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Choice Board Exercise: Portraying Emotions

Here’s a choice board exercise that’s all about emotions. You can use this list for students to complete single tasks (just have students select one assignment out of the many advertised below), or have students complete several tasks as a larger cumulative assignment. All the choices are focused on having students portray the selected emotion in different mediums. This can help students to think creatively, explore different ways of portraying emotions, and solve problems through quick thinking.

If you wish for students to use these choices as a cumulative exercise, they must select one task from each category (List, Playwriting, Tech, and Performance) to complete and submit. Tasks from the Tech category and a few from the Performance category have the option of working with a partner, but most tasks are for one student to complete. For the Performance category, students must complete one solo task AND one pair/trio task.


1. Start by selecting an emotion for the entire class to study. Use our collection of Emotion Prompts if you’d like options beyond happy, sad, or angry.


2. Use the following categories and lists for students to select their tasks.

List Tasks (choose one)

  • List 10 songs (preferably from musical theatre) that evoke the chosen emotion.
  • List 10 plays and/or musicals that feature or focus on the selected emotion. Note a specific moment (act and scene) from each play where the emotion is present.
  • List 10 quotes from plays or musicals in which the character demonstrates the selected emotion.

Playwriting Tasks (choose one)

  • Write a monologue that evokes the chosen emotion. (Length: ½ page minimum)
  • Write a two-person scene in which one character expresses the selected emotion. (Length: 1 page minimum)
  • Write a two-person scene in which both characters express the selected emotion, and something happens at the end of the scene to change the mood. (Length: 1 page minimum)
  • Write a three-person scene in which one character expresses the chosen emotion, and the other characters try to change their mood. (Length: 1 ½ page minimum)

Tech Tasks (choose one — can be done with a partner if students wish)

  • Create a lighting design that evokes the selected emotion.
  • Create a set model (for example, in a shoebox) that helps maintain the mood of the chosen emotion.
  • Select a character from a play that expresses the selected emotion, and create a costume design (full-colour sketch or live creation) that develops that emotion further.
  • Build a prop that would cause a character onstage to feel the selected emotion.

Performing Tasks (choose one solo and one pair/trio task)

  • Solo: Choose and perform a monologue from an existing play that evokes that emotion. (Please submit a copy of the monologue.)
  • Solo: Write and perform an original monologue that evokes that emotion. (Students must submit their original script as well.)
  • Pair/Trio: Create a series of three tableau scenes that evokes the selected emotion.
  • Pair/Trio: Create a mimed scene in which one of the characters expresses the chosen emotion.
  • Pair/Trio: Choose and perform a scene from an existing play that portrays the emotion. Each student must have lines.

3. After the students have performed, they will submit all written and practical work, as well as an individual reflection response (found below).


4. Bonus: Students may select and complete one additional task from the Tech, Playwriting, or Performance categories for up to five additional bonus points.

Click here for a free Reflection and Evaluation Rubric.
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