‘Your school wishes to promote dramatic conventions as a way to develop comprehension skills. Use a two character book to explore how you would do this’
The book that I decided to use was ‘I’ll wait, Mr Panda’ By Steve Antony. This book promotes the value of patience and the importance of saying ‘thank you’. This is shown through the use of two reoccurring characters – Mr Panda and Penguin. Mr Panda is busy in the kitchen, baking a ‘special surprise’ and all of the other characters are curious about what he is making. However, one character (penguin) remains patient and is given a huge doughnut made by Mr Panda!
This book is aimed at lower key stage one as the value of patience and manners tend to be encouraged at this stage. Also, the story is mainly told through the use of images rather than text.
Why use drama to develop comprehension skills?
– Waugh and Jolliffe (2012) state that drama is fundamental in order for children to gain a better understand of both meaning and structure within a text.
– National Curriculum states that within key stage one, children should use improvisation and work in role to explore certain situations, present dramatisations to others in the class and talk about how dramatic effects are achieved.
Using drama within ‘I’ll wait, Mr Panda’
– Hot seating – Here, children can use hot seating to gain a deeper understanding of characters from the story. They can specifically focus on the thoughts and feelings. Children can ask Mr Panda questions such as ‘What else do you like to bake?’. This may need to be scaffolded further by the teacher. The children may also decide to hot seat the penguin and may want to ask questions like ‘Why did you decide to wait for Mr Panda to finish cooking?’. It is important for the teacher to model the appropriate language, build in time to reflect on the experience and structure these activities into units of work.
– Freeze Frames – Freeze frames are still images created by the children. They allow children to really think about each characters thoughts and feelings. Children can also consider different points of view. Within this story, children may freeze frame certain parts such as when the penguin is patiently waiting for the doughnut and when the penguin is given the doughnut. You can discuss how certain characters feel at certain moments in time.
Links to comprehension and writing skills…
UKLA (2004) – drama has a beneficial role when aiming to improve boy’s writing and motivation. My observations believe this to be true as during my practice, we used drama through performance poetry. This really engaged boys and this was evident through the quality of their poetry writing. It is definitely a strategy which I aim to implement throughout my career.
Teacher Standards links
As evident above, dramatic conventions are a way of motivating children further, especially boys. This is because it is practical and hands on. Drama also develops speaking and listening skills and therefore, can benefit children’s confidence and self-esteem.
Here, I have made links to the national curriculum and relevant reading. Therefore, I have increased my subject knowledge on how comprehension skills may be developed. This is something which I aim to continuously develop further, as I aspire to hopefully become an English subject leader!