Group Activities

13 Lesson Plans to help you effectively plan your workshops and classes

Abenaki Creation Story

by Allison Green

Students listen to the Abenaki Creation Story and explore through plot graphing and recreating.

Building the Ensemble

by Lindsay Price

Use this lesson plan at the beginning of the year to introduce the concept of ensemble and what it means to work together. Part One: Students participate and then reflect on exercises where they have to work together to make the exercise successful. They are given an Ensemble Expectations Handout. Part Two: Students participate and then reflect on exercises where they have to work together as an ensemble in a theatrical context. Here the exercises add elements of character and story such as creating a family portrait, tableau, group objects, one word storytelling, and choral speaking.

Collaboration: The Negotiation

by Lindsay Price

It takes practice for students to get used to the idea of working together, crafting ideas together, and learning how to negotiate. In a collaboration everyone comes to the table equally, and that means there is a process of give and take. Use this exercise to have your students practice negotiating instead of following one or two leaders.

Cross Curricular Lesson Plan: A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

by Lindsay Price

This cross-curricular lesson plan uses a picture to illuminate a historical moment that we don’t often see. How does seeing the event in a different light change the perspective? This is a great lesson to enforce the idea that characters aren’t always what they seem - whether students are preparing a character to perform, or if they are writing a play.

Dramatic Rules Game

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of this lesson is for students to think quickly and creatively by demonstrating a common rule or concept in an unusual way, using various theatrical techniques.

Ensemble Community Building

by Dustin Loehr

To begin establishing an Ensemble by creating opportunities for students to: 1. Collaborate 2. Trust each other Students will work together in small groups or in pairs to solve various challenges. Challenges involve using their non- verbal skills to communicate, working together through movement and support of weight and trust. Students will complete the following activities in this order: 1. Human Knott 2. Body to Body 3. Weight Sharing 4. Circle Trust

Group Musical Poster

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will read the description of a musical then break into groups to create a poster for the show. Each group will present their poster to the class and explain their representation. Note: This lesson works well if students have had a basic introduction to musical theatre.

Group Playwriting

by Karen Loftus

In this highly structured exercise, students work in groups and use clearly defined goals to create the dialogue of a scene. Each member of the group has an assigned task and contributes to the final creation.

Introduction to Origin Stories

by Allison Green

The first 3 lessons introduce origin stories. Students research an Indigenous origin story in small groups. They will create a plot graph and share in a class discussion.

Play in a Week

by Steven Stack

In this student driven activity, students will work together to put up a short one act play from audition to production within a one week time limit. The purpose of the activity is to show students, quickly, how important it is to work together, to collaborate, and to negotiate as a group. This is also a good activity to apply responsibility. The students themselves are responsible for all aspects of this activity - you should only take on an advisory role. Give feedback when asked but don’t act as a director or make decisions for your students. The point is not a “perfect” production but to give students an activity where they must work together in order to succeed. The process is more important than the product.

Research Project: Acting Teachers

by Todd Espeland

Instead of presenting a lecture on influential acting teachers, students self-learn in this lesson plan. Have students research an acting teacher, prepare a presentation and teach an exercise in groups.

Retelling a Story

by Allison Green

Student will use the research they completed on days 1-3 to retell an origin story to the class.

Shakespeare Setting and Soundscape

by Lisa Houston

In Elizabethan times, audiences at the Globe had to use their powers of imagination and listening to envision the worlds of Shakespeare’s plays. Today, modern audiences are treated to elaborate depictions of Shakespeare’s settings with expensive sets, lighting, projections, and sound. This lesson will test your students’ creative collaboration. They will design a set and soundscape in obstacle course form for one of Shakespeare’s plays using found objects, sounds, and actions.
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