This most awesome linky party is being hosted by Barbara over at Grade ONEderful and I loooooove it!
To clarify, I love me some classroom drama activities. Not much of a fan of real life drama, as my ridiculous life puts Hollywood's attempts at TV movies of the week and after school specials to shame. No lie. But I think all of that nonsense would be much more appropriate for another blog that was not about teaching. I'd go very artsy with the title I think, "I Looked in the Mirror and No One was There, and other Reflections". Bah! Whatever. Where's the cake?
I am actually a stage shy sort of person. I enjoy writing scripts and designing sets and picking out props, but don't give me any lines. Please. I dabble a bit with the costuming, but my sister is the real pro. She's a costume designer in New Zealand. I can give a speech. I can crack jokes and talk about something real. But I cannot ACT. I don't know what it is. But I end up petrified. In high school I was all about STAGE CREW. I even "lettered" in it. Yeeeeaaaah, how popular was I?
Anyway- back to the point at hand, using drama in the classroom. I have a regular rotation of RETELLING as a station during my literacy block. I'm actually very surprised that this is not part of the Daily 5. And as I'm making plans for this next year, I'm trying so hard to make sure I can fit it in still. I might have to drop and/or combine one of the other Daily 5 components to keep it. GASP! Teacher jail? I dunno.
My first stop for retelling materials is SparkleBox. This site it the bombdiddly! 1000's of product downloads FREE. And they have tons of stuff aside from retelling supplies. But when it comes to drama, they've got just about every fairy tale available in workmats, stick puppets, masks, etc. that you could want. IN COLOR. And at my school, we color print at will. But, I know that we are not all so lucky. At my last school you had to write up 100 page thesis papers on why your color printed document would improve testing scores in a legitimate educational activity in order to print. And for those of you in that situation, they also have black and white available. Break out those crayolas! I paste them on cardstock and then laminate. And because I print different stories, I paste each story on a different COLOR of cardstock so the kids can keep the pieces together. I put these pieces and the book in a zip-loc bag and then in my retelling center. I do not introduce a story to the center until we've read it as a class and talked about it.
I also cruise the party supply aisles in stores for retelling gear. They've got hats, badges, masks, and props galore. I found tons of pirate gear for my Tough Boris retelling bag in the party supply aisle at Hobby Lobby this past Spring, as an example. In Michael's discount toy aisle $1/$3 baskets, I've found finger puppets and masks. When I find something that works for retelling but doesn't have a book that goes with it, I add a card to the bag that simply says "I do not have a book to go with these puppets/masks, can you make one up?" And do not count out the toy aisle in Dollar stores. I've found dinosaur hats and safari hats in the past five months. The dinosaur hats were a big hit with the book Dinosaur Stomp.
I also do drama in Math. Any time we have a word problem, we identify the "characters" and the action and act it out before we solve. It helps the kids see whether we are adding or taking away. They love doing this. Even with word problems that feature girl characters, I don't know how many times I had boys beg me to be "Sally". When they work in small groups or pairs doing independent work, they often act out the problems without my prompting they like it that much.
Drama is easy to incorporate into science and social studies too. Part of our weather unit is storm safety, and you can break the kids up into storm groups and they can create safety "videos" for each storm. When you teach animal adaptations and habitats pair students together to be an animal and a zookeeper. In social studies, if you do Native American groups, they can act out the daily routines of the men and women and children of the tribe. Famous Americans? It's wax museum time! Once you get into it, you can find a dramatic opportunity ANYWHERE!
Something I'm working on this summer is to try to bring back a little of that Kindergarten role playing but Second it up a bit. Oral language development remains a standard, but it gets put on a back burner so often because it never appears on standardized tests. But that dramatic play practice that they began with in Kindergarten and preschool was so huge in development of vocabulary and social skills. And then we just drop it because they're old? Nah, I think they still need it. So I'm trying to figure out how to take those dramatic play opportunities and add in some non-fiction text feature action and math components. Say you want to have a Vet's Clinic. Stuffed animal and doctor props needed, but then create charts of animals to label, prescription pads to write up, "medicine" to measure out with a dropper. I think it could work. Anybody else have feelings about that?
Thanks, Barbara for the great linky!