Adding drama to make literature come alive
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Adding Drama to Make Literature Come Alive. Why? And How?. Why?. Drama fosters creative thought, which leads to critical and divergent thinking. Drama develops imagination. Research has proven that drama increases development of language skills

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Adding Drama to Make Literature Come Alive

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Adding drama to make literature come alive

Adding Drama to Make Literature Come Alive

Why? And How?


Adding drama to make literature come alive

Why?

  • Drama fosters creative thought, which leads to critical and divergent thinking.

  • Drama develops imagination


Adding drama to make literature come alive

Research has proven that drama increases development of language skills

Drama imprints words and ideas in memory, and language is learned


Research

Research…

  • “Drama involves the whole body and the whole brain in learning in a fictional context; it engages all of the multiple intelligences ( Gardner 1985) and matches the learning styles ( Kolb, 1983) of all children.”


Adding drama to make literature come alive

How?

8 ideas:

drama activities

to try in your literature lessons


1 hot seating

1. Hot-seating

  • –an exercise to help understand a character in the story, or the author of the piece.


What to do

What to do:

Either in small groups, or as a whole class activity –

One student takes on the role of a character in the story, or the author, and the others ask the character questions to help understand the behavior, motive, perspective, etc.


Examples

Examples -

  • A Summer’s Reading – ask George about his behavior and feelings

  • The Road Not Taken – Ask Robert Frost questions about the meaning of his poem

  • The Rules of the Game – Ask Waverly about her relationship with her mother


2 tableau

2. Tableau

  • An exercise to help understand a scene or a moment of the story, and the interaction between the characters.


What to do1

What to do:

  • In pairs or small groups, depending on the number of characters in the scene, students choose a moment in the story, and pose (including appropriate facial expression) in a still picture to show the moment.

  • In turn, classmates guess which scene is depicted.


Adding drama to make literature come alive

  • Teacher snaps fingers to bring one character at a time “to life” and the character expresses his/her feelings at the moment.


Examples1

Examples:

  • Mr. Know All – students portray the moment when Mr. Kelada examines Mrs. Ramsay’s pearls

  • Grandmother – students portray the moment when the granddaughter stops to speak with her grandmother

  • The Split Cherry tree- students portray the moment when Dave and his father meet Dave’s teacher


3 bystander gossip

3.Bystander gossip-

  • An exercise to emphasize different perspectives, and to improve understanding of the scene


What to do2

What to do:

  • Small groups of students choose a moment in the story and become people on the street or at the location of the incident talking about what they have witnessed. This can be improvisation or slightly pre-planned.


Examples2

Examples:

  • The Rules of the Game – people at the market gossiping about Waverly’s argument with her mother

  • The Split Cherry Tree – classmates talking about the boys who damaged the cherry tree

  • A Summer’s Reading – neighbors sitting on their porch gossiping about George


4 dubbed movie

4. Dubbed Movie

  • An amusing exercise to show deeper understanding of the characters – inferring thoughts from actions.


What to do3

What to do:

  • 2 or more actors play a scene, but they don't speak, although they can move their mouths as if they are speaking. 2 or more players sit in front of the action, and provide the speech. The effect is (or should be) like watching a dubbed movie.


Examples3

Examples:

  • All My Sons – Students pantomimne the scene when Ann gives Kate the letter from Larry, with melodramatic gestures and facial expressions. One student per character supply the dialogue

  • The Enemy – students mime the scene when the servants are told about the American soldier, others provide the dialogue


5 perspective

5. Perspective

  • An exercise to emphasize the different perspectives of characters in the same scene about the same incident.


What to do4

What to do:

  • Students choose a scene from the piece which includes at least two characters. Students act out the scene as many times as there are characters – from the point of view of each character


Examples4

Examples:

  • Rules of the Game – students act out the scene when the family comes home from the Christmas party at the church. The scene is done a few times from the perspectives of the different characters.

  • The Split Cherry Tree- students act out the scene when Dave’s father arrives at his school


6 tv news

6. TV News

  • An exercise to demonstrate synthesis of the entire piece of literature.


What to do5

What to do:

  • In small groups, students prepare a newscast about the events of the story. One of the anchormen/women can prepare a commentary on the event


Examples5

Examples:

  • Rules of the Game – newscast about the scene at the market

  • The Enemy – newscast about Sadao taking care of the American soldier

  • Mr. Know All – newscast about the incident with the string of pearls


7 role play improvisation

7.Role play improvisation

  • A great way to show understanding of the characters and their relationships with each other.


What to do6

What to do:

  • Students choose a scene of the story to act out.

    Give time for brainstorming and planning, but not script writing.

    Students should think about where they are, who they are, and what the conflict is.

    They should block out the scene – beginning, middle and end, and decide who is playing which character.


Examples6

Examples:

  • A Summer’s Reading – George meets Mr. Cattanzara coming home from work

  • Mr. Know All – Mr. Kelada is having dinner with the Ramsays and they have a conversation about Mrs. Ramsays pearls

  • Rules of the Game – Waverly’s family is having dinner when she comes in after running away from her mother


8 conscious alley

8. Conscious alley

  • Focus on problem solving


What to do7

What to do:

  • Choose a serious dilemma facing a character.

    Students form two lines facing each other.

    Each side is designated pro or con.

    One student is the character.

    As the character walks down the “alley”, each student tells the character a reason why s/he should or should not take a certain action.


Examples7

Examples:

  • All My Sons – Should Ann show Kate the letter from Larry, or not?

  • The Split Cherry Tree- Should Dave tell his father about the teacher’s punishment or not?

  • The Enemy – Should Sadao treat the wounded American , or not?


Adding drama to make literature come alive

Tips

  • Keep the atmosphere light and accepting

  • Don’t worry about being dramatic yourself – just give clear instructions and let the kids be dramatic.

  • Save time for reflection and feedback at the end of the activity

  • Don’t worry about everyone having a turn to present. Being an audience is also a way of participating.


Adding drama to make literature come alive

  • Thanks for listening!

    [email protected] – for questions and/or comments


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