Standard Lesson

The Peace Journey: Using Process Drama in the Classroom

9 - 12
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Five or six 50-minute class periods
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Process drama is a powerful and motivating teaching tool that engages students in writing for imaginative and functional purposes. In their lives, students have had a wide range of experiences with peace and conflict. In this lesson, they will participate in a simulation of a “Peace Journey” as they engage in a variety of literacy activities. Each student will respond to an imaginary advertisement, role play, work in small groups to develop a visual map, and create a skit that reflects his or her developing notions of peace. Students will then perform their skits for the class. After the class has performed, teachers may wish to lead a discussion about the students' ideas and their interpretations of the idea of “peace.”

From Theory to Practice

  • Process drama involves students in imaginary, unscripted, and spontaneous scenes and is framed by curricular topics, teacher objectives, and students' personal experiences.
  • Process drama involves reading, writing, and visualization and provides a context within which students may write for functional and imaginative purposes.
  • Process drama is an instructional tool that supports literacy development and fosters students' imaginative capabilities.


Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

Art materials




1. Preview the sites listed in the Websites section, which students will visit in the introductory lesson activities. As you review these websites, remember that the students will use them to gain different perspectives on how peace can be defined and represented.
2. Prepare art materials to be used in constructing the backdrops for the class drama. Materials may include poster paint, drawing materials, chart paper, glue, and poster board.
3. Preview the rubrics that will be used to assess the lesson objectives.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Create a character that expresses a personal definition of peace
  • Work in collaborative research groups to evaluate different perspectives on peace
  • Synthesize and summarize different perspectives on peace in a visual map
  • Create and perform in a skit that represents varied perspectives on peace
  • Draw a visual representation of peace
  • Respond in writing to reflective/assessment questions

Session 1

1. As a class, visit the following websites that offer differing perspectives on peace: After viewing the websites, ask students to discuss how peace is defined and represented in varied ways.
2. Lead a class discussion on current events that have had an impact on peace. You may use the following questions as a guide:
  • What are the major obstacles to peace in our times?
  • What does peace look like in the resolution of different conflicts?
  • What does peace mean to the people involved in conflicts?
Encourage students to make connections between world events that impact their lives and ways to create peace in the world.
3. Tell students that they are going to do a "think-pair-share" activity. In this activity students first briefly respond to a writing prompt. They then meet in pairs to discuss their ideas for about five minutes. After the discussion, they are asked to share their ideas with the entire class. Ask each student to respond in writing to the following prompts:
  • What does peace mean to you?
  • Describe the most peaceful place you can imagine. Visualize and describe the colors you see, the sounds you hear, the mood that surrounds you, and the images you picture.
Divide the class into pairs and ask students to share their responses. After they have briefly discussed their ideas, ask for volunteers to share their thoughts with the entire class.

Homework assignment

Read the following imaginary advertisement aloud to the class:

"We are looking for a group of volunteers to go on a Peace Journey. We cannot tell you the destination, as you will be part of discovering where it is. Please describe why you think you would be a good candidate for this journey. Include your age, your strengths, your ideas on peace, and any information that will help us make a decision about whom to take on this remarkable adventure."

Ask each student to respond in writing to the advertisement to be a volunteer on the Peace Journey as a homework assignment.

Session 2

1. Tell students that they are going to participate in a simulated Peace Journey drama that will be based on their definitions and ideas on peace. Students will create a skit that highlights their journeys to an imaginary peaceful place.
2. Divide the class into small groups of four to five students per group. Provide each group with a copy of the Peace Journey Planning Worksheet. Tell students to use the worksheet to develop their skits. The worksheet asks students to:
  • Assemble a cast of characters that reflects their individual ideas on peace
  • Describe their vision of an ideal peaceful destination
  • List the obstacles they will face in reaching their peaceful destination
  • Select tools that will be helpful in reaching their destination
  • Create a visual map using symbols to represent the varied aspects of their journey
Discuss the visual map portion of the worksheet in more detail with students. Tell students that, for example, they might represent people’s unwillingness to communicate as a wall, or the difficulties of the journey as an uphill climb.

Students can refer to the Rubric for Peace Journey Planning Worksheet to see how the assignment will be evaluated.
3. Ask each group to present its Peace Journey Planning Worksheet to the class. Encourage students to share how they made group decisions. Discuss and compare the different representations of peace the groups developed.

Session 3

1. Ask each member of the group to write a diary entry that describes the obstacles and challenges that he or she imagines will be a part of the Peace Journey. Distribute the Rubric for Diary Entry to provide students with the assessment criteria for this writing assignment.
2. Ask group members to share their diary entries.
3. Tell students that each group is responsible for creating a segment of the Peace Journey classroom skit. Students’ diary entries can be incorporated into the skit dialogue. Provide students with the following list that describes varied components of the skit:
  • Each of you should play the role of a character.
  • Your destination should be clearly described.
  • Decide how the characters are going to interact. Show specific examples of conflicts and how they are resolved.
  • The dialogue should reflect the challenges and obstacles you face, and the ways you overcome them on your journey.
  • Use props to help tell your story.
  • You may wish to add music, lighting, or dance movements to enhance your story.
  • As you begin to write your script, do not be afraid to improvise. Try a variety of different ways to enact your journey, and be open to changing the script.
  • Your goal is to use the drama as a context to express your ideas on peace.
It may also be helpful to distribute the Rubric for Group Work and the Rubric for Peace Journey Skit. Giving students the assessment criteria in advance can help them to work more effectively toward a common goal.

Session 4

1. Ask each group to create a visual representation of its imaginary peace-filled destination that will be used as a backdrop for their segment of the Peace Journey performance. You may wish to have students browse Visions of Peace Art Collection for ideas.
2. Provide time in class for students to rehearse their Peace Journey skits.

Session 5

Have the class stage a performance of the Peace Journey giving each group the opportunity to perform its skit. More than one class session may be needed for the performance, unless you have a small class or limit the amount of time each group has to perform. Make sure the backdrop is in place for each group. You may choose to write a brief part for a narrator that links different aspects of all the skits or introduces each one. You may wish to invite other classes and community members to view the performance. If possible, videotape the performance.


  • Ask students to create a public service announcement to promote peace in the world. If possible, videotape students' work. You may wish to visit Just Think: Youth Media to see examples of public service announcements created by youth on a variety of topics.
  • Have students investigate the United Nations' International Day of Peace website and answer the following questions:
    • Do you see any value in sponsoring a day like this?
    • What would you do to increase peace in the world?
  • Ask students to explore the role of artists in promoting peace at War Child and Visions of Peace Art Collection.
  • As a class, create a peace website.
  • Create a "What is Peace" journal that contains entries from students, teachers, and school staff.
  • Write the word "peace" in the center of a circle and ask the class to brainstorm a list of 50 words that describe it. Post the students' list in the classroom, and encourage them to add words to the list throughout the school year. Encourage visitors to your classroom to add words to the list.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Ask students to answer the following questions to help them reflect on their learning.

    Small-Group Reflection Questions
    • How effective was our group collaboration in discussing and developing diverse perspectives on peace?
    • How clearly did our visual map express our plan, the obstacles to peace, and our final destination?
    • How effectively did our skit dialogue reflect different perspectives on peace?
    • How effective was our performance in conveying different perspectives on peace?
    • How effectively did our backdrop convey our ideas on peace?
      Individual Reflection Questions
    • How effectively did I define peace in my writing?
    • How did using drama enhance my understanding of peace?
    • How effective was my diary entry in expressing my thoughts on the obstacles to peace?
    • What did I contribute to the group's collaboration on the Peace Journey skit and backdrop?

Use the students' reflections to assess the effectiveness of the lesson and to help you learn about using process drama as a teaching tool.

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