Emergency Radio Drama Unit

This year’s theme for World Radio Day was ‘Radio In Time of Emergency‘.

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.

Lesson sequence



Lesson content


  • 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.


  • Prompts inquiry
  • Structures inquiry
  • 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
  • Strengthens connections
  •  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.


  • Assesses performance against standards
  •   Facilitates student self assessment
  • ‘Braodcast’ of radio programmes.


Unit OutlineEmergency Scenario Cards 
Drama - 56DK Unit 1 - Emergency RadioEmergency Cards


Making Radio Programs

Making a radio program?

An ideal project for my mixed-ability Year 9 Music class; creating and producing a radio program is an open-ended task that combines ICT skills, creativity, media and music.

You beauty!

What they had to do…

The brief was to create a radio program with the following features:

  • A station ident
  • Top ‘n’ tailed songs
  • Song introductions
  • An advertisement
  • A phone in
  • A competition

Continue reading

A simulated FM radio station

AV Wireless transmitterWe’re in the process of establishing a radio station at school. I’ve established some links with the wonderful people at our local FM station GulfFM and we’re hoping to have a low-powered community FM station set up in the next 12 months.

In the meantime I’ve put together some equipment in one of our practice rooms for the older students to experiment and practice on.

At the heart of the setup is our old Yamaha mixing desk. With 16 inputs, we can easily control several microphones, a CD player and an iPad. There’s obviously no automation or board-control of the music, but it does mean that up to four students can each have a discrete job to do on the board:

  1. Announcer 1
  2. Announcer 2
  3. CD / phone / iPod music / iPad soundboard
  4. Engineer / Mixer

The single headphone out signal goes to a small 4-socket Behringer headphone amp, so all four students can monitor the show they’re creating.

I’ve plugged an AV transmitter in the REC OUT socket and we’re ‘beaming’ the transmission through several walls and windows to the main music room where the transmitter’s receiver is plugged into a sound system.

Voila! Instant radio station!

We’ll have to be careful of broadcasting though as the AV transmitter blankets the wireless spectrum and will severely disrupt the music room’s Internet Wireless.

Next on the list: a real audience. We’ll feed the AV signal to a mobile amp and some groups of students are getting quite excited by the prospect of broadcasting to lunch time audiences.




Stitcher iconI found Stitcher while searching for Radio apps to use with my Year 9 class.

Stitcher archives radio talk shows, drama shows, documentaries and news programs then ‘stitches’ them together to create your own personalised radio station. And to think I used to do this with a Hanimex tape-recorder and an AM radio!

The content is USA-centric but there’s such a huge range of topics here you’re bound to find something to fascinate.

I set up my station in 30 seconds flat by selecting three topics of interest. Had my first win a minute later when I saw they had the TWIT (This Week in Tech) broadcasts. It’s playing in the backgroundas I write this.

Live radio is an option, you can save favourites and see what’s hot in the lisetning-to-words world.

Stitcher is free, so what’s not to like?

Stitcher Screenshot

Stitcher Screenshot