Monday, 17 November 2014

EDUC 5P42 - Effectively Warming Up

A method for enhancing the ability to communicate in the classroom that can be easily over looked by teachers is daily warm up activities to begin the class. The benefit of the warm up, besides the fun consistent addition to any lesson plan is the opportunity for classmates to interact together in a non-threatening manner. One of the most useful warm up activities is the ones that involve improvisation. Examples of warm ups that include the method of improvisation are; charades, blob machine and I’m going on a picnic. Including improvisation allows students to feel comfortable bringing up personal impulses and thoughts in a safe, inclusive space. The warm up allows students to openly communicate with each other at the beginning of every class. This is exceptionally helpful to a teacher, for the rest of the class the students will feel more like a community and more likely to continue communicating between themselves.

The book Free Play written by Stephen Nachmanovitch delves into the importance of free play within any social situation, especially school. Nachmanovitch describes how “Improvisation is intuition in action, a way to discover the muse and learn to respond to her call. Even if we work in a very structured, compositional way, we begin by that  always surprising process of free invention in which we have nothing to gain and nothing to lose”(Nachmanovitch 41). This is the key component to improvisation, allowing the students to feel like they are having fun and making their own decisions in such a structured and somewhat hindering environment that high school can be.

When I was in high school I did the best in the classrooms where I felt like my opinion was heard and accepted. The classrooms (not just drama) that allowed a period of time at the beginning (or end) of the class to work on a small task with the class were the places where I felt the strongest in academics. As a future teacher, I want to enable my students the opportunity to feel heard, accepted, and safe in their academic and social endeavors. I will use warm up activities in all of my classrooms not just my drama classrooms.

Over my dramatic and academic journey I have been able to learn different methods in which to communicate with students about important topics. The method of workshopping a scene is an incredibly effective way in which to give your students a venue to speak their mind without feeling scared. The environment that the teacher must create in the classroom/workshop space is the key component to having work shopping work. The teacher must describe the process fully to the class and the class will have to agree on rules for the process. Examples of rules could be; waiting your turn to talk, never say “no” but instead say “yes, but let’s try adding this, or taking away this.” Once these parameters have been communicated the open communication can begin.
Helpful links for warm up activities:
1.  Warm up & Cool Downs Grades 5-11
2.  Improvisation related warm ups 
3.  Games Booklet - 39 Pages

1 comment:

  1. Interesting ideas certainly. Have you tried them with your higher ed classes? Sometimes I try and introduce a little physical activity. I believe that you really need to move about quite regularly in class. Get oxygen if you can. BUT students resist quite fiercely after one or so session. They often like to sit in the same spot for hours. This defies all logic and rules of attention span (20 minutes max.). Just curious how you have found attention spans to be using warm ups?