In this module, lessons are inspired by the popular James Cameron film Avatar. As teachers, we might experience the need or temptation to pit our wits against popular culture, to challenge student perceptions of what ‘good’ entertainment is, to raise the bar and broaden their horizons. However, some really successful schemes that I have developed tap into popular culture and students’ enthusiasm for it. By starting with a fairly familiar, engaging stimulus, we can indeed raise the bar in other areas, challenging students in terms of skills and independence. This scheme takes students through some key drama skills and concepts, from more individual skills, such as empathy and character creation, to cooperative tasks on physical control and ensemble, atmosphere and stage chemistry.
Each session is planned to last about an hour, but you can adjust the learning episodes and pick and choose from the activities to suit your needs. Teaching spaces should be adaptable for whole-class teaching, circle time, group rehearsal areas and a performance area.
- Lesson 1: Becoming a character. Group miming and rhythm game, and paired work on physical performance of a character that is different from yourself
- Lesson 2: Drawing on empathy and imagination to create a physical world around the character, and show this through mime and reaction. Further paired work
- Lesson 3: Conveying objects more precisely using pace, movement and facial expression. Beginning to use group work skills
- Lesson 4: Introducing and building ensemble skills through a range of whole class games, following on from last lesson’s emphasis on group work
- Lesson 5: Applying ensemble skills in a more independent small group scenario
- Lessons 6-10: Rehearsing for performance and applying group work and ensemble skills
- Lesson 11-12: Performance time as needed
Number of lessons: 11/12