What is Thought Tracking?

Characters speak their thoughts aloud.

Thought tracking (also called thought-tapping) is a natural follow-up to freeze-frames. Once students have made an image, explain that when you tap them on the shoulder you would like them to verbalise the thoughts or feelings of their character. At first, this may be just a few words, but students will soon gain confidence to express themselves in detail. It doesn’t take long to thought-track each member of a group to reveal a range of attitudes and feelings from the characters.

Students may choose to be inanimate objects or animals. Animals can have thoughts – such as “grrrr” or “I’m hungry” and you may find that even a tree can express its opinion. You can ask characters specific questions such as what they feel about another character, what they’re dreaming about or what they want to do next. Thought tracking can easily be employed in the classroom with children at their desks.

Why use it?

Thought tracking is a quick-fire strategy enabling children to verbally express their understanding of characters and situations without the need for rehearsal. Students gain verbal confidence, preparing the ground for them to move into extended improvisation. After holding a freeze-frame for just a few moments, it’s surprisingly easy for pupils to identify with a role and express their thoughts, enabling the teacher to gather feedback from all participants.

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Drama uses the greatest resource that teachers have available to them – children’s imagination. Creative play is a natural part of children’s lives before they start school, helping them to make sense of their place in the world. Such creativity can be harnessed through drama to enable active and interactive learning experiences throughout the primary years and across the curriculum.

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