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Animating Your Lessons with Some Drama: 20+ Resources

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Every Friday I am presenting free webinars thanks to American TESOL! We have an incredible time. Recently, we shared ideas for integrating drama in the classroom. Teachers do not have to be skilled in acting. Instead, the webinar was away to introduce teachers to different games that get students to tap into their creative juices and get them moving! As Ken Wilson said in a recent interview with me, “Animate your classes!”

Classroom activities that include drama skills include:

  • role plays
  • puppets
  • pretend games
  • mime
  • pantomine
  • total physical response
  • dance
  • music
  • dress-up
  • improvisation games
  • puppetry
  • storytelling
  • digital storytelling

Find more activities by watching this webinar, Using Drama in the Classroom!

Drama Activities & Resources

Check out these resources to help you animate your classes!

Improv Games: Videos

  • Game 1: Yes And (click to watch a video example)
  • Instructions:
    • Put students into pairs
    • One student begins with a sentence and the other student says “Yes and” then adds more information.
    • Use a timer to get students speaking for 1 minute or longer.
  • Game 2: Rumors (click to watch a video example)
  • Instructions:
    • Put students into pairs
    • Student A makes up a rumor to tell student B.
    • Student B adds to the rumor then both students giggle.
    • Student B then makes up the rumor and student A adds to the rumor.
    • Use a timer to get students speaking for 1 minute or longer.
  • Game 3: Pass the Prop (click to watch a video example)
  • Instructions:
    • You will need an everyday object such as an eraser, a chair, a broom, or other object. You can choose to bring in as many as you want. We will use a broom as an example.
    • Place students in a circle.
    • Place 2 students in the center of the circle with the broom.
    • Student A decides what to pretend the broom is either than a broom. For example, student A may decide the broom is a spaceship.
    • Student A then demonstrates the broom is a spaceship through acting and using dialogue until student B figures this out.
    • Student B determines the broom is a spaceship and plays along matching the dialogue.
    • When a student in the circle imagines the object is something else that student taps student A or B and replaces that student in the skit.
  • Game 4: Jibberish to English (click to watch a video example)
  • Instructions:
    • You will need a bell or whistle.
    • Put students into pairs
    • Have the pairs make up a scene or give them one. They are choosing a scene they can easily talk about so they may want something simple like going shopping, playing a sport, etc. Or you could have the scene match your lesson topic.
    • Student A begins by speaking about the topic. Student B rings the bell every 10 seconds or so. When student B rings the bell, student A must speak in Jibberish (a made up language).
    • Use a timer to get students speaking for 1 minute or longer.

Resources for Using Drama With Young Learners

More Drama Resources

Recommended Reading


Try one of these ways to animate your lessons!

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  • November 29, 2010 - 20:36 | Permalink

    Great list of resources, thanks Shelly. When I taught drama, I also plundered the Theatre Sports sites – they have lots of improv games that encourage kids to think creatively and collaborate.

    I have some more ideas and links in this post I wrote about drama:

  • November 29, 2010 - 21:33 | Permalink

    This is outstanding! Love that you are doing this and even more, love that I get to enjoy it after the fact. Thanks so much for posting it here with all the great resources!

  • Pingback: Educational Blog Digest 30th November 2010 | Creative Education Blog

  • November 30, 2010 - 06:57 | Permalink

    I highlighted your post in my Daily Digest of Education related blogs today as I thought other teachers would find it of interest. You can see it here:

  • November 30, 2010 - 21:46 | Permalink

    I think learning another language is sort of stepping outside yourself, at least in the sense that you’re moving out of your comfort zone and having to put yourself on display doing something you don’t feel confident doing. Drama fits really well with that. Instead of being the kid who is too shy to speak English, why not pretend to be the kid who is bursting with confidence and communicates his point regardless of the situation? It gives people a chance to break their own habits of language learning.

    • December 7, 2010 - 01:46 | Permalink

      Hello Kate,

      What a great point! Love that idea and will encourage my students to pretend to take on a personality they usually do not exhibit!

  • Pingback: The Twenty-First Edition of the ESL/EFL/ELD Blog Carnival | Reflections on Teaching

  • Pingback: Do you teach ESL/EFL/ELD, check out the Blog Carnival, it is packed full of resources

  • Pingback: My Attempt at Drama in the Classroom. « Sabrina’s Weblog

  • May 1, 2011 - 05:07 | Permalink

    Hi Shelly,
    Just posted a link to this and your interview with Ken Wilson on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check for comments.

    Please feel free to post there when you have anything you’d like to share.



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