Yay! Blake Education’s new ‘Australian Readers’ Theatre’ series has arrived from the printers! It’s been great fun working as series consultant with editor Vanessa Barker and publisher Lynn Dickinson and to have six plays included alongside those of the talented Sandie Eldridge, Catherine Bauer and Elizabeth Klein. It’s a great series (all photo-copiable) with lots of Australian humour and drama. No primary school should be without a copy!
From the Blake website:
“A Reader’s Theatre performance is a dramatic reading without the need for stage actions, or elaborate sets and costumes. It provides teachers with an opportunity to stage a play without the challenges that come with designing and building sets and creating costumes.
Each book in this series contains 10 photocopiable Reader’s Theatre plays written by Australian authors covering a wide variety of genres. Each play has ACARA curriculum links and Teacher’s Notes with information about:
the script’s plot, characters and setting
introducing the play – main topic, characters, ideas
vocabulary discussion and list of tricky words
interpreting the story
rehearsal and stage movement
performance and staging ideas
Photocopiable assessment checklists for pre-performance, peer evaluation and oral performance assessments are included, as well as two worksheets for each play.”
Book Cover – Australian Readers Theatre Lower Primary
I developed this drama unit for Year 5 & 6 around that theme with a focus on improvised dialogue, characterisation and structure.
The lesson sequence is based on the 5Es teaching model, familiar to many teachers from working with the Primary Connections science modules. I find the structure admirably suited to drama units with its Engage / Explore / Explain / Elaborate / Evaluate cycle.
The full unit plan with Australian Curriculum outcomes and a pdf of Emeregency Scenario cards can be downloaded below.
Develops shared norms
Determines readiness for learning
Establishes learning goals
Emergency radio samples: Hindenberg, Nepal, aircraft landing.
Emergency / disaster photos. Improvise a radio broadcast as the different scenes appear.
Mime using different radios – hand-held, walkie talkies etc.
Maintains session momentum
Emergency situation cards: short scenarios of amusing emergencies.
In groups, leader improvises the scene as the rest of group mimes the action.
Swap: group mimes as a ‘reporter’ improvises the narration of the action.
Presents new content
Develops language and literacy
World Radio Day: discuss the themes.
Share the World Radio Day UN video.
In groups, respond to the themes – create a short scene demonstrating each. Emphasis on serious responses.
Hot-seating: journalist, refugee, radio broadcaster.
Elaborate Facilitates substantive conversation
Cultivates higher order thinking
Groups select a scenario for broadcast eg. Nepal earthquake, bushfire, refugee, bomb threat, flooding.
Students develop a script. Characters include broadcaster (DJ), reporter, ‘involved civilian’.
Recording of script, editing with sound effects, music, voiceovers.
The first chart in each set lists five rights children have as students. The second chart lists the relevant responsibilities these create. The third chart lists ten class rules that will help safeguard students’ rights and guide their responsibilities.
I use adaptations in my Drama and Music areas.
Music: ‘Listen while others speak or perform’, ‘Applaud performances’. “treat the Music Area with respect’
Drama: ‘Listen while others speak or perform’, ‘Applaud performances’. “treat the Drama Area with respect’
A few years ago I found their ‘Drama Target’ sheets (apparently no longer available) which featured simplified versions of their Drama outcomes, organised for recording students achievement and progress. These impressed me so much I made my own versions using outcomes from the South Australian SACSA curriculum.
The pdf file here has a single page for each student at year level. There’s a check list of Drama-specific vocabulary, room to list performances (class, school or public), room for notes and simplified versions of the six Drama outcomes with suggested activity-indicators that could be used as evidence of achieving a particular strand.
These little creatures caught my eye in the Adelaide Airport today. A bit(!) pricey at AUD $10 for just four cardboard puppets but I figured my Year 6 students can reverse engineer them and make their own.
The fact they’re made from cardboard rather than cloth or foam is very clever and the movement mechanism would make a whole Deign & Technology lesson in itself.
Dramatic Music App is a bright, colourful and easy-to-use soundboard, just perfect for the Drama classroom and a steal (cue ‘suspense’) at just $0.99
It features four main screens with speech-bubble shaped buttons that activate a comprehensive range of usefully dramatic music. The music is high quality (and sounds even better through a decent set of speakers) and both teachers and students will find it easy to access. Operation is a breeze; tap once to start (the button changes colour) and tap again to end. Continue reading →