Brianne Gidcumb | July 2016

Creating Classroom Arts Centers: Drama

In any arts integrated classroom, implementing arts integration strategies, aligning content standards organically with standards in the fine arts, and crafting quality arts integrated lessons is key. However, there is room to allow for open-ended, creative expression of content through the arts. With that in mind, we’d like to offer some parameters for creating centers for exploration and investigation in and through each of the arts areas. Understandably, much of what is feasible for any given classroom is dependent on many factors: space, budget, access to supplies and materials, etc., but we offer this today in the hopes that it will spark some investigation into how you might create a space for student-driven exploration in the arts centers drama.

Through this series, we are highlighting each arts centers drama area to provide some ideas as to how you might set up each center in your classroom, as well as some ideas for how you might use these centers to provide your students with opportunities for open-ended exploration. This week, we focus on music.

The Intention: Your arts centers drama should be a place where your students can think creatively to bring an element of narrative to concepts and ideas being learned, and a place to bring narrative to life. Arts centers drama can stimulate creative storytelling, problem solving, collaboration, and communication.

The Setup: Students might use this center as a place to bring stories and characters to life, to retell known stories, or to create and act out original works. You may want to include tubs of costumes, props, and minimal pieces of “scenery” for students to help bring their works to fruition. You may also include instruments so that students can create “sound stories” or sound effects to amplify their work. You might provide a general rubric for dramatic performance, including elements such as voice, facial expression, and movement, so that other students might provide feedback or a student might be able to self-assess their own performance.

Activities: Students may choose to utilize this center to create new works to demonstrate a concept or unit of study (i.e., students may write a script about a historical event to demonstrate their understanding). They may use this center as a Readers’ Theatre to bring known works to life. You may include lists of vocabulary words and have students pantomime them to demonstrate understanding. Students might conduct panels or interviews as characters from history or literature in this center. Basically, you can set up materials from any unit of study within this center and let students creatively explore how to bring it to life on stage.


About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: