Through improvisation students will discover the
possibilities of character development through words, which will
enhance their voice in written assignments.
situations typed out for groups of 5.
This lesson is a beginning lesson using improvisation.
The students have been introduced to pantomime and will now
move one step forward with the introduction of speech as well as
ANTICIPITORY SET: Sitting in a
circle the students will add to a story following the cues of the
person before them. The
last student ends the story.
This will be followed by the add on a word circle game.
Each student will say one word to add onto the sentence
created by the words given by their peers.
Teacher will ask students if
they remember the definition of improvisation that was discussed
in class last week.
This will be followed by a brief discussion of the story add on
posed by the teacher: Was the story add on exercise an example of
improvisation? How is
it similar and how is it different?
(Improvisation the characters move and speak, in the story
add on the students sat in a circle).
The students will break into groups of five for an exercise in
simple improvisation based on situations.
The students will choose a situation from the teacher,
given 5 minutes to prepare, present their situation in front of
Following all of the presentations the students will have the
opportunity to choose their favorite improvisation.
(I do not think it is wise to critic each performance
immediately, this is a their first taste at improvisation and I
don’t want them to feel self conscience.
What was it about that scene that made it seem real?
What did the students do to make certain characters seem
real? What could you
have done to improve your own scenes? (By using the word YOU, I am
not asking them to critic their peers).
This will be followed by a discussion of the process of
improvisation as a whole group.
This was a difficult lesson.
When I first began to plan it, I was going to use the
improvisations mentioned in our textbook, (McCaslin, 1990) for 2
or 3 players. I am
very glad I decided to begin with the simple improvisations on
page 101. Even though I felt the lesson was difficult, the students did
tell me afterwards that they really enjoyed the exercise and want
to do it again. Which
of course we will for how else will they improve?
The students had no problem
breaking into groups of 5. I then gave them the choice of a strip of paper turned upside
down so they could not read the situation.
I walked around and listened to the groups discussing the
assignment, a few had questions.
I would say 4 out of 6 groups were engaged in the activity,
while 2 groups wanted to play around.
When the 5-minute time had ended, I gathered them back
together as a whole group and they performed.
I found about one third of the
students had a very hard time making up dialogue, one third was
very good at it, and the last third did a fair job. One group had
two players improvise a door.
They moved and made the creaking sound when another boy
went out the door. I
was quite impressed with that group.
We discussed the use of humans for doors in our final
evaluation session. I
found one or two players in each group tended to take control of
the improvisation. Others
just wanted to fade into the woodwork.
We went outside to the covered
recreation area, as it was a beautiful day.
This is something I would not repeat.
It was very difficult to hear all the dialogue, students
were walking past us going to and from PE, and the normal outside
sounds disturbed us. I
will have to find a large space inside the building next week when
we work on improvisation again.
I think next year I need to do a
couple of lessons in pantomime before I move the students onto
improvisation. I felt
rushed to try a couple of lessons so I could write this paper, and
I feel the students needed a bit more practice imagining and using
Although, the rush did make me
jump right into drama with my students at the very beginning of
the year, that was a plus. The
kids were really excited after watching each other’s
have requested to do drama 3 days a week.
I told them that Friday would be the designated day.
I guess I was disappointed in
the lesson, because I really saw the kids struggle and I had the
preconceived notion that they would all do a great job.
For the students it was a successful lesson, they want to
do it again!
You are a group of people at the bus station.
It is six o’clock in the evening.
In the center is a newspaper stand, where newspapers,
magazines and candy are sold.
It is run by a woman who has been there for many years.
She knows the passengers who ride regularly and is
interested in them and all the details of their daily lives. Decide who you are going to be – a secretary, an
actress, a teacher, a shopper, a policeman, an old woman, a
principal, a stranger in town, etc.
The let us know all about you through your conversation
with the sales lady in the newsstand while you wait for your
The scene is a toyshop on Christmas Eve.
It is midnight, and the owner has just closed the door
and gone home. At
the stroke of twelve the toys come alive and talk together.
They may consist of a toy soldier, a rag doll, a
beautiful doll, a clown, a teddy bear, a jack-in-the-box, etc. Let us know by your conversation and movements who you
are and why you were not sold.
You are a committee from your school, assigned
the job of selecting a gift for your teacher, who is retiring.
Each of you has an idea of what you think is
appropriate, and you have only a certain amount of money to
spend. The scene takes place in a large gift shop.
Let us know whom you are and what you want to buy.
What is the decision you finally make?
You are a group of people returning for your
twenty-fifth reunion from high school.
Who are you? What
has happened to you since you last saw each other?
Have you been happy, successful, or unsuccessful?
Let us know all about you through your conversation.
You are a group of young women in a suburban
community. One of
you has invited the new neighbor in to meet the rest of the
group. Coffee is
served and you talk together. All seems to be going well when the hostess notices that
an expensive silver tray is missing from her coffee table.
One by one, you begin to suspect the newcomer.
Why do you suspect her?
Did she take it? Is
it found? Where? If
she took it, why did she?
Let us know what each one of you is like by your
reaction to this situation.
How does it turn out?
You are a group of children in an apartment
house. It is Valentine’s Day, and you are gathered in the
front hall to look at and count your valentines. You see one child in the building going to his/her
mailbox, and you notice that he/she did not receive any. How do you feel about this?
What is each one of you like?
Do you decide to do anything about it? If so, what do you do?
You are a group of children who live near a
very cross, elderly woman.
She chases you away from her property whenever you come
near it. This
particular morning, you see that someone has broken her fence
and ruined many of her flowers.
For the first time you feel sorry for her.
What do you do? How
does she react to you? Do
you all agree as to whether you should help her?
Do your actions change her attitude toward children?
The scene is a small bakery.
One of you is the owner, one of you a child
who helps him on Saturdays, and another is a beggar.
It is not busy this particular morning so the owner
goes out for coffee. While
he is gone, a beggar comes into the shop and asks for some
girl/boy knows that he/she should not give away the bread but
she/he feels sorry for the old man.
What do they say to each other?
What does the owner say when he comes back?
Drama in the Classroom. California: