Teaching Drama online schemes of work (TD Plus subscribers)

Welcome to the Teaching Drama online schemes of work. Teaching Drama’s schemes of work are an essential resource for all school drama departments as well as drama practitioners, offering easy-to-follow plans full of inspiring ideas. They cover KS2, KS3, GCSE, AS, A2, IB, BTEC and the Creative and Media Diploma, with some being specific to certain exam boards and others suitable for wider use.

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Issue 80 (Autumn Term 2 – 18/19)

KS2

Being a Twit: Roald Dahl’s infamous Mr and Mrs explored through Drama

Author: Helen Day

Roald Dahl’s books are adored by adults and children alike, and The Twits is so much fun that it just never gets old!

This scheme of work has been created in the spirit of the book, with a range of fun (and sometimes silly) games and exercises that nevertheless challenge students and align with the drama objectives of the KS2 National Curriculum. It is particularly suitable for younger KS2 students; spoken language and listening skills will be developed as they work in pairs and small groups to devise, rehearse and present imaginative work inspired by the book. They will gain a greater understanding of the characters, while at the same time growing in confidence, and honing focus and concentration.

The scheme has been written in chronological order, so could accompany a classroom reading of the book. There is a rather big leap between Lessons 3 and 4, however, therefore it is certainly not an issue if students have read beyond the guideline points given for each of the lessons.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme, students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore The Twits
  • Have participated in group discussion
  • Have experience of devising tableaux and short scenes in small groups
  • Have experience of considering, analysing and portraying a variety of characters
  • Have explored creating and sustaining characters, and responding to others in role
  • Have experience of responding constructively to the work of others
  • Have developed their spoken language and written skills
  • Have experience of presenting their work in front of their peers.

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KS3

Actor training 2 (non-naturalism)

Author: Donna Steele

Non-naturalism is one of those generic, broad terms that is applied to anything that cannot be defined by any other term. However, there are many styles of theatre that sit under this broad term and training students to become confident working in a non-naturalistic style is very important for developing their own ideas and understanding of what drama can be. It is of particular use in devising as it broadens their ability to work within a range of styles.

This scheme of work is designed to be a bit of a pick ’n’ mix of different aspects of non-naturalism that could lead to further exploration in their own separate schemes of work.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Explored practically the work of a number of practitioners who work within the non-naturalistic spectrum
  • Gained confidence in how to apply a non-naturalistic style to their work.

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KS3/4

It’s all in our genes

Author: David Porter

Teenagers may not realise that two generations ago DNA information was not available. In the past, people rarely knew with absolute certainty who their biological parents were or where their ancestors came from.

In the digital age, DNA testing, gene therapy and manipulation, paternal/maternal confirmations are taken for granted. They tell us so much about our lives now including physical, medical, psychological, emotional and geographical structures that make us individuals, determine who we are.

From genesis (beginning), genes tap into that massive stream of dramatic ideas in and around hereditary issues. Traits are passed on across generations and we may be unable to escape what predetermines us.

Free-standing ideas are suggested for each session, or a single theme could be worked on, perhaps leading to a performance by the end.

Learning objectives

By the end of every session learners will have:

  • Developed their drama-devising repertoire on the theme of genes
  • Worked collaboratively to explore how tension, emotion, atmosphere and meaning drive three characters who shape the plot
  • Improved drama skills through characterization.

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KS4

Slow Time by Roy Williams

Author: Alicia Pope

Slow Time features three teenage boys, Nabs, Delroy and Ashley, one black, one Asian and one white. The action takes place in the hour before dawn after Delroy’s first long night in a young offender institution. Each lad tells some of the story of how he got there and what might be waiting when he gets out; Nabs is itching to beat up the new boy and Ashley is on the brink. Their stories give us an insight into the crime, peer pressure and bullying that led to their incarceration.

This scheme of work offers some ideas for exploring the text using improvisation and devising with both on-text and o-text work as well as some practitioner-based ideas. It will begin student discussion on the text and its characters and enable students to start to explore the characters in the play to support their portrayal of them.

Learning objectives

  • To explore how to create characters from limited information
  • To create a non-verbal scene that establishes characters and their relationships
  • To explore how we use stereotypes to create characters
  • To create an ensemble performance of the opening of the play
  • To use directorial skills to help your group develop their work
  • To use a range of skills to create a character physically
  • To explore a character’s internal monologue
  • To explore the contrast between Stanislavskian, Brechtian and Artaudian
  • performances of the same scene
  • To present costume ideas to the group
  • To use their group’s ideas to create a full costume for a character and present
  • those ideas to the class, justifying their choices
  • To use a range of dierent techniques to retell the boys’ stories.

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BTEC

Movement in performance – Unit 50

Author: Gail Deal

This unit is aimed at actors and dancers who would like to improve their movement skills in different performance styles. Learners will perform in two contrasting movement pieces each lasting a minimum of 3 minutes.

Learners will be filmed during discussions about stimuli, workshops, rehearsals and performances. They will evaluate the process from starting point to final performance including exercises, sequences, combinations and set studies as well as movement used in scripted work.

Learners must keep a log or vlog to evaluate their own progress and identify and set targets to help them improve their performances: peers may direct each other and give feedback.

Teachers will write observation reports on rehearsals and performances using the Learning Outcomes. They will also write an assessment record for each learner and complete a tracking sheet summarising the learners’ grades on each task.

The scheme is based on two teachers sharing the delivery of the unit. Each teacher has two lessons lasting 75 minutes each. One teacher focuses more on movement for dance (MD) and the other on movement for acting (MA). The first few weeks are based on workshops led by the two teachers using a variety of stimuli to build skills.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit a learner should:

  1. Know how to respond to different stimuli as potential performance material

Grading criteria 1 (GC1)

Visual: e.g. paintings, films, photographs, sculpture, colours, shapes, animation, digital images

Aural: music; sound effects (live/recorded)

Text-based: e.g. script, poetry, literature, news items, notation

Concepts: e.g. abstract, thematic, narrative

  1. Be able to reproduce movement phrases within a performance

Grading criteria 2 (GC2)

Movement pieces: e.g. set study, section of physical theatre, piece of repertory, part of notated score, scripted piece with movement emphasis, contact improvisation, devised movement pieces

Movement memory: technical accuracy; timing; rhythmic control; spatial control; dynamics; relationships; projection; interpretation

  1. Be able to apply movement skills in rehearsal

Grading criteria 3 and 4 (GC3 and GC4)

Rehearsal process: show development of movement ideas; give and take ideas; work cooperatively with others; respond to instructions; take part in warm-ups; take part in rehearsals

Improvements: identify targets; make adjustments; practice sequences; analyse; review; repeat

  1. Be able to apply movement skills in performance

Grading criteria 5 and 6 (GC5 and GC6)

Performing process: reproduce ideas; respond to other performers; project and communicate ideas through movement; use of performance elements, e.g. space, properties, costumes

Evaluation: identify strengths and weaknesses; make suggestions for improvement; consideration of audience reaction; assimilate views and opinions of others

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A Level

Approaching live theatre productions - AQA Drama and Theatre Section C

Author: Mat Walters

The aim of this scheme of work is to prepare students to answer any of the questions that appear in the AQA A level Drama and Theatre written paper Section C. It is a 5-point plan designed to enable students to develop their analytical skills and use of subject specific terminology.

Section C focuses on performance and design questions relating to one production seen, whether live or streamed/digital theatre. Students have a choice of 4 questions and, so far, the new specification has split them into two acting and two design specific. Questions are marked out of 25 and I am advising my students to spend just under an hour on this section of the paper.

The mark scheme breaks the marks down into 20 for AO4 (analysis and evaluation) and 5 for AO3 (knowledge and understanding of form, style, aims, creation of meaning and interpretation). While that seems like a lot to cover for just 5 marks, it does clearly show that detailed and consistent analysis and evaluation (what was good and why in the context of the question) is the central focus of each question. Students must evaluate the production as they go along.

This scheme of work will use the example of the production of The Woman in Black for an acting question, but all points raised are applicable to any live or streamed production seen, regardless of genre.

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Issue 79 (Autumn Term 1 – 18/19)

KS2

The Suitcase Kid: Using drama to explore Andy’s world

Author: Helen Day

Jacqueline Wilson is one of children’s literature’s bestselling authors. Her work is enduringly popular, and she is renowned for tackling head on the real-life issues faced by many young people. The Suitcase Kid is a fine example of this, and many KS2 students will be able to identify with the issues, decisions, and layers of complicated emotion that protagonist Andy faces.

 

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme the students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore the characters within The Suitcase Kid, as well as the issues presented through the storyline
  • Have experience of working collaboratively in pairs and in small groups
  • Have actively explored the use of body language and facial expression
  • Have experience of improvising, devising and of scripting drama
  • Have experience thinking, moving and speaking in character
  • Have experience of participating in group discussions.

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KS3

An introduction to Greek theatre and myths for Year 7

Author: Mat Walters

This scheme of work has the following aims: To provide a brief introduction to the time period of Ancient Greece; to experiment with approaches to Chorus and character; to research and perform Greek myths; to understand the Greek gods; to develop vocal skills and physical skills; to develop written analytical skills and reflection in Drama.

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KS3/4

Verbatim Theatre has it taped

Author: David Porter

Verbatim Theatre is a form of devised drama documentary built around the literal words – word for word – of eye witnesses, reminiscences, memoirs, diaries, media reports of everything from
wars to plague, old shops to long-forgotten fun fairs.

It’s a unique and fulfilling way of paying tribute to the past and drawing lessons for today. Verbatim Theatre can be risky, as drama often is, but it’s a worthy experiment in social history that will expand teenagers’ performance skills in unusual settings.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme learners will have:

  • Researched, recorded, edited and performed a series of witness statements as a piece of Verbatim Theatre to an audience
  • Developed their drama devising repertoire from specific material
  • Worked collaboratively to improve drama skills
  • Explored ideas to make drama.

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GCSE

Power words of drama

Author: Donna Steele

With the recent reform in GCSEs a student’s ability to read and understand language has become just as important, if not more so, than the content of the course. If a student cannot read the words of the exam paper it becomes irrelevant what they do or don’t know.

With this in mind, it is the aim of this scheme of work to break down the language of Drama as a subject, working with key terms practically, and debugging what some of the more advanced words mean in both theory and practice.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme the students will have:

  • Understood the foundation of the GCSE course
  • Practically explored key terms
  • Developed their confidence with the language of drama.

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A level – Edexcel Component 2

Monologue and duologue

Author: Vickie Smith

This scheme of work aims to prepare students for their A level Component 2 exam for the Edexcel specification, which requires them to perform a monologue or a duologue. The first few lessons are about exploring skills and then the focus is on the monologue/duologue that they choose to perform for the exam. While the scheme of work is presented as seven lessons, many of these will take at least 2 hours to get through and they will need rehearsal time to reflect in between.

Learning objectives:

By the end of the lesson students will have:

  • Discussed the assessment criteria for Component 2
  • Developed a skeleton script using given circumstances to give it context
  • Evaluated the effect that given circumstance have on a scene.

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A-Level

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Author: Alicia Pope

Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe is one of the nine set texts for the new Pearson A level specification. These set texts form the basis of Section C of Component 3: Theatre Makers in Practice. Section C: Interpreting a Performance Text requires students to write about a set text in relation to a practitioner and the play’s original performance conditions. The most effective way for students to understand how they would approach their chosen set text is to have practically explored the text in depth.

This scheme of work offers a range of ideas for closely exploring the text in relation to different practitioners to enable students to write in the specific, drama-focussed way that is required in the exam.

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Issue 78 (Summer Term 2 – 17/18)

KS2

Training dragons at KS2: A look at How to Train Your Dragon through drama

Author: Helen Day

Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon is a contemporary classic. Full of humour, and also great drama, its well-rounded central character is a wonderful study in the growing pains of trying to fit in. This scheme of work provides an accompaniment to a classroom reading of the book, with games and exercises inspired by events and episodes from the text.

The scheme has been written with the drama objectives of the KS2 National Curriculum in mind, and explores creating and sustaining roles, working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes, improvisation, presenting work in front of peers, as well as fun games to encourage focus and concentration.

Spoken language skills will be developed, and students will participate in group discussion and interaction throughout the scheme.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme the students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore How to Train Your Dragon
  • Have experience of creating and sustaining roles
  • Have explored characterisation through vocal tone, body language and facial expression
  • Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
  • Have developed their spoken language skills
  • Have experience of presenting their work in front of their peers
  • Have experience of constructively responding to the work of others.

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KS3

Year 9 scheme for summer term

Author: Alicia Pope

The summer term can often be challenging for Year 9. Groups can be a mixture of students who are coming to the end of their exploration of Drama and are difficult to motivate; enthusiastic students who are about to embark on their GCSE Drama course and a variety in between.

This scheme of work is designed to have something for every member of a Year 9 class, pushing ideas forward for GCSE students while engaging reluctant students with a variety of tasks that they can access and allowing them to offer pertinent opinions and ideas about the design aspect of Drama. The scheme uses a variety of plays relevant for GCSE exploration, but aims to be accessible and engaging for Year 9 as a whole. The layout for this scheme offers ideas for each text and how you might approach it.

Learning objectives

  • To explore a key scene from The Crucible/DNA/Face
  • To perform a key scene from The Crucible/DNA/Face, and discuss the practical choices you made
  • To present ideas for lighting, sound, costume and set design.

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KS3/4

Money, money, money

Author: David Porter

Money not only makes the world go round, it also provides an enormous range of challenging material for devised drama, story lines, depth of characters and some fascinating ideas. Money is the root of evil, but it can also do enormous good and, as we can scarcely live without it, it’s an appealing theme for teenagers.

In these six 90-minute sessions different angles on money are explored, from winning it to stealing it, from losing it to earning it and from borrowing it to finding it. Money is considered in its many facets from cash to credit and digital currency. There is a decision-making grid at the end of the scheme suitable for all devising sessions and for other themes and schemes.

In deciding a point of view for developing a plotline, students are encouraged to consider the less obvious and to focus on creating plausible characters to work the story.

There is additional material on the decision process for developing credible characters and on further ideas for money themed drama devising.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme learners will have:

  • Developed their drama devising repertoire on the theme
  • Understood how characters drive plot
  • Worked collaboratively to improve drama skills
  • Explored a range of ideas and concepts.

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GCSE

An introduction to the GCSE Drama devising log: supporting students in creating their written coursework log

Author: Mat Walters

This scheme of work suggests a simple structure and plan for the devising written unit, directly related to the creation of the piece itself, and focuses on an entirely written devising log. The maximum word count is 2500 with suggested sections of 650 to 800 words each.

It covers:

  • The demands and suggested structure of each of the three sections
  • The process of linking research, development, rehearsal, realisation and evaluation to the devising log
  • Example paragraphs for each section with key indicators highlighted that follow this structure.

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BTEC – Unit 1, level 3

Investigating practitioners’ work

Author: Gail Deal

This scheme is based on 3 1-hour lessons a week plus independent study throughout Year 12, but can be adapted to suit the needs of the centre and the pathway chosen.

This is a mandatory and synoptic Level 3 unit on all the BTEC Performing Arts qualifications. Key information can be found in the document opposite.

The frameworks in this scheme of work are closely based on the assessment outcomes that are to be found in the specification on pp. 22 to 26. The four assessment outcomes are listed on p. 22 and then the detail follows.

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A-Level

Hospital Food by Eugene O’Hare: Devising and exploring a text to produce original performance outcomes

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme explores Eugene O’Hare’s NT Connections play Hospital Food as a stimulus. It is relevant for many new A level Drama & Theatre Studies exam specifications, where both explorations of texts and devising form a great deal of the assessments. Through the activities students will learn how to explore the text stimuli, leading them to produce their own original work as well as performing the writer’s intent. There are also ideas on how to apply practitioner’s ideas which again makes this scheme relevant for many exam specification units.

Learning objectives

By the end of this scheme all students will:

  • Have developed their understanding of what devised theatre is
  • Have developed their ability to work cooperatively in groups
  • Have developed their ability to create original material from a play text stimulus
  • Have developed their understanding of how to deconstruct ideas, themes and narratives that make up the stimulus
  • How to carry out in-depth research to inform and develop ideas and creativity
  • How to apply the work of practitioners to the deconstructing of the stimuli and the devising processes thereafter
  • Have explored the actor-audience relationship
  • How to develop performance skills – characterisation, aural and physical
  • How to explore social, cultural, political and historical influences within stimuli and incorporate within their own work.

By the end of this scheme some students will:

  • Have developed their ability to direct others
  • Have developed their performance support skills.

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Issue 77 (Summer Term 1 – 17/18)

Key Stage 2

The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailler: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

A classic for over sixty years, The Silver Sword presents the harsh reality of wartime life for a Polish family. KS2 students will be gripped by the adventures, setbacks and triumphs of the Balicki children as they make their way across war-torn Europe in search of their parents, and there are plenty of colourful characters and situations to inspire drama work in the classroom.

This scheme of work mainly focuses on the journey of the children, using key moments from the book, as well as challenging students to imagine beyond the text into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. It has been written with the drama objectives of the KS2 National Curriculum in mind, with particular emphasis on spoken language skills, and the adoption, creation and sustaining of roles. Some written work is included, and through improvisation and devising exercises, students will be encouraged to work together and share ideas.

The scheme has been written in chronological order, so could accompany a classroom reading of the book.

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Key Stage 3

Physical Theatre: Approaches to teaching in the style of Frantic Assembly

Author: Naomi Holcombe

The overall aim of this scheme of work is to explore a physical theatre style by introducing students to the work of Frantic Assembly, and to encourage learners to try out techniques and practical starting points to help them create short devised pieces.

It can be difficult for students who have never devised their own work before to create original and thought-provoking pieces, especially in Year 9. It is also a challenge to create scripted work as they will have a limited experience of this. This is why I think a more physical approach to creating pieces, without having to think about how to develop characters and storylines initially, can work really well.

Although you may not think the work of Frantic Assembly would be approachable for students as young as Year 9, it is amazing how quickly they get to grips with the style. It is also a good preparation for upcoming GCSE courses, as an increasing number of exam boards are prescribing styles for devised and text work at GCSE.

As students’ work develops, stories emerge and meaning is created. They learn to take a practical ‘on their feet’ approach to the creation of work and I have found that some interesting and mature work has been produced as a result – much more so than if they had been asked to create something in a naturalistic style, as at this young age their pieces can be quite limited.

If they have never seen a production by Frantic Assembly, it is important that you show them lots of show reels and trailers of their work, so that they start to understand what the result looks like, and so that they can get a flavour of what the style looks like on stage. I have therefore provided many links to video extracts in this scheme, and most lessons will include a video example to show to students before they attempt an exercise for themselves.

This scheme covers six lessons of teaching. I have based the structure around the principle of one lesson a week, with each lesson being around an hour in length.

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Key Stage 3/4

Making the most of drama devices

Author: David Porter

‘Devices’ is the catch-all term used to describe any and every drama technique employed to create drama, interpret text, explore ideas, develop performance skills and create drama in original and compelling ways. They will be familiar to all drama teachers and to most students after only a very short time of learning in and through drama.

This scheme of six 90-minute sessions is designed as both refresher and pointer towards ways of cumulatively using a host of techniques in the drama studio, which will widen drama vocabulary and strengthen the students’ toolbox whether they are devising or performing text.

Lighting, sound, special effects and video imaging are not specifically addressed in this scheme, but of course these are also valid devices.

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Key Stage 4/5

From page to stage: A rehearsal toolkit

Author: Sarah Henderson and Antony Taylor

All the specifications at GCSE and A level demand that students practically study a script for examination. With a large group it is often difficult for the teacher to help all students move their work forward in a rehearsal or lesson, and often students are rehearsing independently of the teacher. Students may not have the experience or knowledge that professional actors and directors bring to the rehearsal process, and this can make practically exploring a text quite challenging. The aim of this scheme is to provide teachers with a toolkit of exercises that students can apply at specific points in the rehearsal process. We have designed the scheme to be flexible so that you can pick and choose exercises that are appropriate to your students and the texts that they are studying.

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Key Stage 5

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) by Carl Grose

Author: Alicia Pope

The changes in exam specifications, requiring students to perform extracts from texts, mean that they are given a very wide choice of texts for performance. This scheme offers a range of teaching ideas exploring the characters within the script and using on- and off-text activities that will give students a greater understanding of the characters, enabling them to produce more knowledgeable, engaging and convincing interpretations of their own. It will also generate other ideas for further exploration of the text.

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Key Stage 5

Practically exploring characters in play texts: Liz from Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Author: Rhianna Elsden

This scheme explores the play text Our Country’s Good as a stimulus and specifically traces the character of Liz in key scenes. The activities offer ideas on how to work with play texts practically, with both on- and off-text ideas and activities. The activities outlined develop an understanding of the play text and provide inspiration for the exploration of other scenes or characters in this and other play texts.

Many exam specifications at GCSE and A level now allow for the performance of monologues for assessment, so this scheme also offers insight into the exploration and performance of the key monologue that Liz delivers at the start of Act 2, including writing interpretations for examiners.

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Issue 76 (Spring Term 2 - 17/18)

Key Stage 2

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

Ted Hughes’ The Iron Man is a classic science fiction novel that easily captures young imaginations. Its short length, along with the strength of the writing, makes it an ideal choice for classroom reading. This scheme of work has been written to encourage students to explore the characters and events of the book beyond the realm of the text; the text becomes a springboard for further imaginative work.

The scheme broadly covers all aspects of the drama objectives set out within the KS2 National Curriculum. Improvisation, rehearsed scene preparation and group work both in small teams and in larger groups all contribute to challenging students’ spoken and written language skills. Group discussion and interaction skills are also developed, as well as responding constructively to the work of others.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore The Iron Man
  • Have experience of creating and sustaining roles
  • Have explored characterisation through vocal tone, writing in role, body language and facial expression
  • Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
  • Have developed their spoken language and written skills
  • Have experience of presenting their work in front of their peers
  • Have experience of constructively responding to the work of others.

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Key Stage 3

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Author: Alicia Pope

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is perhaps the most well-known of C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia and certainly offers a range of exciting themes for exploration. This scheme is aimed at KS3, most suited to Year 7 and Year 8, and uses both on and off text work based on the novel as the stimulus for some exciting exploration into character, improvisation, devising and ensemble work. Although it’s not necessary for students to have read the book, a summary of the story and main characters would be helpful (see Resources at the end of this scheme).

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Key Stage 3/4

Teacher-in-Role as a drama device

Author: David Porter

Teacher-in-Role (TiR) is a drama device that we either love or approach with trepidation. The fact is that it can be an amazingly powerful tool for the drama teacher to build students’ confidence, extend their creativity and strengthen teacher-student bonds, with the added bonus of being such great fun all round!

With suggestions for TiR activities, this scheme of six sessions covers the method as support for students, as leading new material, as part of devising and within a script, and as a catalyst in challenging dramatic settings.

TiR puts the drama teacher among the students, as a member of a team, but also as one who brings a fresh, experienced input to spark student ideas, responses and inventiveness. The teacher may sometimes have to let go of his/her status.

TiR is useful for all exam board devising and text preparation and for the transition from KS3 into KS4, and the scheme culminates in a suggestion to go public in a TiR performance.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme learners will have:

  • Explored a number of different TiR techniques
  • Developed some of the techniques into performable material
  • Self and peer assessed and evaluated drama work created by TiR
  • Collaborated with others to make drama and convey meaning to an audience.

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GCSE

A model for watching live theatre

Author: Donna Steele

The skill of watching and evaluating Live Theatre is a now a key element in all GCSE exam specifications. It can often prove a challenge to teachers to make this anything more than a pen and paper exercise. However finding a practical approach to this exam component can often lead to a more developed understanding of the theatre students have seen.

In this scheme of work I aim to provide a framework that can be applied to any piece of live theatre. Each lesson is split into two parts; a session to run before watching a piece of theatre (Part A) and a follow-up lesson after you have taken students to the theatre (Part B).

While there is lots of highly innovative and creative theatre out there, I believe that choosing a published play where you can buy the script is highly beneficial to enable preparation and revision with students for this element of the exam.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Practically explored key theatre elements in preparation for watching live theatre
  • Prepared numerous examples from productions seen in preparation for answering exam questions
  • Arrived at a model for exploring and watching any piece of live theatre.

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BTEC

Musical theatre performance (BTEC – Edexcel QCF Level 3, Unit 14)

Author: Gail Deal

Performing arts learners generally love musical theatre so this unit should be popular with your class. Learners are required to use their skills in acting, dancing and singing for a selection of musical theatre numbers.

This scheme is designed to meet the demands of the unit, to fulfill the potential of the learners and to allow a small number of staff, even just one, to put on a show that includes several numbers from hit musicals.

This scheme has been tested and it resulted in an entertaining show with smooth transitions and a great deal of input from the 17 learners who created it. We had two staff and one technician, but no stage crew and no team of set and costume designers. The show was called People, Places and Passions.

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A level

Woyzeck by Georg Büchner (A level – Edexcel Theatre Studies, Section C, Component 3)

Author: Vickie Smith

The new A level examination for theatre studies asks the students to do a lot. With the old specification they could take in annotated versions of their chosen text and they had to explain how they would direct it in terms of a specific area identified in the exam question. The beauty of this was that students could decide on their interpretation of the whole play and then select certain scenes that they would talk about in the exam in more depth.

The new exam does not allow for this. Edexcel asks the students to take in a blank text and students are given an unseen extract from the play they have studied and must explain their interpretation and how they would direct this with their chosen practitioner’s methodologies in place. This is hard work. It means that the students need to not only know how they would direct the whole play in depth, but that they must know it off by heart. In addition to this they are expected to do something similar with a second play but from an actor’s perspective and also write a Live Evaluation of a performance they have seen.

The first thing to tell your students is that the exam boards are expecting a lot from them; in my opinion, an unfair amount. But reassure them that you, as their teacher, will prepare them for this. If you can have Component 2 completed by February, then in the remainder of the year you can focus on these three areas. This scheme of work is going to tackle the Section C, Component 3 part of the examination using the script of Woyzeck. However, there is no reason that this scheme cannot be transferable to other play texts.

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Issue 75 (Spring Term 1 - 17/18)

Key Stage 2

Michael Morpurgo's Kensuke's Kingdom: A look at the book through drama

Author: Helen Day

Kensuke’s Kingdom is at once an adventure story, a story of resilience and survival, a story about friendship and, ultimately, about loss. It contains much to challenge and inspire the minds of KS2 students, and this scheme of work offers an exploration of the key themes, events and characters in the book, utilising a range of drama-based exercises and group discussion.

The scheme is written in chronological order, so it can accompany a classroom reading of the book. However, it could also work well with groups who have already finished the story, or who are further along with the book than each lesson suggests.

It broadly covers all aspects of the drama objectives within the KS2 National Curriculum, and the scheme will help students to develop their spoken language and listening skills.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme the students will:

  • Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore the themes and characters within Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom
  • Have experience of improvising and devising drama
  • Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
  • Have experience of creating and sustaining characters through use of body language, facial expression and voice
  • Have experience of responding to others in role
  • Have developed their speaking and listening skills through a range of exercises both in small groups and as a whole class
  • Have experience of feeding back to each other and of participating in group discussion.

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Key Stage 3

Shakespeare

Author: Alicia Pope

This scheme of work focuses on one aspect from a different Shakespeare play each session – Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, The TempestRomeo and Juliet, Hamlet – and allows for the exploration of a variety of texts and techniques. The work includes character exploration, devised work and improvisation. Although students will not need to know each text in great depth, a retelling of the story of each play to contextualise the work will be useful. There are plenty of excellent resources and short films available online to introduce students to the plays. Each session is based on a one hour lesson.

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Key Stage 3/4

Know thy neighbour? Devising around the theme of Community

Author: Donna Steele

The dictionary definition of community is: ‘a self organised network of people with a common agenda, cause, or interest’.

This scheme of work explores the concept of community within a neighbourhood setting and through the sequence of lessons develops ideas for a devised piece of drama. It allows students to combine their own improvised work with scripted extracts from a number of plays, and it also includes ideas that are suitable for both KS3 and KS4 students.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Developed and structured ideas for a piece of devised drama based on the theme of ‘Community’
  • Explored ways to combine pieces of script with their own improvisations
  • Experimented with using Verbatim Theatre within their work.

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Key Stage 4/5

Being the director

Author: David Porter

This scheme aims to explore a range of directing techniques through practical drama sessions linked to text. Exam bodies now ask for directorial approaches at GCSE and A/AS level in both practical and written work. The five 2-hour sessions provide a range of experiments for students to learn what a director does and how he/she actually does it and how meaning is conveyed to an audience.

The scheme suggests approaches from a range of drama/theatre techniques employed by directors in rehearsal and performance. Directors also work with designers and technical staff to create an overall performance that realises the vision and gets the message across.

Maximum group sizes are determined by the exam boards, as are some selected and specified plays. In devising there is more freedom, but group sizes should always be appropriate to the abilities of the students and give each a full chance to perform and to direct.

Teachers should select (and where appropriate edit) monologues and duologues as well as group pieces because the opportunity to perform in pairs or solo is available in the exams. Being a director applies to monologues and duologues as well as larger groups. While it is possible to self-direct, learners should be encouraged to accept that outside direction will help them in character realisation.

Learning objectives
By the end of this scheme students will have:

  • Explored a number of different directorial techniques and some practitioners who use them to develop an individual stylistic approach to directing
  • Self- and peer-assessed and evaluated directed work in performance
  • Collaborated with others to make drama and convey meaning to an audience.

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IB

Introduction to the International Baccalaureate Theatre course

Author: Mat Walters

This scheme of work aims to support those planning to teach the International Baccalaureate Theatre course for the first time. It aims to provide a general introduction to the demands of the IB Theatre course at both Standard and Higher level. It will provide suggestions for areas of study and an overall planning approach to the (almost) two years required. I am going to be offering the IB Theatre course alongside the AQA AS and A level courses in drama and theatre and there are many opportunities to plan material that would be appropriate for all these courses.

A level

Practical approaches to Berkoff

Author: Naomi Holcombe

I was first introduced to the work of Steven Berkoff at A level and I had never come across anything like it before. I was cast in a production of Metamorphosis and I totally fell in love. His style of theatre is both energetic and mesmerising and I believe that introducing students to his work really helps them to develop interesting pieces of theatre and take a more detailed and dynamic approach to their work.

This scheme delves into practical approaches to teaching Berkoff’s work and aims to encourage students to be more physically expressive by pushing work into new and exciting realms in order for them to explore and enjoy creating theatre that is challenging physically, as well as more expressive and hardhitting. Some script extracts are used and also suggestions of how to apply Berkoff’s style to devised or re-interpreted work. Berkoff creates theatre that is innovative and detailed, which is something to which I think A level students should aspire. His approaches to mime, chorus work and script writing will, I hope, inspire students to include beautifully detailed work on stage and have great fun in the process.

Learning objectives
Students will gain the following knowledge/skills during the 6 lessons:

  • An introduction to a physical style of theatre to help them approach text work more creatively and be inspired to develop interesting devised pieces
  • An understanding of mime, chorus and bodies as objects and how this has influenced Berkoff’s work
  • An exploration of three of Berkoff’s most popular texts
  • How to use their bodies confidently to convey story and exaggerated characters to an audience.

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Issue 72 (Summer Term 2 - 16/17)

If you wish to enjoy even more Teaching Drama schemes of work, why not visit our online shop and have a look through our archive? Click here find out more!