Lesson Samples

Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Connecting Drama-Based Activities to Academic Curriculum
The following section includes lesson examples. These are supplemental activities based on
academic units. Their purpose is to move from the superficial understanding of the topics and
new linguistic components, to integrated, engaging internalization and deep learning.
1. Exploring current events - could be explored through numerous drama conventions
a. Level – advanced students, but could be tailored to lower levels by choosing
appropriate topic, directing students to links with easier language, narrowing the
specific drama conventions to be used.
2. Creating a Barter Network – similarly to above, could be explored through numerous
drama conventions
a. Level – low intermediate. Teacher takes an active role as part of the process.
3. Culture Shock – a teacher created unit – (mini lecture - ESL-Lab.com).
a. Level - This unit is more applicable for more advanced students, though the
theme could be explored with lower levels by adapting the listening and reading
b. The purpose of the integrated activity is to engage students in a meaningful
sharing of ideas and experiences through a multisensory, holistic approach. It is
also a segue into a drama-based activity where students compile their stories
and create a dramatization of their experiences.
c. My Journey to America – a compilation of scenes depicting the various
experiences students had as newcomers to the United States.(based on ‘Culture
Shock’ lesson)
i. Students create the dialogues
ii. Students make decisions as to the staging of the “frames”
iii. Students choose the signs – artifacts, props, colors, sounds
iv. Students assign roles
v. Students perform
See Youtube - Speech Festival
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Lesson Example - Student Handout: ‘Egypt Uprising – Group Activity’
Background and activity objectives - This activity was given to the more advanced level students at the
American Language Program in the early stage of the semester, after exploring a unit on information
In the wake of this unit and after several weeks of 1-minute presentations by the students at the start of
each lesson on current events, we decided to explore a “monumental social event”, which happened to
be the first wave of uprisings in Egypt. Other groups have examined the topic of the “Canadian Honor
Killings”, exploring cultural values/norms, immigration, teen behavior, and media.
Students have previously done some drama-based activities such as short improvisation dialogues and
acting an array of ‘feeling words’, subsequent to teacher quests about the characters in the events. They
have also been asked to listen to or imagine the various sounds surrounding each event.
To fully explore the topic and the process, including strategic questioning and reflection, I allow two 3hour sessions. Students “performed” their creations for the rest of the class on week 3. The debriefing
and reflection was done throughout the planning process and after the reports.
For this activity, the general theme is social issue - ‘Uprising in Egypt’; however, each group chooses
specific events within the long-standing uprising. Students also chose the frames, the roles, and the
signs. The drama conventions utilized are TIR; improvisation; tableau/freeze frame;
interview/reporting, and thought tracking.
This type of activity could be done with any current event the students and the teacher find to be of
interest and relevance.
Although this activity utilizes some process drama conventions, it incorporates a student-generated
Egypt Uprising – Group Activity
The “Why”
1. To discuss important current events and social issues and their impact on our society.
2. To explore the “big human question” – the impact of the event on society and on us. What can
WE do about the events/their implications?
3. To extend passive and active vocabulary related to the subject
4. To utilize past experiences, knowledge, and imagination to express AND experience the facts,
opinions and feelings of the people involved in the event.
5. To analyze and evaluate the issue through the engagement of verbal and body languages.
The “What”
You will create “pictures” or “Freeze Frames” where certain moments of the uprising are
captured in time and space. To do so, we will divide the class into groups of 3-4. Each group will
choose 3-4 specific moments in time and its participants.
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
While part of the group creates the “picture”, another student will become a news reporter to
provide a short report about the picture. Each “frame” will be narrated by another reporter
from the group. (3 people – 3 frames)
At any time, the rest of the students may stop the action and ask each participant (in role) to
convey their “inner thoughts” (Thought Tracking)
To help you create your “pictures”, I am including few links. You will find many ideas for a
variety of situations.
In groups - generate ideas and bring some facts to next class to discuss with your group. (Note
the reporting language.)
The “How”
1. Listen to the reports on the videos enclosed, search for other audio recordings in NPR.org, and
read the articles:
a. NPR Reports – audio – go to npr.org and type ”Egypt” in search
b. NY Times headlines
c. Series of photo-images
2. Generate 3 short paragraphs in a form of a TV report (as a journalist)
3. To organize your thoughts, consider the following:
a. Various people involved: protesters – men, women, children, elderly; military; police;
government officials – there and/or here
b. Occupation – businessmen, lawyers, teachers, shop owners, city workers, housewives,
c. Situation – meeting, clash between various groups – physical/verbal, Face book – social
networking/technology - internet, cell phones, radio, tv, etc.
d. The location – bridge, street, office, store, someone’s house (meeting to organize)
Egypt/ U.S
e. Emotions (see list of helpful vocab. below) add your own
f. Goals/objectives - what does the specific group trying to achieve – why? What’s was it
before and what do they want now?
g. Extras – sounds, smells, sights around you - objects around you, objects you have/hold,
time of day, weather, what are you wearing and why?
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Useful Vocabulary in addition to unit 1:
Feelings words
Demoralized/ing, frustrated, disgusted, worried, sad, angry, confused, fearful anxiety/anxious,
desperate, condemned, relieved, ecstatic, astonished, enthusiastic (sm), happy (ness), hopeful, or
victorious. Scared, happy, angry, concerned, confused, panicked, puzzled, frustrated, desperate about
their future, exhausted, hope for better future…
Action words
Cry, hug, pray, dance, yell, scream, demand, throw – objects rocks, inspect, gather, congregate, die,
provoke, escape, think, contemplate, disagree, argue, investigate,
Shoot, burn, fight, lift/waive flags, waive fists, demand freedom from current regime, care for wounded,
Other useful language
Hold our ground, hand over the power to the military
Mounting pressure, democracy, choice, elections
Clashes decades of heavy handed rule
Was removed from power by…
Finally driven from office (by)
Crowds rejoice,
30 years of president of republic
Years of oppression, Voices want to be heard
Hands over power to military
Omar Suleiman – VP, Hosni Mubarak
Prof. Carmela O’Flaherty 2/11
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Drama-based activity: Creating a Barter Network
Julia Arnold
Beginners’ Level (Level 1, ALP-Speech, Bergen Community College)
This activity was offered in mid-semester at the end of the lesson based on Unit “A Penny Saved
Is a Penny Earned” from NorthStar 2 – Listening and Speaking book (ISBN 978-0-13-240989-6).
Prior to this activity, students practiced short versions of drama conventions – pantomime,
improvisation, distancing, and hot seating in a variety of contexts. Such practices became
permanent exercises in class and allowed for deeper topic exploration and natural flow of
Purpose: Through drama conventions, such as ‘improvisation’, ‘meeting’, ‘thought tracking’, or
‘hot seating’, students engage in a particular circumstance, where a barter networking is
(Students create pool of services and list of useful items to minimize money and time spent for
conventional shopping and set up system where these services and items could be exchanged.)
Method: Dramatization of Bartering Society Meeting. Students assume roles of Bartering
Network participants willing to offer services they are able to provide (e.g., babysitting, music
lessons, math tutoring, computer training, chauffer, etc.) and items they want to exchange
(e.g., used textbooks, toys and clothes for children, cooking utensils, etc.). They establish terms
and conditions of the exchange, negotiate “currency” and “prices,” set time necessary for the
services to be provided. If ‘meeting’ convention is selected:
One student is conducting a meeting.
Three students comprise the Board that assigns value to all products.
Others are neighborhood members; they may challenge the decisions of the Board and
have to defend their argument.
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Prepared one-minute descriptions of items brought for bartering and skills that could be
used in bartering network (given as homework or as a verbal improvisation on-the-spot)
Group discussion in order to evaluate what has been offered and decide on value of
each item and service – done by the Board of three students who have to look at
products from two points of view: seller’s and consumer’s
Negotiations and bargaining as means to get a better deal – students may disagree with
the Board’s decision
Exchange of items and services; agreement of the way and time the services will be
delivered – the goal is to reach mutual agreement
Sharing of feelings after the exchange has happened: What was spent? What was
received in exchange? Was it worth it? Do you feel you got a good deal? The goal is to
help students appreciate the results of their negotiation and established relationships
for future services that they “bought.”
Things to consider:
Where is the meeting held? – someone’s home, church, town square
Who are you? – a housewife, a business person, a local school teacher, a police
officer, a teenager, a bodega owner, a Wall Street broker, a soccer coach, a dog
owner, etc.
Why are you here? – to get rid of unnecessary stuff; to look for help at home while
you are at work; to volunteer; to see what other people have to offer; to see if
bartering is for you; to exchange what you have/can do to what you need; you came
here because all neighbors are here
What do you feel? – confident, apprehensive, anxious, curious, ambitious, puzzled,
surprised, hopeful, concerned, frustrated
How do you feel about bartering? – not for you, you just stopped by; you’re a
regular at such meetings; you just lost your job and need to save money; you love
the spirit of the community such network creates
Language component: Modals and Polite Expressions
get a good deal
pay an arm and a leg
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
be worth (it)
NJTESOL, May 2012
-Action verbs:
-Other vocabulary:
credit cards
flea market
cost (n. and v.)
This lesson conveniently fits in low-level ESL class as it expands communicative abilities and
deepens the experience students have to deal with on every-day basis: being consumers and
being neighbors. The context of the drama is close to real life, yet it provides enough
assumptions and role-playing to require such techniques as improvisation, Hot Seating,
meeting, narration, and reflection.
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
[email protected]; [email protected]
Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
NJTESOL, May 2012
[email protected]; [email protected]
Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Read the following essay about culture shock:
How Culture Shock Affects Newcomers
by Judie Haynes (2005)
http://www.everythingesl.net/inservices/cultureshock.php (retrieved August 2010)
Don't underestimate the results of culture shock. The emotional upheaval of moving can be
devastating to any child. These symptoms are compounded when the child comes from a
different culture and does not speak English.
What is Culture Shock?
Newcomers who act out in the classroom are probably suffering from culture shock. This is a
term used to describe the feelings people have when they move to an unfamiliar culture.
Immigrant children may become withdrawn and passive or they may be aggressive. The more
different the new culture is from their own, the greater the shock. Newcomers have left behind
family members, friends, teachers, and pets. They have lost their language and culture. Often
they do not have the support of their parents who are in shock too.
Four Stages of Culture Shock
It must be emphasized that every child reacts differently to moving to a new place. New arrivals
usually go through four stages of culture shock.
1.Euphoric or Honeymoon Stage
During this stage newcomers are excited about their new lives. Everything is wonderful and
they are having a great time learning about their environment.
2. Culture Shock Stage.
The differences between the new and the native cultures becomes more apparent. Students
feel overwhelmed at this stage. There is so much they do not understand about their new
surroundings. They are frustrated because they can not communicate and are bombarded with
unfamiliar surroundings, unreadable social signals and an unrelenting barrage of new sounds.
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Students suffering from culture shock may seem sleepy, irritable, disinterested or depressed.
Some students may become aggressive and act out their frustrations.
Newcomers in this stage of culture shock need time and patience from their teachers.
3. Integration Stage.
Newcomers start to deal with the differences between the old culture and new. They learn to
integrate their own beliefs with those of the new culture. Some newcomers will start to replace
the old values with new ones. Others will begin to find ways to exist with both cultures. Many
immigrant parents start to become alarmed at this stage. They do not want their children to
lose their language and culture.
4. Acceptance Stage.
Newcomers are now able to enter and prosper in the mainstream culture. They accept both
cultures and combine them into their lives. Some students will adopt the mainstream culture at
school and follow the values of the home culture outside of school. During this stage many
immigrant parents make it clear to their children that they do not want them to adopt the
mainstream culture. This is because many immigrant students forget their native language and
reject their culture.
Think about the following questions; discuss your answers with your partner:
1. How different or similar is the essay to the mini-lecture you just heard? What are some
of the similarities and differences?
2. What new information about culture shock did you learn from this essay?
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
New information
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
NJTESOL, May 2012
[email protected]; [email protected]
Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
The following is a compilation of students’ experiences adapted for a play. Based on Gary
Carkin’s work with ELL students, EVO Drama
My journey to America
Airport security officer, a man on a street, neighbor, salesperson, mother (could be played by a
male actor)
Student (played by various people)
3-4 male actors
3- 7 female actors
Scene 1 – Inception (everyone)
I’m going to America
New and exciting life,
Better opportunities
Learn English
New York city
Times Square
Perfect weather for….. shopping!
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Scene 2 – Newark Airport
(Walking quickly to the window)
Passport please
Ah… yes… yes
What is the purpose of your trip?
Why are you here (slower)? Travel? Student?
Aaah…. Yes. Yes. Student
Can I see your F-1 visa?
Aaaah, yes, yes…( hands the papers)
Who is paying for your tuition?
Who is paying for you to be here? Money, money for student?
Ah… yes, yes…. Money…………………….My mother and father
Ok, can you place your hand here for finger printing?
Oh… (smiling …not sure what to do with the hands… )
(grabs one hand roughly) here we go… one, and (grabs the other hand) and done
Ouch! Ouch! (at the same time as the fingerprints are taken)
Look at the camera for a photo
Picture, picture. (motions to a camera)
Ah… picture… yes, yes… posing for a picture.
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
You can go now…………..
NJTESOL, May 2012
Ah…. Yes, yes.
Scene 3: Traveling to BCC
Student is walking around looking for someone who could direct her – she’s lost. She stops a
man and gathers courage to ask him how to get there.
I need to go Paramus.
Oh, it’s a piece of cake
No, no… no cake…. I’m not hungry - Go to Paramus
Laughing… I mean it’s easy. Take route 4 West, then get on rt. 17 north
How long to walk?
Walk? You can’t walk there it’s too far. You don’t have a car?
I suppose you can take a taxi
Taxi? Oh, no…. expensive…. Bus?
Well, let me think – You could take number 23 to Garden State and then switch there.
Oh, thank you…. Hum…. Where do I take bus?
Go around this bend, then make a left on Lemoine, then right on Main and it’s right
OK… ( tries to repeat directions, but stumbles…)
(Repeats patiently) around this bend, then left, then right….
(turns around starts walking dragging her bag….) It’s heavy….
The man sighs and smiles, takes the bag from S2 and they walk together chatting…
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Scene 4: Meeting a neighbor in the morning
Good morning, Mrs. Grump!
How are you? (as the neighbor begins to move, student starts spilling her life history…)
Well, I was sick – very sick, had to go to the doctor and he told me to “take it easy” I
don’t know what I need to take easy. I paid a lot of money. Today is better. Oh…
yes…..my friend said that…
Sorry to cut you off…(looking at the watch) I am… I am… late to work… See you later?
(running off )
But…. (w/ sad face, walking slowly away) she said “How are you?”
Scene 5: Shopping for blender:
Student walking into the store looking around at the different appliances.
May I help you?
Thank you…. I need ah…. Ah …. Machine…..
Machine? What kind of machine?
It does (circles her finger round and round while making ‘wisz’ ‘wisz’ noices)
Offers a coffee grinder
no, no, not drink coffee, (makes a happy face holding a pretend glass and a straw –
pretending to drink)
Ah… I think I know… (makes the same drinking with a straw motion) You mean a blender
(pulls out a blender and shows it to S4)
Ah, yes, yes, blender… Thank you, thank you….
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
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Deep Learning Through Drama-Based Activities
NJTESOL, May 2012
Song – The Words Escape me (Saturday class)
Scene 5: Phone call home…
Ring ring, ring ring (make big phones out of cardboard)
Other side of the stage – ring ring….ring ring… a mother is coming out with the phone, apron, and a
Hi mom
Oh… (Name)….. So good to hear your voice
Good to hear yours too. How is everybody home?
Your sister is missing you very much, so she’s been wearing your pink sandals every day.
Wearing my favorite sandals?.......(sigh)... How about brother?
Well… he … misses you too, so he moved into your room
He is in my room? He moved into my room. Do tell him not to get too comfortable…
(Pause….)I miss my dog… how is he doing? Does he miss me too?
Here he is… (woof!)
How are you managing?
It’s hard - I still don’t understand everythink but it’s getting better. My English is improving. I
am even performing in a speech festival at the college - imagine that!
That’s nice. Are you eating well?
Oh yes, yes… I discovered the greatest place -
Well, take care of yourself, (name) I miss you
I miss you too….I will be OK (hangs up and smiles)
By: Carmela O’Flaherty and Julia Arnold
Dunkin Donuts!
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