Drama

Holy Family N.S.
Tubbercurry

Drama Whole School Plan
Guiding Principles
The guiding principles which underpin the teaching and learning of Drama in our school are:

Drama is a subject
Drama is for all teachers and all children
Process Drama explores the real world through the fictional world

Introductory Statement and Rationale

Introductory Statement: Following the in-service, it was decided to commence the development of the school plan in Drama.

Rationale: This plan is a record of our decisions regarding Drama. It reflects the Primary Curriculum, 1999. It is intended to guide teachers in their individual planning for Drama.

Vision and Aims

Vision: Our school recognises that Drama education is part of a balanced curriculum which aims to develop the whole spectrum of the child’s intelligence. We also seek to develop the child’s aesthetic, intellectual, emotional, creative and cultural development through engagement in positive Drama experiences.

Aims:
We endorse the aims of the Primary School Curriculum for Drama

To enable the child to become Drama literate
To enable the child to create a permanent bridge between make-believe play and the art form of theatre
To develop the child’s ability to enter physically, emotionally and intellectually into the Drama world in order to promote questing, empowering and empathetic skills
To enable the child to develop the social skills necessary to engage openly, honestly and playfully with others
To enable the child to co-operate and communicate with others in solving problems in the Drama and through the Drama
To enable the child to understand the structures and modes of Drama and how they create links between play, thought and life

To enable the child to acquire this knowledge of Drama through the active exploration of themes drawn from life (past and present), whether they have their source in other curricular areas or in general areas relevant to the child’s life
To enable the child to begin the process of translating a knowledge of Drama into the active exploration of life themes from Drama literature, leading to the appreciation of world Drama culture.

Curriculum Planning
1. Strand and Strand Units
Drama has one strand at each class level – Drama to explore feelings knowledge and ideas, leading to understanding.
The strand is divided into three strand units
Exploring and Making Drama
Reflecting on Drama
Co-operating and Communicating in making Drama.

The objectives at each for each strand unit are detailed in the tables below.

 
Exploring and Making DramaJunior and Senior Infantsdevelop the instinct for make-believe play into Drama
develop the ability to play in role as an integral part of the action
experience how the use of space and objects can help to create the reality of the make-believe world
experience how the fictional past and the desired fictional future influence the present Dramatic action
develop awareness of how he/she, as part of a group, helps to maintain focus in the Dramatic action
develop awareness of tension in the Drama1 & 2 classesuse the ability to play at make-believe to enter fully into participation in Drama
use his/her emerging awareness of the differences in people in order to begin to develop an understanding of the relationship between role and character
experience how context is built and a Drama reality created through the use of space and objects
experience how the fictional past and the desired fictional future influence the present Dramatic action
develop the ability to help maintain the focus in the Dramatic action
begin to see how tension adds to Drama the suspense that ensures the interest of the participants3 & 4 classesenter into the fictional Dramatic context with the same spontaneity and freedom that he/she has earlier applied to make-believe play
understand the relationship between role and character and develop the ability to hold on to either role or character for as long as the Dramatic activity requires
discover how the use of space and objects can help in building the context and in signifying Dramatic themes
explore how the fictional past and the desired fictional future influence the present Dramatic action
begin, as a member of a group, to include in Drama activity the elements of tension and suspense
begin the process of using script as a pre-text5 & 6 classesenter appropriately and with facility, whether watched or unwatched, into the fictional Dramatic context
extend playing in role and in character to include the ability to accept and maintain a brief that has been decided on by either the teacher, the group or himself/herself
discover how the use of space and objects helps in building the context and in signifying the Drama theme
explore how the fictional past and the desired fictional future influence the present Dramatic action
become adept at implementing the ‘playing rules’ that maintain focus in Dramatic action
help to plan Dramatic activity to include the particular tension and suspense appropriate to the theme being explored
distinguish between various genres, such as comedy, tragedy, fantasy
become comfortable with script and understand the basic processes by which script becomes action

Reflecting on Drama

Junior and Senior Infantsdevelop the ability to reflect on the action as it progresses
experience the relationship between story, theme and life experience
share insights gained while experiencing the Drama1 & 2 classesuse reflection on a particular Dramatic action to create possible alternative courses for the action
experience, through Drama, the relationship between story, theme and life experience
share insights while experiencing the Drama or insights that arise out of the Drama3 & 4 classesuse reflection on and evaluation of a particular Dramatic action to create possible alternative courses for the action
learn, through Drama, the relationship between story, theme and life experience
use the sharing of insights arising out of Dramatic action to develop the ability to draw conclusions and to hypothesise about life and people5 & 6 classesreflect on a particular Dramatic action in order to create possible alternative courses for the action that will reflect more closely the life patterns and issues being examined
learn, through Drama, the relationship between story, theme and life experience
use the sharing of insights arising out of Dramatic action to develop the ability to draw conclusions and to hypothesise about life and people

 
Co-Operarating and Communicating in Making DramaJunior and Senior Infantsdevelop the ability, out of role, to co-operate and communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop, in role, the ability to co-operate and communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama1 & 2 classesdevelop, out of role, the ability to co-operate and communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop, in role, the ability to co-operate and communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop fictional relationships through interaction with the other characters in small-group or whole-class scenes as the Drama text is being made
re-enact for others in the group a scene that has been made in simultaneous small-group work3 & 4 classesdevelop, out of role, the ability to co-operate and communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop, in role, the ability to co-operate and to communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop fictional relationships through interaction with the other characters in small-group or whole-class scenes as the Drama text is being made
enact spontaneously for others in the group a scene from the Drama, or share with the rest of the class a scene that has already been made in simultaneous small-group work5 & 6 classesdevelop, out of role, the ability to co-operate and to communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop, in role, the ability to co-operate and communicate with others in helping to shape the Drama
develop fictional relationships through interaction with the other characters in small-group or whole-class scenes as the Drama text is being made

enact spontaneously for others in the group a scene from the Drama, or share with the rest of the class a scene that has already been made in simultaneous small-group work

The school recognises that the strand units and the content objectives for Drama are interlinked.

Specific activities at each class level will be added in an appendix at the end of this document. This appendix details stimuli and specific content suggested for each class level.

2. Approaches and Methodologies

Belief is central to all Drama and should be characterised by a willingness to believe in the Drama itself, sincerity in playing roles and characters, a willingness to accept the fictional consequences of Drama and a willingness to explore. Teachers will focus on the building of belief when beginning a new Drama activity.
The strand ‘Drama to explore feeling, knowledge and ideas leading to understanding’ will be important for teachers in this school in informing the content that they choose for Drama activities.

Content for Drama will come from life experience. It will be from something that the children have experienced, something that they have read, something that emerged in another subject area, a worry or concern that the teacher might have or something generally that the teacher wants them to explore.

Teachers will carefully select a fictional lens or for their chosen content. A character or story will be selected that the children will easily believe in, who’s context will allow for the realisation of the content to be explored.

Stimuli such as the following will be used in our school as starting points for the creation of a Drama. These are in keeping with the Drama activities 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; pp. 66-91 in the Teacher Guidelines.
Story
Poems
Newspaper Captions
Pictures
Painting
Photographs
Objects
The suggested uses of these stimuli are outlined in appendix 1 at the back of this document.

Elements are used organically through the Drama. Belief will be built as roles/characters develop. Action, place and time will be developed as the Drama is framed in its fictional lens. The element of tension is the one which teachers will have to think about. Tension will often have to be injected e.g. by adding a mysterious character / secret / surprise / problem / tension of time or urgency / limitations of space / temptation of a dare or a challenge / tension of inappropriate behaviour.

In this school we recognise the usefulness of Drama strategies. Below is a table showing some suitable strategies for the class level. This is not an exhaustive list rather a suggestion. Teachers have the freedom to introduce other strategies that they might find useful for their own particular class or for a particular dramatic context.

Class LevelSuggested StrategiesJunior & Senior InfantsDefining the Space, Still Images, Teacher in Role, Mimed Narration, Whole Group improvisation, Hot seating.1 & 2 ClassesDefining the Space, Mimed Narration, Teacher in Role, Whole Group Improvisation, Still Images, Thought Tracking, Paired Improvisation, Improvisation in threes, Hot seating3 & 4 ClassesDefining the Space, Teacher in Role, Mimed Narration, Still Images, Thought Tracking, Improvisation in Pairs, Briefing, Conscience Alley, Whole Group Improvisation, Small Group Improvisation, Ritual, Flashback/flashforward5 & 6 ClassesDefining the Space, Teacher in Role, Mimed Narration, Still Images, Thought Tracking, Improvisation in Pairs, Briefing, Conscience Alley, Whole Group Improvisation, Small Group Improvisation, Hot seating, Ritual, Flashback/flashforward, An explanation of each strategy is contained in the Appendix.

The safe environment is important for effective drama work to take place. In our school each class may develop a drama contract. To build confidence and further embed the safe environment, classes will play appropriate warm up games to develop various drama skills necessary for their drama work. Discussion about the contract and the safe environment may be included where appropriate both before and after the drama activity.

We see reflection as being of vital importance to the drama process. We will strive to ensure that reflection takes place at the appropriate points in the drama experience. We will also strive for a balance of methods of reflection using discussion, writing, visual arts, speaking, listening, doing, & questioning. A list of drama reflection methods is to be found in the appendix .

3. Children with Different Needs
It is the policy of our school that all children in mainstream classes or in special classes will participate in Drama activities. Drama activities will be differentiated in order to meet the needs of the children in a particular class. This will be done by careful grouping of children, consciousness by the teacher of children’s abilities when giving briefs and by providing opportunities for different methods of reflection.

4. Linkage and Integration
Linkage is inherent to the Drama process. All activities in Drama will include exploring and making Drama, reflecting on Drama and co-operating and communicating in making Drama.

 

The school has an active policy on integration. Teachers are encouraged to integrate Drama with other subjects in a way that complements curriculum aims and objectives in both subjects. Integration is encouraged where it is natural and where children’s learning can be maximised. With this in mind a thematic approach for integration is a model supported by the school.

The school sees particular opportunities for integration across the three arts subjects.

5. Assessment and Record Keeping
As has been outlined in our schools Assessment & Record Keeping Policy we recognise the importance of assessment and record keeping in the delivery of The Drama Curriculum. Much assessment will focus on the children’s learning and how best to inform subsequent planning and teaching. Teachers will observe which areas children are achieving in and which areas need further development.

Teachers should approach assessment in Drama by referring to the Curriculum Statement p 43-44 and examine childrens engagement in terms of the three strand units. E.g .see below

Exploring and making Drama – the extent to which the child enters into a role or a character and develops it in the context of the action
Reflecting on Drama – the extent to which they use reflection to create alternative courses for the action or the quality of the insights they gain from the Drama experience
Co-operating and communicating in making Drama – the child’s ability to contribute to the shaping of the Drama, both individually and in group in-role and out-of-role discussion about the Drama as the action takes place
Teacher observation and note taking will be central to all assessment in Drama. Other forms of assessment will include basic teacher-designed tests and tasks, projects, recordings of children’s work, and graphic / pictorial scores.

Progress will be recorded and communicated in teachers own notes, Cúntas Míosúil, end of year report and at parent teacher meetings.

6. Equality of Participation and Access
Equal opportunities will be given to all children regardless of gender, ethnic background, socio-economic status across all strands and activities.

7. Timetable
Infant class will have a minimum of 50 minutes of Drama per week while 1 to 6 classes will have a minimum of one hour per week of Drama. This time allocation may be broken down at the discretion of the individual teacher. Teachers may also choose to block times for Drama at particular times of the year. Timetables will all record the time allocation for Drama.

Teachers should ensure that pupils attending supplementary teaching are included for as much of the Drama programme as possible.
8. Resources and ICT

An inventory of all equipment suitable for the delivery of The Drama Curriculum has been compiled and is included in the appendix to this document. This includes Drama books, basic props, suitable stimuli (music, poetry, stories, visual images, newspaper captions). Teachers are provided with a copy of this at the start of each school year. All resources are held centrally in the secretary’s office.

Teachers are encouraged to use other adults who may be available to them such as a parent or a teacher who is working with the class to facilitate the delivery of the curriculum where appropriate.
Teachers are encouraged to teach their Drama lessons in their own classrooms and to carefully timetable for maximised use of the cleared space. Drama may also be taught in the school hall. (if available).

9. Health and Safety

As with all curricular areas work, the Drama Curriculum will maintain due care to our schools Health and Safety Policy.
Care and attention will be given to the following:
Hidden dangers if children are moving around the classroom
Storage facilities
Ventilation of the classrooms
Amount of space for children to sit or stand when engaged in Drama work
Particular care will be needed when children are setting up the Drama space.
Appropriate volume levels when using audio equipment or when engaged in a very loud activity.

10. Individual Teachers’ Planning and Reporting

Each teacher will be given a copy of this school plan and will be encouraged to refer to it when doing their own long term and short term planning. Teachers teaching the same level are encouraged to plan together

The elements of Drama should be carefully considered in the short term planning of Drama.
As mentioned in the integration section teachers in the school approach much of their teaching thematically and are encouraged to do so with Drama also. Some of the themes that we as a school have chosen as possibilities are

Halloween
Autumn
Winter
Christmas
Spring
Summer
Pirates
The Sea
Food
A journey

11. Staff Development

Teachers have access to reference books, resource materials, equipment and websites dealing with Drama. We will continue to add to this in the coming years.

Drama will be on the agenda at some staff meetings. This will allow for review of the policy and also give an opportunity for members of staff to share ideas that are working for them.

Teachers will be informed about upcoming courses in the education centres and other bodies providing professional development through the staffroom notice board.

Over the coming years we hope to engage with the PCSP cuiditheoireacht service to come to the school to aid individual teachers with planning, to model lessons and to target the weaker areas of the curriculum.

12. Parental Involvement

Where appropriate parents may be involved in Drama within the classroom. If a parent has particular expertise they may be invited in to be part of the classroom process in Drama. Parents may be invited to open classroom presentations of improvisations or other work created in small group settings and of course school concerts.

13. Community Links

Tubbercurry has a vibrant Drama society and is the centre of drama in the south of the county. There is a wealth of amateur actors and theatre professionals living locally. There are local arts centres and education officers, theatre, local Drama events etc close at hand and are all considered as valuable resources as support for The Drama Curriculum.

There are many dramas and events held in the Hawk’s Well Theatre Sligo and in the TF Theatre in Castlebar. When Suitable groups of children are brought to these productions. The local Drama Group often ask for our involvement in various events and have workshops for children’s drama. We encourage our pupils to participate in these. Quite often (not every year ) we have a school concert. These have always been a tremendous success. The performances are held in our school hall. It is hoped at some stage that we may employ a drama teacher with a strong emphasis on poetry and recitation. We hope to the time will come when the school will participate in competitions.

Success Criteria
This plan should prove to be a significant help to the teaching of Drama in our school.

How will we know that the plan has been implemented?
Teachers’ preparation based on this plan
Procedures outlined in this plan consistently followed

Means of assessing the outcomes of the plan include
Teacher/parent feedback
Children’s feedback
Inspectors’ suggestions/reports

Implementation

Roles and Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of every class teacher to plan for and organise drama in his/her own classroom. However if there is a whole school production as there often is it will be a case of “all hands on deck”

 
Timeframe
The plan is to be implemented as soon as possible.

Review
Roles and Responsibilities
Each teacher and the staff as a group will evaluate the progress in Drama by referring back to our set of stated objectives as stated in this plan. A short session at staff meeting will be allocated to this work.

Timeframe
The content of this whole school plan for Drama will be reviewed during the school year 2010

 
Ratification and Communication
This school plan for Drama has been ratified by the Board of Management of Holy Family N.S.