4 Drama-Based Activities to Generate Writing Ideas: Grades 4-7

From the time that they are young, kids are incredibly creative. Toddlers, preschoolers, and grade-school children play in their imagination all the time. As students get older, their imaginative play decreases, but their imagination remains. Why not use this to generate ideas for your students writing topics! Keep reading for 4 drama-based activities that would work as a brainstorming sessions for your next writing prompt.

  1. A Garden of Statues. This would be a great way to get students thinking about the characters that could be involved in their short stories and this activity could be used in conjunction with any of the below activities. Present a creative writing prompt such as one found here. Think, pair, share what sort of characters might be involved in this. Next, have students think for a minute about what one of their characters might be. Divide the class in half. Have one half of the students be a statue of the character that they were just thinking of and have the other half of the students walk around the statues and look at them. Provide the chance for students to share what their statue character was. Switch. From there, get students to write in response to the prompt using one of the characters that was a statue in this activity!

  2. Tableaux it. Tableaux is a drama term where students use their bodies to create a frozen scene, as if they are acting something out and have a picture taken of it. Students act out (but frozen) the main characters as well as the setting. For example, you may have a student being a tree and the other as a moose. You can string several tableaux together to make a story. These are great because they don’t require dialogue or movement and are enacted in groups so that it is less intimidating for the individual. To use it as a brainstorming game, put students into group of 4-5 and present a prompt. Find some creative prompts here. Have students create the story using 3-5 tableaux and present them to the class. When presenting, have one of the students explain each tableaux before moving on to the next. Afterwards, have students write the story from the prompt. They can either write the story that their group came up with or one of their own.

  3. Narrate it. This is similar to the tableaux, but instead the students will be acting the story out and will have one narrator. Provide a prompt, such as one of the creative writing prompts found here. Put students into groups of 4-5. As a group, create a story initiated by the prompt. All but one of the students act out the scene without talking and the other student doesn’t act, but instead narrates what is happening in the scene. Have students create their scenes and then present to the class. Afterwards, have students write out their response to the prompt. Like the tableaux above, they can choose to write the story that their group came up with or come up with their own.

  4. Monologue it. This would work better for older students. Present a writing prompt, such as one found here. Put students into groups of 2-3 and have them create a monologue as if they were the main character telling the story to another after the fact. Have them write down their monologue as they go and use that as their writing assignment or have them craft a more conventional piece of fiction after first creating the monologue.

These drama-based activities are sure to get the ideas flowing for students. Allowing them to work in groups and to present their stories to the class allows for a huge amount of ideas to be present in the classroom! Tell me your favourite in the comments below!

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