Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1
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CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

Ancient Greek Theatre

by Lindsay Price

In studying Ancient Greece, we’re looking at the foundations of theatre as we know it today. Without the Ancient Greek Era, we do not get actors, theatres, plays, and the definitions of tragedy and comedy.

The issue with studying theatre history, or anything historical is that it can become an exercise in memorizing dates and reciting facts. When the truth of the matter is no one in the 21st century benefits from learning by rote. This is especially true when studying history in the framework of a drama classroom. We need exercises that bring history to life, instead of having students plot dates on a timeline.

To that end, this unit does not focus on dates and data. The essential question for the unit is how can we connect the past to the present and this question is explored through the theatricalization of information. Students will access all four 21st century skills, critical thinking, creative thinking, collaboration and communication as they explore this amazing world.

Reflections, exit slips, and rubrics are included throughout the unit as well as a mid assignment evaluation for the culminating project.

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Scenic Design

by Karen Loftus

This unit will focus on the basics: what is scenic design? How do the scenic designer and director collaborate? What is the process that the scenic designer goes through? The unit will also explore basic drafting techniques, and rendering techniques.

Based on what they learn, students will create a ground plan and a rendering. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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Front of House

by Karen Loftus

This unit looks at theatre jobs in the business category: Front of House, Marketing, Box Office. The aim of these jobs is to interact with the public. Students are able to identify what “front of house” refers to and understand the various roles of a theatre company’s front of house members.

Students will also explore how a show is marketed and demonstrate their knowledge of marketing by creating a simple marketing campaign for an original show. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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Drama One Final Project

by Karen Loftus

The final project will incorporate multiple areas that students have studied over the course of the year/semester: playwriting, acting, scenic design, and marketing. They’ll take what they’ve learned and create a 5-minute play with a monologue that they’ll perform. They’ll also describe the overall design of the show and create a ground plan and rendering for their design.

Finally, they’ll market their show by creating a poster and a press release. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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Musical Theatre

by Anna Porter

Musical Theatre has two components that separate it from straight plays: song and dance. This unit gives students the opportunity to try out both. In musical theatre, music signifies heightened emotion. We can’t express ourselves with just words, we need music (and through extension, song and dance) to take it further.

This unit includes three lesson plans:

1. Acting the Song - “Musical Tactics”
2. Acting the Song - “Textual Analysis”
3. Introduction to Dance

A solo performance assignment is also included, and the unit includes assessment tools - rubrics, reflections, and self-evaluations.

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Mock Audition

by Lindsay Price

In this Mock Audition Unit, students will start by discussing the audition process. They will make connections between their personal views and the process. Students will then apply the steps of auditioning from putting together a resume, to choosing a piece based on provided information, to audition etiquette, to the actual audition itself. A final reflection and rubric are provided for use at the end of this unit.

A short play is included that can be used as the source material. You can also choose your own play for this process.

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Theatre of the Absurd

by Lea Marshall

WARNING: This unit is ABSURD. However, instructor Lea Marshall decided to do something really ABSURD with the unit, which was make it a bit more predictable. First, the unit takes two lessons to go over the Historical and Philosophical background of Theatre of the Absurd. It starts with just a visual exercise to really bring students into the emotional bleakness of the landscape and then group work to look at some of the other foundational elements that will drive the Absurdist movement into the Theatres.

Next, students break down absurd scripts into some “recognizable” elements of language, plot structure, acting choices, and storyline. With each lesson that introduces an Absurdist Element, there is an opportunity for students to “play” with the element. Then, students explore the element through an Absurdist text. This will help familiarize the students with the 4 Absurdist scripts used in the unit. These bite sized forays into the scripts will help students to choose a script to fully immerse themselves in for the final project.

As a final project, students will choose one script to work with, and choose the format of their project (performance, costume or set design, or playwright).

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Costuming

by Holly Beardsley

A costume designer and a costumer are two different things. A costume designer creates pieces from the drawing board to the stage, while a costumer pulls from already existing pieces to create fully realized characters. This means that the approach is different.

In this six lesson unit students will learn the tools of a successful costumer. They will start by reflecting on their own personal style and the choices that go into that style. They’ll move on to look at versatility and adapting costume staples, creating a costuming vision, period clothing as the costumer, how to use the colour wheel as a costuming tool and everything culminates in a final project (two options).

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Devising

by Corinna Rezzelle

In this unit, students will work with their peers through a series of exercises and activities designed to lead them through the process of creating, writing, rehearsing, and performing a new, original script.

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Devising

by Corinna Rezzelle

What is devising? It’s a process of playwriting as a group. Plays are created through improvisation, process dramas, and a lot of teamwork. The Devising Unit includes an overview to get you started, and 12 lessons jam-packed with activities.

This unit includes doing some basic Forum Theatre, which is a technique coined by Augusto Boal. It covers Process Drama in a variety of ways such as Hot Seating, Role on the Wall, and a fun exercise called “Character Bag”. There are also some great bonding games for your students to enjoy.

This unit is designed to show students (and teachers) that playwriting doesn’t have to be a solitary, lonely exercise. It can be a fun, sometimes chaotic, and very energetic experience.

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Tools of Scene Work

by Anna Porter

Students are introduced to scene work performance through a simple, contentless scene unit. In this unit, performers will use exercises like “Show and Tell” to learn how to fill in the gaps of a story by creating scenarios and detailed characters with backgrounds.

Students will further fill in the gaps by exploring environmental and physical conflict as well as stage business. The lesson “Thou Shalts of Staging” will guide students through basic staging and performance technique.

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Improvisation in Musical Theatre

by Annie Dragoo

Understanding basic improvisation skills will help musical theatre performers understand that musical theatre is more than just singing and dancing. It’s about using all the tools (voice, body, and mind) an actor has at their disposal to create a character.

This unit focuses more on the improv aspect rather than the musical theatre aspects - in fact students need no prior musical theatre knowledge. Annie Dragoo, creator of the unit, uses this material as her first unit in her musical theatre class. It’s a great introduction and will get your students in the right frame of mind to approach musical theatre.

The lessons explore a variety of improv skills such as vocal responses, movement, character study, sensory awareness and culminate in an improv scene and unit essay.

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Copyright *Hyperdoc

by Lindsay Price

This unit takes students through the ins and outs of copyright, from Intellectual Property, to what is and what is not copyrightable, to Copyright and the theatre, case studies and finally the Public domain. Sections come with a variety of application methods: a research activity, a video to respond to, questions to answer, and articles to read.

This unit is delivered in hyperdoc format. What does that mean? A hyperdoc is an interactive tool that encourages digital learning. In this case, students are given a document on a subject, and there they can read articles, watch videos, do some independent research, and apply what they’ve learned. Because they’re working on their own, students are in charge of their own pacing.

Before you start the unit, ensure you read the Teacher Guide first. It will give you clear instructions on how to distribute the hyperdoc format and make it easy for you and your students.

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Introduction to Film Analysis: Mise en scène

by Lindsay Price

Lindsay Price has developed this Introduction to Film Analysis Unit: Mise en scène. In order to develop visual literacy, students have to be able to analyze what they see. In a film, the composition of everything you see on screen is called mise-en-scène. In this unit, students will explore the individual elements that make up mise-en-scène, be able to identify those elements in stills and film scenes, and apply their knowledge in a culminating analysis activity.

Heads up. You’re going to need some technology for this unit. Students need to be able to view, either as a class or 1:1 images, a google slide deck and selected film scenes.

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Theatrical Arguments: Pursuing Objectives, Communication, and Conflict

by Rachel Atkins

In this middle school unit by Rachel Atkins, students will explore how to strengthen a theatrical argument through objectives, communication, and conflict: What characters do, what they say, and how they say it when they make an argument or try to achieve an objective. To do this, students will use tableaux, dialogue, and improv. There are presentations and post-lesson writing assignments that you can use for assessment.

How do characters, actors and writers use a variety of actions to achieve an objective or support an argument? How do they enhance their communication by word choice and emotion? How do they develop and strengthen their own arguments by understanding other points of view?

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Musical Theatre History Museum Project

by Annie Dragoo

Musical Theatre is a uniquely American art form, explored through this unique unit by instructor Annie Dragoo.

It is divided into two parts: first, students view a documentary called Broadway the American Musical - available on YouTube. Students will reflect after each episode and there is an available viewing quiz.

After viewing, discussing and reflecting on each episode of the PBS Documentary, Broadway: The American Musical, students will research a specific topic in order to create and design a musical theatre museum exhibit. It’s a great three-dimensional demonstration of knowledge, and there is a rubric provided for the completed exhibit.

This is not your traditional textbook history learning!

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Aristotle's Elements

by Lea Marshall

Aristotle was a huge fan of the theatre. He philosophically believed in it and argued with other great thinkers at the time about the necessity and good results of theatrical pursuits. This makes him a great topic for a drama classroom unit.

Aristotle identified six elements that needed to be in a play for it to be worthy: plot, thought, character, diction, spectacle, and sound. This unit by Lea Marshall focuses on and offers exercises for each of Aristotle’s elements - from using fairy tales to examine plot, to re-imagining movie trailers to explore music.

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Our Town Unit

by Lindsay Price

This is a read, discuss, and apply literature unit. Students will study the play Our Town by Thornton Wilder.

Our Town is often referred to as “nostalgic.” It’s seen as an antiquated look at a moment in time. But this play is called Our Town, not My Town. What’s happening in Grover’s Corners happened in the past, the distant past, in our present, and even in the future. The themes of the play—the ordinary versus universality, the concept of time, the cycle of life, the ignorance of humanity to the eternal—these are just as relevant in the twenty-first century as they were when the play was written.

The purpose of the unit is not to have students recall knowledge about the play. Students will be able to identify, articulate, and dramatize text themes and concepts and compare/contrast these concepts to their own experiences.

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Mock Audition

by Lindsay Price

In this Mock Audition Unit, students will discuss the audition process and make connections between their personal views and the process. Students will apply the steps of auditioning from putting together a resume to choosing a piece based on provided information to audition etiquette to the actual audition itself.

A final reflection and rubrics are provided for use at the end of this unit.

A short play is included that can be used as the source material for your audition. You can also choose your own play for this process.

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Theatre of the Absurd

by Lea Marshall

We included this unit in our Distance Learning Curriculum because if any group of students would understand how the world turned upside down and then apply it to theatre, it would be the students dealing with a global pandemic.

First, we take two lessons to go over the historical and philosophical background of Theatre of the Absurd. We start with a visual exercise to bring students into the emotional bleakness of the landscape and then group work to look at some of the other foundational elements that will drive the absurdist movement into the theatres. Next, we break down absurd scripts into some “recognizable” elements of language, plot structure, acting choices, and storyline. In each lesson that introduces an absurdist element, there is an opportunity for students to “play” with the element.

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Scene Work: Part 2, Student Self Staging

by Lindsay Price

In Part 2 of Scene Work, students take everything they learned in Part 1 and apply it to the staging of a scene.
Students work independently to block, build character, experiment and rehearse a scene. You can continue the scene work process from Part 1, or if your students have a grounding with scene work basics, perhaps they just do Part 2 of this unit.

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Scene Work: Part 1, Tools of Scene Work

by Lindsay Price

Students are introduced to scene work performance through a contentless scene unit. Students prepare and perform a contentless scene to demonstrate their understanding of characterization, staging technique, and working with conflict and stage business in a performance context.

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Introduction to the Audition Process

by Lindsay Price

In order to partake in the audition process, students need to identify and comprehend the necessary steps in that process. What is the auditioning process? Why is it used? Is the process fair? Why or why not? The class ends with students playing director in the “Who Would You Cast?” Exercise.

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Mission Possible: Creating A Mission And Unified Vision For Your Theatre Program

by Amy Patel

Whether you're in a new school or have an existing program, you can use a Mission Statement to define your program, unify your students and let everyone know from administration, to parents, to the community why you do theatre, what you do and how you do it. Learn how to create this powerful and vital statement with your students. Mission Possible takes you through step by step from asking the right questions, to looking at your school culture and traditions, to writing and revising, to shouting your statement from the rooftops.

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Copyright for Drama Teachers

by Craig Mason

An in-depth and interactive look at copyright as it applies to school theatre programs. Learn about how works become copyrighted, how long it lasts, how to get permission to use copyrighted work, and more.

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Introduction to Stage Management Part Two

by Karen Loftus

Karen Loftus instructs this second course in stage management - a companion to Introduction to Stage Management Part One.

This course will review the major concepts covered in Introduction to Stage Management, and discuss the different types of technical rehearsals and how student stage managers prepare for and run them. You’ll learn how to teach your students to notate and call cues for a show. The course will also introduce strategies for student stage managers who work with student crews. It will discuss how you can provide the support your student stage managers need to be effective, and how that support helps to strengthen your overall program and theatre community.

Student stage managers start in the classroom, train during school productions, and can take these newly discovered and acquired skills on with them to colleges and careers and theatre (and beyond)!

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Marketing the Arts

by James Van Leishout

This course covers the four stages of creating and implementing a marketing plan. It starts with the question, what are you selling?, and goes all the way through to evaluation. The course covers both traditional and new media, with examples and opportunities to apply the learning to each teacher's own situation.

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