Students often come to drama class with big goals: Get the lead in the show! Become a performing star! And while some students might make great steps towards achieving those big goals, most don’t really know how to start, or want too much too fast and fizzle out. They might even think that the work is too hard.
So how can we help our students achieve their goals and grow as performers? Encourage them to start small!
Start with asking your students this question of the day: What is one small thing you can focus on this week to improve your performance in drama class? Have students brainstorm a list of tiny action steps related to their performance that they could improve on. The actions must be very small and specific. If it’s longer than a single sentence, they need to pare it back even more. Here are some suggestions for students to start with:
Small actions add up. During a week that you’re focusing on scene work or performances, have students go back to the brainstorm list and choose one micro-action that they’d like to personally focus on. Their goal is to apply that action to their acting work that week, whether in rehearsal or performing in front of the class.
Have students take a fresh piece of paper out and write their micro-focus action at the top of the page, along with their name. Draw a table with four columns and six rows. In the left hand column, write each day of the week, leaving space between each heading. (You can also use the practice log found at the bottom of this article.) Each day for one week, at the end of class, have students complete the following exit slip:
At the end of the week, have students look back on their in-class work on their small actions. Have them respond to the following reflection questions:
If you wish, have students do a second check-in after a month on their micro-actions: