Title: Role Drama: A Journey Through Medieval Times
Contributing Source: Linda Ladmore and Deborah Thorvaldson, Surrey Elementary Teachers
Curricular Area: Drama integrated with history, literature, visual arts
Grade Level: 3/4+
IRP Connections: Drama skills- demonstrate the ability to sustain belief in students' imagined or created environment. Exploration and Imagination-interpret feelings and understandings about the lives and culture of medieval people. Context-explore themes and traditions from a cultural and historical perspective through role drama strategy
Evaluation Criteria: Drama Rating Criteria Sheet form in Integrated Resource Package for Fine Arts K-7, Ministry of Education for British Columbia (on line)
Description of Lesson/Unit:
What is role drama?
Through role drama students will:
-examine perceptions/points of view
-integrate language, feeling and thought
-develop skills in problem-solving and decision making
-research, read, and write about the topic of Medieval life and connect their knowledge with drama
During role drama, students will:
-make and test hypotheses
-talk and write in a variety of styles
-cooperate with others
-develop a knowledge base of the area content
-gain self confidence
-analyze situations and characters
-defend a point of view
-translate ideas from verbal to visual and vice versa
-working as a group
-teacher takes on a role (develop questioning skills to challenge student thinking)
-allow time for thinking
The objectives of the lessons in this unit are:
- to participate in various oral language and drama activities that relate to a historical or literature source;
- to read, write and discuss make pictures within the framework of drama activities.
- to build commitment to and belief in role playing.
- to role play in whole group role drama with teacher-in-role.
- to discuss and reflect upon role playing experiences
Guidelines for building a role drama
1. choose a context
2. choose a viewpoint for myself and my students
3. build belief and commitment by:
- guided imagery
- making lists
- making maps or plans
4. set up classroom physically
5. plan script for myself in role
6. inject drama with tension by;
- obstacle to overcome
- time-sense of urgency
- space and distance
- dare, challenge or test
- depending on one another
- conflicting priorities
Area of focus
Developing classroom community by building cooperative skills in a visual art lesson. Students will learn about shields and heraldry from the middle ages. They will apply their understandings to designing a shield for his or her partner.
The learner will:
- examine shields from resource material
- learn about the symbols and patterns of shields i.e. 'chevron', 'lozenge' and 'bendy'
- learn about medieval lettering and decoration and practice the techniques
- experiment with color and gold tarnishing techniques, (using gold cellophane paper and glue, rub the color onto the shield)
- develop a sense of community and ensemble in the classroom
The teacher will
Divide students into partners by lining up (in mime) in order of their birth month, starting with January. They can use their fingers to indicate the month and date. Once the line is established the teacher will take the students born from mid June to December and pair them with those born January to early June.
- discuss how shields were used to identify the knight and his family
- family crests were derived from shields of heraldry
- identify the animal symbols: lion, unicorn, dragon, etc.
- circulate examples of shields to students
- set criteria with students
- work on the draft shields, enlisting the help of other students when necessary
- when each student is satisfied with the shields then the students work on their good copies
- circulate, ensuring the cooperative spirit is fostered
- demonstrate tarnished techniques using foil
- when shields are completed, teacher invites student pairs to introduce each other to the class (in an established classroom students will know each others' names but may not know about all the areas, heritage, hobbies interests represented on the shield)
- continue to work on their good copy enlisting assistance when necessary
- strive for quality
- practice introductions together, prior to class presentation
What did you learn about medieval shields? How did you apply your understanding to the shields you made for your partner? What did you learn about your classmates by doing this activity?
Creative representation of partners' interests and activities
- application of medieval lettering and decoration
- application of medieval divisions
- dramatic use of color
- neat and attractive
- use of tarnishing technique
Today I learned______________________________
My partner and I ____________________________
One thing I would change_______________________
Area of focus
Developing drama skills, as well as applying previously learned knowledge of peoples roles in Medieval life
The learner will:
-identify and explore the various people and places that contribute to a community
-develop the skills necessary to work cooperatively, share ideas, respect others points of view
Students will view the videos: "A Kid in King Arthur's Court" and "Merlin". They will discuss the differences from life today. Students observe the clothing, housing, language and customs.
Students will read the book, The Middle Ages by Maria Rius and Gloria and Oriol Verges and complete a story board. Students will have completed a Venn diagram comparing their lives to those of a medieval child. At this point students are establishing an overall understanding of the structure of Medieval Society and the role that each person played.
Review the 'Four Alls' and their roles in the feudal society
Warm ups (building trust and cooperation - see Drama section entitled "Beginnings", this web site). "Untangle" and "Statues" are both excellent warm-up games. In the statue game, students are to mold their partner into a person from medieval life. i.e. a serf ploughing a field by hand.
Discuss i.e. "What could Sue have done to show she was a "Lady of the Manor?" "She could have held her head up high and looked snooty."
Discuss what kinds of job they might have within a 'castle community'. Choose 6 students Number 1-6 Class decides on a situation i.e. kitchen. Student number one comes in and freezes in a position. Each student enters and adds to the picture. Discuss.
Discuss celebrations i.e. a banquet, and different aspects:
- preparing food
- getting ready for the banquet
Write each setting on a card. Give each group a card. Create a tableau. Remind students about facial expressions/ body language/ levels. Introduce "tapping in" (the character who is frozen comes to life with a statement that would be from the character - e.g. Cinderella is tapped: "Oh I wish I could go to the ball!"). Show tableau individually. Discuss Introduce idea of 'coming to life'. (See section on tableaux)
What did you learn about Medieval Life and the different roles? What was it like for you when I "tapped in"? How did your group work together?
Today I learned______________________
My group worked_____________________
One thing I would change_____________________
Self evaluation: See section on rubrics in Integrated Resource Package for Fine Arts K-7, Ministry of Education for British Columbia
Lesson Plan 3 (This will take several classes)
Area of Focus
Students will be working towards a whole class role drama. This would be a culmination of, knowledge gained through exploration of medieval life, drama skills developed over the unit, development of trust and cooperative skills.
The learner will
- create a medieval market
- select a role and develop that role in a problem solving context
- face issues and clarify values under a near authentic situation
- reveal knowledge about the roles and 'law and order' of the times
- demonstrate skills necessary to work cooperatively, share ideas and respect others points of view
- books of Medieval Life will be at hand to view if necessary
- students' diary
- cards of attitude of merchant / customer
- character cards (preparing for class role-drama)
- review life in the city
- review principles of law and order in medieval society
Development Warm up (building trust and cooperation)
Students walk around the room
"You are a serf, you have come to market to sell your produce, you have a heavy pack on you back, you do not look any one in the eyes.. freeze.
"you are a knight.. a lady.. on your way to market.. how are you walking.. how are you feeling..? How do you greet each other?" Freeze.
Choose a character.. how are you feeling happy, angry? tired? are you young? old? imagine you are walking through the market... when I tap the drum.. introduce yourself to the nearest person and begin a conversation .. when I tap the drum again move on." Repeat... Freeze
Choose a role. One student sits on a chair. Students are allowed to ask 20 questions. Answer yes / no. Guess role i.e. serf... King... knight
Role Play in Pairs
Discuss different produce found in the market. Discuss different 'attitudes that the merchants and customers could take. Give out cards to each pair:
customer - timid and shy
merchant - very business like
customer - snobbish
merchant - proud of his goods
customer - not exactly sure of what he/she wants
merchant - has many customers waiting
customer - thinks the merchant is overcharging
merchant - is the only one with these goods
customer - has broken something but refuses to pay
merchant - demands to be paid
customer - is a stranger to the country
merchant - is very patient but doesn't like tourists
customer - considers buying more things
merchant - wants to shut the stall for the day
Students who wish to show their role-play, present to the class. Try a different role-play.
Give students character cards. Take students through a relaxation. Students choose name, age, how they look. Draw picture of their house, paste onto large sheet of paper. Draw objects that are important to them, put into pouch.
Set up class room as a market square
Guide students through waking up, getting ready for Market Day. Write a diary in role anticipating the day. Students who are going to the market, freeze. Students who are involved with the market, set up stalls. (one student will be informed that he/she will be accused of being a thief.) (One student will be informed that he or she will be the accuser) Students will be informed that the teacher will enter the drama in role.. When the lights flash the teacher is no longer in role. When the market seems to be established, begin drama. Students introduce recorder and drum music to add to the belief of the drama.
Teacher in role enters and states: " I am the Royal baker and the kings upper crust bread has been stolen. Does anyone know who might have taken it?"
Class reacts. Freeze. In role decide thief's fate, and write a letter to the Lord of the castle. Collect letters. Teacher in role as town crier shares the crowd's verdict.
Write a diary in response to the incident/verdict. Discuss.
Ensure a confident student is chosen as the accused. If the drama is successful the student begins to feel badly about the accusation
- simple instruments, bells, drums, recorder
- simple props for the market and costumes for the role drama.
- paper, pens, colored felts etc.
- Video tape recorder.
Resources and Supplies:
Videos: "A Kid in King Arthur's Court", "Merlin"
A Medieval Feast by Aliki, Harper Trophy
Improvisation, Learning through Drama by David Booth
The Middle Ages, An Independent Learning Unit by Laurie Conway
Creative Dramatics for Children by Maureen Cresci
Castle Days by Bradley J. Cruxton, Oxford University Press
Discovering Castle Days by Bradley J. Cruxton
Castle by Christopher Gravett, Stoddart 1993
Knight by Christopher Gravett, Stoddart 1994
Knights and Castles by Avery Hart and Paul Mantell
Creative Drama Resource Book by Ruth B. Heinig
Medieval Life by Andrew Langley, Stoddart 1997
Castle by David Macauley, Houghton Mifflin 1997
Role Drama by Carole Tarlington
Journey through History, The Middle Ages by Ruis and Verges
Extensions: The Middle Ages is a rich unit of study for students to be engaged in. The architecture of the times is fascinating and many student enjoy building model castles. The few books that were available had beautiful artisty that students can imitate and create their own books. Explore knights, lords and ladies. Learn about the feudal society organization. explore the church and its impact on society. Explore the Black Plague and how it toppled the organization of society.
Create a "time travel T.V. show.
Included Images (Titles):
- four photographs (downloaded from Net): shield, dragon, castle and knight