Do you spend much time on drama? Like, after PE or lunch?
Hahahaha I am cracking myself up. Well, obviously, that's not the kind I'm talking about. For the past two weeks, I've been working in some fourth grade classrooms. Our current unit in reading is drama: plays. We've been working on the structures unique to dramatic literature (cast of characters, stage directions, scenes, etc.), and making inferences to describe the characters in dramas.
And it's been so much fun!
We started out by introducing the various structures of drama and just finding examples in a dramatic text. We used Storyworks by Scholastic. There aren't a ton of stage directions at the beginning of each scene, but they're engaging plays for kids.
These are the structures we introduced. For each one, we had students practice a gesture to help them remember the meaning. For example, the gesture for "dialogue" is to place your open hand on your mouth and move it away from your mouth to show the lines the characters say. These gestures helped students recall the meaning of the structures.
The second day, we started out by identifying the genre (again). It's so important for kids to practice identifying the genre of a text and think about how that will impact their reading - the strongest readers change the way they read a text based on the genre. That's why teaching reading by genre is so important!
We used our genre cards on rings to identify the genre and then I gave each student about ten tiny post-its. They had five minutes to hunt through the genre and identify the structures we introduced the day before.
After the kids hunted through their dramas and labeled the structures they could find, I handed out this table. You can download it for free from Google Docs. It includes the main structures of drama and the definition. As we read, we tried to explain how that dramatic structure helped us as a reader and filled in the third column.
The next few days, we worked on describing characters in drama using their words (dialogue), actions (stage directions) and what other characters said about them (others' dialogue). To do this, we used one of the sheets from my Scaffolded Reading Responses for Drama and Plays.
Then students used the sentence starters in the middle of the page to write a response using their evidence. Students were able to write about the character using specific details from the text and make accurate inferences. It was a good start in helping students understand dramas and plays!
For more ideas about teaching dramas and plays, check out my Teaching Drama pinterest board here.