Name of lesson: Integration of Drama and Visual Arts with Historical Knowledge
Content taught using creative arts as a pedagogical tool: Historical Knowledge / Community, remembrance, and celebrations
The cohort: Levels 3 and 4 (Students from diverse backgrounds)
- Students will be able to work with others and collaborate on different creative and off-the-cuff projects (EYLF Learning Outcome 5)
- Students will explore how others celebrate Christmas and what they believe in building a foundation for understanding, respect, and inclusion of all people (EYLF Learning Outcome 2)
- Students will be able to explore different identities and points of view in dramatic play (EYLF Learning Outcome 1)
Link to the curriculum
- “Significance of celebrations and commemorations in other places around the world” (VCHHK07)
- “Exploring, for example, Bastille Day in France, Independence Day in the USA, Chinese New Year, Christmas Day, Diwali, Easter, Hanukkah, the Moon Festival, and Ramadan (VCHHK07)
Step 1: Warm Up
The educator will begin the lesson by asking students to form a circle. Then the educator will start with open-ended questions to find out what their students know about Christmas already by eliciting things from them. Each student will be asked to answer at least one question.
- What do you know about Christmas?
- Name three words that best describe Christmas for you
- What was Christmas like when you were growing up?
- On what date is Christmas celebrated each year?
- Do you believe in Santa Claus? Why or why not?
(Reminder: the focus of the lesson should be on what Christmas is and how people celebrate Christmas and not the religious background)
Step 2: Group Activity
To start the activity, the educator will hand out cards with sentence prompts themed around the Christmas season. Then students will be asked to start with the one-liners on these cards and see where their ideas take them. Each one-liner will give students creative and inspiring ideas for their performance.
- On Christmas night, two children crept downstairs and saw …
- Oh no! Santa couldn’t find his sleigh anywhere…
- When Santa Claus sneaked into the living room thru the fireplace ….
After selecting their own cards, students will be asked to form four groups to create their imaginary Christmas scenario from the prompt on the challenge card. Students will be given 35 minutes to work together in their groups and rehearsal their performance. Students will need to create, choose, and accept roles as well as use their acting skills to express themselves. Each student will prepare an entertaining monologue performance with the help of their group and then perform for the class.
Tip: The educator will display a character trait poster on the board as a quick reference for students to boost students abilities to describe their characters and strengthen their performance.
Step 3: Quiz
After their performance, students will be asked to complete an online quiz to develop a deeper understanding of the Christmas celebration. All questions will be based on the Christmas season and include multiple-choice answers. Through exposure to the answers afterward, students will be able to correct their mistakes and build on their memory skills.
To check how well students have achieved in relation to the learning outcomes, the educator will observe students throughout the lesson as they plan and align with their groups. A group work assessment rubric will be filled out for each member of the group to help the educator assess individual contributions to the group. The rubric focuses on five key skills that demonstrate group success, and they are contributions & attitude, cooperation with others, ability to communicate, supportiveness, and effort. The educator will use collaborative assessment to assess students on how well they can work with others on different creative projects. Students will be given extra marks on their expressive skills of voice, movement, gesture, and facial expression during their performances. The educator will then collect the quiz results and use them as a quick and informal assessment of students’ knowledge. This form of formative assessment will allow the educator to recognize if there are any gaps or areas they need to cover again in more depth.
Tools and resources used:
- Group Work Assessment Rubric
- An online quiz (Kahoot)
- Pen and notebook for observations
- Teamwork and performance
The educator will use two assessment strategies for this activity to ensure learners with varying abilities are engaged in the learning process and feel included. A mix of formative and collaborative assessment is desirable to encourage students to work progressively towards the achievement of their learning outcomes. For instance, students who find it hard to work in groups or feel anxious performing in front of the classroom can use the quiz to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding and vice versa.
Justification and discussion
The learning activities were chosen to explore how students approach arts learning, looking at the challenges they face as well as larger contextual factors influencing their specific circumstances. According to Shenfield (2015, p.51), students may interact with the arts since they are not just ingesting art instruction but also actively producing song lyrics, dance, and abstract painting in this session. Participating in Arts education experiences offers students an avenue for powerful creative expression, communication, aesthetically rich knowledge, and connection to the world around them (Dinham, 2020). Therefore, it was logical to employ strategies based on arts and drama.
According to Forehand (2011, p.5), teachers now must make difficult judgments about how to use their classroom time. Therefore, the activities involve three steps to follow the learning objectives.
This unit was built across three classes and included an arts-based project that blends each of the objectives. The unit was structured with the first step dedicated to warm-up, with a chance for students to actively participate in the discussion to apply their understanding of Christmas. The second task has students create a group discussion to learn about working in teams and performing their knowledge and experience with others. This activity was included because it engages a diverse cohort of students regardless of their knowledge, as students work collaboratively to build their understanding of the task.
A variety of assessment tools were used throughout the lesson, including teacher questioning, which is an effective formative assessment tool because it allows teachers to gain insight into student understanding, interpret their responses, and adjust teaching as needed to achieve desired learning outcomes (Dinham, 2020). Other forms of assessment include a quiz which is a third step of the class to develop a deep understanding of Christmas.
A student’s role in education is to obtain the said education, while the teacher’s role is to provide the information and the environment suitable for the student. As the student stands in the center of the learning, the teacher’s primary goal becomes to consider what kinds of environments are appropriate for them. This can depend on the students’ demographic, culture, and other diversifying factors (Heathcote, 1995). The diversity within the classroom must correspond with the diversity of tasks and activities so that every student feels included and connected. That is why the class starts with a discussion part. It would allow students to find their place in the flow of conversation, learn more about each other, and gauge what tone of the conversation is expected from them.
Dinham, J. (2020) “Developing children’s capabilities for the new era through the arts” Delivering authentic arts education. 4th ed.. South Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning Australia, pp. 13-19
Dinham, J. (2020) “Guiding principles for drama education” in Delivering authentic arts education. 4th ed.. South Melbourne, Victoria: Cengage Learning Australia, pp. 200-202
Forehand, M. (2011). Bloom’s taxonomy: from emerging perspectives on learning, teaching and technology. Web.
Heathcote, D. (1995). Drama for Learning: Dorothy Heathcote’s Mantle of the Expert Approach to Education. United Kingdom: Pearson Education.
Shenfield, R. (2015) ‘Literacy in the arts’, Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, 23(1), pp. 47-53. Web.