Depending on the mandates of your school/district/state curriculum, you may be someone who is a specialist music teacher who teaches music and nothing else. Or you might be a "Performing Arts" teacher who is required to teach elements of dance, drama and/or media as well as music.
Regardless of your position description, drama games can be a great compliment to any music lesson as they are both developing confident performers and the subjects overlap in a number of ways.
Whether these are simple activities to leave for a substitute teacher, games to end the lesson with if you have finished up a few minutes early or whether they form a core part of your curriculum, drama activities are always a hit with the kids!
Here are a number of drama activities I've had great success with over the years:
Bang is a student favourite and is a fast-thinking reactionary game. Students all stand in a circle with the teacher in the middle, who will call out the name of various students in the circle.
If a student hears their name called, they must bob down in their spot as quickly as possible, while the students on either side of them point to each other and call "bang!" Whoever is the quickest is safe.
There are three ways to get out in this game (out = sit down) and play continues until there are only two students left. The three ways to get out are:
- being the slower of the two people to say "bang!"
- being too slow to bob down when your name is called
- calling "bang!" at the wrong time ie. if you are not next to the person bobbing down
Once only two people remain, a back-to-back "high noon" standoff occurs. The students stand back to back in the centre of the circle and a magic number or word is chosen. This will be their key to turn around and say "bang!" . If they hear a different number or word, they must take one pace forwards, away from each other.
Zip, Zap, Boing!
Students pass an invisible ball of energy around the circle by clapping and saying either "zip", "zap" or "boing".
Zip = a pass in the established direction (I usually start passing to the left, clockwise around the circle)
Zap = reverses the direction. I have a rule that you cannot "zap" a zap ie. you cannot pass it back and forth between two people, or the other 25 get bored!
Boing! = a pass across the circle. The passer must make clear eye contact with the person they intend to pass to and must also extend their clap outwards and point towards that person.
Students can get out if they respond too slowly or at the wrong time. To complicate things, try having two starting points and two balls of energy travelling around the circle at once!
Having grown up with the joys of Monty Python, I love having the opportunity to share things like this with my kids. I play them this clip (in particular the silly walks demonstrations at 3:20" ) and then have them come up with a silly walk of their own before we go on a parade, or perhaps return to their classroom that way! (this has certainly lead to some interesting follow-up chats with their class teachers!)
2 hands, 1 head
In this game, your students have to get a little more closely acquainted! To create a 2-handed, 1-headed monster, they must pair up. One student stands in front with their hands behind their back. The other student stands behind them (bobbing out of sight) and must extend their arms through the gap under the front student's underarms to become their hands.
You can start with a meet 'n' greet, with student-monsters milling around shaking hands and conversing. Then you can get into some performances!
Give students a prompt and they must act out a 30-second monologue with the front student speaking and the back student doing the actions and gestures.
Made famous by the great improvisational comedy show "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" this game gives the contestants a number of obscure props (usually foam offcuts etc.) and they must act out as many possible uses for these props as possible.
Below is a great video of some examples which have been taken from the show and edited to make sure they are appropriate for a school audience.
These drama games are available as a FREE download on my Teachers Pay Teachers store