Why Drama is so Important in School – PART 1 – COMPREHENSION

Part 1 of the 12 part series: Why Drama is so important in School. – COMPREHENSION

I received an email a few weeks ago from a teacher using my books/plays for her students because she wanted them to improve their skills in reading comprehension. She wrote the following to me:

“I used your Midsummer Night’s Dream as reading material. I couldn’t get my high school special ed students to reread anything. Their thinking was, “I have already read that once and do not need to repeat.” But, by introducing this as a play that needed to be word-perfect and beginning on page 1 each day, they were willing to participate. They were rehearsing for a show, not simply earning a grade for the reading class. Your materials made all the difference. Most important, reading skills improved.”

— LaVelle Brown, Special Ed teacher

why drama?Many schools are missing or losing performing arts classes due to budget cuts.  I’m writing a 12-part piece about why we do drama in school, where I present valuable reasons why we need theater in our education systems and why it’s critical to continue supporting it.

One of these reasons is COMPREHENSION.  I’ve had a number of teachers and parents use my books or enroll their child in my classes to boost their understanding of language.  Drama is amazing for this development!

Think about it:

  • Do kids only read a passage once in class? Typically, yes. Therefore, perform a play!
    • Participating in a play or a skit allows students to read the passages multiple times. By learning their lines they support their growth in comprehension.
  • Do you want kids to understand the storyline, theme, or see the “big picture”? Be in a performance!
    • We rehearse dozens of times before we actually perform on stage or in front of an audience. Didn’t get the concept on the first pass… how about the 30th?  Yep, comprehension increases with every pass through the material.
  • Oliver Twist for KidsDo you want to learn about a time in history? Do a play!

Through rehearsals, performances, costume creation and design, comprehension is assimilated often without the participants even realizing it.

From a purely scientific perspective, repetitive review of a script creates new neuro-pathways in the brain, which leads to long-term comprehension skills. Isn’t that one of our goals as teachers, to help improve the brain?

It’s more than just “doing a play”, it’s about creating a more robust child that will make a difference in our future.

I would love to hear your thoughts about drama in school!

Best,

Brendan

Why Drama is so Important in School – PART 1 – COMPREHENSION was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books

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Djubi for Motor Planning and Hand-Eye Coordination

djubi for motor planningThe Skinny: I came across this very clever toy that is great for motor planning and hand-eye coordination, as well as it is really fun to play!  It is called Djubi (pronounced Joo-bee).  As you can see from the picture, it’s a net with a hook on it.  You simply shoot the ball (similar to a sling shot, but easier) to your friend and they catch it with their net.  The ball is soft, so it doesn’t hurt if it hits you, and you can do it very softly to build confidence.

What it is: Djubi (Joo-bee)

What it’s used for: Motor Planning and Hand-Eye coordination

Ways to use it:

  • Motor Planning:
    • As you can see from the photo on the lower right, it takes a bit of motor planning to launch a Djubi.  And with this game, I would build up to it in two steps:
      • Just throw the ball to your friend, and let them catch it.  Start with the simple piece of underhand and then progress to “step-and-throw” overhand.
      • After they have that figured out, then move to the sling-shot action.  On the top of each of the nets is a little hook.  This hook is used for hooking the rubber band from the ball on.  Then, pull back and let go!  It’s pretty simple, but can be a bit tricky if you have some challenges.  Keep going until you get it!
  • Hand-Eye Coordination:
    • This is the other side of the game.  Catching the ball.
      • Start off slow, just underhand it to your kid to have them watch the ball into the net at slower speeds.
      • Increase the distance until they can catch it from across the yard.  Many kids have a difficult time with items coming directly at them.  Teach them to catch it off to the side, to alleviate some of these challenges.
      • Once they have the underhand in control, then move to sling-shotting the ball to them.  It will be farther distances and faster speeds, so it’s important to progress up to this level.

And don’t forget to HAVE FUN!!!

djubi for motor planningWhere to find it: Find Djubi on Amazon.

The Source: Found it in a toy store in South Bend.

Djubi for Motor Planning and Hand-Eye Coordination was originally published on KidConnectionZ