Key Stage 3 Resources.

On this page are a range of lesson plans that I have used successfully with a variety of groups at several schools. If you find these useful you may like to consider purchasing the schemes of work of other ideas,which contain much more detail and all the materials that you need.

The following scheme of work can be used with either Primary or Year 7 as an introduction to Drama. It is possible to use with older groups but may need slight adaptation. The aim is to teach the basic principles of Drama and to encourage them to work in groups on a piece that they can present to the rest of the group.

Session 1

Draw an analogy between Drama and football. There are certain skills that need to be practiced before we can approach a full game. The equivalent of passing, dribbling and shooting are taking on a role, thinking quickly and developing the ideas of others.

In taking on a role we adopt the attitudes and opinions of others. It is different to acting as we are not using costume sets and make-up to convince the audience we are someone else. Instead we put ourselves in someone elses shoes and respond as they would. An 11 year old cannot act as a 70 year old because the audience are going to have difficulty accepting what they see. However an 11 year old can take on the role of a 70 year old and if they respond appropriately then it will work. Role play is an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to be anyone. The key is to try and be convincing by behaving appropriately. Ask yourselves the question "Is this an appropriate way for......... to behave in this situation" It is sometimes difficult to know how to respond if the role you have is way outside your own experience but you can draw on a surprising store of knowledge when you think about it otherwise you have to use your imagination. Watch the following roleplay and see if you can identify the appropriate behaviour.

Ask for a volunteer to help you and tell them to listen carefully to what you say and respond as they think they should. Move away from your volunteer and then walk up to a door miming carrying a basket of milk bottles and whistling. As you get to the door, knock and wait for your partner to open it. As soon as they do say," Good morning love/mate, sorry but it's that time of the week again. ( mime opening a small book) let's see, it's £8.72 please." When your partner responds, give them the change and then say," Do you want any eggs or orange juice next week? It's a new line we've started?" Conclude the improvisation and then sit down.

Now how did we know that I was a milkman? Yes, by the whistling and the way I set the pints down before knocking on the door. How did we know that she/he was an adult who was the owner of the house? Yes, by the way that she/he paid for the milk and by the way that I spoke to them. If the door had been opened by a child, I would have said ," Is your mum or dad in love?" So we can see from this example that we need to think about what we say in an improvisation. We don't need funny voices or silly walks, we need appropriate behaviour.

Split the groups into pairs and ask them to think of a meeting between two people. Give them a moment to run it through then call them back and ask for volunteers to share their work.

Thinking on your feet is another vital skill and this game is going to illustrate this. In pairs, one of you is a salesperson either in a show room or door to door. The other is a customer. The sales person approaches the customer and says, " Excuse me, are you interested in this.........." fill in your own item. The customer must begin everything they say with, "Yes but...." So the customer raises an objection that the sales person overcomes. The customer cannot use the same excuse twice but must keep thinking up reasons why they can't buy it now. The sales person keeps overcoming these objections but must not ask a question that can't be answered Yes but... i.e How many children do you have?

Let them move off and find a space. Let the salesperson decide what they are going to try and sell without discussing it with their partner then start them all at the same time and let it run for three minutes before swapping roles. Change partners and run variations with: Excuse me could you lend me £50? ; Help me please my friend is drowning and I can't swim! ; Hand's up this is a raid, put the money in this bag now!

Skilled players who know that their partner has to say Yes but can manoever the scene for example," So you like it and you want this colour which we have in stock so sign here." This can be practiced on long car journeys in the same way that you would practice passing or heading in football. The game also teaches you to accept what your partner is saying and build upon it, which is our third skill. If you start an improvisation and say, " I've come about the car that was for sale," and your partner says, " I haven't got a car, " then they have blocked you and the improvisation will break down. You need to accept each others ideas and build and develop them. To finish we will look at another game. Working in pairs, a butler or maid is working for the owner of a house who has gone out shopping. The servant has always hated the gardener and today has killed him and has just stashed the body in the freezer when the owner returns. Evidence of the murder is all round the house and as each piece of evidence is discovered, the servant has to explain it away. For example ; " Why are the gardener's boots in the middle of the hall?" or, " Why are there bloody hand prints on my curtains?" At some point the owner will want to go and look in the freezer and the servant will have to persuade them otherwise.

Session 2

When working in Drama we need to consider what the audience see and hear as this is the way that actors communicate meaning. Movement on stage is a very powerful way of showing what is going on and can be especially useful if we are working with very few props and no set, as we often do in the drama studio. Now when we talk of mime many people have some funny ideas of what it involves and all too often they concentrate on miming rather than the task that they are supposed to be involved in. Let me demonstrate. If you mime trying to put on a pair of trousers, you may see someone do this.

Stand and walk to the centre of the circle, step the right leg forward then the left, pull up the trousers and then waggle your hands for a moment in a vague approximation of fastening a belt.

Now I have never put on a pair of trousers like that! For a start I will usually be sitting down and feed my legs in one at a time. The trick is not to concentrate on the movements you are making but to visualise what you are doing. Don't pretend to put on a pair of trousers, but use your imagination to see them in your hands and then put them on. Another example is to pick up a mug of tea. Most people reach out and pick it up like this.

Hold out your hand and grasp the mug and then show the students that their is no gap for the handle of the mug between your thumb and your first finger.

See, there is no space for the handle! If I really tried to pick up a mug like that it would fall on the floor. Don't concentrate on your hand, visualise the mug and let your hand do what it normally does when you reach out to pick up a mug. This will be far more realistic as you are not pretending, you are actually doing the action. Think of picking up a phone. Most people make the shape of the phone with their thumb and little finger. This is silly, you can't pick up a phone like that! Visualise the phone on a table before you. When you pick it up you will use it according to what kind of handset it is, from the traditional one that you hold in the middle, to the more square handset that you pull up the aerial to use.

Demonstrate the different types as you speak.

If you are working really well, you don't need to exaggerate, the audience will see the objects you are handling. Let's try an exercise to help you concentrate.

Sit them on their own in a space on the floor and ask them to close their eyes. Instruct them to visualise a can of soft drink on the ground in front of them. When they are focussed, tell them to open their eyes but to continue to visualise the can on the floor in front of them. In their own time, they are to reach out and pick up the can, open it and take a swig, set the can down and continue to look at it. Once they have done this, tell them to continue by taking several swigs from the can and then stand and walk over to a bin which is close by and crush the can before dropping it in the bin. Once they have done this, compliment them on their technique and concentration, then explain the second exercise. They are to visualise themselves standing in front of a worksurface in a kitchen. To their right is a sink, to their left a fridge . Beneath the work-top is a drawer that has cutlery in it. On the work-top is a kettle that has just boiled. Behind that is a tin with teabags in it and a mug. In their own time, they are to make a cup of tea, dropping the tea bag into the sink and then taking a sip from the finished cuppa. Stress that they are not to pretend or perform but simply to concentrate on visualising the objects before them. Again reward good practice.

A final exercise to round off this session is to sit them in a circle and tell them that you have in your hands a ball of space that can be stretched and shaped in such a way that it can become anything. Demonstrate by shaping the ball of space to become a pencil which you draw with and then rub something out with the rubber that is on the end of it. Ask them to guess what it is then pass the pencil to your left. The person next to you squidges it back into a ball and then proceeds to shape another object which they use until the class guesses what it is, then it is passed on.

Further sessions will be added to this page over the coming months. In the meantime, if you are looking for a scheme of work for Year 8 or Year 9, then take a look at the Sales page.

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