Games that are fun, tried and tested and flexible enough to be tweaked according to lesson objectives are part of every drama educators’ toolbox. Marking the end of the Drama Pedagogy Course last weekend, we’d like to share 5 games that our fabulous first cohort liked.
1.Tall as a tree, small as a mouse, wide as a house, thin as a rake
A good energising warm up activity for younger students to encourage them to respond and understand shapes. Open up with a discussion to agree on the objects associated with the game and build a common vocabulary among students.
At the beginning of class, teacher demonstrates these types of body shapes:
- Tall as a tree
- Small as a mouse
- Wide as a house
- Thin as a rake
In a circle, students imitate the different shapes according to the teacher’s instructions. Teacher can switch up the pace of instructions.
Modification: For older students, the activity can be modified to teach pacing and presence.
In a circle, students are instructed to find a tall position and then to find a position where they can be as low and close to the floor as they can.
Teacher informs them that they have 16 counts to get from the low position all the way to the tall position. They are also briefed that at counts 8 and 9, they will feel some discomfort at moving so slowly, they are instructed to notice how their body is positioned at all times.
When the teacher says stop, students will stop and freeze. Quicken the pace by changing the counts. Ie. 4 counts down or 2 counts down.
2.Yo Jojo (formerly Big Booty)
This game requires rhythm and some dancing. It’s a good game for kinaesthetic learners and requires students to listen and follow the rhythm.
Start by forming a circle. Teacher will demo the movement (to clap hands and shift weight from side to side) and lyrics.
“Yo Jojo, Yo Jojo, Yo Jojo, Yo Jojo
Jojo number 1, to number 17.“
Each student is given a number. When a student’s number gets called out, the whole class will say the phrase together with the dance step and the selected student will call out a new number.
Tableau or Freeze Frames were very popular among the educators at the course. These are two ways in which they have used it. In Statue and Artist, students learned about subtexts and portrayal of emotions while in Family Portraits, students learned to portray the power dynamics of groups.
Statue and Artist
Students pair up. One will assume the role of artist and the other the role of statue. Statues will take the cue from the artists. The artist will move the statue into position and mirror the emotions that he would like the statue to show. Each artist will have to place their art piece in a suitable position in the room and share with the class the title of their piece.
The activity should be done quietly, no words should be spoken.
To share, all statues will freeze and artists will go around the gallery to look at all art pieces. Each pair will present their work in turns. The class will guess the emotions portrayed.
When the teacher says Family of _________, everyone must run to the centre of the circle and pose for a family photo. Teacher will pretend she’s the photographer.
Later the class is split into half and each half will have to guess what the other half is presenting. Each group is given a family to depict. They have 2 mins to decide how they are going to present their tableau. ie. A family of cats, family of teachers, family of scientists, family of artists
Everybody to huddle in the centre of the room. In this activity, the group acts as the blob. The blob stands in the centre and stands close to each other as much as they can. The teacher will play the bubble who tries to move across the blob. When the bubble goes through the blob, the blob must split apart and give way to the bubble. At all points in time, the blob has to walk together as a group. Even when they are split apart, they are different chunks moving together and once the bubble is across, the different chunks will join back to form the blob.
The blob is able to move across the room but they must move together as a group. They are only allowed to shuffle their feet as they move.
Modification: The bubble now has three sizes: small, medium and large and the blob has to accommodate the bubble moving across.
Small: the protective layer around is one palm long
Medium: the protective layer is two arms long
Large: the protective layer is the entire width of the room
5. Fruit Salad
Students will sit on chairs in a circle and count from 1 to 5. Each group is given a fruit name, 1s are bananas, 2 are oranges, 3 are watermelons, 4 are mangoes, 5 are durians.
When the teacher calls out the fruit, the people in the fruit group will exchange places with each other. If the teacher calls out fruit salad, everybody changes places with each other.
Do check out the Drama Toolkit Website for more drama games. We liked the site because activities are categorized according to objectives.
So whether you’d like to bring up the energy of the room or develop cohesion within your ensemble, this is a great website to discover new games to add to your teaching repertoire.
Share with us your tips for discovering new drama activities. Drop us a comment here!