Perfect My Practice: The Drama Learning Space

I wanted to share my classroom with you today. It’s my office and it’s where I go to everyday to (hopefully) transform lives.

I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile for a couple of reasons.

As much as I love my learning space, I also don’t like it very much. It’s a love/hate relationship. I have an ideal of  and how I would like my classroom to function and I often have to put it to the back of my mind but every now and then it resurfaces and reminds me of what I need to do to it. What I wanted to do was get feedback from readers on ways that I could potentially make this room a better space. A performance space as much as a learning space. As much as these photos may look like an OH&S issue waiting to happen, we seem to function quite well in here – and pass OH&S assessments🙂

My classroom is actually a converted art room. It was painted black to resemble the inside of a darkened theatre. You wouldn’t believe how many kids ask me why it’s painted black. That’s how many of them have never been to a theatre. The windows open and close and the large black rostra I got one of my colleague’s construction classes to make. The seats open and close so we can store costumes, props, lighting equipment etc in them. I’m hoping to get another one built. The fans work but get stuck at a certain speed. It can be stifling in summer and in winter it is finger-numbingly cold. The heater is one of those gas numbers. Not good for our lungs apparently.

The kids created this “lounge” using the portable blocks. Portable blocks are fantastic for the classroom and can be used for everything whether it be creating minimal sets for performances or simply to use in classroom exercises. They are very practical. You can probably see a large, orange rectangle on the floor. That is where this giant cupboard used to be. I got our maintainence man to rip them it out last year and the space it’s created has made such a difference. I got the kids to paint it black for me. I’d ideally like to have mirrors along this entire wall and a curtain that can be pulled across it. I’d also like the curtains to cover the sides of the room and act like “wings” for the performance space. There are two metal bars on each side of the classroom that can be used to put lights on. What do you think?

I have a portable white board that I can move around the room. It’s even become a prop at times. We have been learning how to write expositions in drama. That is the scaffold written on the board. “Drama is a beneficial subject” was my statement for argument🙂

I added some colour to my classroom by getting the elements of drama printed up on separate pieces of different colour paper, in different fonts and laminated. I then pinned them to one of the two noticeboards in the room.

This is the other noticeboard. The purple poster in the middle displays the different careers you can have if you enjoy “entertainment”. The other purple poster “Nail Every Answer” was a poster designed by our maths department to develop the practice of Newman’s Error Analysis. It is a step by step guide to reading, understanding and answering a question. Other things on display include something we call a “Senior Charter”, linking words when writing in Drama, and a reminder about not taking photos of video of others without their permission.

Now, for my eyesores in the room…

Ugh, a remnant from its former life as an art room. I’m tossing up whether to get rid of it. Should I?

This is part of the art room cupboards I could not get rid of because the previous teacher put in a three phase power supply here. I’m really keen to get something portable so I can get rid of this but from my research they are all very dear and my budget is only $600. Yes, $600. What do you think I can do about this?

Finally, this is my storage space. I share it with the art and photography teachers. I hate it. Many teachers and parents have shown me enormous generosity in the time that I have been a teacher at my school. They have donated props and costumes and anything they think could be a set piece they’ve given it to me. I’ve had to start saying no however because I have nowhere to put anything. I bought some horribly cheap clothes racks and they fell apart so now the clothes are in piles, or crates. I hate that I don’t have a definite space to have student’s come in and choose props and costumes to use and then put them back when they’re finished. Kind of like a library but without books. What can I do?

Do you have any suggestions on how I could improve my classroom? What is your learning space like? Do you love it/hate it? What would you change? Please share them with me in the comments.

Image Credits: The Drama Room, karlao, 2011

7 Comments

  1. Hi Kayla. I know what you mean but having seen numerous other drama rooms since HSC marking, I think many schools would appreciate your room. It at least bigger enough to hold a large class from the photos. I like the use of colour to bright up the black box theatre. I look forward to seeing where you take the space.

    • Thanks for your comment Biro. My room is pretty good. I do like it. Sometimes I just wish it had mirrors and lights. You know, you have those days. Those “what if” days. You did HSC marking? Me too. I saw some really great spaces. Even out during the rural week. I must give my room a little more love. Thanks for supporting the blog.

  2. Hi Karlao,
    Hope you have had a good break. Just seen then as I in getting ready for the rug rats on Monday and came asap to your great blog. Don’t know if I have any world shattering answers for you but I would def get rid of the old sink. Yukkkk.
    Also, with the yellow shelf thing – do you mean the 3 phase power is hiding behind it so it can’t be replaced? Is it portable? Are you looking to replace it with something that can move around? If I have a clearer idea, I can ask the other half tradesman for cheap ideas to help.
    Also, thank you for the great help you gave me a few months ago, if you remember. You and your blog both rock.
    Enjoy Term 4.
    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie,

      Yes, I know. The sink has got to go. It has had it’s advantages but it certainly isn’t conducive to a performance space. Yes, the 3 phase power is inside the shelf. Any suggestions on what to do about that would be appreciated.

      I’m glad the lesson plans helped. All the best with T4.

      Karla

      • I’ll ask the tradie about it and get back to you. Where there is a Drama space, there is a way! Thanks again for this blog. Of course I have left everything till the last minute and have to be ready to start a Comedy unit for Year 10 tomorrow so I must head off. Have a great Week 1

        Cheers,
        Debbie

  3. I’m a B.Ed student at Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario (Canada) and I’m currently researching how drama classrooms shape the behaviour of students and affect learning activities that happen within them. I’d very much like to cite your blog in my research, but I was wondering if you have had any other thoughts or developments with your drama room?

    I teach Visual Arts and Drama at a high school level, and have also worked as a theatrical costume designer/technician. You can get in touch with me at lasergirl69 AT hotmail DOT com.

    Thanks so much! It’s great to read that other teachers are thinking about how to alter their spaces to make them more conducive to drama education!

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