Drama Focus Games and Strategies for Improving Focus in the Classroom

Capturing the attention of young students in the primary school classroom can be a challenging task, even for the most experienced classroom teacher. This is where you could consider using some drama-based strategies and focus games, even when you’re not teaching a drama class. These strategies are an engaging and effective way to improve focus, settle students and create a conducive learning environment. Here are some drama games and strategies to promote focus in the classroom:

  1. Mindful Movement Warm-Up:
    • Begin with a mindful movement warm-up.
    • Ask each student to lie on the floor. Encourage students to focus on their breath and the sensations in their bodies. Have them stretch, slowly stand up, and move purposefully around the space.
    • This sets a calm and centered tone for the class.
  2. Popcorn:
    • Begin with students in a circle and explain that they are popcorn. Students “pop” with their bodies and say “POP”. If two players do it at the same time, they are out and have to sit down and watch.
    • This promotes focus and concentration.
  3. Freeze and Unfreeze:
    • Play the “Freeze and Unfreeze” game to practice self-control.
    • Students move freely, then freeze in place when a command is given. Tie the game into the topic the students are learning (for example, if the students are learning about solids, liquids and gasses, have a gesture for each that the students can act out).
    • This game encourages concentration and the ability to follow instructions.
  4. Mime Exploration:
    • Use mime exercises to explore the concepts that the students are learning.
    • For example, in The Body Investigators workshop, we ask students to mime the internal functions of the human body, like brain neurons sending messages and stomach muscles digesting food.
    • This encourages creativity and a deeper understanding of the subject being taught.
  5. Sculptures:
    1. Divide the class into groups and assign each group something to sculpt out of their bodies. For example, in our Journey Into Space workshop, students work together to make their bodies into planets, stars, comets and rocket ships.
    2. This promotes teamwork and attention to detail.
  6. Body Rhymes and Rhythms:
    • Create rhymes or chants related to the topic being studied.
    • Encourage students to recite them in unison with expressive movements and using the body as a percussive instrument (eg clapping, stamping, clicking fingers, drumming on tummy etc).
    • This combines learning with physical engagement, and repetition encourages concentration and memory skills.
  7. Incorporating Movement Into Every Lesson:
    • In The Body Investigators workshop, students can become very restless, particularly during the parts of the workshop where there’s a lot of sitting and listening. When this happens, I always get the kids moving.
    • For example, I ask the students show me on their bodies where their brain, heart, lungs and stomach are. You can turn this into a “Simon Says” type game where you call out a body part (brain, stomach etc) and the students quickly touch their hand to that part.
  8. Reflective Circle Time:
    • Consider ending your lessons with a reflective circle time.
    • Encourage students to share what they learned and how the drama activities helped them focus.
    • This reinforces the value of drama in improving concentration.

By integrating drama focus games and strategies into the classroom, primary school teachers can promote focus and attention while making learning an enjoyable and interactive experience.

 

Ruth Gilmour, Drama Teacher

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