Teaching Primary Drama

By Brian Woolland
December 2009
Pearson Education
Distrubuted by Trans-Atlantic Publications Inc.
ISBN: 9781405899482
248 pages, Illustrated
$69.50 Paper Original

Assuming no prior knowledge or experience of drama teaching, Brian Woolland’sTeaching Primary Drama offers a comprehensive introduction to the teaching of drama in the primary school, and focuses on current initiatives in primary education including the primary literacy strategy.

The text is an invaluable resource for any teacher wishing to adopt a creative approach to teaching in their classroom.  It offers guidance on different drama methods, and each practical idea translates to all areas of the curriculum.




Introduction: ‘I don’t know what it is, but it’s tickly’

Drama as a subject

Making time and space for drama

Use of the personal pronoun

Part 1  Drama in practice

Chapter 1  Starting points  

Drama and story

Using stories, poetry, photographs and paintings as starting points

Teacher as narrator

Embedded examples:

Jack and the Beanstalk

The Pied Piper

The BFG / The Iron Man

Smugglers (1)

Fisherman Chant

Chapter 2  Working methods  

Small group work

Forum Theatre

Games and exercises  

Still Images

Teaching in role

Whole group work

Glossary of drama techniques

Embedded examples:

The Pied Piper (1)

The Wildman

Leaving Nazareth

Chapter 3  Organisation and development  

Control and discipline


Questioning skills

The key organising question


Structure and dramatic tension

Storyboarding and sequencing

The dramatic frame

Embedded examples:

Lost treasure ‘Bad’ decisions and good drama

The Pied Piper (2)

The Arrival

Smugglers (2)

Chapter 4  Working with children in the early years


Making a start

Intervening in play

Whole group work


Pretend and reality


Using still images and forum theatre with young children

Embedded examples:


The Magician who lost his Magic

The Giant’s Toothache

Part 2  Drama in an integrated curriculum

Chapter 5 Drama in an integrated curriculum

Writing in role

Reading in role

Meaning beyond the literal

Drama and other subject areas


Drama in topic work

Embedded examples:

The Giant Awakes

The Crashed Spaceship

The Iron Age Encampment

The Arrival

Part 3  Planning and assessment

Chapter 6 Planning and assessment

Assessing relevant factors which affect planning

Aims and objectives

Dramatic starting points

A lesson plan

Assessment and evaluation

Part 4  Extended Examples

Chapter 7  Cinderella  

Target Age range: Reception and Years 1–2

Starting from a traditional story

Chapter 8  The Tunnel  

Target Age Range: Years 2–4

A picture book story as a starting point

Chapter 9  Children’s Games

Target age range: Years 3–4  

The painting by Pieter Bruegel

Skills of observation developed and linked to imaginative speculation.

Chapter 10  Keeper of the Keys

Target age range: Years 3–6  

Using a dramatic game to explore meanings beyond the literal

Manipulating dramatic tension

Encourage and developing listening skills

Chapter 11  Whale Island  

Target age range: Years 4–6  

Using a narrative poem for drama  

Chapter 12  The Deserter

Target age range: Years 4–6

Focuses on PSHE, Citizenship and historical enquiry

‘Bad’ decisions and good drama

Chapter 13  The Coming of the Railway

Target age range: 5–6  

A cross curricular project, starting from historical research.

Part 5

Chapter 14  Resources

Recommended books  

Online resources and Internet links




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