How It Happens

The investigations in Drama World create a space for students to step into role in a situation that poses a problem, a kind of puzzlement that invites questions: What is happening here? What do you need? 


When students exit Drama World, they then discuss what they observed in Drama World. 

Sometimes a word new to the 4th-graders was introduced. After a few sessions where the students explored puzzlements. Partnering in pairs, kids stepped into Drama Word and said what they had to say to one another in response to a story. One story was this. Hungry Coyote couldn’t find food at home so he walked down to the city where, eventually, he found Cat’s food in a bowl on the back doorstep. Just as he was about to gobble down this yummy food, Cat came out. Cat and Hungry Coyote found themselves staring at one another. What did Hungry Coyote say to Cat? What did Mr. Well-Fed Cat say to Hungry Coyote? 

After exploring several stories about a perplexing kind of situations the word flummoxed was introduced. The definition was written on the whiteboard. When someone is bewildered, confused. And don’t know what to do. Then, forming into small groups each group took a turn presenting a tableau, a frozen picture, expressing with their bodies and facial expressions the meaning of the word flummoxed. After that day, their teacher said her students spontaneously used the word flummox. A lot. It showed up in their writing. It showed up in their play.

Five months after the word flummox was introduced, one student, Iluma, made a drawing summarizing her experience in Child’s POV. Her drawing was then traced into metal. 


When students consider the particular problems suffered by, say, marine animals and fish swimming in seas of plastic, the need to resolve these problems is felt deeply.


When students learn about the inventions made around the world by their peers, a kind of light bulb goes on: We too can invent! We can create, design and make up something that has not existed before that will solve this problem!


In role in Drama World, and out of role as our regular selves, we are inventors.

Making the Impossible Possible!

A central question is: Is it possible to make the impossible possible?


For example, what can you do now that you could not do before? The responses range from When I was a baby I could not read! When I was a baby I could not talk! 


Their individual experiences become their personal, grounded reference to the experience of wanting to do something, not being able to do it, and then being able to do it. Now I can do fractions! The seeds of confidence are sown. Each child reaps from his and her own experience: they notice how it was to be stuck, and then being capable. It is possible to make the impossible possible.


This student makes his learning visible through his drawing.
Mr. Burns in-roleweb
Sterling frozen in time

 Students keep a journal and consider the following prompts:

What I want you to know about me:
What you don’t know about me:
About me:
What I wish you knew about me:

At the end of each week, we compiled selections from the journals into posters to display on the classroom wall. Selections from those posters were chosen to be included on the 2020 mural.