Classroom Exercise

Drama Classroom Door Design

Drama Classroom Door Design
Written by Kerry Hishon

What better way to welcome students into the drama department than allowing them to make a grand entrance through a decorated door? Many teachers enjoy door decorating for holiday contests, spirit week celebrations, or just to make their classroom look more welcoming. It’s fun for students too. So why not get them involved in decorating your drama classroom door? 

The following individual exercise is like a mini set design challenge. Students will create a door design and complete an accompanying worksheet where they’ll discuss their inspiration for the design, as well as other production-related questions. You can then use the door designs to decorate your classroom, and even use a student’s design to decorate the door. It’s a great exercise for the end of the semester when you just can’t think, and it can be as low- or high-tech as you wish.

Materials Needed

  • Door template (or a blank piece of paper)
  • Pencils and coloured pencils
  • Rulers
  • Optional: collage items such as fabric scraps, magazine tear outs, ribbons, pipe cleaners, coloured tissue, and wrapping paper
  • If you want to make this a high-tech project, you could use computer design software such as AutoCAD if it’s available at your school.

1. Give each student a door template (a blank piece of paper will do in a pinch). If possible, tailor the door template to your own classroom door, noting the style and direction of the handle as well as any windows and nearby signage. Note whether it is a push or pull door from the hallway. It may also be useful to include any important nearby features, such as a display window or electrical outlet.

Note: If you plan to decorate your door, you may want to check with your administration and/or custodial staff ahead of time to ensure that there are no safety hazards (e.g., tripping hazards or flammable materials).

2. Students will design their doors. If you wish, have them brainstorm a list of door décor topics. Then have students colour their designs. They may use collage materials if desired/available.

Door designs should be creative and reflective of what you do and learn in drama class. They could be entertaining, educational, thought provoking, inspiring, attention grabbing, or use interesting materials or techniques. Students could create something seasonal, or related to the play you’re currently studying in class, or themed for an upcoming production, or that demonstrates a recently learned scenic painting technique. The options are only limited by your students’ imaginations.

3. Students will complete the accompanying worksheet, responding to the following questions: 

  • What’s the title of your design? (“A Winter Wonderland,” “Ode to Romeo & Juliet,” “Lost in Rundoon,” etc.)
  • What inspired your design?
  • What materials would we need to create the design for real on the door?
  • What is an estimated budget for materials? Where/how will we acquire the materials? (For example, will the student use items they bring from home or pull out of the recycling bin, or will they need to purchase them?)
  • If you’re going to have a voting portion: Why should your classmates vote for your design to be the winner?

4. Post each door design and accompanying worksheet in the classroom. 

Optional: Voting 

5. Fold over or cover the names of each student on their paperwork so they’re not tempted to vote for their friends.

6. Students will vote for their top two door designs. You can either do a secret ballot or simply have students raise their hands. If you’d like to add an additional writing component, have students complete an exit slip explaining why they voted for the design they did.

7. You will create the design with the most votes. Be sure to credit the student designer on the door! You may want to offer extra credit or volunteer hours to the students who do the work of bringing the design to life.

Click here for a free door template and worksheet.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.

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About the author

Kerry Hishon

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. View her blog at www.kerryhishon.com.