Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 19.10.48With younger students especially, thinking about how to represent what has been studied can be a useful learning experience. The following techniques are immediately applicable to story-based subjects like history and literature, but are easily adaptable to any subject dealing in concepts and events. Thought needs to be given to what character or characters will need to be represented, what their body positions and facial expressions will be, and how they will act out the concept either in motion or as a moment frozen in time.

Freeze Framing involves getting students, working usually in small groups, to construct a scene which is then photographed and explained. This should represent a key action moment ‘frozen in time’ to capture energy. It is great fun to give each group something different to represent, and to keep this secret until after the scene is created for the rest of the class. In this way the other students can be challenged to guess what is being represented.

Body sculpture is similar, except in this case there is a group leader responsible (sometimes silently) for ‘moulding’ the rest of the group into place. These group members are not allowed to speak or move independently, they can only carry out the instructions of the team leader. This technique can also be based around paired work, with one student the ‘sculptor’ and another the ‘clay’. After a strict time limit, the group of sculptors can then conduct a walking tour of the ‘gallery’, with each sculptor taking it in turns to explain their ‘sculpture’.

Miming / Charades is another useful strategy. In silence, different students have to act out a key concept, event or scene. Other students gain points if they guess these correctly. For example, in my history studies about the Medieval Church, I start by giving the students a list of key ways why the Church was so powerful, then warn them that different students will be allocated one of the ideas at random to mime in front of the rest of the class. They then have ten minutes to consider in silence how they would act each one out. It’s a great way of providing some focus to the reading!

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Thereafter, I call up a person in the class, selected using the Random Name Picker, and secretly point out to them just one of the points from the table to mime to the rest of the class. At the end of the mime (which should take no longer than a few seconds) each member of the class should write down in the space below the point from the table which they think it represented (e.g. “A5”, “C2”). The game is repeated using 9 other students miming 9 other points, one after another. The teacher will then tell the class the correct answers and the students can add up their scores.