Using the performing arts for behaviour management (Part 2)


Drama games to vary the configuration

There are often certain children that you would rather didn’t sit together, and certain groupings can lead to poor behaviour, sapping a lot of the focus out of your lesson. Obviously, you can separate children, or have a seating plan, but there may be times when you want to mix up groups without drawing attention to the fact that you are doing so. The drama game Fruit Salad is a good way of varying the groupings invisibly.


  • Divide the children into four groups (traditionally four types of fruit).
  • Whenever they hear their group called out, the children swap seats.
  • Have one seat fewer than you have children. Whoever is left without a chair calls out the next group.
  • You can increase the challenge in this by using characters instead of fruit (e.g. magician, soldier, thief, king/queen), and asking the children to move in character, perhaps even interacting as they pass one another.
  • The characters you choose could link to the book you are reading, or the topic being studied.
  • Try naming the groups as movement instructions (e.g. smooth, spiky, heavy, light), using a backing track to inform the movement as the children swap chairs.


However you choose to play this versatile game, when you’re done the children will all be in different places, and you can begin the lesson having hidden your classroom shake-up in an enjoyable performing arts activity.


‘Performing’ rewards systems

All these suggestions manage behaviour through focusing on the positive, and you will doubtless have used various reward systems as an incentive to good behaviour in the classroom. Using drama, you can take these reward systems even further, and turn them into activities in themselves.


  • Set your rewards up as an award ceremony, that takes place in the final five minutes of your lesson.
  • Go into role as the host of a glitzy ceremony, and invite those that have been rewarded to come up and give an ‘acceptance speech’. You could even have a shiny envelope from which you reveal the winners!
  • As part of their speech, you could ask the children to speak about why they have been rewarded, and even how they intend to keep up that good work or behaviour, and keep improving.
  • Encourage the usual tears, gushing emotions and ‘I’d like to thank….’ elements to make this fun and performative.
  • You could let a child be the host, once the children are familiar with the format.


These ideas could turn your rewards system into a part of the day the children really look forward to, with the positive impact on behaviour growing as they are ever more keen to impress and take part in the ‘ceremony’.


The performing arts are deeply infused with the skills and values that promote a positive atmosphere, and therefore good behaviour. A classroom full of collaboration, listening and responding, sharing ideas and positive expression will be a happy classroom in which poor behaviour is less likely to occur in the first place, and the children are more likely to actively look forward to each new day.


If you’d like more information about the Artis approach, you can take a look at the brochure here: /brochure


Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re interested in working with Artis, or if you have any questions.

22 Apr 2014

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