Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Improv Theatre Drama Games Lesson Plan Ideas Help Students and Writers (Writing, Language Arts, English, Reading, Literature)

Improv can be useful not only to actors, but to writers as well. Improv can help get a writer's juices flowing.  Maybe improv could be a good solution to writer's block.  It could certainly help students be more creative with ideas when preparing them to write in the classroom.


Thank you to my Heritage Online Drama Games students (Denise and Allison) for their contributions to my blog.
More improv game ideas (adapted from the book  "175 Theater Games" by Nancy Hurley 




"Through my student teaching on a first grade level, one of the areas that I noticed the students were struggling in was doing their writing prompts.  Many of the students were having issues coming up with something to write about, they could creatively tell stories but when it came to writing something down their minds went blank and many of them would just stare at their blank papers.  Playing theatre games prior to having the students doing their writing prompts could help them relax and allow their creativity to shine through.  The first theatre game that comes to mind is 'Word Association'.  The students could associate words in order to help them to have a few associated words on their minds so that the writing prompt may be easier to come with.  Another warm up theatre game that could be used is 'A Story To Tell'.  This game has a student begin an original story for 10 seconds then another student continues the story, etc.  This game would be beneficial because it has the students elaborating upon each others' story and they get to hear the creativity as well as the direction the story is taking."


The Exaggeration Game-The teacher calls out a simple action or movement (a verb) and the students perform it in an exaggerated manner. I think I may divide the class into two groups for this activity. The teacher gives one group a verb to exaggerate without the other group knowing what it is. The students act out the verb in an exaggerated manner and the other group has to guess what the action is.  This game would be a nice compliment to an english lesson on parts of speech. A nice adaptation would be to have the students contribute verbs to the game.

The Minister's Cat- Players sit in a circle. The first person describes the minister's cat using an adjective that starts with "a". For example, "The minister's cat is an active cat.". Each players adjective must start with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. The game continues until all of the letters of the alphabet have been used. A soft rhythm could be tapped while the game is played to offer an appropriate physical outlet for students while actively listening to their peers. This game encourages active listening and quick thinking, while encouraging students to use more descriptors in their language. This activity would be a great addition to a lesson on adding more descriptive adjectives to students' writing.

Up,Down, Freeze-The teacher demonstrates what students will do when she calls out one of the following commands: Up-hands in the air, Down- drop to the ground, Heads-hands on head, Shoulders-hands on shoulders, One Leg-stand still with one leg in the air. Students begin walking around until a command is given. The students freeze in that position until the teacher says, "Walk" followed by another command. I like how this game encourages attentive listening, while giving kids a much needed opportunity to move about. For an additional challenge, I could see teaching the students the command words in Spanish and having the students move accordingly.

Up,Down, Freeze-The teacher demonstrates what students will do when she calls out one of the following commands: Up-hands in the air, Down- drop to the ground, Heads-hands on head, Shoulders-hands on shoulders, One Leg-stand still with one leg in the air. Students begin walking around until a command is given. The students freeze in that position until the teacher says, "Walk" followed by another command. I like how this game encourages attentive listening, while giving kids a much needed opportunity to move about. For an additional challenge, I could see teaching the students the command words in Spanish and having the students move accordingly.

Zip Zap Zoop-This game is played by saying the words "zip, zap, or zoop." Players form a circle. The teacher turns to the right, points to the player beside her, and says, "zip." That player has three choices:  he can turn to the right and say "zip", turn to the left and say "zap" or point to someone across the circle and say "zoop". If a player is "zooped", his only option is to turn to the right and say, "zip". Subsequent players have three options, "zip, zap or zoop," unless they are "zooped". This would be a fun game to play after a read aloud of a book from the Froggy series by Jonathan London. In these books, the words "zip, zap, zoop" are used any time froggy does an action, such as putting on his clothes for school. Another variation would be if a student is "zooped" they have to recall an event, character or answer a specific question given by the teacher about the book.

Character Walks-In this game, students stand in a circle. They begin walking in one direction. As the teacher calls out commands such as "Walk like an old person", "Walk like a model", "Walk like a body builder", the students change the way they walk. I like the idea of adapting this game to fit a character study. For example, after reading a novel, command the students to move like a particular character from the book would likely.

Greetings-Everyone starts to jaunt around the room. The teacher calls out ways for players to greet each other. For example, she calls out "like cowboys", "like clowns", "like long lost friends". The students then greet each other as though they are that character. I can see adapting this game to fit a character study. For example, "Greet one another like Grandpa Joe and Charlie after being lost in the chocolate factory." 

The Story-The teacher prepares index cards with the name of a person, place or thing written on each card. Players stand in a circle. The teacher walks around the circle and hands a card to each player. For example, one student receives the word basketball. That person has ten seconds to begin telling a story using the word basketball. The next player must weave into the story the person, place or thing on his card, and so on. I would vary this game by having students contribute nouns to be used during the game. I love the open-ended, creative and fun way this encourages the class to interact together and again is a great way to reinforce the parts of speech.

One Word at a Time-As is the suggested formation in many of these activities, students form a circle. The teacher reviews the parts of a story-main character, beginning, middle, end and conclusion. The students begin telling a story offering only one word (or a nice adaptation may be one sentence) at a time around the circle. The next person adds the next word (or sentence) and so on around the circle. This is another example of a creative, interactive, and engaging activity for our students, as well as a creative way to teach writing through story telling.

Alliteration Introduction-Standing in a circle, one player begins the game by combining his name with an alliterative adjective. For example, "I'm active Andrew." The next player introduces the player before him, then adds his own name and alliterative adjective. For example, "This is active Andrew and I am creative Carl." The introductions continue around the circle two people at a time. After everyone has been introduced, the students can try and recall who each student is including his/her alliterative adjective. This game is an excellent way to introduce new students to one another. This would also be a great writing activity. Students could create mini books introducing their class members, adding illustrations. Another extension of this activity would be to have students further describe themselves by describing something they like to do also using alliteration. For example, I am active Andrew and I like acrobatics." Or, "I am creative Carl and I like clay." These descriptors would make for fun illustrations in these student created mini books.

For more improv games go to http://www.freedrama.net/improv.html

Improv Theatre Drama Games Lesson Plan Ideas Help Students and Writers (Writing, Language Arts, English, Reading, Literature)

No comments:

Post a Comment