BC: Created by: Alyssa Battista | Drama in the Classroom Teacher's College 2012-2013
FC: Using Drama in the Classroom | Alyssa Battista
1: Brock University Drama Class 2013 Teacher's College
2: Learners Theory | Tableaux - feelings towards drama | Body mapping | Week 1
3: Week 1-Reflection January 9th 2013 Coming into this class I was really afraid and uncomfortable as I started to remember how much I did not enjoy drama throughout school. As a kid, I have always been extremely shy and have never had an interest in acting or performing in front of crowds. When I entered this class I could feel my anxiety escalating as I knew that it was something that I was not looking forward too. As an opening task, we were asked to do some position mapping displaying our level of comfort with drama from the point of a chair. I basically ran to the door and placed myself right at the edge of the room holding onto the door as if I was ready to run out of the classroom. Having everyone share their feelings towards drama really helped me understand that I am not alone in feeling this way and that many of my classmates experienced the same kinds of feeling towards drama. After engaging in this activity, Kari-Lynn began to introduce various drama strategies, most of which I had never even heard of before. I felt very awkward because I knew I was not familiar with any of these strategies. Some of these strategies were connection chains, living Venn diagram, tableaux, tap-in, embodied scale and in a group of. At the beginning of class Kari-Lynn had also showed us learner's theory. This theory suggests that we remember only 10% of what we hear, 20% of what we see, 30% of what we read, 50% of what we write, 70% of what we say, 80% of what we do and 90% of what we teach. After reflecting on this, it only makes sense that students should be active participators in their learning. Students learn best when they actually do and experience the learning for themselves. I started to see how drama is important and how valuable it can be to students in the learning process. By engaging students with their bodies, it can help them better learn content in various subjects as it is easier for them to remember. Kari-Lynn introduced us to tableaux. Tableaux are when students use their bodies to show an action, object, theme or topic. Kari-Lynn had us create tableaux based on several descriptors using shapes as the guiding factor. At first I thought this activity was going to make me uncomfortable but as I started to engage in it I began to really enjoy it. There are several elements to tableaux such the levels, shape, energy and space. Tableaux are a great way to break the ice or use as an instructional strategy in the classroom to get students to use their bodies to create movement/objects. This is something that I definitely want to utilize in my classroom as it is a great exercise to get students to explore words, emotions and concepts. I was also introduced to the living Venn diagram. The way this works is that you basically can draw a Venn diagram on the floor or use tape to divide it into 3 lines and have students chose a side when the teacher reads a statement. Kari-Lynn had us do this with statements about drama and theater. I though this strategy was really neat to watch as I am a visual and hands on learner. This is definitely something I could use in the classroom at any grade level because it is versatile and can be used with almost every subject! For example, I could use this strategy for grade 3 social studies on rural and urban communities. Another part of the class that I would like to reflect on is the integration of math in drama. Kari-Lynn showed us how we could implement drama into curricular subjects such as math. Before coming into this class I never though how drama could be used across subjects—I used to think of drama as a separate entity of the curriculum, but after using tableaux and other strategies to represent story books and shapes I began to think how I could incorporate drama into my own teaching.
4: Students using the news report strategy to create a scene | Using Boom whackers to incorporate music in story telling | Blooms Taxonomy | Week 2
5: Week 2-Reflection January 16th, 2013 Today’s class focused on blooms taxonomy theory. This theory states that students go through a set of processes that challenge their thinking. The first one is remembering. This is the very basic level that students are taught to memorize, retell or recall. The second level is understanding, where students are asked to explain, elaborate or restates certain things. The third is application where students illustrate or demonstrate their knowledge. The fourth is analyze where students deconstruct or interpret what they learn. The next one is evaluate which is where students assess ad critique what they are learning. Lastly, the most important category is create. This is where most learning takes place and this is where we want to try and get every student to reach. Constructing, designing, inventing are all important facets of this category. Essentially, it only makes sense that students would learn best by creating something or where they are challenged in ways to use their creativity and critical thinking skills to produce and invent what they learn. This class is very interactive in the sense that we use our bodies to design and create various things within our class. Personally, I think this reaches a lot of learners especially those hands-on bodily-kinesthetic learners because it allows students to better remember what they learned if they are actively engaged within the process. In today’s class, we also got to learn about some drama strategies. My two favorite ones were news report and caption making. News report was a really cool strategy and the way the group used it to incorporate the science curriculum really blew my mind. Without using words, my group had to create a news report using our knowledge or pulleys and gears from the science curriculum without actually using the words or giving it away and create a news report on that topic. The other classmates had to try and guess what we were talking about which was really fun. I thought this was super engaging and it is definitely something I would like to try in my future classroom. I could see myself even using this strategy as a form of diagnostic assessment in the class as an icebreaker activity by having students come up with creative ways to show their fellow classmates and themselves what they know about a particular topic or don’t know. Another drama strategy we used was caption making. This allows one to use caption bubbles and write messages or thoughts that a character may be thinking. We were read a story and then asked to use the caption bubbles to show what our characters were thinking. I think this is an absolutely brilliant strategy. I could see myself using this in the classroom with language arts or when reading/exploring topics that are difficult such as bullying or sharing or many other topics that may be sensitive. Students can place themselves in a character role from a story book and as the teacher, I could have them write down how a certain character maybe feeling or the thoughts of various characters from a story. Lastly, Kari-Lynn had us incorporate the elements of choral work into a language arts lesson. She read a book about bugs and had us divided into groups based on our assigned bug. My group had wasps and when Kari-Lynn gave us our queue we had to explain using elements of choral work, a basic definition of our bug the wasp. She later had the entire class use boom whackers (a way beyond cool instrument that is in the form of tube which makes noise) to make a sequence within our groups using elements of music such as rhythm and beat. As she read the story she had the whole class play their composition and it sounded so cool as if we were actually bring the story to life. This is a technique that I would like to try in my classroom as it touches upon so many multiple intelligences and allows students to feel the story by using their imagination and creativity to design something for the story.
6: Using the strategy "Corridor of Voices" with Literacy | Mirrors - modeling what other people do | Week 3 | Maslows Hierarchy of Needs
7: Week 3 January 23rd 2013 Today was a really interesting day filled with many different activities. The focus was on DPA and how we could incorporate DPA with drama. The very first thing that Kari-Lynn had us do at the beginning of class was to grab our chairs and form a large circle in the middle of the classroom. We played a game which encompassed us using our legs and arms and bodies while sitting down. I thought this was a neat idea that I will incorporate in my classroom for DPA. As teachers we should be getting our students to do DPA every day and this does not require much effort. This can be done while the students are sitting in their seats. I think this would be great to use between transitions or long periods of time where students are sitting down and need to stretch and move their muscles. One important theory we talked about in class was Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. This is important to consider when teaching students, not just with drama but any subject. Maslow’s theory is constructed in a sense that shows a pyramid of categories to achieve. It goes from the bottom to the top. At the very bottom are our physical needs, like food, shelter and water. The next ones build off of each other. They are: safety and security, love and belonging, self-esteem and self-actualization. If our physical needs are not met, then the rest are really difficult to attain. As a teacher, it is important to understand that some students may come to school on an empty stomach, or without proper nutrition or a safe place to call home. This can make is challenging for students in the classroom as not having the proper nutrition can deter their learning and feelings of security and belongingness. When teaching drama it is important to establish a safe zone for your students and make sure that they feel comfortable in their own skin and that it is ok if they don’t. Giving them the choice to pass ensures that as a teacher you respect their desires and make them feel safe. We worked through a few different drama strategies. My two favorite were corridor of voices and mirror. Corridor of voices is a formation used for exploring the inner life of a character in drama. A chosen character moves through the “corridor” (two lines of students facing each other) which is made up of others who represent the characters thought or conscience. As the character passes through the corridor, the voices of those in the corridor express a range of thoughts and feelings. Mirrors is when you have person A do some actions and person B has to follow and mimic the same actions. Kari-Lynn used corridor of voices in another activity which incorporated language arts. She read a story and divided us into groups of animals and perform a dance to suite that animal. The story was about a giraffe who couldn’t dance and many of the jungle animals made fun of him. She later used a giraffe puppet and walked down the corridor of voices she had us shout out our thoughts about how awful the other jungle animals thought the giraffes dancing was. This is a really great strategy to use in the classroom for language arts or when reading a story to your students. This is something that I think is brilliant and I would want to use in my classroom regularly. This strategy is good to use when reading stories that deal with social justice issues or bullying which can be useful in exploring the thoughts of a character who is facing a difficult task or decision, in which case the voices are external and give advice and warnings. For younger grades you could use a puppet and for older grades, the teacher would assume the role of the character in order to avoid humility of other students or students who may not want to be put on the spot/hot seat because this could hurt their feelings. It is important for the teacher to establish that safe atmosphere for students but also make the learning fun.
8: Social Context Theory | Week 4
9: Week 4-Reflection January 30th 2013 At the beginning of every drama class, Kari-Lynn has us do a warm up activity which is really great to get students like us, involved and setting a comfort level while also being fun. This is something I quite enjoy about every class, the fun little warm up activities because it is a way of getting students active and stimulating their thinking processes. In today’s class, we explore various drama techniques and strategies such as a picture walk, guided visualization, connection webs, eavesdropping, flashback, teacher in role and the expert. Connection webs are really cool. This strategy is really interesting as it allows individuals to make connections with one another based on a similarity or some connection. These connections can be made with body parts such as hands or feet. We used this strategy in class to make connections based on a topic in Medieval Times. Our group’s presenters assigned us a piece of paper with the title of a person from the medieval time era. They then had us join up with a different person that could be connected in some way. Once the entire class was connected, we started with one individual and each one of us would state what we were and how we were connected to the other person we were joined to. I think this strategy can be integrated and used across many subjects such as math, social studies and science. For example, as a teacher, I could see myself using this either at the beginning of a unit as a form of diagnostic assessment, during and even at the end. For example, this could be a great strategy to use when teaching grade 5 government systems. This could allow students to have a better understanding of the content and material as well as remembering the different people and parts in the body of our government as they are actively involved in the learning process. Another strategy we had the opportunity to explore was guided visualization. This is done with the entire class. Everyone is invited to sit in a large circle and close their eyes and to feel very calm and comfortable. You can use your imagination and mental imagery to explore a specific timeframe or adventure. The group had us “take a walk” through a medieval village while at the same time playing sound effects and music to help us have a better visualization or an authentic connection through our journey. I really enjoy this type of activity because it really puts things into perspective and can feel as though you are actually in the story. The group did a great job incorporating this into the grade 4 social studies strand of medieval times. As a teacher, this is something I want to us with my students because it can make the learning experience fun and has an authentic feel to storytelling. I would also like to utilize this within language arts with regards to reading a story that could have an underlying theme or message. Students could feel as though they are actually a part of the story, thus making it more meaningful to them. Lastly, Kari-Lynn had us take part in a debate type activity which was related to an important topic—the endangerment of polar bears in Churchill. We were all separate groups within the township of Churchill such as polar bear researchers, oil industry, garbage industry and tourism industry. Each of us had to come up with a rationale to present at the meeting in which the minister was to be present. Our arguments had to state what we could do to help our industry as well as others and help preserve the natural polar bear habitats. Kari-Lynn assumed the teacher in role position in which she was the minister coming to listen to our arguments as to why we needed funding. I particularly did not enjoy this strategy only because I have had negative experiences with debate type forms of learning. I am not one to enjoy debating or arguing ideas with other individuals, thus it made me feel slightly uncomfortable. As a teacher you could use this strategy in different grades of social studies and have students organize a debate around an important issue such as global warming, extinction of animals, building of a new home division etc., however, it is to be used with caution as arguments can quickly escalate and make certain students feel uncomfortable or even verbally attacked. The teacher should always resume the role of the facilitator or mediator in order to reduce the amount or extent to which the argument can go.
10: Discursive Positioning Theory related to creation | Week 5
11: Week 5-Reflection February 6th, 2013 During this last class we explored the discursive positioning theory which explains that individuals assume a position, assign a position, and assume and assign attitudes and roles. This is informed by ones values and beliefs, so as an individual what you bring into the process of creation will always be influenced by your own beliefs and values. Throughout this class we explored a few more drama strategies and were engaged in this process as we designed, created and implemented or assumed roles in many cases. This week it was my groups turn to present using drama strategies. The strategies we chose were flash forward/moment in the future, thought mapping/positioning, overheard conversations and slow motion. We decided to incorporate the health and physical education strand into these strategies. The first thing we had the class do was watch a scene of an individual making poor choices and who was not leading a healthy and active life. This scene happened through a phone conversation where afterwards, our peers overheard a conversation between two friends and their general concern for their friends’ health. The next thing we had the group do is position themselves according to how they felt about the situation in terms of healthy living concerns. The following strategy we got them to use was slow motion. They had to create a scene which involved giving advice to the individual making poor choice and demonstrate it using slow motion movements. The last thing we did was flash forward into the future to get a snapshot of what this individual might be like in a few years from now. This was interesting as many groups depicted healthy choices and some unhealthy lifestyles. These are all great strategies that I could see myself using in the classroom during a language or social studies block. In terms of children with special needs, it would be possible to modify some of these strategies in the classroom by providing them with opportunities that suit their needs. For example, making some of these tasks simpler for some students may be required, or having an FM transmitter for those who may be hearing impaired or have difficulties hearing 100%. Children with mobility issues could use speech bubbles (written on paper) instead of having to move around the room as this may be challenging for them. Coming into this course I was definitely unsure and afraid as throughout elementary school I did not have positive experiences with drama. Drama was never my favourite subject and I would always try and get out of having to do it in the classroom. This course has made me take a step towards re-approaching drama in a more positive way. There are many different strategies that I was not aware of and that have helped me explore my individual self-esteem as well as my knowledge of teaching and incorporating drama within the classroom. I don’t think that drama should be thought of as a separate subject but should be viewed as an element of incorporation into other subjects. This class has made me more confident in my ability to teach drama within my classroom and overcome a deep fear and anxiety of the subject matter.
12: Having fun! | Drama
13: Our Amazing Prof Kari-Lynn | using drama in the classroom