Sixth Grade Lessons

Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade No Prior Drama 

Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade With Prior Drama

Purchase Lesson Sequence Outline only
Purchase or download individual lessons below

These year-long planning guides map a year of drama teaching.  We put these lessons in a recommended delivery order below, but you may revise, rearrange, and adapt as you see fit.  These sequences are not a mandate; rather, they are intended to provide you with assistance as you build a curriculum for your classroom.

NOTE ON LESSON SEQUENCES:  We have included two lesson sequences, one for students with prior drama instruction, and one for students without prior drama experience.  For classes without prior experience, download our Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade No Prior Drama, and begin at Week One.  For classes with prior experience, download our Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade With Prior Drama, and use that document as your guide for which lessons to teach. 

NOTE ON ACTIVITIES: You might notice that in this lesson sequence, some of the materials are activities rather than lessons. At this grade level, class periods usually get shorter, so teachers might not always have time for a complete lesson. Activities give teachers a little more flexibility, so they can target a focus skill of their choosing and get whatever they need out of each class period. Each lesson or activity in the sequence builds off of the previous one, providing the skill work needed for the next step in the sequence and ensuring scaffolded student improvement.  

NOTE ON FLEX WEEKS: What we know for certain about the school year is that it never goes quite as planned. Therefore, we adapted our curriculum to allow for wiggle room! A flex week is extra time built into a curriculum sequence to allow for class periods lost to fire drills, assemblies, snow days etc. If you find yourself with extra time, we have also provided a link to our lesson library, where you can find additional lessons for the Sixth Grade not included in our curriculum sequence.

Week 1 1. Book, Stick, Chair, Person1
2.    Yes It Is!2
3.    Transforming Three Objects Into Story2
4. Concentration and Partner Work1
5.    Statue Maker Redesign1
Week 2 6. The Circus 2
7.  The Tightrope   2
8.    Liar's Club1, 3, 4
Week 39. Body Objects with "BJ's Journey"2, 11, 12
10. Body Objects with "The Dreamer" Story  2, 11 ,12
11.    Bound North Blues2, 4, 6
Week 4 12.    Vocal Environment2, 3, 4, 6
13.    I Was Courageous2, 3, 4, 6
Week 5 14.  Team Juggling1, 3, 4
15. Refrigerator1, 3, 4
16.  Tableau1, 3, 4
17.  Tableau Stories1, 3, 4
18.  Journal Writing and Assessment1, 3, 4
Week 6 19. Pass the Word 4, 6
20.  Sound Catch4, 6
21.  Introducing Gibberish4, 6
22.  Gibberish Interviews4, 6
Week 7 23.  Three Scenes from a Book4, 6, 8
24.  The Sacred Scarab4, 6, 8
Week 825.  Open Scenes2, 5, 4, 7
26.  Elevator2, 5, 4, 7
Week 9 27.  Emotion Stories2, 8, 5
28.  Creating Mood 2, 8, 5
Week 10 29. Flex Week (Additional Lessons available here)
Week 11 30. Animal Shapes2, 8, 11, 12
31. How the World Was Formed on Turtle's Back 2, 8, 11, 12
Week 12 32. Read short play and Identify Story Elements (Tales Retold or a play of your choosing) 7, 8, 11, 12
33. Assessment on Dramatic Story Elements7, 8, 11, 12
Week 1334. Crossing the Road - Conflict Relay5, 7, 8
35. Action and Reaction5, 7, 8
36. Señor Coyote Acts as Judge5, 7, 8
Week 14 37. Reader's Theater with Poetry7, 9, 13
Week 15 38. One Person Monologue6, 10, 13
Week 1639. Two Character Dialogue6, 10, 13
Week 1740. Final Performances or Flex Week (Additional Lessons available here) 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13
41. Final Assessment on Collaboration, Planning, Imagination, Story Elements, Narrator Skills 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13


Sixth Grade Drama Curriculum
CURRICULUM MENU  About this Curriculum Guide for Sixth Grade Students Each of these lessons has been tested in the classroom and taught successfully for many years.  These lessons are intended as an extension to the foundational Introductory Lessons which have the background and ...
6th Grade Drama Objectives & Standards
Sixth Grade Drama Objectives  Drama Objectives Alignment to National Standards These objectives cover essential learning in the art form for eleven to twelve-year-old students.   This first PDF download above (appears below for subscribers) contains objectives used in our Sixth ...
Sixth Grade Lessons
Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade No Prior Drama  Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade With Prior Drama Purchase Lesson Sequence Outline only
Purchase or download individual lessons below These year-long planning guides map a year of drama teaching. We ...
Sixth Grade Vocabulary
Vocabulary List for the Sixth Grade This PDF document contains definitions in student language for the vocabulary words listed in each lesson.  These classroom-tested definitions are used when introducing these concepts in the classroom.  Of course, many of the words ...

6th Grade Drama Objectives & Standards

Sixth Grade Drama Objectives 

Drama Objectives Alignment to National Standards

These objectives cover essential learning in the art form for eleven to twelve-year-old students.   This first PDF download above (appears below for subscribers) contains objectives used in our Sixth Grade Curriculum in a handy printout for reference​.  We have aligned the objectives with the United States National Standards as shown in the second PDF.  As a purchase outside of membership, you will receive access to both documents. Additionally, we have mapped the National Core Arts Standards to grade-appropriate theater standards in a handy reference document for each grade level.  Use this reference if you are customizing your curriculum.
Sixth Grade Drama Curriculum
CURRICULUM MENU  About this Curriculum Guide for Sixth Grade Students Each of these lessons has been tested in the classroom and taught successfully for many years.  These lessons are intended as an extension to the foundational Introductory Lessons which have the background and ...
6th Grade Drama Objectives & Standards
Sixth Grade Drama Objectives  Drama Objectives Alignment to National Standards These objectives cover essential learning in the art form for eleven to twelve-year-old students.   This first PDF download above (appears below for subscribers) contains objectives used in our Sixth ...
Sixth Grade Lessons
Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade No Prior Drama  Recommended Lesson Sequence for Sixth Grade With Prior Drama Purchase Lesson Sequence Outline only
Purchase or download individual lessons below These year-long planning guides map a year of drama teaching. We ...
Sixth Grade Vocabulary
Vocabulary List for the Sixth Grade This PDF document contains definitions in student language for the vocabulary words listed in each lesson.  These classroom-tested definitions are used when introducing these concepts in the classroom.  Of course, many of the words ...

Story Selection for Great Classrooms

Classroom management and student engagement often begin with selecting the right story for your class.  In my curriculum, younger students start out by playing the major characters all together. Then, as a next step, I place them in groups where they learn how to divide the roles amongst themselves – See Negotiation Strategies. Because of this, it is crucial to carefully select the best stories for each stage of development. This article covers stories where students must negotiate roles within their groups.  Here are a few of my thoughts. I’d love to hear yours, and please send us the titles of your favorite drama stories!

How do we select stories and plays for drama that capture the interest of every student? First, we must ensure the story is age appropriate, and that it has the right number of characters to foster great collaboration. Taking that into account, I have also found that some students are unwilling to take on roles that make them uncomfortable.   When they feel uncomfortable they are more apt to act out, be uncooperative, and provide difficulties for their group or the class. This leads to complex management issues both in the drama and the classroom.

To avoid this, here’s what I suggest:

Choose a story with more active than passive characters.   Young actors like to play active characters.  Active characters are instrumental to the plot and are involved in the conflict. They are often the protagonist, the antagonist or a character that is instrumental in resolving the conflict/problem.  The key word here is “action.”  The active characters are moving the plot along – taking some type of action. 

There are stories without a great deal of action, making all characters more passive, like Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, and there are stories with all active characters like Who’s In Rabbit’s House? by Verna Aardema.  However, many stories have both active and some passive characters like The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.  In the last example, the prince is a passive character who has little to do with the action, and the princess and the dragon are much more active.  When there is a mixture of active and passive roles like this, sometimes the more aggressive or confident students prevent others from taking the active roles. Students who get cast in a passive role when they desire an active role are more likely to be disruptive.

Two solutions: one, select stories that have only active characters; and two, since this is not always possible, ask students who have traditionally played an active role to take on a passive role.

I might say something like:

“All actors who played ______________ in our last drama, I am going to ask you today to play __________ when your group meets to decide roles.  Raise your hand if you played _______________ in that drama. Keep your hand up if you agree to take on the role of _____________ today. That’s perfect and thank you.” 

Doing this before groups gather is called a “contract,” and heads off any potential management issues that could arise within the group.

Choose a story with neutral characters.  Neutral character stories are ones where you don’t have to worry about roles being determined by gender, ethnicity, or physical traits.  In the classroom it is important to provide stories with roles that everyone feels comfortable playing.  This way there is joy in the playing, which will always foster greater engagement.  If you have noticed that students are stuck in casting each other or themselves based on traditional roles, then you might select animal stories such as fables or fantasy stories that have nonhuman characters. These stories are excellent options because they provide ample roles that are both active and neutral.

You might also build instructional strategies into your curriculum to help them make less obvious casting choices.  Begin with something like Jack and the Beanstalk, and discuss – don’t lecture – on how actors who are small might take on the giant, for instance.  Use instruction, examples, and modeling to move your class away from typecasting each other or themselves.

Choose stories everyone can play.  Actors who have physical and mental challenges also enjoy participating in active roles.  Some students in the class might not be aware of this.  Use instructional brainstorming with the group to generate ideas of how to incorporate everyone.  In one class I had a young lady who could not speak and was in a wheel chair often operated by as assistant.  For one drama, she chose to be the major central character.  Her teammates were able, with her permission, to move her chair.  They became her voice when needed, and she used simple hand movements, vocal sounds, and facial expressions to communicate, as her team accompanied her around the playing space. This opened a world of possibilities for her throughout the semester.  Don’t let challenges create barriers.  Removing barriers for one individual creates a safe place for everyone.

Choose a story without a horrible villain or bully.  Students love to read and listen to stories with a character “they love to hate.”  But when it comes time to play the role, they shy away.  There can be many reasons for this:  they don’t feel safe among their classmates, they are not ready to utter mean words to someone else, the role feels too close to something in their personal life, or the character is too scary. Often, after introducing a story, I discuss the characters and see if there are those willing to take on the darker roles.  I also might put up a “role on the wall” (a large outline of the character no wants to play) and suggest that groups use that image to represent the character. That way, students can take turns being the voice of the character, and no one has to play the role.

In my work, I introduce a process of collaboration that allows young people to work as a team to select their own characters in a manner that is fair, fast, and collegial. I observe the groups as they participate in that process of negotiation and note who selects which character.  This process allows me to plan and select stories more thoughtfully.

Choose carefully any written story that students will dramatize. Your students might not receive many opportunities to act out stories, so make each selection as memorable as possible.  Each story should be dramatic, with vibrant characters that everyone wants to play.  Select a story for its content, message, dynamics, and quality. Enacted stories that are most memorable and have the greatest impact on student learning are ones about interpersonal interaction, connections to the broader world, and the power of human choice.  All stories are not equal; good stories will support your teaching, the quality of your program, and the atmosphere of your classroom.

Related Posts

Voice Work – Sound to Dialogue

Vocal Work – Building Vocal Confidence – Sound to Dialogue


Beginning with movement, imitation, and pantomime is an excellent choice for young actors or beginning actors of any age.  Sooner or later, however, you need to introduce the human voice.  Improvising believable dialogue is not easy for students.  They might take the path of silliness or shock.  Take it step by step with the voice and you will have better dramas.


Step One Vocal Sounds: 

Add sounds to pantomimed or imitated work.  These might be nature sounds, environmental, manmade, or other worldly.  Participants can create sounds in a sequence to tell a story or develop a setting.  Activities you might download from include:  Vocal Environment, Vocal Symphony, Sound Catch, more.


Step Two Choral Work: 

This can be either choral reading or choral speaking.  Teammates blend their voices to add expression, volume, varying rates, tonality and vocal qualities to existing or group created work.  You might download any of the 60 pieces of poetry included at the website for choral work.


Step Three Story Telling: 

This is most often solo work but can be done in partners or teams.  Individuals might act as narrator to a movement pantomime; stand in front of the class and tell a story from memory; work with a partner to tell a story using character voices as well as a narrative voice.  Here students work on eye contact, varying vocal inflection, adding fluency, building suspense or mood, and improving their speaking volume, rate, and pitch.  I like to use the activity The Liar’s Club or the lesson, I Was Courageous both found at the website.


Step Four Reader’s Theater: 

Individuals take the roles of characters and narrator in a pre existing script or piece of poetry or prose adding some blocking movement as the piece is read.  Props, costumes, and music might also be added by the team.  Scripts are held by the actors who have them half memorized so that they can use eye contact both with their fellow readers and the audience.  They only glance down to cue the next lines when needed.  Gestures, posture, facial expression, loco motor and non loco motor movements may also be used and are highly recommended.   See the Reader’s Theater Lesson and Rubic; also use the poetry collection for this purpose.


Step Five Partner Interviews: 

This format gives participants an opportunity to ease into dialogue.  Actors are given a situation where one character must interview another.  This might involve a TV program, radio show, detective and suspect, a character from history or a novel.  Start by giving everyone the same situation and move to improvised scenes devised by the actors.  Discuss types of questions:  Yes/No, Why, How, When, Where, and What and reflect on the type of answers that are given in response to each.  The actors should also be encouraged to use gestures, posture, and facial expression to give information about their characters and their characters thinking.


Step Six Creating Dialogue:

Participants now use and combine action, sound, and speaking (dialogue, monologue, asides) in their drama work.  At first it is improvised scenes followed by scripted work which is memorized.  Both of these forms can be presented  with or without costumes, props, music, etc.   By beginning with improvised work, the participants are acting as playwrights and will find the transition to writing their dialogue down in a documented form to be much easier.  Start with pair improvisations: a teacher with a learner; someone with a problem and advisor; a buyer and seller.  Move to larger groups when the actors are ready.  Also have actors use voices to personify animal and object characters imitating the vocal qualities those characters might have if they were human.


A Few Characteristics of Good Dialogue

  • -->Sounds like human conversation
  • -->Reveals the relationship between characters
  • -->Reveals a character’s personality, history, motivation
  • -->Moves the story forward
  • -->Helps the character get what he or she wants (achieve an objective)
  • -->Leaves some mystery (subtext)
  • -->Allows moments of silence

by Karen Erickson

Karen Erickson

Process Drama Workshop with Pam Bowell on 14th January, 2023

OneStopDRAMAShop and Creative Directions are excited to welcome Pam Bowell as a presenter for a virtual one day working session on Saturday, January 14th on Process Drama.  Overwhelmingly, our summer conference attendees asked for “More Pam, please.”  So here she comes all the way from Buckinghamshire in England – to share her immense knowledge with us via Zoom.

Pam is the co-author of two books on Process Drama with her friend and colleague, Brian Heap, called:  Planning Process Drama:  Enriching Teaching and Learning,


and Putting Process Drama into Action:  The Dynamics of Practice… both available from online booksellers…but nothing beats hearing it firsthand from one of the authors. 

I have participated in many workshops with Pam over the years, and it is always a joy to be in her presence and learn from her significant strategies and techniques in integrating curriculum.

Process Drama is rarely done in America because we are often too busy creating the year end production-- rehearsing, making costumes, and painting set pieces.  But what if we could harness this powerful tool and pass it on to classroom teachers so that drama might be integrated in the teaching of social/emotional learning, social studies, language arts, and science? What if we made drama indispensable?  What is wonderful about Process Drama is that it works from Pre-K-to high school and beyond.

Pam will be taking us on a journey into teacher-in-role, questioning techniques, planning the dramatic event, selecting the material, and guiding the implementation.  Participants will get to play in role with Pam, ask questions, and take away materials to read and use in their own planning.

Pam has been a secondary school drama teacher, a drama advisory teacher, university professor in teacher education, a world renowned speaker and presenter of everything drama, and an author leading the way in the Process Drama field.

Join us for an amazing day with Pam.  I’ll be there.  Hope I get to see you too.


Teaching Negotiation Strategies

teaching negotiation strategies

I recently had a question posed by Abbey in Maryland, who wanted to know more about negotiation strategies. I am including her question and my answer here in hopes that it will give others more insight into these strategies. You might want to reference the “Concentration and Partner Work” lesson in the Getting Started With Drama sequence on the OneStopDRAMAShop for additional context on this topic. We encourage you to keep sending us your ideas and thoughts on this or any topic. None of us are as smart as all of us, so jump in there and share what you know relating to each question presented.

Hello [Karen], I am doing Concentration and Partner Work lesson. I’m supposed to explain the three beginning negotiation strategies which are:

a. Chance
b. Taking Turns
c. “I Don’t Care.”

There is no explanation on each of the said strategies. What are the expectations for each? Kindly elaborate. Or is there a place on the website that explains in depth about negotiation strategies that you can refer me to?

Hello Abbey,

Nice to hear from you. I hope you are doing well and that your year is off to a great start. I will do my best to answer your question about negotiation strategies.

CHANCE. (This is any type of chance.) When teachers say, “If you wore red today, line up first,” this is an example of chance as it was by chance you wore red today. “Bubble gum bubble gum in a dish” or “Eenee, Meenee, Minee, Mo” are both examples of games of chance. Picking a number between 1-5 or drawing a name out of a hat are also ways to take a chance. Students like to play “Rock Paper Scissors,” but this is one game of chance I won’t allow as many students know how to cheat. I learned this early in my career, as I stood over groups of second graders using “Rock Paper Scissors” to make a decision and saw them cheating at this game. If all this seems strange, just ask your class how many know that people can cheat at this game. Also ask how many don’t know. They will tell you.

The absolute best strategy for chance is called “Odds and Evens.” It is quick, fair, and I haven’t witnessed any cheating. In this game, each partner puts one hand behind their back, each partner selects either odd or even, then on a count of three they reveal any number of fingers from behind their back from zero to 5. The two partners add the fingers together…if it’s an odd number, odd wins; if it’s an even number, even wins. This is a very quick decision making game of chance. In a group of 5-6 students who all want to play the same role, they move quickly around the circle as individuals play games of odds and evens with each other to reach the final outcome.

I tell the class,
“When you play a game of chance with someone there will be a winner and one or more losers. You have a 50/50 chance of losing. If you decide to play a game of chance…you must cooperate by going along with the final decision.

If they don’t want to “go along with the outcome” then they must choose another negotiation strategy like….

TAKING TURNS.  “Taking Turns” means everyone who wants to do a certain role or task gets to switch off and play the role or do the task…back and forth, back and forth.  I often see “Taking Turns” turn into “Sharing a Role,” where a one headed dragon becomes a multi-headed dragon, and the heads take turns speaking the lines.

Important note:  When taking turns, if the team can’t decide who goes in which order…they might play odds and evens – take a chance to decide.  I remind them that it won’t matter who wins or loses because everyone gets to do it!    This comes up very rarely, so I never mention it if they don’t! Better to address it when and if it happens. In all my years it has only happened 3-4 times ever.   

Now, there is an even faster way to decide:

I DON’T CARE.  I say to them, “If you don’t care and you’ll do anything, just say, ‘I don’t care.’  It is fast and gets you into practicing quickly.  However…

Three rules about this. 

First, don’t say you don’t care if you do.  If you do care, take a chance or decide to take turns.   

Second, don’t begin the negotiation by saying you don’t care.   Begin by asking each other or everyone in a group what they would like to do.  Everyone must say what they would like to do.  If several people want to take the same role or do the same task, only then can you or someone else say, ‘I don’t care, I’ll be __________.’”

Important note:  This is because some students will give in to the status of other students and just say, “I Don’t Care” when they are teamed up with someone that intimidates them or someone they admire.   Everyone voicing what they want to do or what role they want at the start of negotiations means all students have a voice in drama and in the classroom. 

Third, if everyone still cares after “the asking,” return to the first two strategies – take a chance or take turns.

The hardest part is supporting and encouraging the students to continue using the strategies as they work in groups throughout their time with you.  These strategies provide a safe and collaborative classroom where making decisions both in drama and in other areas harmonious.  I hope you find this helpful!  This process works at all grade levels and in life.

by Karen Erickson

Karen Erickson

Drama is a Powerful Tool to Address Bullying

drama is powerful tool for anti-bullying

Some of you requested more help with addressing bullying behaviors in your classrooms and wondered what choices you might make in selecting and devising drama work. 

Drama is a powerful tool in addressing bullying.  It must be used consistently and over time to be effective.  A onetime experience is not enough to provide the outcome we all desire.  This is another in a series of articles that explains steps you might take, safely, to move your classroom, school, community group, or program to a bully free zone through the experiences of dramatic play.

Here are some ideas for classroom practice.  Please, as always, share with me any of your ideas, activities, and questions!

Why Drama?

Research shows that young people need:

  •   – A way to practice anti-bullying behaviors.
  •   – Ways to step out of themselves, in a safe environment, and look at the problem from a distance.
  •   – To develop a common vocabulary and language among peers to discuss and create an anti-bullying culture.

In the first article on Anti-bullying, I mentioned that the simple act of taking on a role sets a young person outside of themselves and provides a safe distance to explore proper language and actions that might be used in a bullying situation. Let’s delve a bit deeper into this aspect of dramatic work. I want to take a closer look at those who stand by and watch: the observers – the bystanders. 


Bystanders can remain innocent by not getting involved in the bullying event.


Most bullying is public, done in front of others. Bystanders are “assistants” to bullies. If a bystander does not report the bully, move to protect the victim, or attempt to deter the bully in any way, he is, in fact, a contributor to the bullying. Bystanders only support the bullying victim in some way in 25% of reported cases.

I didn’t do anything.

This is a familiar refrain when addressing young people who witnessed someone else being bullied.  How do we flip this concept so that students might support the target of the bully’s aggressive behaviors in a safe and productive manner? We want to begin by having the students be able to understand bullying roles through distancing – nothing accusatory or laying blame. Drama is perfect for accomplishing this. We want to give students the knowledge of how to diffuse a bullying action when they witness it or know about it. We also want them to have the confidence of when and how to seek help.

Activity Idea #1 “Role on the Wall.”

Have someone lie down on a long sheet of white paper and trace an outline of that person using a washable marker. (I find that this is best to be done before class as the figure should be anonymous.) Hang this figure of a human, the ROLE, up on the wall.

  1. First label the Role on the Wall as: SCHOOL BULLY (you might have that label written on a strip of paper that you hang over the bully’s head).
  2. Have the students find a space facing the Bully. Ask them to think how close or far away they might stand to show their personal feelings about people who bully others. Tap students and have them tell you why they chose the space they did.
  3. Next, have each student make a shape with their body that indicates how they feel looking at this Bully: are they scared, determined, shy, angry, empowered, etc.? Again, tap some of them to tell you the emotion they are communicating.
  4. Have them think of something the Bully might have done…what is it she did? What would they say to the Bully? What would the words be? How loud would they say it? Give them time to think. As you move about the room and tap some of them on the shoulder, have them speak their words/lines in character to the Bully. You might also choose to have them all speak simultaneously or half the room at a time.

Partner the students and have them share their statues, their lines, and their vocal choices with each other. Have them decide how they can work together to create a moment where these two friends speak to the Bully. They can choose to become one statue, two identical statues, or keep their original shaped statues. Have them decide how they will speak and what they will say to this Bully. Let partners share their ideas. Have some or all partners share their moment. Have them think what words might make a situation worse and what words might help diffuse the situation or cause it to stop.

Activity idea #2 The Bystander

Change the label of the Role on the Wall from BULLY to BYSTANDER.

  1. Ask the partners to come up with a bullying event this Bystander observed. Explain that their job is now going to be as an assistant to the Bystander in aiding the target and getting the bullying to stop.
  2. Give each set of partners three sticky notes of different colors.
    1. The first color: Students write the bullying event that is happening and describe how close the Bystander stands to the event.
    2. The second color: Students write words the Bystander could say to the Bully or to the Target to help the situation.
    3. The third color: Students write what the Bystander should do next.
  3. The partners come forward and stick the notes onto the body of the ROLE.
  4. Have three students come forward, with each reading all of the notes of one of the colors.
  5. Conduct a discussion (not a lecture…and keep your ideas to a minimum) about what they heard and how a Bystander can be a Hero or can be part of the Bullying event if they do nothing. Hear what the students think about this. Again, discuss which lines escalate and which can calm a situation.
  6. Have one partner become the Bully and the other the Bystander. Have them create a scene where the Bystander (either during or after a bullying event) comes forward and speaks to the Bully. The Bully might also speak to the Bystander. As they plan ask the following:
    • How close is the Bystander standing to the Bully?
    • How is the Bully feeling? The Bystander?
    • What is the event that is taking place?
    • What are the words the Bystander speaks?
    • How do they want to end their scene?
    • Use ideas from our Bystander on the Wall!
  1. (An alternate idea to use: Give each pair of partners three random sticky notes on which to base their scene.)
  2. Have the partners switch roles and plan a second scene. If time permits, have the students share their scenes.
  3. Continue the class discussion about the role and responsibility of the Bystander.

The above activities give students distance and a framework in which to express their ideas. You, as the teacher, will learn about their thoughts on Bullies and Bystanders. This also provides material to move deeper into longer scenes regarding bullying incidents and how Bystanders can become Heroes.

by Karen Erickson

Karen Erickson

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Excitement is in the Air!

Membership Trial Plan

If it has been a while since you have visited, there are some exciting new changes I would love to share with you.

First Ron, Adam, and I have been joined by two new folks who are assisting in getting material together to share with you. We welcome Samantha Webster and Danielle Kerr to the team, and they are incredible supports to the work we are doing here.

So, we have been doing… a lot!  You may have met them as part of our inaugural Spice It Up! Conference.

I am so excited about our new poetry collection and accompanying lesson plan/activity ideas:

Poetry and Drama: Combining Art Forms

As an alternative to stories, we now offer an original collection of poems. This colorful and humorous collection includes topics that vary from animal adventures to anti-bullying to the frustrations of family.

These poems provide rich opportunities for students to practice skills like imitation, collaboration, and transformation while continuing to hone their body, mind, and voice. Throughout, there is an emphasis on narrative skills and reader’s theater techniques.

Our collection also provides opportunities for you as the instructor to integrate additional academic subjects, including Language Arts, Social Sciences and Character Education. We have poems tailored to each grade level from K-7, as well as customized journal pages to help your students reflect on and solidify what they learned in drama.

In addition, these poems were created so that you can teach Reader’s Theater, choral reading, and—my personal favorite—the 10 different ways to teach the narrative device: the narrator. Select your favorites for academic and drama study and have some fun with the learning with these often amusing poems.



I am also excited about our new collection of integrated lessons that will soon be going onto the website thanks to Samantha!

We have lessons addressing the American Revolution, The Pioneer Movement, The Human Body, Ecosystems, Langston Hughes and the Great Migration, the impact of setting on Little Red Riding Hood, as well as integrated lessons addressing writing skills. And these aren’t all…there are just too many to mention and there are many more to come!



Danielle is also busy pulling together video snippets of classroom techniques you find throughout our lessons. These short video segments will demonstrate drama in action in classrooms. Hopefully you will find these to be informative and fun. Also, we hope you have techniques to share and that you will send us your short videos, which will help all of us build safe and productive classrooms that include drama.

SPICE it Up! – Reinvigorate Your Curriculum with Drama Integration

Announcing’s Inaugural Online Conference

We are thrilled to announce that our first ever SPICE It Up! Conference is happening this summer from August 12-13, 2022. We wanted to create a space for our teachers to deepen their knowledge of Arts Integration and expand their teaching strategies with the help of experts in the field. Speakers include Pam Bowell, internationally renowned author of Planning Process Drama, award winning drama teacher Greg Eskridge, and OneStopDRAMAShop executive director and founder Karen L. Erickson.  SPICE It Up!  will also feature a keynote speech from Nicole Upton, Executive Director of Ingenuity.  Join us for presentations, Q&As, and interactive activities with professionals at the forefront of Drama Education and Arts Integration.  Visit to read more about the presenters and agenda for this workshop.

So, what does SPICE stand for anyway?

S – Share strategies with fellow educators
P – Play with different teaching methods
I – Imagine new pathways for learning
C – Create a personalized curriculum
E – Engage with new material

We want to provide an opportunity for educators to work towards all these goals and walk away with renewed confidence in their curriculum before the new school year!

You can now register for our SPICE It Up! Conference happening August 12-13, 2022.  We are offering a 30% early bird discount now through July 15th.  Register early for $35 and save.  If you would like to receive updates on the Conference, please sign up for our mailing list here

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    Karen in workshop

    Working with Books – A Sick Day

    A new feature, Working with Books, encourages you to look at your bookshelves and find the perfect new or classic book with which to build a classroom drama.  I will begin with my favorites, but I encourage you to send me titles and your notes if you have built a drama with your recommendation and we will share your ideas in hopes everyone can build a powerful classroom library suitable for drama.

    This month’s book, a 5 star recommendation for drama:

     A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead;  with many purchasing choices.

    “Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.”  Macmillan Publishers

    Age recommendation: Pre K – 2nd Grade (4-7 year olds)

    Themes:  Friendship, Animals, Being Sick, Interacting with Friends, Zoos, Careers/Jobs

    Drama Skills you might address:  Transformation, Working with Space, Dialogue, Playing Animals Upright, Imitating Actions

    Curricular Connections:  Science, Language Arts, Social/Emotional Learning


    I highly recommend this book as it provides many connections and options for drama and presents ideas for curricular connections and drama skills you might want to teach or reinforce.  

    This book works beautifully with teacher in role as Amos McGee, the animals’ friend.  You might want a pair of old glasses or a hat of some type and introduce costume piece to the students letting them know when you put it on you are Amos from the story and when you take it off, you are the teacher again.

    Begin with 1-2 warmups:  With students in their own personal space, have them transform into the different animals (elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl) from the book.  Give them time to walk, sleep, eat, run (or fly), and drink water as their animal.  Just give them time to experience the animal.  Having photos of the real animals is a great idea here, integrate with science by discussing the animal’s habitats, food preferences, and how then sleep, hunt, or live.

    Next, have them imitate the activities found in the story:  playing chess, racing, sitting shyly, blowing nose in a handkerchief, listening to stories.  Have them imitate the activities first as themselves –a human, then as the corresponding animal.

    Read the book and discuss the message, setting, and ideas of the author.  (Sometimes I do this first and have them list the animals and the activities….both ways work well.)

    Next, play the story with everyone (still in personal space) being each of the animals as you play in role as Amos and act as the narrator/storyteller.  (Note:  keep your signaling device handy so you can continue to manage the group as you play out the book.)

    Idea:  You might bring in a blanket so the animals will know the space for the bed and not be tempted to get too close.  I also like to use a teddy bear and have it near or on my “bed.” 

    You can continue to have the young actors all be each animal, imitating the actions from their personal space (this can be played with masks on) and speaking from their spot in the room.  It is okay to have them all speak at once, many won’t speak.  You can feed them the lines to speak as you retell the story to them, pausing to give them time to respond.  You can extend the dialogue adding more conversation with the animals if your class is ready to move in that direction.

    The book can be broken into two lessons as well:  the front part of the story is an introduction to animal characters and actions and can be a standalone lesson; the second lesson brings the animals to the bedside of Amos and allows for creative variations in the playing, e.g. all students playing each animal or groups of students playing one animal one at a time. 

    Great extensions are a possibility as well like: What zoo animals would they add to the story and what might Amos be doing with each of those animals?  Then have the students transform into those animals imitating those actions.  Play the story again using their ideas.    This is a great way to encourage creative thinking.  With this simple act, students begin to understand story adaptation and that they can extend or alter stories they play in drama, thus becoming playwrights.


    by Karen Erickson

    Karen Erickson