Revolutionary War: The Printing Press

Revolutionary War: The Printing Press

Connecting historical events to movement and narrative can be a great way to help students in grades 5-7 memorize dates and facts.  In this lesson, students read a story about a parent and child who are on different sides of the American Revolution. While using collaboration, imitation, and character transformation to act out the story, students can also learn about the factors that shaped the Revolutionary War and the different perspectives of Loyalists and Patriots. 

NOTE: Revolutionary War: The Printing Press is part of our unique library of integrated lessons. 
These specialized lessons simultaneously teach concepts and skills related to drama and the other subject(s) targeted in the lesson. In addition, these lessons are designed to meet National Standards for Drama and for the integrated subject(s), so you can reach learning goals across multiple disciplines.

Revolutionary War: The Printing Press Rubric

Classroom Strategies for Drama: Part 3

Five Approaches to Improvisation

Hello friends of OneStopDRAMAShop, and welcome back! In my last blog article, I introduced five more classroom strategies for drama, each linked to an applied example from our lesson library. This installment continues with six more strategies, each including a practical example. As always, please reach out if you have any questions, and happy teaching!

 

1. Jigsaw

Students are placed in “home teams,” and given a problem to solve, a text to read, or a work product to create.  Each member of the team is given a research component, portion of text, or activity related to the “production.”  The teams subdivide and new sub-teams form that have similar tasks. Upon completion of their tasks, the home teams reform with each member of the sub-team bringing the work of their sub-team back to their home team.   I often use this when we are completing complex full class dramas with scenes being devised by individual teams.  One lesson I often use this for is Baking a Cake.  Shake up your teaching and give it a try!

(Note: This strategy is not included in the currently published version of this lesson. However, it is a very effective way to work on group dramas, and I highly recommend implementing it.)  

2. Higher order inquiry questions

These are often called essential questions or exploratory questions. They have no right or wrong answer and provide a base for long term exploration. This is a great strategy for encouraging group discussions and challenging students to think deeply about the concepts they are learning.

An essential question or exploratory question is included in every single published lesson in the Erickson curriculum.

3. KWL

At the beginning of a lesson, ask students what they “know” about a subject, next ask them “what” they want to learn about that same subject, and at the end of the unit ask them what they have “learned” about the subject.  For older students you might add an “H” for “How will you learn it?”  This makes it a KWHL.  Some instructors add an “F” for “feel.”  How do you feel about this subject, topic, etc.?  This is a great way to hook students into a topic.  When doing the lesson Randolph, I ask the students what they know about bears.  When doing Life in the Colonies or Tax Freeze, I ask what they know about the Revolutionary War.  If I know what they know, it allows me to go deeper into a topic.  Asking them what they know or want to know also helps me gauge their interest on a particular topic and make plans on how to add the research component. Here are some examples of KWHL Questions on the topic of castles:

What do you know about castles? 

What would you like to know?

 How will we find out what you want to know? 

Then, at the end of the unit:

What did you learn about castle life?

4. Mantle of the expert

This strategy comes from the drama world and was coined by Dorothy Heathcote.  Students are put into the character role of an adult expert as they discuss, research, and make decisions about an assignment or real-world problem. You might check out my Art Prints Lesson for an example of this strategy at work.

5. Metaphorical activity

Students are given a metaphorical activity to perform that helps them understand the ideas, themes, or topics being studied.  For instance, when studying the food chain, students might perform a dramatic exercise where a restaurant runs out of food while they are trying to serve dinner to a famous person. The reason the restaurant cannot restock is because the farmer ran out of gasoline for his tractor. Thus, he cannot produce crops and supply them to the grocer who supplies the restaurant.  Students must solve the farmers’ problem to get food to the grocer, to get food to the restaurant so the famous person could be served their meal.  This exercise helps students understand the food chain by demonstrating the difficulties that might arise in natural food chains. Another example of metaphorical activity is in my Revolutionary War: Tax Freeze Lesson, which uses a drama freeze activity to teach students about unfairness.

6. Mystery

Primary documents from a historical period or invented documents with clues imbedded are given to the students, who use them to answer key inquiry questions.

Here are some examples of clues you might give to the students:

  • stories told out of order
  • pictures with portions missing
  • poems with missing lines or stanzas

Students must use these clues to complete the work and justify their decisions.  A simple example in my work is Humpty Dumpty, where so many details are left out of the poem.  As students add the missing material, they create an entirely new work based on the poem.  I have written 50+ poems and added them to the website, most with missing events that must be added and created to complete a drama.

Revolutionary War Through Drama: Life in the Colonies Lesson

Revolutionary War Through Drama: Life in the Colonies Lesson

Immerse your students in colonial life by having them create dramas about day to day living in the pre-Revolutionary War colonies. This lesson is an excellent way to integrate Social Studies learning with drama by discussing the impacts of British control on daily life in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. Designed for grades 4-8, this lesson also helps students hone their concentration, collaboration, and imitation skills by challenging them to create a silent mini drama.

NOTE: Revolutionary War Through Drama: Life in the Colonies  is part of our unique library of integrated lessons. These specialized lessons simultaneously teach concepts and skills related to drama and the other subject(s) targeted in the lesson. In addition, these lessons are designed to meet National Standards for Drama and for the integrated subject(s), so you can reach learning goals across multiple disciplines.


Revolutionary War: Tax Freeze Lesson

Revolutionary War: Tax Freeze Lesson

Help students understand the unfairness of taxation without representation by placing them inside an activity that simulates it! Ideal for grades 4-8, this lesson asks students to consider how unfair treatment makes them feel, then challenges them to identify unfairness in a historical context. This lesson helps students continue to build their concentration, imagination and listening skills, while integrating Social Studies learning.

NOTE: Revolutionary War: Tax Freeze is part of our unique library of integrated lessons. 
These specialized lessons simultaneously teach concepts and skills related to drama and the other subject(s) targeted in the lesson. In addition, these lessons are designed to meet National Standards for Drama and for the integrated subject(s), so you can reach learning goals across multiple disciplines.

 

Civil War Drama Lesson

Civil War Drama Lesson

Drama is a great way to engage students with historical events by encouraging them to think deeply about point of view. In this lesson, designed for grades 4-8, students will practice concentration, collaboration, and transformation while using Body Objects to communicate different settings. This lesson encourages students to think about point of view and sectionalism, deepening their understanding of the events and forces that led to the Civil War.

NOTE: Civil War Drama is part of our unique library of integrated lessons. These specialized lessons simultaneously teach concepts and skills related to drama and the other subject(s) targeted in the lesson. In addition, these lessons are designed to meet National Standards for Drama and for the integrated subject(s), so you can reach learning goals across multiple disciplines.

Little Wolf’s Ginger Root Lesson

Little Wolf’s Ginger Root Lesson: Exploring the Past through Drama

Objective: students will learn about exploring the past through drama.

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This lesson for fourth grade focuses on students’ use of improvisation with dialogue in a drama. Students will model situations from historical events both with and without background information and observe the impact on the performance (part of the fourth grade objectives). This lesson uses the original story Little Wolf’s Ginger Root by Karen Erickson - download it to complete the materials. This lesson is part of our recommended sequence in the Fourth Grade Curriculum.

Fourth Grade Drama Journal: Little Wolf's Ginger Root

To maximize student achievement, download this drama journal for students to use as reflection or formative assessment. For each lesson in the curriculum, we have created a corresponding journal page for your students. A drama journal allows participants to reflect on their learning and artistic growth (metacognition). It also allows you, the teacher, to see how students are using the drama vocabulary, thinking about big ideas, and perceiving their own strengths and weaknesses. If you use the journal for assessment and would like more assessment tools, visit our Fourth Grade Curriculum

Early American Life Lesson

Early American Life Lesson

Early American Life Lesson: Creating Action

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Objective: students use the body to imitate character actions and create objects in a setting; they also identify problems and solutions in a story.

Students reenact the lives of early American settlers, a great connection to Social Studies (early American life). This lesson also uses the children's book The Ox Cart Man by Donald Hall and Barbara Cooney, letting the children get a glimpse into life long ago as they “live” it. One section of the lesson recommends using props (or pictures) of household and farm implements from the time period, this section can be deleted but if you have the objects, or pictures of the objects, it is a delight for the students. This lesson is part of our recommended sequence in the First Grade Curriculum and can also be used for Kindergarten.

First Grade Drama Journal: Early American Life

To maximize student achievement, download this drama journal for students to use as reflection or formative assessment. For each lesson in the curriculum, we have created a corresponding journal page for your students. A drama journal allows participants to reflect on their learning and artistic growth (metacognition). It also allows you, the teacher, to see how students are using the drama vocabulary, thinking about big ideas, and perceiving their own strengths and weaknesses. If you use the journal for assessment and would like more assessment tools, visit our First Grade Drama Curriculum