We hope you’re getting settled into your fall routines and schedules now that the third week of school is here. Since we’re now both teaching in part-time contracts we’ve found ourselves digging out those “go to” games and activities to keep students occupied either in our own classes or while TOCing.
Here are a few quick and easy drama games you can play with grades of ANY level/subject if you need to fill a few spare minutes. *Note: most of these games are gleaned from Karley’s B.Ed first year drama course, taught by the hilarious and brilliant Phil Duchene. Those who know him adore him, and those who don’t know him should!
Gotcha: Everyone stands in a circle with their left palm open and facing upward, while placing their right pointer finger in the palm of the person to their right. The teacher calls “Gotcha!” and players have to close their left hand over another person’s finger while pulling away their own finger on the right. This game sounds tricky, but is actually very simple and fun (no materials required). Note: I often reverse the direction of the upward facing palm/pointer finger to switch up the sides of the brain used. It’s pretty funny to watch students struggle with the change in direction.
Evo: Many students already know this game, but might know different stages/names for the game. There are four stages of evolution: Egg, Chicken, T-Rex, and Super Human. The stages look like this:
Everyone starts out as an egg (making the egg shape with their arms above their heads) and wanders around playing rock/paper/scissors with other eggs (ie. anyone, since it’s the start of the game). After students play rock/paper/scissors with an egg-friend, the winner moves up to “chicken status” and the loser stays an egg. As students win rock/paper/scissor games they move up a status and as they lose games they move down a status. No one can go beyond the super human status or below the egg status. Note: students may only play rock/paper/scissors with other people who are at their evolutionary stage.
Find Your Herd: This game is best played in a studio space or a gym where students can walk around with their eyes closed and still be safe. This game is also hilarious from a teacher’s point of view! Have students spread out, sit down and close their eyes. Assign students an animal by walking around and whispering an animal in their ear (I usually use four different animals for this game, e.g. cow, chicken, tiger, fish). Announce: “Find you herd!” and have students get up and move about (or crawl about) with their eyes closed making their animal sound repetitively. For example, a fish might crawl or walk around saying “glub, glub, glub”. Once students find other “animals” in their herd via sense of sound they should stay by their fellow herd mates while continuing to make their sound. The point of the game is to see if all students (animals) can find one another simply by making the same sound.
The Giving Vein: This game is one of my all time favourites to play with students who are really into drama. This game has students sitting in a circle on the floor with one chair reserved in the circle for The King (or Queen) and an empty space reserved to the left of The King’s chair for The Minion. The teacher chooses a student to play The King and that student gets to sit in the chair to receive his/her guests. The peasants (the rest of the class) thinks of items they could offer The King and raise their hands when they have an idea. The King chooses which peasant he wants to interact with and that peasant approaches The King and bows deeply (this is a must!) while saying, “Oh – my King! I offer you _________________”. (The peasant states the offered item, e.g. seasons tickets to the Vancouver Canucks, or any other awesome gift the current King might enjoy). The King decides whether or not he approves of the offered item. If The King likes the item, he replies, “Yes! It pleases us!” and the peasant may sit in The Minion’s space on the floor beside The King. If The King disapproves of the offered item he says, “Bah – it does not please us! Be gone!” and the peasant has to go back to his/her original seat. I usually let each King/Queen have three or four turns accepting/declining offers from peasants. If The King accepts an offering from a Minion, he may accept an offering from another Minion, at which time the second Minion replaces the first (the first rejoins the circle of peasants). This game is all about knowing/getting to know one’s classmates better through ridiculous gift offerings. It’s also about having fun and laughing together and really embracing the drama of it all. I constantly played this game with my grade 6s a few years back and they all loved it so much…they couldn’t get enough. Note: Sometimes the gift offerings can get somewhat out of control, for example: “Oh my King, I offer you a million billion zillion dollars and all the gold in the world!” Eventually I had to make a rule that monetary offerings were no longer allowed – ha!
Enjoy! Please let us know of any surefire, rock star games you use as “go to” activities with your students, we love adding to our repertoire!