Learning the Rules: “Act It Out” Game

During the first week of class, it’s imperative to inform students about classroom rules and expectations in order to get started on a positive note. However, how boring is it to just stand and lecture students about rules, or hand out a sheet full of rules and read it out loud? This is drama class – let’s get students up on their feet and getting creative!

This is a great active game to use if you have a list of classroom rules to learn, or if you are introducing or reviewing theatrical guidelines. Rather than sitting around and passively listening, students have the opportunity to absorb the classroom rules by presenting them in a theatrical manner!

1. Divide students into small groups (3-4 students per group) and give each group a classroom rule or theatrical guideline to act out.

Classroom Rules Ideas:

1. - Arrive on time to class. - Treat classmates & teacher the way you wish to be treated. - If you miss class, it is your responsibility to get caught up. - Participate in all group activities to the best of your ability.

Theatrical Guideline Ideas:

1. - Stay quiet backstage. - If you can see the audience, they can see you. - Get off book early.Practice lines/choreography/songs on your own time.

2. Groups can either act out the rule as it is stated OR act out the opposite of the rule and show the group what not to do!

Variation : Students create two scenes. First, the group acts out breaking the rule and what happens (consequences). Next, the group acts out following the rule and what happens (success!).

3. Give the groups a time limit to plan and rehearse their scene(s), then have each group perform for the rest of the class.

4. Once the group has performed, the other groups have to guess what the rule is that was just acted out. Usually, it is just as helpful to talk about the guesses as the actual rule!

This game can lead to interesting discussions about the rules of the classroom, as well as students’ thoughts and expectations. It’s a great way to gauge what students know and expect of themselves and their peers, and where your expectations and theirs either agree or differ. It’s also a good way to observe how students work together in groups!

Click here for a PDF download of this activity, plus reflection questions.

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