The best way to study drama in my combined first and second grade was to visit a professional theatre, before simulating the whole process in our class. Before reading about my entry for rehearsals, read first about the creation of 3 plays and then about the scenery and costumes:
The school stage was at one end of our cafeteria, therefore called the auditeria. Children brought their reading, math, and writing with them to each rehearsal. While one of the three plays was in rehearsal, the children in the other two plays did their school work. I still met for about ½ hour each morning and some time in the afternoons going over writing and math assignments. The assistant teacher and parent volunteers were in the auditeria to assist children, when needed.
For the very beginning, it was explained how loud their own voices sounded but when on the stage, how soft it was to the audience, and about the necessity to project voices without yelling. So to begin with, each child went up on the stage and said a few lines as loud as they could without yelling. I would ask for repeats until I thought the child was speaking as loud as they could, comfortably. Occasionally, a child wasn’t quite loud enough but when it was obvious it was the best to be accomplished, each one was told it was terrific and to try and keep that volume.
Time was spent explaining the need to be confident and poised while always staying in character. They were to fully concentrate upon others on the stage and looking at the audience would be totally out of character. It was interesting to see the results of trying to explain and demonstrate how to be expressive in portraying feelings and emotions consistent with their character – and then to see what they did! Some learned a great deal and were able to initiate their own version of the character they were portraying, some had louder or softer voices, and some just said their lines. I worked with each until I felt it was their best effort no matter what the actual result was. This was a study of drama, never a professional production. Each child should feel proud and pleased with their part. And each did – no matter how accomplished they were or not.
So, with the plays created, scenery and costumes completed, and after final rehearsals, the plays were presented to some grades at school one morning and presented again that evening for parents and friends. I sat close to the stage to help with any cues needed. I was never aware of a child feeling anything but joy and excitement for a job well done. The final productions varied quite a bit. Sometimes they were better than ever varying to sometimes, worse than during rehearsals. But no child or play group was ever told that, and I always heard nothing but how wonderful each child felt with their part. Of course I made every effort to sincerely compliment each child.
Read more about programs, including the whole drama program, in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com
Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved