Units

UNIT

Drama One Overview

by Karen Loftus

This is a curriculum map for a comprehensive theatre class. The purpose of the course is to give students an overview of theatre in general. The super objective of this course is to have the students “bring it all together” at the end in a culminating project.

Every unit has padding to allow for teacher's own games, reward games, warm ups, cool downs and just time for when class is interrupted, canceled, or a concept needs to be repeated. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

The overview provides a list of all of the units, and provides a description and outline for each - so teachers can get a sense of how the curriculum works together as a whole, or which parts they may choose to use.

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UNIT

What is Theatre?

by Karen Loftus

Students will explore the question “what is theatre?” and analyze it by comparing film and television productions. Each session comes with an journal prompt, a warm up game, and an exit slip for assessment. This is a great unit to start off a school year.

Feel free to customize it as much as you want, and refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials. While you’re analyzing “what is theatre?” with your students, you can introduce classroom procedures and do icebreaker/trust games. You can also remind the kids that Theatre is Ensemble - all of the games they play help to build ensemble.

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UNIT

Stage Movement

by Karen Loftus

In this unit, students are introduced to stage directions and how actors move on stage. They will explore what’s important for onstage action, the basics of stage directions, and how to keep open. By giving students something concrete to focus on, it allows them to overcome any stage fright. Teachers can refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

This unit will culminate with students trying out what they’ve learned in a short scene. Each session comes with an journal prompt and an exit slip for assessment.

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UNIT

Pantomime

by Karen Loftus

Students will explore nonverbal communication through movement, body language, simple mime, and storytelling. They will learn the specific art of pantomime through hand position, tension, follow-through, and action/reaction/interaction with objects through warmup games and exercises.

The unit culminates in a two-person pantomime performance. A rubric is included for the performance as long as journal prompts and exit slips. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Ancient Greek Theatre

by Karen Loftus

This unit on Ancient Greek Theatre focuses on the function of the chorus, the choral ode, and the details of the theatre space. It touches on plays and playwrights of the era, culminating in a final project of a modern version of Medea that includes a choral ode.

A rubric is included for the project as long as journal prompts and exit slips. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Improvisation

by Karen Loftus

Students sharpen their listening and reaction skills through improv games, exercises, and scenes. They will learn 5 specific guidelines to apply to their improvisation: accept the offer, bring information to the scene, make active choices, make your partner look good, and don’t force the humour.

There are so many different ways to approach a unit on improvisation. Keep in mind that you will have students who are really excited about this unit and some students who dread it. It’s best to start with low risk games and exercises and then build up to higher risk ones. Low risk games in this situation mean partnered interactions that aren’t shared with the whole class. Teachers can also refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

The unit culminates in a short improv performance. A rubric is included for the performance as long as journal prompts and exit slips.

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UNIT

Commedia Dell'Arte

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to, analyze, and explore the history, characters, and style of Commedia dell’arte. Commedia Dell’Arte is a theatre history unit mixed with improvisation, physicalization, and exploring specific characters.

In this unit, we’re going to focus on three main aspects:
(1) Causes and Effects of Commedia (History), (2) Stock Characters, (3) Commedia Performance Practices.

The unit culminates in a commedia performance. A rubric is included for the project as long as journal prompts and exit slips. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Script Analysis: The Actor's Perspective

by Karen Loftus

How does an actor analyze a script? Students start with character analysis (how do we learn about a character in a script? what are the facts/inferences about a character?) and then explore the ideas of “objective,” “obstacle,” “stakes,” and “tactics.”

The unit culminates with students applying learned script analysis techniques on an assigned scene. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Elizabethan Theatre

by Karen Loftus

How do you introduce students to Shakespeare? This unit introduces the bard through life in Elizabethan England, the playwrights, players and playhouses. It also explores how to approach unfamiliar words and context clues in Shakespeare’s text.

As with any theatre history unit, you have to decide what’s most important to introduce to the students. For this unit, we’ll focus on three things in the three different categories. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Playwriting

by Karen Loftus

Students will explore the structural elements of a play: character, objective, obstacles, tactics, resolution, and raising the stakes. They will also learn how to write character-driven dialogue and stage directions.

The unit culminates in a group written original play which is performed in front of the class. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

Japanese Theatre

by Karen Loftus

This unit will enable students to identify, compare, and contrast three different styles of Japanese Theatre: Noh, Bunraku, and Kabuki. There are three proposed projects in this unit: a research assignment where groups delve into further detail about one of the three styles; a performance project where students utilize what they’ve learned by enacting a scene from a Kyogen (comedic) play; and a Bunraku puppet play.

The unit comes with a Google Slide Deck to help students visualize the information. Please refer to the Pacing Guide for more details and ways to supplement with other DTA materials.

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UNIT

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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UNIT

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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UNIT

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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Lesson Plans

LESSON PLAN

What is Theatre?

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and identify a working definition for theatre.They create a “Theatre Is….” poster for the room and are introduced to the concept of a ‘dramatic moment.’

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LESSON PLAN

Theatre Role Definitions

by Karen Loftus

This session has students discuss the benefits of live theatre over film and apply the definition of the playwright, actor and director

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LESSON PLAN

Onstage Action

by Karen Loftus

After a warm up, student learn about onstage action. They will reflect on the question of how having something “to do” onstage can help overcome stage fright.

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LESSON PLAN

Stage Directions

by Karen Loftus

Students identify the stage directions and actor needs to know onstage and the necessary shorthand notation for each. They then apply their knowledge in an exercise and exit slip.

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LESSON PLAN

The Technicalities of Stage Movement

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and apply technical aspects of moving on stage: sightlines and staying open. They then apply these aspects in a short scene.

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LESSON PLAN

Gesture

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and apply the different ways one can communicate through gesture.

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LESSON PLAN

The Specifics of Holding an Object

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the techniques of hand position, tension, follow through, action/reaction/interaction.

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LESSON PLAN

Tableau

by Karen Loftus

Students continue exploring nonverbal communication through tableaux.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students create a 2 person pantomime. The objective is for them to utilize mime, body language, and facial expression to tell a basic story. A rubric is included.

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LESSON PLAN

What makes a “good voice?”

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss and apply aspects of what makes a voice a “good voice:” projection, articulation, posture, proper breathing.

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LESSON PLAN

Resonance

by Karen Loftus

Students learn about the resonators and use them in an exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Articulation

by Karen Loftus

Students learn about the articulators and use them with tongue twisters and additional exercises.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students will use all the vocal techniques they have used in this unit in the simple act of telling a joke. A post performance reflection and rubric are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss myths, explore group movement and combine movement with choral speaking in a choral ode.

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LESSON PLAN

The Theatre

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to aspects of Ancient Greek Theatre and the performing space. The session culminates in students creating their own choral ode in groups.

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LESSON PLAN

The Theatre Space

by Karen Loftus

Students label parts of an Ancient Greek Amphitheatre and apply their knowledge in an exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

The final project for this unit will be a modern version of Medea. Students are exposed to the plot and characters, then create their own version to perform which includes a choral ode. A unit reflection and rubric are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Accept the Offer

by Karen Loftus

Students apply this guidelines through the games “Yes and…” “Yes Let’s,” and Low Risk Experts.

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LESSON PLAN

Make Choices/Bring Information

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the word “endow” and apply the concept through the exercise Low Risk Endowment.

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LESSON PLAN

Take the Active Choice

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss what it means to take the active choice and apply the concept in Quiet Scenes.

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LESSON PLAN

Make Your Partner Look Good

by Karen Loftus

Students apply this guideline through the games Cars, Vans, Buses, Blocking on Purpose, Questions Only and Here Comes Charley.

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LESSON PLAN

Relax, Have Fun and Don’t Force the Humour

by Karen Loftus

Students discuss what it means to not “force” the humour. They play all the games from the unit in a high risk setting, as volunteers in front of the class.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

The final project will allow the students to demonstrate their improv skills in a 2-person scene. A rubric and final reflection is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Introduction

by Karen Loftus

Students learn some key facts about Commedia and apply them to the exercise “Opposite Day.”

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LESSON PLAN

Stock Characters

by Karen Loftus

Students explore Commedia stock characters: the masters, the servants and the lovers.

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LESSON PLAN

Stock Character Walks

by Karen Loftus

Students apply their knowledge of stock characters into character walks.

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LESSON PLAN

Lazzi

by Karen Loftus

Students learn about different commedia lazzi and create their own.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students take what they have learned in this unit and create a short scene. A performance rubric and unit reflection are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Getting to Know a Character

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the 5 ways we learn about a character in a script.

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LESSON PLAN

Characters in a Scene

by Karen Loftus

This session uses a two-character scene to find facts and inferences about a character.

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LESSON PLAN

The Stanislavski Method

by Karen Loftus

This session introduces the Stanislavski method of acting and four elements: objective, obstacle, stakes, and tactics.

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LESSON PLAN

Applying Analysis to Performance

by Karen Loftus

This session reviews what students have learned about script analysis, and applies it to an open scene exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students are given an assigned scene to analyze, focus on one character, and complete the script analysis assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

Noh Theatre

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to Noh Theatre.Students participate in an exercise to develop their understanding of ritual movements.

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LESSON PLAN

Bunraku

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to Bunraki Theatre. Students perform a performance exercise (Human Puppets). A performance rubric is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Kabuki

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the Kabuki Theatre. Students participate in a Kabuki Walk exercise.

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LESSON PLAN

Research Assignment

by Karen Loftus

This assignment is designed to allow students to delve further into the 3 styles of Japanese theatre introduced in this unit. An assignment handout and assessment rubric are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Kyogen Performance Project

by Karen Loftus

Students will perform a scene from a Kyogen play in the Kabuki style. Exit slips, a peer feedback sheet, and a performance rubric are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Bunraku Performance Project

by Karen Loftus

Alternatively, students can perform a Bunraku puppet play. A peer feedback sheet is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Who’s Who

by Karen Loftus

Students review the various jobs in a theatre by learning about the roles and jobs in each category: Artistic, Production, and Business.

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LESSON PLAN

Basic Marketing

by Karen Loftus

Students will review the ways that a company can promote a show, and design a poster with key elements reviewed in the session. A rubric is included for the poster project.

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LESSON PLAN

Marketing and Audience Experience

by Karen Loftus

This session includes instruction on how to create a marketing plan: poster, press release, online presence, and social media. A reflection and rubric are included.

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LESSON PLAN

Assign the Play

by Karen Loftus

Students will be given the expectations for the individual final project, starting with a playwriting assignment.

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LESSON PLAN

Writing the Play

by Karen Loftus

Students are given time to write their own plays, and gain feedback from their peers. A checklist is included, along with 3 exit slips and participation rubric.

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LESSON PLAN

Technical Elements

by Karen Loftus

Students write a 2-3 paragraph essay about the overall design of their play. A checklist is included for both technical elements and design description.

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LESSON PLAN

Monologue Rehearsal

by Karen Loftus

Students memorize the monologue that they wrote and included in their scripts, rehearse, and give peer feedback. A reflection is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Final Project

by Karen Loftus

Students hand in all of the project elements according to the included assignment sheet. An end of course reflection and three assessment rubrics (monologue performance, final project, reflection) are included

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LESSON PLAN

Playwrights & Players

by Karen Loftus

This session introduces students to the Elizabethan Era, and its’ key playwrights and players.

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LESSON PLAN

Strange Language

by Karen Loftus

Students learn how to use context clues to approach the unfamiliar words they will find in Shakepeare’s language.

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LESSON PLAN

Context Clues

by Karen Loftus

Students review context clues and apply it to the Prologue from Romeo and Juliet.

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LESSON PLAN

Playhouses

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to three of the most important playhouses in the Elizabethan Era, as well as the areas of the Globe Theatre.

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LESSON PLAN

Crime Scene Clues

by Karen Loftus

Students apply their knowledge of context clues to find meaning in the Tomb Scene from Romeo and Juliet.

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LESSON PLAN

Expanding the Unit

by Karen Loftus

Three suggestions for adding on to this unit are included, as well as a unit reflection for your students.

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LESSON PLAN

Structure

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the structural elements of a script.

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LESSON PLAN

Dialogue

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the concept of stakes as an additional element of a script, and participate in a group playwriting activity that allows performers to test out lines of dialogue in performance.

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LESSON PLAN

Stage Directions

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the three types of stage directions, and apply what they’ve learned to their own scenes as well as open scenes (sample included).

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LESSON PLAN

Character Dialogue and Development

by Karen Loftus

Students learn the importance of dialogue and creating it for their characters.

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LESSON PLAN

The Unities

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to Aristotle’s 3 Unities and participate in an improv exercise to apply these guidelines for playwriting.

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LESSON PLAN

Writing: Part 1

by Karen Loftus

Students apply what they have learned so far in the unit and participate in a group playwriting activity - the writing pass technique.

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LESSON PLAN

Writing: Part 2

by Karen Loftus

Students continue to work on their group playwriting activity and finalize their script with stage directions, as well as complete staged readings.

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LESSON PLAN

Unit Project

by Karen Loftus

Students complete their script, format it properly, then hand it in. Next, they will perform their scene and complete a final reflection. A rubric is included.

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LESSON PLAN

What is Scenic Design?

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the concept of scenic design, as well as the role of the Scenic (or Set) Designer. They are also introduced to the 3 kinds of props and 2 types of sets

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LESSON PLAN

The Process

by Karen Loftus

Students learn a process for scenic design and participate in an exercise to develop their skills.

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LESSON PLAN

The Script

by Karen Loftus

Students use the opening stage directions from The Glass Menagerie script to identify scenic elements and create thumbnail sketches of a set.

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LESSON PLAN

Drafting: Part 1

by Karen Loftus

Students are introduced to the concept of scale, sightlines, drafting symbols, and how to create a ground plan. A reflection is included.

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LESSON PLAN

Drafting: Part 2

by Karen Loftus

Students apply what they learned in Drafting: Part 1 to create a ground plan for their design from The Glass Menagerie.

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LESSON PLAN

Rendering

by Karen Loftus

Students learn what a rendering is and how to draw their own from their ground plans.

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LESSON PLAN

Final Submission

by Karen Loftus

Students hand in script notes, ground plan, and renderings. An assessment rubric is included, as well as ideas for unit reflection and an extra credit project.

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