A large tote full of costume pieces such as hats is a most important tool for any drama teacher.
To Introduce the Activity:
When you first introduce students to this activity, stand in front with your bag.Reach into the bag and pull out one hat, hold it up, and ask the students, "Who wears this hat?" The students will offer answers, and must come to an agreement for each hat. How many hats you pull out of your bag will depend upon how many students are in your class.
Let’s say you are using six hats. The kids agree on the six characters: a witch, a toddler, a business man, an elderly woman, a rock star, and a police officer. Place the hats on a table or something near the side of the acting area.
The first time you do this with your students, put a bench in the middle of the acting area. These are the instructions to give your students:
* You will come up to the stage (or acting area) one at a time. Choose one hat, put it on, and walk in character to the bench and sit down.
* Now it is the second person’s turn to approach the hats, wear one, and walk in character to the bench and sit down.
* Remember, this is pantomime. The two characters will interact, but do not use words. It is okay to keep it simple; there are no wrong answers. The first person must find a reason to leave.(And return the hat to the table.) Then, the second person scoots over on the bench so another person can join in.
* The third person approaches the hats, and we do it all over again.
I prefer to not have students raise their hands to go onstage. I prefer to let them monitor themselves and take turns approaching the stage one at a time. This promotes group awareness, cooperation, and mutual respect. It is, however, your call if or when this will work with your group.
The more hats the merrier. You can also add other articles of clothing, for example, a tie, a shawl, or even a walking stick.
I have collected these simple costume pieces and props over the years, but if you want to find some in a shorter amount of time it can be done with not a lot of money. Hit a thrift store that has a collection of funky items. Visit a more staid thrift store, as well. Dollar stores can have great items for this activity, and after Halloween clearance sales are great places to find witch hats, pirate hats, wigs and anything else you can find. Variety is key.
One last note: It is worth mentioning that these costume pieces should be washed between classes.
This post is part of the series: We Need Drama, Music, Art and Dance in Education
- Music, Art, and Drama in the Classroom: An Essential Part of Learning
- Reasons to Include Drama in the Curriculum
- Dance in Education: Choosing Dance over Sports
- Drama Lesson Plans for Kids: Pantomimes for Non-Readers
- Drama Games and Acting for Kids: Pantomime Ball Toss
- Drama Games and Activities: Who Wears This Hat?
- Use Drama in School: Write a Commerical Lesson Plan
- Teaching Drama: Acting and Emotions
- Two Drama Games For Elementary Students: Warm-Up Activities
- Use the Machine Game to Warm Up Your Students