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Welcome to the Drama Workshop resource forum at Rotation.org.  Don't forget our related "drama" resource forums: Puppets and the Lego & Storytable Workshop resources which are also forms of drama. This forum also ideas and resources for creating video and creative photography, "flat lay" techniques, and the like. For drama ideas and lessons for specific Bible stories visit the Lesson Forums.

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What is your thinking on using pre-written scripts in the Drama Station? Earlier this year, we had a lesson where the children were to write the script about the Bible story. The teacher said that the process took so long that the children never got to act out the story (we have 45 minutes for Sunday School). So then we tried providing a script for the children to use. Now the teacher (a different one because it is a different month) has concerns about younger students being able to read a script and that this method took too long also. Plus I wonder where the best learning takes place--when they read a (hopefully) well-though out script or where they are engaged in putting the story into words and actions. I've seen many examples of both approaches in the lessons here and in other curriculum. So what is best, or is varying both approaches the best?
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When we do drama, we usually do it as "improv" more or less, in front of a videocamera. We do the Bible Study, discuss what can be said, then work through the story on camera. The PAUSE button on the camera allows you to break the drama into mini-scenes which are a lot easier to remember. And you can stop to discuss what they SHOULD be saying, then start recording again.

Watching themselves on tv is one of the great joys of our drama workshop.

Another technique is NOT to dramatize the story, but instead create a news broadcast, or television advertisements for the story.

The newsbroadcast format allows the "onscreen talent" to have a script and direct the flow. Reports can have notes. We also videotape these.

Often times we'll have two groups each take a whack at recreating the story. The kids catch on to what the other group "left out" and try to remember it for their production. "What was left out" also becomes fodder for discussion in our debriefing.

<>< Cecille B. DeNeil
Cathy,
We do a variety of things. Some of our groups "improv" well. Others hide behind the curtains when it's suggested. Some suggestions:

When doing improv, it works better for us in later weeks of the rotation when most of the children already have some understanding of the story. We have also found that starting out with "acting class" where children practice gestures, falling safely, expressions, etc. helps loosen everyone up so that they are more willing to put themselves out there and perhaps look foolish. (Yes, we only have 45 minutes, too.)

If using a script, make sure it is in simple language and short. A teacher or shepherd can play the role with the most lines, or most difficult lines, in groups with younger children. Whenever possible have a part with only one or two simple lines so that children who are less skilled with reading can be part of the play. By keeping the script short, you can run through it multiple times, with learning increasing each time.

For the youngest age group (K-1) we will tape a script, or have an adult read the script while the children focus on the actions, and perhaps say an occasional prompted line. We also sometimes simply read the Bible story with the children going through the actions.

The most important thing that we have done is when we started rotation, we looked at a survey that was done (somewhere on this site) which said that drama was the most difficult rotation for many churches to teach. So we asked our very best, most talented teacher, to be our regular drama rotation teacher. She is an elementary teacher, and is very good at thinking on her feet if things don't seem to be going as anticipated.

Finally, we always strive to mix it up. A script one time, improv the next. Actual retelling of the Bible story, followed by modern situation reflecting the Biblical truth. [We tried the news format, but unfortunately our kids had no knowledge of the evening news genre!! Eek No joke!!] This way, if there's one group that struggles with a certain format, they don't have it every time!

Look in Drama Workshop for more ideas of ways to do drama.

Our kids love drama, but it is a challenge!

Peace,
Lisa

I'm pasting this from another discussion about how NOT to have kids standing around with scripts in their hands:

 

PROJECT the script on the wall or on a TV. 

 

 

Ways to project a script:

 

Option 1: Enlarge your script on your church copier and tape it to a tripod or wall, OR tape together in a large scrolling page.  

 

Option 2: Copy the script to a transparency and project using an overhead projector. 

 

Option 3: Copy the text to a Word document on a laptop computer, and then PLUG your laptop computer into your TV's "video in" port using a standard VGA cable (laptops have a "video out" plug, and MOST LCD televisions have a "video in" port). It's very easy to set up if you know how.  Instant TelePrompter!  

 

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We do a mix of scripted and non-scripted dramas also. Scripts are always for the older kids - they typically enjoy reading the various parts. With younger kids, sometimes the teacher is the narrator and pauses to allow the characters to "react" to what has just been read. Typically though for the younger kids, we break the story down into several scenes (3-4 scenes is the best number for our timeframe) with suggested actions/lines and have the kids respond. This is much more "loose" and allows for lots of discussion among the kids and allows multiple responses to the situation. Our kids' most favorite drama activity is a tableau -- they create the scene and then we take a photograph of it. Lots of opportunity for reflection with that technique!

 

HA! This month we used a scripted drama that the teacher read for ALL grades... It was a musical drama of the Easter story. Kids used rhythm instruments to depict the emotions and actions of the story (fear, anger, confusion, sadness, betrayal, footsteps, grief, joy). It was chaotic and challenging but pretty neat. Much more challenging for the younger grades. Actually more of a music workshop....

 

Jaymie

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