Some of the most interesting and creative theatre has been made without anything other than the brains and imaginations of groups of people. But having some fresh new tools, resources, and equipment in your drama classroom can really help to engage your students and help them take their creativity to new levels. With your students, take a look around your drama classroom and think about what could make your space that much better. Then, let yourselves think big with the following exercise. Use the printable worksheets at the bottom of this article to help your students stay organized.
1. Take stock of what you have in your drama classroom and what you wish you had. Think about the different areas of theatre and the tools and equipment you could use. Here are some ideas to get your wish list started:
- A stack of new plays to read and perform
- Practical and fun classroom resources
- Exciting new lesson plans
- A set of matching rehearsal cubes
- A classroom set of plain white masks for mask work
- A classroom set of hand puppets or a puppet theatre
- Classroom supplies (folders, pencils, tissues, hand sanitizer, sharpie markers, dry erase markers, etc.)
- Theatre or inspirational posters to decorate your classroom
- A set of foldable flats or risers
- New or more lights for your lighting grid (or an actual grid itself)
- An upgraded sound system (tape recorder with Bluetooth, USB port, iPad, soundboard, microphones, etc.)
- A new stock of makeup and fresh applicators
- A gift card to a local costume shop or thrift store to replenish your costume stocks
- A portable projector and screen
- A rainbow of gaff and spike tape
- An electric keyboard or piano
- Storage containers
- Tool kits with hammers, nails, pliers, screwdrivers and screws
- A membership to the Drama Teacher Academy
2. Divide students into small groups. What do they think would be most beneficial to add to their drama classroom? Have each group choose an item and convince the class why it’s the most necessary. You might use the Elevator Pitch classroom exercise as a starting point and modify it so students can share the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of their chosen item. A SWOT analysis sheet is provided; click the link below.
3. Then, challenge students to figure out how they could acquire the item (or a similar item) in three different ways: for FREE, at COST, and if they had a CASH WINDFALL. These ways can be silly or serious but encourage students to envision at least one of the ways in a somewhat realistic manner. For example, let’s say a group of students thinks their drama classroom could benefit from a portable followspot with a stand. For their FREE solution, they might suggest using flashlights taped to broom handles as followspots. For their COST solution, they might compare brands on Amazon and fundraise with a showcase or bake sale or by singing telegrams. For their CASH WINDFALL solution, they might envision winning the lottery or getting a giant grant or sponsorship, and buying a whole fleet of followspots as well as a full professional lighting grid. Encourage them to think big! Each group will present their three solutions to the class.
This exercise may encourage you and your students to actually go about acquiring one (or more!) of the items on your wish list. Speak to your principal or school board about how you might be able to bring your wishes to fruition. Create a fundraising showcase or similar event with your students. See if your parent council has funds available for some classroom upgrades. Good luck!Click here for free worksheets.
Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage combatant from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.
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