Playwriting

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

30-Second Monologue

by Lindsay Price

Students will apply what they have learned in previous lessons to a 30-second memorized monologue. They will pick their own monologue to perform, design a beginning and end, create the character’s physical expression, and decide on their matching/opposing movement. They will add their thoughts on vocal variety. Finally, students will complete a post-performance monologue reflection.
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Analyzing Monologues

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will plot out the steps of the story mountain by using existing monologues.
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Beginning to Write

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson, students begin putting the pieces together for their devised work. Students brainstorm on their topic, then participate in a movement piece and a forum theatre activity to explore their topic.
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Building the Play

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson, students continue to build the play by writing and revising scenes, reading each other’s work, and providing feedback.
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Capturing the Way People Speak

by Nicholas Pappas

Students will learn to break free of academia’s stringent MLA formatting and “proper” speech patterns, while recognizing their own code-switching, to capture authentic and natural rhythms to match the speech patterns of their friends, families, and community.

Character

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will work on a character profile and apply character development details to a monologue or scene. Students will also receive the criteria for their culminating project and start work on their outlines.

Character

by Lindsay Price

Character is one of the backbone elements of a good play. In this lesson, students will work on a character profile.
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Character Dialogue and Development

by Karen Loftus

Students continue their exploration of playwriting by learning about character dialogue and applying character details into a letter exercise.
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Characterization

by Corinna Rezzelle

Students explore what makes a character interesting through the examination of physical objects. What do objects say about us? What can you infer about a person by the objects they carry with them? Students will role-play in process drama activities to explore characters and to create their own.
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Choosing a Topic

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson, students discuss and choose a topic for their devised piece.
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Conflict

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will work on a conflict profile and apply the details to a monologue. Student will also begin writing their first draft.

Conflict

by Lindsay Price

Along with character, conflict is one of the backbone elements of a good play. In this lesson, students will work on a conflict profile.
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Contentless Scenes / Building Scenes

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson, students will start their scene work first with a contentless scene, a one-minute scene, and then (for homework) write a one-page scene based on a real life experience.
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Create and Perform a Radio Play

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of the lesson is for students to create and perform their own radio play using a children’s story as the source material. Radio plays are fantastic for students to practice and develop many performance skills like projection, diction, using emotion, and using their voices. They give students the opportunity to creatively work with playwriting, selecting appropriate music, and creating sound effects.

Creative Thinking: Writing the Next Scene

by Kerry Hishon

A common acting exercise for students is to imagine what their character is doing next when they exit a scene and what they’re doing when they aren’t onstage. In this lesson, students will explore this exercise through playwriting by writing the next scene for an exiting character. Where did they go? What are they doing? Why did they leave? Note: This lesson could also be used as an emergency lesson plan if you’re in the middle of a play study unit and have an unexpected absence. It could also work as an independent project.

Crumpled Paper

by Karen Loftus

Some students dread writing. Just the thought of pencil and paper make them want to crumple up that paper and throw it. Well, now they can. In this exercise, students are introduced to story elements such as character, objective, obstacle/conflict, tactics, and resolution. Pairs of students add each new story element to an ever growing story that can be shared with the class. Reflection and Rubric included.

Dialogue

by Karen Loftus

Students continue their exploration of playwriting by learning about dialogue and applying their knowledge through a group playwriting exercise.
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Dialogue

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson students will write two-character, one-location, ten-line scenes to practice getting to the heart of effective and efficient scene writing.

Dialogue

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will write two-character, one-location, ten-line scenes to practice getting to the heart of effective and efficient scene writing.
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Drafting a Monologue

by Matthew Banaszynski

Using their rough drafts from the starter prompts, students will work in pairs to edit their drafts to make cleaner stories. Students will also map out their drafts on a Story Mountain diagram to make sure that they follow the proper format.
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Emergency Lesson Plan: Theatrical Problem Solving - The Playwright in Production

by Lindsay Price

In this ELP, students will take on the role of a working playwright in the process of having a play produced. The relationship between playwright and production is sometimes precarious – directors have been known to ban playwrights from rehearsals, actors have been known to change lines.

Final Rehearsal & Performance

by Corinna Rezzelle

Students run the show before their performance. And then on the decided upon date and time, they perform!
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Final Revision Rehearsal

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will revise their set designs and scripts to achieve “Meets” or “Exceeds” on the rubrics. They will also give peer feedback and rehearse their scenes for vocal clarity, expression, and open body.
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From Speech to Playwriting

by Lindsay Price

The speech is a great gateway to teach students about how to write a monologue. Use this lesson to identify the similarities between a speech and a monologue. Students will analyze a speech, identify what makes a good speech, and learn that the same qualities apply when it comes to writing a good monologue. They will write their own speech in pairs, and adapt their speech into a monologue.

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.

How Do You Give Feedback?

by Lindsay Price

The first draft is due in this class. The class will begin with a feedback exercise. Then students will read their draft aloud and receive feedback.

Introduction

by Lindsay Price

In this introduction lesson, students will discuss the challenges of writing a play. They will learn the definition of self-management and discuss how they use self-management in their day-to-day lives. Students will then choose a topic that they care about and identify what they know about it, what questions they have, and how they’re going to answer those questions.

Introduction to Monologue Writing

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will start the process of writing a monologue by storytelling. They will tell a story based only on what they observe in a picture.
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Maintain Focus and Engagement

by Lindsay Price

Students have a goal, a strategy, a plan of action, and processes. It’s now time to start writing. Students will have one class period to start writing their play, and then they’re going to be on their own. Will students be able to maintain focus and engagement with their writing to get done what needs to be done without someone overseeing their work?

Maintain Focus and Engagement

by Lindsay Price

This lesson provides students with class time to work on their plays. Will students be able to maintain focus and engagement with their writing to get done what needs to be done without someone overseeing their work?

Midway Reflection

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, which happens after students have spent some time on their own writing their plays, students will discuss their strategies and plans of action, identify any changes, discuss how they’re feeling about their writing, and complete a Midway Reflection.

Monologue

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will analyze existing monologues, identify the criteria for a good monologue, and write their own monologues in the practice session.
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Monologue Writing

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will start writing their own monologue, using a pre-selected phrase as a starting point.
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Monologue Writing: The Need to Speak

by Lindsay Price

Students will complete exercises that demonstrate how a character’s need to speak results in a better monologue. They will then write a monologue that applies this knowledge.

Monologues

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will analyze existing monologues, identify the criteria for a good monologue, and write their own monologue in the practice session.

More Minds Are Better Than One

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will work in groups to turn their previous drafts into completed monologues.
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Nonverbal Monologue

by Lindsay Price

Students start the monologue process nonverbally. They will present an entrance, an action, and an exit that shows a story without dialogue. In a monologue, the physical body is an important communication tool—just as important as dialogue. And that’s the focus of this lesson. Physical action can demonstrate location, mood, age, and subtext.
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One-Line Monologue

by Lindsay Price

Students further develop what they learned during the nonverbal monologue exercise by adding a single sentence. How can you communicate a character to an audience when you only have limited dialogue?
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Partner Scene Brainstorming

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will create a scene outline by brainstorming and selecting the key foundations of their scene (setting, relationships, and conflicting objectives).
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Peer Script Workshopping

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will review and help workshop a peer’s script before hearing feedback and making changes to their own scripts.
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Performing a Monologue

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will perform their monologues in front of the class and reflect on the process.
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Physicalization / Stage Movement

by Corinna Rezzelle

Students explore how body language can show a story (i.e. how someone is feeling, character traits, relationships between characters, etc.). The lesson culminates in students using a physical elliptical scene (a scene with just stage directions) and adding movements, gestures, and body language.
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Playwriting: Analyzing and Applying a Form

by Lindsay Price

Use this as part of a playwriting unit or a devising unit. The goal of the lesson is to show students different ways to explore a theme through writing. Not every scene has to be linear, and not every scene has to follow a traditional format. Students will read existing scenes that apply a specific form for a scene. They will analyze those scenes and then apply their knowledge by writing their own scene.

Playwriting: Forms and Prompts

by Lindsay Price

Use this lesson at the beginning of a playwriting unit, or a devising unit. Students practice the act of choosing a form for a scene and a prompt as a starting point. Drive home for students the importance of execution - instead of students ruminating on the perfect idea, they choose a form, choose a prompt and execute. The goal of the lesson is to show students that there are many different ways to form a theatrical piece and that execution is more useful to moving a piece forward than being stuck on the idea.

Post-Show Discussion and Reflection

by Corinna Rezzelle

This lesson happens after the performance. Post-show discussion questions are included as well as a post-show reflection.
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Post-Writing Reflection

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss and reflect on how they successfully or less-than-successfully engaged with writing a play using self-management skills. Were they able to write independently? Did they use the tools and actions they laid out in their plans of action? Students will then complete a Unit Reflection and a Self-Assessment worksheet.

Practice, Performance, Reflection

by Lindsay Price

In these last two lessons, students will focus on the performance aspect of playwriting. It’s important to include performance in the unit because the ultimate goal of all plays is to be performed (rather than read). Students have the opportunity to rehearse in groups, present to the class, and then reflect on their experience with the unit.

Preparing to Rewrite

by Lindsay Price

For some students, the first draft is the final draft. I got to the end. I’m done. For some students, writer’s block sinks in quickly after a couple of scenes. Use this lesson plan in the middle of a playwriting unit, after your students have completed some writing on a play - either a first draft or even a couple of scenes. When your students aren’t sure how to move their writing forward - ask questions, define purpose, address writer’s block.

Prose Into Theatre

by Lindsay Price

Use this lesson plan to get your students to practice the act of writing theatrical action. It's much different than writing a story. Students learn that in plays characters "do" an action, they don't "describe" an action. Students practice taking prose descriptive sentences and re-writing them as theatrical action. Students are also introduced to proper play formatting.

Rehearsal

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson, students finalize casting, then start rehearsing. Focus the rehearsals on blocking. What is the necessary movement to communicate the content of the scene?
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Rehearsal / Character Development

by Corinna Rezzelle

Students continue to rehearse. In this lesson, character development exercises deepen the students’ experiences and final products.
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Rehearsal / Designing the play

by Corinna Rezzelle

Students continue to rehearse. They also move on to the design phase of the project. The group will decide upon costuming and props for the performance. NOTE: Keep costumes and props simple. Black works well for costumes with colourful accents.
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Revision

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson students watch the Ren Run then discuss the topic of revision. What is the message of the play? How do the scenes communicate the message? Note: Depending on the amount of revisions your students feel the play needs, revising might take longer than one lesson. Feel free to add time, if need be.
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Script Drafting

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will create a script draft that includes the five required lines to establish character, setting, conflict, rising action, and resolution.
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Script Formatting

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will create a script draft that includes scene setting, expression, and movement notes.
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Scripted Scene Performance Assessment

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will perform their final partner scene for assessment in front of the class. They will also complete an audience feedback sheet where they give their peers feedback on rubric skills.
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Session 1: Playwriting Project Introduction

by Lindsay Price

Students will receive the criteria for their play project and start work on their outline.
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Session 2: First Draft Writing

by Lindsay Price

Students will outline and begin writing their first draft.
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Session 3: What is Theatricality?

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss the question “What is theatricality?” in terms of what makes a play stageable. Students continue to work on their first draft.
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Session 4: How Do You Give/Receive Feedback?

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss and examine how to give and receive feedback. Then students will read their first draft aloud and receive feedback on it.
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Session 5: First Draft Submission

by Lindsay Price

The first draft is due in this class. Students will have time to work and then submit.
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Session 6: Post-First Draft Questions

by Lindsay Price

Students are given time to work on their second draft. Students also review the Post-First Draft Questions to apply critical thinking skills to their draft.
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Session 7: In-Depth Character Profile

by Lindsay Price

Students are given time to work on their second draft. Students will receive an In-depth Character Profile sheet to help them apply critical thinking skills to their draft.
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Session 8: Feedback 2

by Lindsay Price

Students are given time to work on their second draft. Students also give and receive feedback on their draft.
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Session 9: Final Writing Day

by Lindsay Price

This is the last class session students have to work on their plays.
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Sessions 10 & 11: Practice, Staged Reading, Reflection

by Lindsay Price

In these last two sessions, students will focus on the performance aspect of playwriting. Students will practice in groups, present an online staged reading, and reflect on their experience with the unit.
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Set Design and Blocking

by Lindsay Johnson

In this lesson, students will create a set design and add blocking notes to their scripted scenes.
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Shakepeare's Words: Iambic Pentameter

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of the lesson is for students to learn what iambic pentameter is and to have the opportunity to create their own monologues using iambic pentameter. This lesson is a useful complement towards studying classical works by playwrights such as William Shakespeare.

Stage Directions

by Karen Loftus

Students continue their exploration of playwriting by learning about stage directions, applying the elements to create a stage-directions scene, and applying tools to an open scene.
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Story vs Monologue

by Lindsay Price

Students will discuss and answer questions regarding the differences between a monologue and a story using The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as a model.

Strategy/Plan/Process

by Lindsay Price

Students will officially set their goal and discuss the differences between a strategy, action plan, and process. By the end of the lesson, students will have created a strategy paragraph, developed a framework for writing their play through a plan of action, and identified specific playwriting exercises to use.
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Structure

by Karen Loftus

Students begin their exploration of playwriting by learning about structure and applying the elements in a writing exercise.
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Subtext: Pass the Salt

by Lindsay Price

Subtext is the underlying meaning in a text. What is a character thinking? Learning to apply subtext to a scene is an excellent character development tool. It encourages students to think about “the why” behind a line. “Why does a character say this line? Why do they use a particular inflection? What are they really trying to say? In this lesson plan, students explore the meaning of subtext, practice applying subtext in dialogue and to create their own scene.

The Criteria of a Good Monologue

by Lindsay Price

Students will identify the elements of a good monologue through analysis and evaluation, focusing on a need to speak (Why does the character speak?), a specific character voice (Who is the character?) and a journey (Is there a beginning, middle, end?).

The Foundations of Playwriting

by Lindsay Price

Use this lesson plan as an introduction to a playwriting unit. This is a two lesson plan unit. Students complete exercises that demystify and reframe the four foundational elements of the playwriting process: Warm Ups, The Idea, Character, and Conflict. These plans are grounded in the statement: “You can’t build a house without a good foundation.” In order to write plays students need to know the basics first.

The Masque of Red Death and Coronavirus

by Lindsay Price

In this compare and contrast lesson, students will read a dramatization of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of Red Death. This story is the ultimate example of “social distancing.” Students will compare and contrast the dramatization to the current events surrounding Coronavirus and then write an adaptation focusing on modern viruses.

The Ren Run

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this lesson, students will work in groups to create transitions in improvised tableaux and movement pieces. They will also participate in a “ren run” to practice improv blocking.
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The Story Mountain Framework

by Matthew Banaszynski

Students will understand the parts of a story and how it relates to a monologue through the story mountain framework.
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The Unities

by Karen Loftus

Students continue their exploration of playwriting by learning about Aristotle’s Unities of time, place, and action. They apply the Unities in an improv.
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The Working Playwright

by Lindsay Price

This hyperdoc unit is designed to have students independently discover how a playwright turns creative expression into a career. The unit is broken down into three sections with multiple activities, videos, and research tasks, and includes a culminating activity.
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Three-Line Monologue

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will work on a three-sentence monologue to address both issues. Everyone will do the same monologue, so there is also the opportunity to talk about individual character choice, physical expression, and verbal expression.
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Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Groups complete their scripts, format it properly, then hand it in. Next, they will perform their scene and complete a final reflection.
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Unit Project

by Lindsay Price

The final project for Part 1 of this unit is for students to write examples of what has been explored so far in the following way: • A two-person, one-location, one-page scene. • Each character has a want, there is an obstacle to their want, and they apply tactics to get what they want. • A separate (ie: not included in the scene) half-page monologue for one of the characters in the scene. • A character profile for each of the characters. The objective is for students to apply all the elements they’ve learned so far in dramatic writing.
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Using Theatre to Share and Celebrate History

by Kerry Hishon

The objective of the lesson is for students to explore historical events that are significant to them through various theatrical mediums that may seem unusual or “out of the box.” The inspiration for this lesson plan comes from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s theatrical hit Hamilton, which utilizes rap and hip-hop music and colourblind casting to tell the story of the American founding fathers.

Week Four

by Lindsay Price

Week Four is about practice, performance, and unit reflection. It’s important to include performance in the unit because the ultimate goal of all plays is that they be performed (rather than read). Students have the opportunity to rehearse in groups, present to the class, and then reflect on their experience with the unit.

Week One

by Lindsay Price

In Week One, students learn about the criteria for the culminating project, complete some exercises to give students strategies for warm-ups and fighting writer’s block, as well as complete a practice session for both a monologue and a scene.

Week Three

by Lindsay Price

In Week Three, students continue to write read their work aloud and receive feedback. The feedback for this week will focus on character and conflict. They will also complete post-first draft questions and character profiles. The second draft is due at the end of the week.

Week Two

by Lindsay Price

In Week Two, students work on their first draft. Each class period involves writing, reading aloud from the draft, and giving/receiving feedback. The draft is due at the end of the week.

What is a Monologue?

by Nicholas Pappas

Students will build upon the Overheard Dialogue lesson to write a first draft of an authentic, decolonized monologue that speaks to their interests and voice.

What is a Playwright

by Lindsay Price

In this first lesson, students discuss their preconceived notions about playwriting, their expectations and fears, and identify actions: What does a playwright do?

What is a Playwright?

by Lindsay Price

Students write on their preconceived notions about playwriting, their expectations and fears, and identify actions: What does a playwright do?
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What is an Idea? Where do I Look?

by Lindsay Price

Lesson 1 introduces the unit and the importance of warm-up exercises. Students will learn a new definition for what an idea is and apply that definition to the first topic area.
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What is Theatricality?

by Lindsay Price

Students will answer the question “What is theatricality?” in terms of what makes a play stageable. Students will apply this concept to a stageability exercise.

Where Do Ideas Come From?

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will explore different methods of gathering ideas.

Where Do Ideas Come From?

by Lindsay Price

In this lesson, students will explore different methods of gathering ideas.
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Workshopping and the Second Draft

by Nicholas Pappas

Students will use a workshop process to build upon the first draft of their monologue and write a second, stronger draft of their monologue.
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Writing a Two Character Scene

by Lindsay Price

Students will read a handout and discuss what it takes to write a two character scene. They will then apply their knowledge through exercises done in class. Finally, they will write and hand in a two character, one location scene which will be assessed.

Writing an Autobiographical Monologue

by Gai Jones

In this lesson, based on their brainstorm material, students will look at their memories, notes, and images, choose a subject, and write on the character for their monologue. They will then write a first draft of their monologue in a quick-write fashion. After a break, students will analyze what they’ve written, and write a second draft. The unit ends with a reflection or students reading their work aloud.
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Writing and In-Depth Character Profile

by Lindsay Price

Students are given time to work on their second draft. They will read an excerpt of their play aloud and receive feedback. Students will also receive an In-depth Character Profile sheet to help them apply critical thinking skills to their draft.

Writing and Post-First Draft Questions

by Lindsay Price

Students are given time to work on their second draft. Students also receive a Post-First Draft Questions sheet to apply critical thinking skills to their draft.

Writing: Part 1

by Karen Loftus

Students continue their exploration of playwriting by starting to write as a group.
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Writing: Part 2

by Karen Loftus

Students continue their exploration of playwriting by starting to write as a group.
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