Sunday, July 15, 2012

Drama Circles: Cooperative Learning FUN!

Guest blog post by Jen Runde

Have you ever done Drama Circles with your students?  For this activity, students are assembled in a circle facing each other. Each student is given a card or two containing directions to perform or lines to speak.  It is similar to the “I have … who has?” game because students need to listen to their classmates to know when it is their turn to act out the instructions on their card. The picture below is of my class performing a Drama Circle at the end of the year. When the weather is nice, I like to take our drama circles outside. So much fun!

Drama Circles Set the Tone
Using drama circles during the first days of school can really help set the tone for the rest of the school year. This kind of cooperative learning activity has students breaking down the beginning of the year barriers and actively practicing all the skills they will need to have a successful school year:

  • They need to listen to each other to keep the activity going
  • They must wait their turn, and give their attention to one student
  • They need to cooperate with their classmates and build on the previous action
  • They will learn to be open to new experiences
  • They will share a fun activity that has them learning to be comfortable acting and performing in front of their other classmates.

An integral part of creating a classroom environment where the students treat each other as family is sharing memories and fun times. And for the students, knowing their teacher is willing to get in and share in the fun is priceless.  I’ve had a teacher comment to me after using one of my drama circles, “My class has new memories to share of their teacher faint and wrestle a crocodile. This is a special activity that lead to huge grins!”  A class that sees their teacher is willing to “wrestle a crocodile” for them will know that teacher will do anything for them.

Drama Circles Freebie!
If you want to give drama circles a try in your classroom, I have created a special freebie for you.  A Fairy Tale Drama Circle contains 32 activity cards that will get your students laughing, sharing, building confidence, and making memories. You can download it for free from my TeachersPayTeachers store. Cut out and laminate the individual cards.  I store the cards in baggie when not in use.  I hope you enjoy!


Jennifer Runde is a teacher with twelve years of experience in the upper elementary grades.  She currently has a grade 5/6 class in Ontario, Canada.  She enjoys creating fun and interactive lessons that keep her students engaged in the learning process.  Follow her blog, Runde’s Room, to see what she has going on in her classroom, and find some fun ideas for math, literacy, and technology that you can implement in your own class.

18 comments:

  1. What a great idea! Love the fairy tale drama circle set! Will definitely use it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you so much, Beverley! I hope you and your students have fun with it!

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this - despite being a natural drama queen (ahem) I struggle to create interesting and motivating drama lessons. Do you recommend any texts? Also, do you have any tips on how to write your own circle set ? Thank you so much for the freebie - guess what we're doing first week back !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you so much (from one drama queen to another)! For texts, I would recommend "Drama Themes" by Larry Swartz - his book has a lot of great ideas on how to integrate drama with literacy. With the drama circles, after I've done a few with the class, I let them group up and create their own circles - we usually brainstorm a list of themes first, then I let them at it. They have a lot of fun with the activity.

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete
    2. Thank you Jen ! I will go and investigate that text and I LOVE the idea of the kids creating their own - what a fun plenary activity for a topic !! My mind is FIZZING now !!

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Having been involved with theater since elementary school myself, taught theater activities at the Girl Scout camp I worked at, and created a number of activities when student teaching for my class, I feel like I didn't do near enough of this in my own classroom. Why ever not? Well- I'll try to reform for next year!

    The activity is a fun one, but I'll have to save it until I'm in upper elementary again. Now, I will try to think of activities like that to adapt to Kindergarten. In the meanwhile, I'll have to dig out out my drama game books that I packed away with my camp stuff!

    Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ms. M!
      You can definitely adapt this activity to work for your kindergarten kids. My two youngest daughters are 4 and 6, and we had a lot of fun trying out this activity. Instead of them reading the cards, I read the directions for actions to them, and had them take turns "performing". I shortened some of the lines, but they LOVED the acting parts.
      Thank-you so much for your comment.

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete
  5. You know how much I love these Drama Circles, Jen. They are just so fabulous! My kids really did come out of their shells with your End of the Year one, and were *begging*...literally begging, for me to get a new one for them to do. They really did love it! Thank you for sharing and creating a new one. Fairy Tales will be so much fun!

    ~Steph
    Teaching in Room 6

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Steph! I hope they enjoy this one, too! Thank-you for a fabulous idea!!!

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I just did this today with my summer school kids! They LOVED it!!! We went through the cards several times! Thanks for sharing this!! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you so much, Carmine! I'm SO happy to hear that your students loved the activity!!! As soon as we finish a drama circle activity in my class, my students always beg to do it again. I allow them some time to trade their cards with other students (I let them trade rather than me handing them out again) and then we "play" again. It's funny to see how much more open they are the second time the activity is done.

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete
  8. your page is so cute...im your newest follower ...drop by =)


    Just Wild About Teaching

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love your Drama Circles and own all of them! These circles were the perfect activity for the end of the year and students begged to do them over and over! We all had a blast! Thank you so much for all of wonderful ideas you share on your blog and within your TPT store! Jen M, 5th Grade Teacher

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank-you so much, Jen! I'm so glad your students love them - my students really enjoy them, too!

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete
  10. I am most definitely trying this in September with my Grade 4/5s!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Terri! It's a great way to start the year!

      Jen
      Runde's Room

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...