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Medium Ideas are aimed at congregations who are looking to expand their service within their local school. Many of these ideas require regular commitment from the congregation and are ideal for people with more time on their hands.

Entries in grand (4)

Monday
Jan042016

Great ways to serve your school in 2016

There are many ways for Scottish churches to engage with their community and local schools. If you need inspiration for 2016, why not try some of the top ideas offered in 2015?

A great way to get stuck in is getting involved in or setting up an SU Group, aimed at creating a safe place where every pupil is welcomed and respected and where Christian values are modelled.

Alternatively, you can be part of an after school club. There are plenty opportunities such as a sports club or a drama club.

But it is not just the children and young people we can engage with, it is the whole school community. So why not, at the end of another academic year, say thank you with a lovely meal. On the topic of food, how about encouraging a healthy life style by means of a breakfast club encouraging the community to start the day healthy.

Last but certainly not least, we can pray for a school, on our own or as part of a prayer group.  So far over 50% of Scottish schools are registered as prayed for.  We would love to see that number go up in 2016!

For more information on working with a school, go to our Get Started section

Tuesday
Dec152015

Running an after-school drama club

Drama is an excellent medium for engaging young people in thinking about big ideas. At its heart, drama is about telling stories, and through participation children grow in confidence, gain skills in presentation and learn how to use their bodies and voices. It also promotes trust, collaboration and listening skills.

Fiona Stewart, Foolproof Creative Arts, explains how to start, plan and run an after school drama club. In this article, the focus lies on running your club.

You’ve chosen your script, planned your programme and set a date for your final performance, and now it’s time to actually make it work. Here are some tips:

  • Pray as a team. Even though the content and purpose of the group may not be overtly Christian, it’s important to approach the club with the same attitude as an SU group or similar. Pray for the children as you get to know them.
  • Establish a routine for the club - make sure you leave time for arriving, catching up on the week’s news, going to the toilet, eating snacks etc. We encourage children to take off their shoes as it frees them physically and allows them to be more imaginative.Make sure you include some physical, vocal and imaginative warm-up exercises (there are plenty of resources available to help you find exercises for this). Try Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops or 100+ Ideas for Drama for starters.
  • Keep the programme fast-paced and fun. Use a mixture of all together, group and paired work to keep children engaged. Set out your expectations early on and try and create an atmosphere where children can be boisterous and imaginative within a safe, controlled environment.
  • Put together a box of props and costumes that you can use. This feeds the imagination and helps the young people build characters.
  • Using music can significantly improve a mediocre performance - a little background music, or to cover scene changes and create mood. Also music is great for getting children moving.
  • Introduce terms such as ‘rehearsal’, ‘warm-up’, ‘director’, ‘stage-right’, ‘stage-left’ etc. early on as basic stagecraft is also part of the learning process, and adds to the sense of putting on a proper production.
  • Encourage the children to critique one another kindly and constructively. This encourages those who are ‘just watching’ to be more engaged. We usually ask two questions - what did you think was really good about the performance and can you suggest anything that would improve it?
  • The two basic rules of performance are don’t turn your back to the audience and speak loudly. You will have to reinforce this time and again.
Monday
Dec072015

Planning an after-school drama club

Drama is an excellent medium for engaging young people in thinking about big ideas. At its heart, drama is about telling stories, and through participation children grow in confidence, gain skills in presentation and learn how to use their bodies and voices. It also promotes trust, collaboration and listening skills.

Fiona Stewart, Foolproof Creative Arts, explains how to start, plan and run an after school drama club. In this article, the focus lies on planning your club.

Once you’ve got your team together, had permission from the school to start a drama club and have done some advertising to the potential members, it’s time to get started! So, how do you do that?

  • Decide what you’re going to work on for the term - will you use a script? Write your own? Adapt a story? Familiar stories are often best. You might want to gather ideas from the group, talking about the stories (films, books, TV programmes) that they like. 
  •  If you’re using a script, think about the reading stage of the children in the group. Reading a script is a different skill from reading aloud in class and you may need to find imaginative ways of telling the whole story before you plunge into a first read. Remember that some scripts may not be available for performance or use (e.g. anything currently being performed professionally, many Disney-owned stories). There are lots of scripts available through websites such as Treepress and Lazybees, and we often recommend buying a copy of Julia Donaldson’s Playtime which is written to help young readers. 
  •  If you’re going to devise your own script from a story then there are some resources that will help you do this. Drama Games for Devising by Jessica Swale is a good starting point. 
  • If you choose to dramatize a Bible story remember that many children will not be familiar with the passage. It’s a good opportunity to let them explore the passage for themselves and find its meaning. 
  • Working back from the performance date (probably the last session of the term), put together a realistic programme of what you’ll do each week. Make sure you include some physical, vocal and imaginative warm-up exercises. Try Drama Games for Classrooms and Workshops or 100+ Ideas for Drama for starters. 
  • Enjoy showing friends and family what you have worked on - think about whether you could get some other Christians to organise the ‘audience’ side of the performance by mingling with the families, serving refreshments and hosting well. 

Next week, Fiona will explain how to run an after school drama club.

Wednesday
Nov252015

Starting an after-school drama club

Drama is an excellent medium for engaging young people in thinking about big ideas. At its heart, drama is about telling stories. Through participation children grow in confidence, gain skills in presentation and learn how to use their bodies and voices. It also promotes trust, collaboration and listening skills.

Across three articles, Fiona Stewart, Foolproof Creative Arts, explains how to start, plan and run an after-school drama club. Below the first part which highlights what to keep in mind before starting a drama club.

If you have people in your church who are dramatic, enthusiastic as well as confident in working with children, an after-school or lunchtime drama club is a great resource to offer your local primary school.

  • Before you approach your local head teacher make sure you are confident of what you are offering. You can consider something that has a Christian core, using Bible stories or seasonal material. Alternatively, you may opt for something that is not overtly Christian. In our experience a school is likely to be more comfortable with the idea of non-religious themed drama in the first instance.
  • Make sure you are clear on your Child Protection Policy and that your volunteers are PVG checked.
  • Think about the age group you want to work with. We tend to work with P4 and above, but even within a P4-7 range there is a vast difference in ability and confidence.
  • Many people’s idea of drama is a grand performance of a complex script, and most children will come with high expectations of creating a show stopping production in a matter of weeks! Be realistic about what you, and they, can achieve with limited time and resources.
  • Remember that not all children are skilled readers, and many will prefer to create their own dramas from a story stimulus. By using games and storytelling exercises you can create a club that is fun to attend and produces something decent for parents and others to watch at the end of term.
  • Plan back from the end of term. If you decide to put on a performance for parents gather some people who can help you with welcome, refreshments and chatting to the audience.

Next week, Fiona will explain how to plan an after school drama club.