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The Safe Place

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Writers:Chris Walsh & Evelyn Mann

The drama was written as an example of the way process drama can be used to motivate a shared reading text and actively explore the meaning. It is the use of a variety of drama conventions that underpins the structure.

Key Question: If we love someone what are we prepared to do to protect him or her?

Key Understandings:

  • Our babies are precious to us.
  • We need to protect our babies before and after birth.

Connected Curriculum Areas: English, Science and Dance. Key Competencies - Thinking, Managing Self, and Relationships.

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; Mother Hen. PK DI
  • Take part in a blanket role (people of the village, hen) 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 indicators, which will also be used to focus assessment, for the learning intention: Take part in a blanket role contributing to the narrative. PK DI Indicators: Students can

  • Accept a role and respond by taking part in the action.
  • Interact effectively with others in role using techniques e.g. voice, facial expression.
  • Portray a chicken hatching through improvised movement to music.
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:
  • Mooar, Sue. 1999. The Safe Place. Ready to Read series. Wellington: Learning Media
  • Ministry of Education. Dance Posters. Wellington: Learning Media
Learning Experiences Teaching Notes

Forming Links To Our Own Lives

Show me how you would look if you were hiding in a safe place. 3, 2, 1, freeze.

Cover the illustration on the big book and just reveal the title. Discuss.


Questions you might ask:

What do you think safe means?
If you were looking for a safe place where might that be?

Reveal the Illustration.


Questions you might ask:

I wonder why the illustration shows animals when the title is talking about a safe place.


Motivating the work and setting the context.

Begin with page 12. Students sit on the floor in a circle in role as people from the village. Place the book (on p.12) in the centre of the circle. The villagers have turns saying the things that people watching the hen might say as they first see her with her chickens.


The teacher may have to model a statement or two to get them started.

Building the Narrative

Hot Seat: TIR as the mother hen: students question mother hen.


This gives the students the opportunity to ask about the chickens and reveal how important, and hard it was, to find a safe place to lay the eggs.

Out of role discuss what mother hen means about 'it being really hard to find a safe place'.

Read Pages 4 to 7 one at a time with students facing each other in pairs. The teacher reads the new hiding place,

one of the pair says the line "Is this a safe place?" The other responds "No, it isn't." Using the technique of voice explore the range of emotions the hen might feel as she searches for a safe place.

Recap on why she needed a safe place.

Read from p.8 to p.11.

Read page by page. After reading each page discuss the problem with the hiding place. Encourage the students in pairs to say the lines as though they are scared, worried, anxious, frustrated, concerned. For example, they might whisper, speak slowly; speak with pauses or emphasis on words.

Reflecting on the issues and bringing the drama to conclusion

Dance: Explore the hatching through movement.

At the end of the dance the students end up in a circle in role as the mother hen and one by one they tell the rooster what has happened.


Refer to Dance Posters for learning intentions e.g. body awareness, use of space.

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