Monthly Archives: January 2016

3, 2, 1… Action!

This video is an excellent resource from “teachfind” on how to structure a successful drama lesson.sw_StageLightBar_sa101665

The lesson begins with an agreement between the teacher and the children, in this case using the 3 C’s : Concentration, Cooperation and Communication. I believe that this is a great agreement to have with the children, not just in drama, but in the classroom also. I will take this strategy with me, on placement and beyond, as I think the children will connect with these rules well. The use of the simple 3 words is also effective in my opinion. It means that there is not pages of rules for the children to remember, or in many cases forget, and this strategy will stick in the children’s heads as it is better than a long, boring list.

Next, you shoustretching_legs_on_ringld then move on to warm up. These can be games which get the children moving and/or communicating (referring back to the rules), and should get the children interacting with each other. In my opinion, this is one of the most important parts of a drama lesson, especially with a new class of children. It will allow them to let themselves go (to an extent) and interact with their new classmates in a playful, semi-structured way. Some of these games could include:

Fruit Bowl/ The Wind Blows – good for mixing the class up. Must refer to rules to ensure chaos does not pursue.

Change the Action – the children must repeat an action after you have changed it. For example: Teacher claps hands, pupils sit still, teacher shouts “CHANGE” and pats her knees, children clap their hands and so on. This is good for building the concentration element of the rules. If the pupils struggle to concentrate with this activity, they cannot progress into a drama lesson.

Hula Hoop – must pass hula hoop “through” everyone in the circle without breaking hands. Concentration control.

Cross the circle – All the children are numbered and when their number is shouted they must cross the circle in the way you say i.e. fashion model, astronaut, hopping etc. This should be a fun activity to loosen the children up and make them willing to have fun and participate fully.

There are lots more, these are just a selection.

(Accessed at:

Next is the focus of the lesson. This is where the children should come together to interpret a source (pictures are used in the video) in order to establish a theme or topic for the drama lesson. For example, if the lesson was linked to the history of World War 2 that they had been studying, a picture from that time could provide an assessment for the knowledge they have taken in from the history lesson. This stimulus is also a way to provoke new learning by having the children act out and hopefully share the feelings of the people of that time.

Once the children are focused, then comes the development of their ideas. Allowing the children time to visualize a place or image that you, the teacher, prompts through words, allows the children to ‘get inside’ the story. This links to the ability to feel what a Capturecharacter feels, an important aspect of developing the character to be realistic and believable. Allowing the children to vocalize what they see/hear/feel ensures that they are fully engaged and involved (somewhat of an assessment). It also shows that they can put what they feel into words. Sharing how they feel or see things is an important skill for writing, ultimately linking drama work to further language tasks.

Body-scaping is a good way to allow children, in groups or as a whole class, to physically create a picture from their visualizations. This just uses their bodies with no props, and sound is optional.

CaptureAllowing the children to perform what they have created is key in giving the lesson a purpose. If the children know that there is no meaning to a particular lesson, it can lead to a lack of enthusiasm for some children, whereas others will be shy and not want to participate in acting to the whole class. It is this mix of personalities in a class that can make performance difficult to gauge. While this seems difficult in theory, I think that once you have your class and know them well, you should be able to work out what is best for them.

Once this decision is gauged it is important to ensure you are getting the most out of the children. This can be done through further prompting, as in the video, like thought tracking. This again allows the children to share their thoughts and feelings as the character, and shows the teacher that they have truly thought about the story and their image. This can also take the form of adding sounds to a silent still image. However, this must be incorporated slowly so that the children do not get carried away and cause chaos.

In order to give meaning to the lesson in terms of a teacher’s point of view it is important that the children evaluate what they have achieved, what they would like to achieve next time and what they have learned. This brings the children together at the end of the lesson and can reinstate calm before either heading back to the classroom or getting on with other work.

These evaluations link to a cool down activity, which has the same purpose, which is to calm the children at the end of the lesson.

There are various cool down activities, just as there are with warm ups, however, this one caught my eye in keeping the concentration of the children right to the end of the lesson.

Pass the pencil – a detective goes out of the room and one pupil is given the pencil. The children  must then pass the pencil around the group without the detective seeing. The detective has 3 goes to work out who has the pencil.shcesey 053_pe

Another cool down that I remember from primary school is sleeping lions. While looking back this was just an excuse to give the teacher some peace and quiet, it is a good way to get the children to relax after a busy lesson, or indeed day. Basically all the children lie on the floor and when tapped by the teacher, they may line up at the door quietly – so that they don’t wake the other sleeping lions.

In overall reflection of the video, I think it lays out how to structure a drama lesson brilliantly, taking any teacher through the steps they need to know to keep control of the class while structuring a fun lesson. I agree with the teacher at the end of the video who states that the importance of drama is to bring the subject to life. I think this shows the versatility of drama across the curriculum to reinforce what the children have already learned, but to learn new skills at the same time.






Reading Enthusiasm

After reading through these posts from my peers, I am now looking at my own posts with a more critical eye. While I do engage with my professional blog on a fairly regular basis, from looking at these excellent posts, I really want to engage with the idea further.

All of these posts are highly insightful in the subject that they have chosen to talk about, and provide a very interesting read indeed. It is clear that these students have spent a long time working on their posts and have truly grasped the idea of collaborative learning by sharing the excellent ideas they have come up with. Also their enthusiasm for their subject and commitment to their learning shines through in abundance.

By reading through these posts, I have learned new ways to show my understanding of ideas and I have seen first hand the excellent results that can come from sharing our creative and insightful views.

In future, I want to spend more time on my e-portfolio to ensure that my ideas can be as structured and well thought out as these.

Dance like no one is watching!

“Only 9% of respondents attended a dance show or event (7% of males and 12% of females). The highest level of attendance is among those aged 35 to 44 (13%) and the lowest is among those aged 75 plus (4%). The majority of respondents who attended dance shows/events did so once or twice a year. Dance is the fourth most common cultural activity adults participated in, with 12% of adults indicating they had taken part in dance in the previous 12 months. ”

The number of people participating in dance in Scotland today is exceptionally low, especially considering that we are a culture rich with both Highland and Scottish Country Dancing. The studies conducted in this review show that girls more than boys, and youths more than adults, participate in dancing of their own free will. This is particularly evident when looking at dance classes, including my own, which are overrun (and in our case entirely filled) with girls. It’s a pastime which boys find much less attractive than other sports such as football, and I believe the awful stigma surrounding male dancers needs to be eradicated.

In terms of in schools, the focus tends to be on the heritage of Scottish country dancing, which often fills pupils (certainly in secondary school) with dread. As a Scottish country dancer,  who has been attending class for over 10 years, I believe that schools are not teaching this wonderful art form with the credit that it deserves. Children become bored with the dances that they ‘learn’ year after year, which are then forgotten about until the next wedding they attend. Schools should be teaching these dances with enthusiasm to allow children to understand the culture they come from, just as Bollywood is respected in India.

Schools should focus on teaching children the benefits of dance, as a relaxation technique or as a social activity for example. The dedication and concentration required for dance can be used as inter-transferable skills across the curriculum, and it is my belief that dance must be taught in a more positive, inclusive and meaningful way to unlock the potential of more able children.

Get Scotland Dancing: A Literature Review Produced by Catch the Light for Get Scotland Dancing.

Available at:

Accessed on 20/01/16

Real Book to Fake Book

Fakebook is a wonderful resource which allows you to create a profile for a historical or fictional character, working just like Facebook. You can post as your character and add their “friends”, just as children are exploring on the real site. I think this resource is particularly useful for the upper end of the school as it allows them to connect with their learning in a more approachable way than simply reading and writing.

As well as developing ICT skills, my opinion is that having a context like this to display learning will motivate the children to find out more facts and further research into the topic at hand.

This tool can be used across the curriculum in subjects from Language to Social Studies. In particular, I believe this could be used well in history as when writing a ‘post’ it allows you to state when it was posted, which could be a useful resource to help create timelines of events. – Accessed 19/1/16

Animation Fun

As 18 year olds we had great fun creating this animation, and I think a class full of eager children would feel the same.

This fun activity teaches the children the skills of using a camera, and also using a microphone to record sound. This can be done in the form of recording a song as we did, or the children can record their on voices to fit the animation. This kind of task if completed in a group can also teach the children about teamwork, and the importance of including everyone.

In terms of where animation can fit into the classroom, I believe it is a wonderful resource to link subjects across the curriculum. Allowing the children to create their own figures for the animation can be their art lesson, the recording of the animation can be their ICT lesson, and the subject of the animation can be varied to cover many different aspects in order to support the knowledge that the children already have.

I would say that animation slots into TCH 1-04b / TCH 2-04b:

“I can create, capture and manipulate sounds, text and images to communicate experiences, ideas and information in creative and engaging ways.”

I believe this to be the case as animation allows to the children to work with a range of media, including sound, text and images, to portray their knowledge in a different way, which can hopefully allow them to retain the information.