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Car Care

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Writers: Chris Walsh & Evelyn Mann

A process drama written to explore a safety issue. The safety issue could be substituted for other issues.

Key Question: How do we make decisions about our behaviour?

Key Understandings:

  • When we have empathy we are more likely to understand how someone else is feeling.
  • Having empathy for those around us affects our behaviour.
  • We all share the responsibility for our own and others safety.

Connected Curriculum Areas: Health and Physical Education, Social Studies, English. Key Competencies - Managing Self, Relating to Others, and Thinking.

Possible Learning Intentions and indicators are offered for this drama. We acknowledge that there are many other possible learning intentions and that you might prefer to write your own in response to the needs of your students. The learning intentions offered are examples to choose from and to guide teachers new to drama in writing learning intentions. There are a variety of ways for collecting evidence to support learning.

Level One

Possible Drama Learning Intentions: The students will be able to:

  • Respond appropriately to Teacher In Role: in this drama, a parent who has crashed a car. PK DI
  • Take part in a blanket role (road safety experts) contributing to the narrative. PK DI
  • Discuss what drama is and how we take part. CI UC
  • Identify when they are in role, and when they are not. PK

Develop Indicators with the students for Learning Intentions. Here is an example of possible indicators, which can also be used to focus assessment, for the learning intention: Respond appropriately to Teacher In Role. PK DI Indicators: Students can

  • Accept the teacher in role and identify when s/he is in and out of role.
  • Talk to, and ask questions of teacher in role appropriate to the drama work.

Teacher In Role (TIR): The role for Teacher In Role is a low status role. The students work in the role Mantle of the Expert and work to help the Teacher In Role. See Drama Posters - Poster 1, Image 1. Whole group role-play - mantle of the expert .

Drama Resources available in New Zealand Schools

It is important that you refer to these resources to support the content in these plans.

  • Ministry of Education. 2001. Drama in the Classroom. Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and Video)
  • Ministry of Education. 2007. Drama Posters, 2007. Wellington: Learning Media,
  • Ministry of Education. 2006. Playing Our Stories. Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and DVD)
  • Ministry of Education. 2004. Telling Our Stories, Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and Video)
  • Ministry of Education. 2003. The New Zealand Curriculum Exemplars - The Arts. Wellington: Learning Media and the Learning Centre Trust of New Zealand.


Resources applicable to this drama:
  • Cowley, J. Car Care. 1990. Wendy Pye Team, Accident Compensation Corporation, New Zealand. This can be found in an ACC kit at all NZ schools.
Learning Experiences Teaching Notes


Forming Links to Our Own Lives

Teacher tells the children that s/he has heard about their expertise in road safety matters. Point out that this expertise will be used in the drama.Discuss what they know about road safety.

Discuss what drama is and explain everyone will be taking part in a story that no one has heard before. Discuss what role is and that everyone will have a role in this drama.See Drama Posters and Drama Poster NotesExplain about TIR and that in this drama one adult will be playing a role, the other adult will help the students as they work.The role the teacher will be playing is that of a sad parent whose children misbehave in the car. That morning, on the way to school, as the parent is growling at the children, they crash into the back of a bus. The parent doesn't know what to do to ensure the children behave in the car.
Motivating the work and setting the context. The second adult takes the children to another place in the room and tells the children when we go back the drama will begin. Remember everyone will be in role in the drama.Don't reveal the role of the TIR to the children.
TIR: Children and teacher return to find a very sad person sitting with his/her head in their hands.The teacher not in role discusses with the road safety experts (students in role) who this person might be and what he/she might be doing there.Ask the children why s/he might be here and what he might want. Listen to and acknowledge their suggestions. Attempt to facilitate a discussion of what makes people sad and worried. TIR maintains the role of someone very upset. They might mutter to themselves things like: "I don't know what to do. I don't know what to do". "At least they're safe". "It's a big dent though". This teacher must ignore the students during this time continuing to mutter worried comments, wringing hands and sighing heavily.Questions you might ask: "I wonder who this is?""I wonder why s/he is here?""What do the think the problem might be?""If you think about what you just heard could you work out what the problem might be?""How can you tell something is wrong?""What might make people sad and worried like this?"

Building the Narrative

Hot Seating: The students in role as the road safety experts question the upset person. Eventually, the man says he is sad and worried because his children play up in the back of the car; they fight over seatbelts and who is sitting where. Today he was driving along trying to get them to settle when he crashed into the back of the bus that had stopped in front of him. He got a big fright, luckily his children weren't hurt but there is a big dent in his car. He doesn't know what to do to get his children to behave.Set up a meeting with the road safety experts (students in role) to gather what information they have and organise what support role they could have. You might make name tags for the students e.g. Bill Smith - Road Safety Committee.The teacher out of role gets agreement from the students that they will make a book of rules for the Mum or Dad to read with his/her children so they understand how dangerous their behaviour is.TIR responds to the suggestions. If the children suggest they make a book of rules for the upset person he can be delighted. If not he says, "I need some rules. I'm sure there are lots of rules, how can I remember them."The sad person says there needs to be pictures as well as words because his kids like pictures, and so does he.Teacher out role negotiates with the students the layout of the book - one page per student

TIR should reveal snippets of information in answer to questions, making the students work to get the information.See Drama Posters - Poster 1, Image 8. See Drama Posters - Poster 1, Image 10 & Poster 3, Image 6.Move the group away from the upset person who stays on the spot in role.Return to the upset person and make offers to help.Once the idea of the book is established the TIR as the upset person leaves and comes back into the class as themselves.Students should put their own name on the page they write.

Reflecting on the issues and bringing the drama to conclusion

The students plan a ceremony where they will present the sad person with their page of the book.Ceremonywith TIR receiving the book: the ceremony takes place and finally the sad person has all the pages of the book in his/her hands. S/he shuffles through the pages expressing delight and excitement and what has been done. He says "I will take you all to the ice-cream shop as a reward."Role Play: the students organize the space to represent the vehicle for the ride to the ice cream shop. When they are seated in the vehicle they go through the rules to demonstrate to the sad person.Always wear your seat belt. No fighting in the car. No loud noises while in traffic. No heads, arms, legs out the window.Don't touch the driver.After the journey the sad person reads the book acknowledging the writer of each page. S/he thanks the students again and goes off to share it with his children.

The plan involves bringing the TIR back into the drama.These are some of the rules they need to know. Once the rules are established make the imaginary journey to the ice cream shop.
Discussion in Reflection: Summarise what happened in the drama and read 'Car Care'.  

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