There are many “Who games” that are a good means for energizing your students and create an atmosphere of interest in dramatic play. I am listing here one of them that I have found to work well with the special education students in my class.
WHO GAME (1):
Two or more players. Who, where and what agreed upon. The students should choose very simple relationships (sister and brother arguing over a toy, husband and wife watching TV). Have each player write on a slip of paper a list of facial features and then descriptions of those features. These descriptions should be emotional rather than physical. For example, tip of nose—sharp, lower lip—sad, eyes—beady, chin out—sassy and nostrils enlarged—annoyed. When the slips of paper are completed, separate them by features and put them into piles. Let each player pick one slip from each pile. The players are to take on as many of the written descriptions as they wish but must keep them while playing out the scene.
Point of concentration: To keep as many facial qualities as possible while going through a scene.
Some questions the teacher may ask of the players:
a) Did holding these physical aspects make you feel mechanical?
b) How confining were the facial expressions to the “acting”?
c) How do you know when you are communicating the emotion behind the facial gesture?
The audience can evaluate or critique these spontaneous scenes. This definitely takes up a full class period but can be a very useful preface to drama as a tool in the classroom.
With the students in the Learning Center in Particular, Psycho-Drama is an excellent choice as a teaching mechanism. Psycho-Drama is putting one’s own emotion into play to create action; living story instead of “in process“.