develop an awareness of aesthetics in visual and performing arts
by Anna Porter
In this unit, students will be introduced to a key element of performance: the voice. Students will explore how to thoughtfully communicate character, story, and emotion vocally. Students will begin by exploring articulation so that they understand the importance of clearly communicating their words onstage. They will further build on this with the following lesson on the different vocal varieties of pitch, tone, rate, and volume.
The final lesson helps students explore vocal characterization as well as the details and layers that can bring that character to life vocally. This unit study of the voice culminates in a final puppet show where students are asked to bring a story and character to life by using vocal variety, articulation, and characterization.
by Jenny Goodfellow
This unit on Puppetry is designed for middle school and up, to introduce students to the material and get them comfortable with performing in a safe and low exposure environment.
This is a unit that builds to a culminating experience for your students. Each lesson is designed to explore techniques, provide opportunities for creative collaboration among your students, and give them opportunities to perform. Some of the lessons require materials to build or create puppets. Puppetry can be as easy as drawing a face on your finger for finger puppets, to actually purchasing your own finger puppets for students to use.
While the focus of this unit is puppetry, your students will explore other skills as well. There’s the obvious ones of creative thinking, teamwork, and problem solving. They are also going to explore storytelling, performing skills, and playwriting.
by Matt Webster
In this unit, students will explore and experiment with the basic building blocks of design: Line, Shape, and Color. Once students have a solid foundation of those concepts, they will move on to stage properties and scenic flats as additional building blocks of design. They will then apply their knowledge and skills to a series of assignments, so they can demonstrate their design knowledge and creativity.
by Josh Hatt
This is an introductory mini-unit to sound that you can use whether or not you have a sound system. Students will work toward being able to demonstrate their knowledge of sound effectiveness.
The questions of the unit include: What is effective sound? What sounds and music do we need in order to make our scene effective? How will we know our sound cues are effective?
by Josh Hatt
If the costumes in a play are going to be effective, we need to be thoughtful about how we use them.
In this mini-unit, students will demonstrate their understanding costume effectiveness and address the following questions: What is the role of costume in the performance? How does color contribute? How does the style of costume affect a performance? How does costume indicate setting? Do you need costumes in a scene?
by Josh Hatt
This is a mini-unit on staging. Along with the driving question for the unit, students will explore about how staging affects the performance. Students will draw a plot design (ground plan) to emphasize the need to plan where scenic elements will be placed. They will also practice taking cues from the script, in order to create staging.
by Josh Hatt
This is a student centred mini-unit on makeup design. Makeup is useful in transporting an audience to a different world.
The purpose is for students to understand that makeup is a tool that theatre technicians can use in order to contribute to effective performance aesthetics; to understand basic makeup rules and care instruction; to understand how to complete a makeup design plot; to look at a project and figure out for themselves what they need to succeed.
by Josh Hatt
Once students have completed the five Tech Theatre Units (Lighting, Sound, Costume, Staging, Free Play Makeup), you can give them this culminating project.
Depending on how you structured your technical theatre unit, you can adapt this project to suit your needs and context.
Up to this point, all the work in the units have been exploratory. This is where students will apply their skills and knowledge.
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.
by Karen Loftus
Students will explore the creation of an environment through the art of scenic design. They will identify what scenic design is and how it helps to tell a story in theatre. Students will also identify and demonstrate some skills of a scenic designer as they analyze an excerpt of a script for scenic clues and demonstrate basic drafting and rendering.
by Drama Teacher Academy
In this unit, students will take on the role of the costumer, which is different from a costume designer. It introduces costuming concepts in order to execute a costume. No complicated sewing is required, which is great if you don’t have the background, the access, or the resources to have a class of students create costumes.
Instead of making costumes from scratch, as a designer would, students will create costumes from stock, borrowed items, or low-cost finds. They will take finished products and adapt them into what they need to create the right atmosphere.
In order to help with their adaptations, students will try different distressing techniques and learn three SIMPLE stitches that they’ll be able to use over and over again. It’s a valuable tech theatre skill to teach students how to execute on costumes when you (and they) don’t sew!
by Todd Espeland
Friendly Shakespeare teaches a simple and effective method of script analysis for Shakespeare. It uses punctuation and keywords in the text to help students understand the characters' needs, make specific acting choices, and get them on their feet immediately.
This is not dry, sitting in a classroom discussion. It’s physicalizing the text, focusing on the character’s needs and tactics (something every drama student should know full well) and bringing Shakespeare to life.
At the end of the class you will be able to demystify Shakespeare's text and understand how to help your actors make clear, active and emotionally connected choices in Shakespeare's plays.
by Holly Beardsley
Do you know the difference between a bustle and a buckram frame? Or what works best as an emergency hem? Some directors are blessed with a big budget and a full support staff—a choreographer, a set designer, and a costumer. But the drama teacher often becomes director, choreographer, set designer, and costumer all in one.
And a budget? What’s a budget? The Do-It-All Director’s Introduction to Costuming will give you, the director, who must do it all, the confidence and skills to costume and direct, no matter your experience or budget. This course will teach you costuming basics, budget tricks, organization, and most importantly, the art of costuming as a director.
by Matt Webster
Concept-Based Design is a method of design that allows the director and production team to create a unified world based on the ideas, perceptions and images extracted from an in-depth analysis of the play. Matt Webster designed this course for theatre teachers in a typical school setting with limited budgets, space and materials to use towards the design of their shows. Many theatre teachers feel most unsure about their design and tech skills and Matt wanted to help those teachers look at design differently, and make designing a show a little less scary and a little more fun!
by Ray Palasz
Instructor Ray Palasz leads this introductory course in using SketchUp in the classroom.
This course is broken down into five easy modules. One, downloading the program. Two, getting started with using the program. Three, drawing two and three-dimensional objects. Four, using the 3D warehouse, which will save you and your students tons of time. And five, a sample assignment and assessment for your students.
Each module also comes with a handout with visuals from SketchUp to guide you through the process. You will learn how SketchUp can add so much to your program.
by Allison Williams
Allison Williams leads the course: 21st Century Skills Through Devising. This course covers what devising is, why to do it, how to do it, and how your students can master the 21st Century Skills of collaborations and cooperation, critical thinking, creative thinking through devising.
High school is a great place to try devising with your students. But it’s not something you want to throw at your students without any preparation. Framework is important and this course takes you through a number of exercises you can take into the classroom tomorrow to help build a place of physical safety, a place where students work at making a lot of choices instead of waiting for the perfect choice, and a place where students feel comfortable making creative choices. The material also reviews the process of putting together a show from the idea/research stage to editing, to giving feedback.
Your students have what it takes to create their own material, collaborate with each other, and have a unique theatrical experience!
by James Van Leishout
Director’s Toolbox 2: Teaching Students to Direct, explores the tools of the actor, rehearsal, space, and design.
The tool of the actor will focus on creating a safe place to play, auditions, and how to communicate with actors.
Rehearsals will look at the whole process from the first meeting to opening night.
The tool of space will explore how to direct in different spaces and how to create focus through stage composition.
Discover how an understanding of the elements of design help student-directors communicate with designers. The final step is a return to self and the mastery of self evaluation.
Our parent company Theatrefolk offers a fantastic selection of plays written specifically for high school and middle school students.
Whether for performances or class study, there's something for everyone: relevant & relatable themes, simple sets & costumes, flexible casting options and much more - a perfect addition to any drama program!