Here's the list of Drama teaching techniques generated during my two "There are Methods to this Madness" workshops held at CMA In Chicago in March, 2004.
Here they are -- straight from the newsprint sheets.

Talk show
Shadow puppet
Character study
Time machine
Movie making
Scriptless drama
Radio broadcast
Mop and broom puppets
Character impersonation storytelling
Costumes and props
Singing commercials
News show
Use props
Statues/frozen picture
Sign language
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Creative Dramatics:
The teacher/narrator reads a "creative dramatics script" or just guides the children through the story using suggestions.

This technique is based on my work as a childrens' librarian, where books are re-enacted using creative dramatics.

The scripts I include in my lesson plans are to help the teacher (who may not be comfortable with drama) lead the children as they recreate the story in their own words. The children do not have scripted lines to read, so they can focus on remembering the story they have internalized rather than on reading words off of a page. So I guess you could call what I write a narrator's script (with notes on things to say to the children to help them feel out the parts of the story and portray them in an informal way).

I usually take the scripts straight from the Bible, with clarifications (mostly to add historical background or reminders of related stories or action that may have preceded the story being studied) and deletions (I leave the dialog out so the children can create and amplify and imagine what else may have been said).

I'm not sure, but Creative Dramatics may be what Phyllis refers to as unscripted drama in the previous post.

I sometimes use this techniqe with puppets instead of human actors (the children are sometimes more free and creative when they are not personally "on stage."
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Here's an idea that is working great for us, based on Ken's suggestion in the May 2004 Newsletter. We're doing Saul's conversion on the road to Damascus, and we're using a "This Is Your Life" format in our drama workshop. Several important people from Saul's past appear, and we get to know Saul from their stories. We have Rabbi Gamaliel, Stephen (the first Christian martyr), Ananias, Judas of Damascus (whose house Saul went to on Straight Street, according to Acts 9:11), a witness to his conversion the road, and a Pharisee. It's been fun, and a different approach for us. Thanks for the tip, Ken!
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We do rotation (modified) in our preschool area. One thing we have used successfully is adapting the story into one of their popular tv shows like Dora the Explorer. Just did David's anonting today and it worked great. This could easily be adapted to any story. The kids really get into it.
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<Deborah Diehl>
posted February 26, 2001

For a full body shadow play, stretch a white sheet or white cloth between posts, walls, something that will have the sheet reasonably taut and secure.

Shine a bright light on the sheet. (The light goes behind the white sheet and behind the actors so that their shadows are cast on the sheet.) The children act the play behind the sheet giving the audience on the other side the shadow image.

It is usually done with narration.

It may also be done with "stills." In other words, the children get in position and hold that position while the narration occurs, like a photograph. Then for the next scene, they get into a new position and hold that position.

Shadow plays may also be done with puppets. For puppets the white sheet is just large enough to cover the front on the puppet area and once again is taut and secure and the light definitely shines from the back. Keep in mind when you are using puppets for the shadows, you may want to use a puppet that gives definiton to the shadow.

posted August 07, 2002

web-site that might be of help: http://www.sagecraft.com/puppetry/definitions/shadow.html

"Humble Servant of the WoRM"
posted August 07, 2002

There is a book by Kurt Hunter called :Puppets, Kids and Christian Education" that is wonderful and will give you lots of good instructions for what you are looking for.
The book is available at www.augsburgfortress.com
ISBN: 0806664096; 2001

Jaymie Derden
Exchange Volunteer
"Blessed WoRM-o-naut"
posted August 14, 2002

We did a shadow play last winter for John the Baptist our rotation. You can see a picture of the way we attached the sheet (we hung it from the curtain rod on our stage --it wasn't very taut but it worked) and also the Angel Gabriel in shadow by going to our website: www.state-street.org -- click on G.R.E.A.T. Adventure and navigate to scrapbook photos -- John the Baptist, Lambs and Locusts rotation. Kids really like this one -- it was really different and was good for younger kids who can't handle much dialogue and for kids who are shy about speaking parts.

Exchange Volunteer
"Humble Servant of the WoRM"
posted August 22, 2002

We did a shadow play last year for our Moses Rotation , it was on the plagues. I have a puppet theater and I just taped white paper over the entrance and clipped a light so that it shown on the paper. The actors stand behind the light because they used cut outs for the shadows. We made cutout from stiff black postor board and attached sticks that could swivel to the backs. For the plagues my teacher took clear plastic and made a frame from core board and attached the plastic with whatever plague drawn on it with markers.

posted March 31, 2003

The Kurt Hunter book mention above is what I used--it is great. I have done 2 shadow plays in my rotation--I used a white plastic shower curtain , stretched on a frame and attached with big black office binder clips . I then position our church's overhead projector behind it for the light . We use black posterboard for the shapes and tape on covered floral wire sticks for the handles. For my scripts (which I narrate), use children's bible story books . I read the book to them, then they reinact it.

I scketch the basic shapes onto the black posterboad --don't get too elaborate--and then the kids cut them out during class.
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Here's a list of Drama teaching techniques generated at a Methods workshop at CMA 2005, Chicago --

Present day application
Videotape drama
Watch performance
Reader's Theater
Costumes with photography
Still life
Read script and others act out
Shadow play
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Chicago & Detroit Workshops


Action story
Adults as characters
Attend performance
Choral reading
First person monologue
Foreign film – two actors, two readers off stage
Mello drama
Plays with scripts
Poetry reading
Reader’s Theater
Role play
Round robin
Shadow Play
Video tape
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More suggestions from recent CEF Methods workshop --

Audience Participation
Brown Bag Drama
Diorama with children
Dramatize announcements
Living nativity
Open-ended situations
Saturday Night Live
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Bringing the Rotation Story to the Congregation through Interactive Drama

We try a few times each year to bring the story we have been studying in Sunday school to the congregation. In our church we have children's story time, usually an object talk done by the minister. Occasionally, I will let him know I'd like to take over children's time the last Sunday of a our rotation.

Generally, I involve some or all of the children, some or all of the congregation through storytelling (with participation) or drama. Most often it involves humor and requirements are:
  • the material must be simple
  • either no props or very simple props
  • scripts (a copy for each participant often copied on front/back cardstock and part highlighted for ease of reading)
  • length of 5-10 minutes.
Sometimes we will do the drama we have done in our Drama workshop.

Sometimes I will pull children and congregation members from their seats and we do the skit with no warning, practice, or prep (always fun and always a hit).

I will often take a part (crowd, women, God, Holy Spirit, Soldiers, nature, sound effects, etc.) and make the congregation take that part - this now gets everyone involved.

I will type up overheads of their lines and have my assistant run the overhead. So they will know when it's their turn to speak I always do an introduction by saying "... and the Crowd said..." and also doing an exaggerated rolling motion towards them with my hand - they may sing their lines, do them in rolling rhyme, or with an accent. I practice a couple of times with them so they understand what I want - and sometimes with a bit of encouraging fun help them get their inner child to feel free to come out and play.

For material anything by author Stephen James is excellent. I've also often found good skits or interactive stories by searching on the internet. Sometimes just adjusting the material to suit my needs or reading from a storybook.

The Sunday school does two full church services a year. One before Christmas and one the 1st of June. This June we will be bringing the Fall of Jericho to the congregation. We have a small rural church with a balcony. We will be blocking off the back 3 rows of pews. The people of Jericho will be in the balcony with Rahab and 2 spy puppets, a red rope, and several Styrofoam bricks. The Israelites, priests with horns, and Joshua will be marching around the congregation below. I will be dressed as a high priest (who will be retelling the story and giving directions as I go to the actors.) The spies will be lowered from the balcony (2 puppets attached to a red rope) and when the walls fall they will really fall as the bricks are dropped from above.

I can guarantee you that half the congregation will have found themselves sitting down with their bibles the following week to read the book of Joshua and they will chuckle away as they remember falling bricks and a spy who had his eyes covered as he slithered down the rope to safety!
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