Read Drama Classroom Management Strategies provided in the Teaching Basic Drama section of the Drama Notebook website for great tips and suggestions about how to present and implement rules, and for strategies in dealing with behavioral problems.
The very best way to present the rules is to have the students tell YOU what the rules are. You may want to write down what they say on a poster board and have each class member sign it somewhere. Put the poster board up whenever you hold class.
“Okay, now, we are going to go over the rules. But I don’t like to be the one to make all the rules. How about you guys decide what our rules should be!”
Students will always give you a great set of rules. You can add “Be kind and supportive to one another.” Or “There are no wrong ways or wrong answers in acting!”
Here are some additional tips for avoiding chaos in your drama classroom…
Give Immediate Consequences When a Rule is Broken
Swift justice is the key to a well-organized class. Kids will test your boundaries almost immediately. If you have laid out rules and consequences, make sure you stick to them without wavering. Students will watch how quickly you follow through with another student, and will be extra aware of their own behavior. This tip actually works like magic.
Here are some creative ideas for consequences-
Statue Time Out
Actor must stand like a statue of her choice, on the side lines during the next game. If she moves or talks, she must remain a statue for another game.
Actor must sit out the next game, but before being allowed to rejoin the group, she must silently act out the offending behavior, then silently act out what she’s going to do from now on.
Picture of Behavior
Actor must draw a picture of the offending behavior during “time out,” and share it with the class with a statement about how she will conduct herself for the rest of class.
Create a ritual for letting the actor back into the circle. The actor who had a “time out,” must make a statement upon re-entry. The group can come up with what this is, but it should be something like “I promise to try harder to honor the group and our play.”
TIP-Upon re-entering the circle, and making amends, the whole group should say something like, “Welcome Back Amanda!” This is an important step, as it acknowledges the apology, and brings the group closer.
The short article above was excerpted from “Drama Classroom Management,” a 13 page tutorial inside of Drama Notebook that is packed with creative suggestions for keeping order in your drama class while not letting go of the sense of fun and exploration. All members of Drama Notebook have immediate access to this material.