English: Incorporating drama and role play

Enable pupils to make personal connections with texts using these drama-focused schemes of work and one-off lesson ideas

Nicola Davison

English, Secondary, Drama, Role Play, Classroom, Lesson, Scheme, KS3, KS4 Year 7, Year 8, Year 9, Year 10, Year 11

Drama and role play are fundamental to the study of literature. By allowing pupils to explore texts in an engaging and practical way, we give them a chance to make their own meaning and gain a deeper understanding of plot, characters and themes.

In the right environment, drama-based activities can encourage creative thinking by taking the focus away from traditional teacher-led learning and placing it on students’ boundless imaginations. Not to mention the countless opportunities to practise and improve speaking and listening skills.

To help you make the most of drama and role play in your classroom, we’ve hand-picked a selection of the top unit plans and one-off lesson ideas from the TES community.

KS3 resources

An ideal accompaniment to a wider unit of work on mystery fiction, this set of four fully-resourced lessons, including a detective pack and homework activities, helps students to create and sustain their own characters within the genre. Or, why not role play the trial of The Warden in a study of Holes by Louis Sachar with this comprehensive resource pack (£5), which culminates in the composition of an eyewitness account.

If you’re short on time, this simple presentation, complete with audio starter and a self-assessment plenary, focuses on improvisation about a haunted house. Sports fans might prefer this adaptable role-play resource, which is designed to encourage less-able pupils to enter into meaningful discussion about their dream team.

KS4 resources

Useful as both an assessment task or simply to delve into character a little more, this chat show activity can be easily adapted to suit the requirements of any text.

For text-specific role play, this Macbeth murder mystery is a great way to expose character traits, while this Romeo and Juliet board game (£2) is designed to familiarise pupils with the main themes, as well as the characters.

Alternatively, get learners practising their speaking and listening skills with this small group assessment task focused on Anchorman, the film.

Quick links

KS3 resources KS4 resources
Mystery-themed unit Adaptable chat show role play
Holes role-play pack (£5) Macbeth murder mystery activity
Haunted house improv lesson Romeo and Juliet board game (£2)
Sports-based role play Anchorman speaking and listening task

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