Friday, February 25, 2011

Role play, drama

Drama is one of the best tools to use with elementary students.
It is a fine way to deal with issues, such as bullying.

I had a couple of students who were victims of bullying. I broke down a drama class into small groups. I assigned groups, since I wanted followers and leaders, both, in each groups.

First, they were each assigned a role play. I used their journal topics for the suggestions. Real incidents when kids had been teased or picked on. Writing them on recipe cards, I handed the cards to the groups.
It is best to use real, believable incidents, as the debriefing is much more powerful, but you can use any real or imagined incident. The teacher can brainstorm with the class, writing a list, on the board or chart paper, and assigning topics to each group.

Much of the time, critical incidents arise from small things. A child accidentally tripping another, with the perception being that s/he was tripped on purpose. Rather than jumping to conclusions, which results in physical violence, the kids can come up with strategies to depressurize a situation.

Stop. Think. Ask. If we are stressed, we are quick to assume intention, and this isn't always the case. Count to ten. When things are going wrong in our lives, we are quick to respond negatively. It is an important self-help skill to teach.

In one situation, I had a grade 6 girl who was needy for attention. Bright girl, she was a latch-key kid, with a guilty mom who always over reacted, herself.

In teaching situations, she would interrupt, dominate the conversations, and not allow others their turn to respond to my direct questions.

She left the classroom for the bathroom, and while out I suggested to a strong, bright student, that she attempt to interrupt the first child. Several times.
It worked beautifully, we debriefed, and spoke about the importance of giving others a chance to participate. The young lady now understood how it felt to be continually interrupted, and I simply had to give her a wise nod, and she would use self control and remember.
I ensured that I filled her needy character with attention in other ways. I this filled her soul.

This is an example of role play I used. I was an actor, too. I had another student videotape us. But the message hit home!
"I disagree with that answer!" I tried to have the kids learn how to do a video at the same time we were teaching  how to 'disagree agreeably'. The students had so much fun, I appointed another student to play me.

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