BOOKS

Book cover of Dramathemes
Dramathemes, 4th Edition
Larry Swartz. Pembroke Publishers, 2014, 160 pages, $24.95
*****
Reviewed by Jessica Crowley

The fourth edition of Dramathemes by Larry Swartz gives educators exciting and meaningful activities to use in their classrooms.

This interesting resource has ten chapters. A chart provides a snapshot of what is covered in each chapter. The chapters each have a title and a “dramatheme” focus. For example, Chapter 3 is called “Sparking Imagination” and the dramatheme is fantasy worlds. The chapters also include a games focus, drama exploration, a drama structure, drama and literacy extensions and assessment profiles.

All of the chapters follow a similar pattern. For example, Chapter 3 begins with a short overview about the specific theme, an explanation of the source (a poem in this case) and the learning opportunities. The chapter then moves to discuss the focus on games.  It provides various options for games and templates that can be used for particular activities. The next section is the drama exploration and, in this chapter, it is creating art. This section allows readers to fully dig into the activities presented, such as drawing and making masks. The drama structure section is next and is based on a source, such as a poem, story or script. The structure section outlines daily lessons and gives step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the lessons. There is also a drama and literacy extensions section, which gives ideas for other activities, like writing emails, having oral conversations and designing pieces like artifacts. Each chapter provides a list of resources to supplement the plan and an assessment tool such as a rubric or self-assessment checklist.

Dramathemes is an excellent resource for all grade levels, with authentic and meaningful activities for different age groups and classes. It provides great opportunities for creativity and learning about real-life social justice issues such as bullying, homelessness and acceptance.

Jessica Crowley is a member of the Grand Erie Teacher Local.

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