youngest in the back), alphabetically, shoe size,
telephone numbers, Mother’s first name, etc.
Stick in the Mud
A basic tag game. If pupils are tagged, they must stand with their legs apart (stuck in
the mud) until someone crawls through and releases them.
Tea Pot Tag
Work in pairs to make a teapot (as in I’m a Little Teapot).
Have one chaser and one chased. The teapots stand still. If the chased wants to escape,
they link onto the handle of a teapot. The spout immediately becomes the chased, the
handle turns into the spout. Watch out for boys only releasing
Led By The Nose
Pupils must imagine that strings are attached to various parts of their bodies. Move a
round the room led by that part e.g. right thumb, nose, knees. Eyelashes etc.
Pip, Squeak Wilfred
Everyone stands in a circle. You call them in turn, Pip, Squeak ,Wilfred. You call e.g.
“Squeak”, all the Squeaks step outside the circle and walk clockwise around it. When you
call “Home”, all the Squeaks must run IN THE SAME DIRECTION back to their original
place. Last one back is out and must sit down in their place. CARE! Everyone standing,
must stand still not swinging their legs out. Everyone sitting must sit up and not lean

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