Working with freeze-frames is a very accessible drama strategy, suitable for those new to drama as well as old hands. It is only a small step to move from still images into improvisation – just follow these simple steps.
1 Start with a still image created by a group.
2 Use thought tracking to find out what each of the characters are thinking and feeling.
3 Explain that you would like the group to bring the scene alive for a few moments with speech and movement. Initiate this by saying “Action!” or clapping your hands to start the scene.
4 Let the improvisation run for a short time – ideally before the performers run out of steam – and then end it with another signal such as “Cut!”, “Freeze!” or by clapping your hands a second time. The improvisation does not need to last longer than a minute.
The group will enjoy being able to tell the story without worrying about how to start or finish the scene and the teacher can easily control how much is shown. After a few sessions of working in this way students will become more confident about devising and presenting short scenes.
Hundreds more ideas and tips for teaching drama can be found in Learning Through Drama in the Primary Years by David Farmer.