Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this lesson?
The students will to develop ideas for writing plays.
The students will write properly formatted dialogue for one or more characters.
The students will develop characters through dialogue.
The students will improve writing through self- and peer critiques.
The students will critique peers in a positive manner.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?
- Knowledge of dialogue format – character name followed by a colon and what the student says, using a hanging indent.
- Review of theatre vocabulary relating to plays.
- Review of how a playwright reveals information about a character (e.g., background, physical, social, emotional, ethical, intellectual traits)
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?
Whose contribution to a theatre performance has the most essential impact?
How can writing a dialogue help you to better understand the characters in a theater performance?
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?
Using student input, guide a brief review of dialogue format and how playwrights reveal information about a character (e.g., background; physical, social, emotional, ethical, and intellectual traits).
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher guidance?
- Students will create a selected number of correctly formatted lines of dialogue for two people on their own. A volunteer from the class will share his/her dialogue in some visual way, so the class can revise it as a means of reviewing how to write character traits. The teacher may suggest a trait for this review activity or allow the students to select the trait, which must be relatively easy to work with at this early experiential level.
- Select three trios of students (9 students total) to work as teams; one in each trio is the sculptor and the other two are his/her clay. The teams are given a thematic prompt and instructed to create a statue to represent it (e.g., freedom, jealousy, electricity).
- After each team has completed its statue, the rest of the class chooses one of the “statues” and writes six lines of dialogue (3 for each character) relative to the thematic prompt. The sculptors write dialogue, as well.
Note: As the students write and perform the teacher will move among the students to observe, offer suggestions, commend, carefully pair students for peer assistance (only if it is likely to produce a positive experience for both participants), and (prepare to) make notes using the rubric.
Student writings will be collected at the end of each day during the lesson and returned the next day with brief kudos and equally brief suggestions to apply in the new day's activities and/or in the culminating activity.
Sharing: The teacher will choose one dialogue for each team to present. Each selected playwright will share his/her dialogue with the team members and coach them briefly for their performance. As the teams rehearse (and memorize) their three lines each, other volunteer playwrights are asked to share what they have written with the remainder of the class.
Repeat: If time allows, repeat the exercise one or more times, using new teams and a new prompt for each round (e.g., revenge, love, hatred).
Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?
Using the student feedback, rubrics, and the verbal feedback offered to various playwrights during the class, students will each choose one of their dialogues from the day's experiences and re-write the dialogue, making improvements in formatting, number of lines per character, clarity of character, etc. When they turn in their writing for the day, the re-written dialogue should be labeled as the re-write and immediately follow the original in each student's stack or folder.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in the lesson?
The teacher will do a brief summary of points on which s/he noted significant improvement, building student confidence where appropriate. Teachers may find it helpful to use a generalized version of the Guiding Questions and then close with a small-group student discussion (no more than 4 or 5 per group), in which they are to discuss the roles of the Playwright, Director, Actors, and Audience as experienced in the class, in the context of the Essential Question for Theatre 2.
Discuss with class.
To learn about each character today, what percentage of information did you gather through each of the following: the playwright's written dialogue, the actor's voice, the actor's gestures and body, and what you think the Director may have suggested?
As you prepared to deliver the dialogue to the class as an actor, what percentage of the character you presented came directly from the Playwright's written dialogue, the Director, or your own ideas?
Did the script formatting--good or perhaps not-so-good--affect your ability to read and work with it?
What were some of the most effective words or phrases the Playwright chose to help you know about the character? Which words might have misled you and what suggestion(s) can you offer for improvement?
If you could do a re-write on some of the dialogue you wrote today, what would you change? Be as specific as you can. Essential Question: Whose contribution to a theatre performance has the most essential impact?
Each student will choose one piece of dialogue that s/he has written as part of one of the lesson experiences, and extend it into a scene or short play. The Formative Assessment rubric used throughout the lesson will be used to guide the summative assessment.
As the students write and perform, the teacher will move among the students to observe, offer suggestions, commend, carefully pair students for peer assistance (only if it is likely to produce a positive experience for both participants), and (prepare to) make notes using the rubric/scale.
Student writings will be collected at the end of each day during the lesson and returned the next day with brief kudos and equally brief suggestions that can be applied in the new day's activities and/or in the culminating unit activity. The teacher may also want to select a few exemplars (without students' names) from a different Theatre 2 class in two modes to share with this class: 1 set provided without comments, and one set with teacher comments indicating successes and areas needing improvement. Note: If the teacher does not have another section of Theatre 2 from which to draw exemplars, each student's feelings should be respected and carefully considered when choosing the levels of success to share. Not all levels need to be shared, and teachers can write the "non-examples" to demonstrate writing that would earn lower ratings.
Feedback to Students
After each team performs, the teacher will provide minimal (and decreasing) guidance for a peer critique process using a Student Feedback Rubric.