Teaching social awareness through drama is a movement based, unique addition to your social skills groups!
Social awareness is a core component of social learning and emotional intelligence. On a broad level, social awareness is when we learn from and appreciate those around us. Skills such as perspective taking, empathy and reading social cues are all part of social awareness.
But before a student can really develop any those skills, they have to be literally aware of those around them by physically paying attention to them. This is the foundation of how they will then progress to developing more refined and nuanced understanding the people in their environment.
Drama games are perfectly suited to work on the skill of self awareness as they are kinesthetic, creative, and fun!
1. Count to 20: Have your students in a circle (seated or standing) and tell them their mission is to count to 20. The catch is that only one person can talk a time and they can't talk at the same time or they have to start again. Modify it to make it easier by lowering the number to count to. Make it even more challenging by asking them to do with their eyes closed.
2. Mirror: Pair your students up and have one take the role of the initiator and one as the mirror. The initiator does very slow movements and the mirror copies those movements in real time as if a reflection of their peer. They can speed up as they get more in sync with each other but remind them it's not a "test" for the mirror. It's a cooperative activity.
3. Zip, Zap, Zop: Circle your students up and tell them they are going to send a bolt of energy to each other. One student starts by putting their palms together, getting the attention of a peer in the circle, nonverbally. then orienting their hands toward a person they've made eye contact with and say "zap." That person then does the same thing to another peer in the circle but says, "zap." The next does the same but says, "zop." Then the next kiddos starts with "zip" and the cycle continues.
4. Wink, Wink, Go to Sleep: This is a modification of Wink, Murder. I just try to avoid using terms like murder or death with my students-you just never know what can be triggering for someone. In this game, have your students sit in a circle, and choose one person as a detective. Have that student step outside. Then choose someone to be the winker. Tell the students that when the winker winks at you (can only wink at one person), you must falls asleep. Be dramatic! Then have the detective come back in and step in the middle of the circle. He or she looks around the circle and while they are looking, the winker waits for an opportunity to wink at someone while the detective is not looking at them. The receiver of the wink, dramatically falls asleep and the detective has to guess who the winker was.
All of these games motivate the kids to pay attention to each other, their facial expressions, to and think about what those cues could be telling them. Never discount the power of games for education!