How to Teach Your First Drama Class
To make the drama class experience magical and full of wonder, you may want to come up with a way of inviting kids into the room for the very first class. Here are several examples:
Turn the lights down and play some instrumental music. Invite the kids to move about the room in time to the music. Ask them to listen closely and imagine what kind of place the music reminds them of. They can “pretend” to be in that place as all of the other students arrive. When every child is present, gather the students into a circle and let them know that they have already been acting! Then go around the circle and ask each child to say his/her name, and tell the rest of the class which place he/she was imagining. Let the kids know that the essence of theatre is using their imaginations to create different places and people wherever they are!
Designate an area of the room where the group routinely meets in a circle. Create an imaginary fire in the middle of the circle. Dim the lights and invite the kids to sit around the ‘campfire’ with their snacks. You may choose to tell a story, or ask for each child to contribute something such as telling the class about a time when they felt really scared, or something that no one else knows about them. A ‘talking stick’ is a really great item to have on hand for campfire time.
Provide enough paper and colored markers for everyone. Invite the kids to enter the room and join the circle and start drawing a tree. It can be any kind of tree. Any color, any shape, any design. When all the kids have arrived, and have finished their trees, have the students place them on the floor either in a big wide circle, or in random places around the playing space. This is our tree ‘gallery.’ In silence, invite the players to walk around the gallery looking at the trees. Eventually have them stop at a tree that is not their own, but one they feel is like them. Then have them find a tree that is very different from them. Then invite the kids to join you in a sitting circle. Ask them what they noticed. Explain that just like us, every tree is different and that in this class, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of viewpoints and that all of us are unique. Explain that no one is ever right or wrong… and in this class, we appreciate each other’s differences.