Drama/Theatre

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Ms.SLS, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 26, 2012

    Well, this coming school year, I will be teaching drama for the first time ever.

    It's only one period, but the extent of my drama knowledge comes from the oh... two drama classes I took in college (only reading plays, no acting), and the one or two plays I teach in my English classes every year.

    I have zero practical experience and little background knowledge. There is no textbook for the class. ;)

    Where do I start?

    Also, how many of your schools have a drama class that puts on a play? In my experience, the school play has been put on by a drama CLUB, because it requires so much extra-curricular time. Just wondering if that's the norm, or if many schools have a play as part of a drama CLASS.
     
  2.  
  3. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jun 26, 2012

    Hi, Ms. SLS, I'll be teaching drama for the first time as well. The retiring teacher left me all of her stuff for it. My new school approaches it more like an academic class so they study the origin of drama and then start reading plays. They also do a puppet theater project. The plays I'll be doing with them are Glass Menagerie, Antigone, Merchant of Venice, The Miracle Worker or Our Town, and then the final project is done using the Spoon River Anthology. The teacher was very explicit with me that it's not meant to be any sort of acting course.

    I figured I'd definitely do it that way this year and then can always change it in the future.

    I would be more than happy to send the syllabus your way if you'd like and then you can look it over.
     
  4. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,465
    Likes Received:
    1,602

    Jun 26, 2012

    Pull MikeTeachesMath into this conversation! That may sound odd considering his screen name, but he's currently teaching several acting classes this summer and probably has some good ideas.
     
  5. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 26, 2012

    Is this a required course part of the arts and humanities? I ask because I'm thinking of the students you'll get...will they be eager to jump in or will this just be another class?

    I would NOT expect you to have a performance. Nope, nope, nope! :)
     
  6. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,163
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jun 26, 2012

    Thanks for pointing me here, Cat.

    Here are some "Do"s and "Don't"s that are completely subjective:

    DON'T make them put on a public performance. Training should be separate from performing. Let the Drama Club handle performing. If the kids in your class want to perform publicly, refer them to the club.

    DON'T teach it as simply theatre appreciation, cause come on, that's boring. Mix theatre appreciation, theatre history, and acting into one class.

    DO get them to act. Go with some classic dramatic literature. I would start off with a Shakespeare history play and rotate parts every day. Let them stay in their seats for the first few plays, but gradually get them up on their feet and using props (tangible or not).

    DO split them into groups and hand out different plays to different groups. Let them take charge. Have them come up and act out a scene in front of the class.

    Here are the plays I'd recommend for high schoolers:
    - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (read this one together and let it serve as an introduction to dramatic lit)
    - Equus
    - Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    - The Importance of Being Earnest
    - Lost In Yonkers
    - Is He Dead?
    - Titus Andronicus
    - Twelfth Night
    - Romeo & Juliet
    - Rumors
    - The Crucible
    - Lend Me A Tenor
    - West Side Story

    If you can get permission, throw Spring Awakening by Wedekind in there too. It has a lot of mature themes but it's a classic and it appeals to teens.

    I'm splitting my Script Reading class into the following units: Intro to Dramatic Lit (Who's Afraid?); Modern Tragedy (Equus); Comedy and Farce (R&GAD, IOBA, LMAT); Midterm Project (LIY); Absurdism (Titus); Drama and Film (R&J, Shakespeare in Love); Final Project (Spring Awakening).

    Get your hands on a copy of "Theory and Theatre" by Fortier. It's helping me so much.

    Here are the standards I have to cover: Critical Performance; Themes and Frames; Postmodern Perspectives; Race and Gender; Class Conflict; Rewriting and Reperforming Classics; Language, Place, Identity; Going Global

    Critical Performance - Who's Afraid?
    Themes and Frames - Importance of Being Earnest
    Postmodern - Lost in Yonkers
    Race & Gender - Who's Afraid?
    Class Conflict - R&J
    Rewriting and Reperforming - Spring Awakening
    Language, Place, Identity - Titus; Lend Me A Tenor
    Going Global - West Side Story

    I hope this helps. I know I threw a lot of information on here, but hopefully something sticks!
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jun 26, 2012

    Mike makes a good point about standards. See if there are any standards for your state. We don't have any specific to theater anymore but there are old ones that formed the basis for the curriculum. I've matched all of my units to the English common core standards.
     
  8. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 26, 2012

    Thanks, MikeTeachesMath. Very helpful suggestions. I checked out the standards, but they're kind of generic.

    I feel like what I had in mind is similar to what you guys do as well, so I feel a bit better! :)

    This is kind of along the lines of what I'd like to do too. If you wouldn't mind letting me see the syllabus, I'd love the opportunity.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Jun 26, 2012

    For theatre in California, Ms.SLS, you want the material on theatre from the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards; see http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/thmain.asp, and don't ignore the fine glossary. The Visual & Performing Arts Framework, which fleshes out the Content Standards, is at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/allfwks.asp. Both are free for the downloading.

    Use the Internet to search for lesson plans in California - use both spellings of "theatre" and use "drama". In addition, look for the state association of drama teachers, whose name I don't now recall: subject-matter teachers' groups tend to have very helpful links on their Web sites.
     
  10. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    3,224
    Likes Received:
    147

    Jun 26, 2012

    Absolutely! Just PM me your email and I'll forward it :)
     
  11. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 27, 2012

    Pick up an exam copy of Basic Drama Projects - it's published by Perfection Learning. They will send you a book for an exam copy for 60 days, but then you have to return it. Or buy one at amazon or half.com. It has a lot of really easy to implement drama projects in all aspects of theatre, and most require few resources and those that they require are very inexpensive.

    Definitely don't just read plays or teach history. It gets so boring. If you can give them a brief touching on all aspects of theatre, they may find something really unique. There is tons of stuff available on the internet, and if you're interested, I have tons of resources on technical theatre, method acting, design, etc. Just PM if you're interested.

    Personally, I find Shakespeare is very intimidating to students, especially at the beginning. I would suggest short monologues or scenes to begin--I use a great book the first day of class, called Fantasy Character Monologues - published by Pioneer Drama, I think. All the monologues are the famous characters we all know, with a twist. They are all very funny, and very easy, they're great icebreakers. If you can, pick up some Kennedy Center Young Playwrights anthologies. They're written by high school students, they're short, and they're accessible--and you'd be surprised how fantastic they are.

    And do not attempt a play unless you have lots of students interested and you have the time to commit. One show takes 6-8 weeks of after school rehearsal, and if you don't have a lot of experience in technical theatre, you'll need people to do that for you. Good luck.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Jun 27, 2012

  13. Drama Teach

    Drama Teach Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 27, 2012

    My approach to class is it should be as hands on as possible. The students have six other classes where they are in their seats. My periods are ninth minutes and I divided the class into fifteen minute sections. I teach about 35 students I each class and about half of them enjoy performing while the other half enjoying watching.

    The first semester is focused on performance and theatre etiquette. The third quarter is theatre history and tech theatre. The fourth quarter is performing an one act play and playwriting. If you need any information message me.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. KSMathMom,
  2. TeacherNY
Total: 162 (members: 3, guests: 141, robots: 18)
test