Teaching Drama Structure

Teaching Drama Structure to Upper Elementary Students

Welcome to the second part of our story structure series, where we will focus on teaching drama structure to upper elementary students. Drama is a form of storytelling that uses dialogue, action, and stage directions to create a live performance. In this post, we will show you how to teach your students the elements of drama and how they work together to create a dramatic plot. By the end of this post, your students will be able to identify and analyze the features of a drama.

Start by getting the handout. It includes printables and links to all the activities discussed in this post.

Teaching Drama Structure

Hook: Watch and Discuss a Dramatic Performance

Teaching Drama Structure

Show your students a short video clip of a dramatic performance and ask them to discuss how it uses the elements of drama. You can choose from the following suggestions or use your own:

  • The Lion King: A musical about a lion prince who faces his destiny.
  • Matilda: A musical about a girl who loves reading and has extraordinary powers.

You can use the discussion questions in the handout for each clip to guide your students’ analysis and reflection. The handout also includes sample answers and more details about the drama structure.

Activity #2: Learn the Basics of Drama Structure

Lesson on Teaching Drama Structure

One of the most important aspects of teaching drama structure is to help students understand the different elements that make up a drama and how they work together to create a compelling story.

To do this, we have created a video that covers the basics of drama structure clearly and engagingly. The video introduces students to the different genres of drama, such as opera, musical, mime, and more. It also explains the roles of the cast of characters, the settings, the descriptions, the dialogue, and the stage directions in a drama.

The video shows how a drama is divided into acts and scenes to organize the plot and mark changes in time or place. The video also provides a sample drama that illustrates each element in action.

As students watch the video, they will fill out an organizer that helps them review and remember each element. The video and the organizer are available in the handout and the digital version through Google Slides. This activity will give students a solid foundation for analyzing and writing dramas.

Video Lesson
Play Video about Video Lesson

Activity #3: Learn the Basics of Drama Structure

Teaching Drama Structure

In this activity, students will analyze a scene from a musical drama called Into the Woods Jr. This musical tells a story featuring characters in Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel, but with a twist. Students will get a script excerpt and watch a video of the same scene. The script excerpt starts at 15:15 and ends at 18:40 in the video.

Students should compare the video and the script and notice how they use different elements of drama structure, such as characters, stage directions, and songs. Students should explain why these elements are essential and how they help tell a story.

Into the Woods Jr
Play Video about Into the Woods Jr

Activity #4: Culminating Activity for the Series on Story Structure

Video Lesson on Story Structure

To wrap up our exploration of story structure, we have an engaging culminating activity in store for students. After studying various structures in poems, dramas, and prose, students will read three versions of the same story: a poem, a narrative, and a drama. Each version will feature a distinct structure and style.

Working in small groups, students will carefully read and discuss their assigned version, comparing and contrasting them using a provided set of questions.

With these activities on drama structure, students will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the theater. Through analyzing plays, they will develop valuable skills in character development, dialogue writing, and collaborative storytelling.

We hope that this three-part series on story structure will ignite a passion for literature and the performing arts in your students. 

Break a leg!

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: https://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=17633