This unit has six lessons that you can use in the first week of your middle school program. What do you do in the first week? The most important elements are creating routines such as journal prompts, opening and closing circles, and giving strong feedback; creating an ensemble and ensemble-building games; and introducing a Weekly Ensemble Rubric.
Students will define and build ensemble as a group, learning specific ways they can SAY YES and BE SAFE in class. They will understand the daily grading system and the basic routines of class. Finally, students will learn to give strong feedback by connecting specific evidence from performance to the Rubric language.
The overview provides an outline of the lessons in this unit, as well as the weekly ensemble rubric assessment tool.
In this first lesson at the start of a new year, students learn daily classroom routines, participate in a name game, and complete a successful journal entry reflecting on circle discussion. They will begin to interact with the Weekly Ensemble Rubric through the journal element.
In this second lesson, students continue to practice classroom norms and interact with a second element of the Weekly Ensemble Rubric: SAY YES. Students will role-play a column of the SAY YES category of the Weekly Ensemble Rubric in small groups via a performance task.
In this third lesson, students continue to practice classroom norms and interact with a third element of the Weekly Ensemble Rubric: BE SAFE. Students will role-play a column of the BE SAFE Rubric in small groups via a performance task.
In this fourth lesson, students continue to practice classroom norms and are introduced to the concept of feedback. In the performance task, students will give peers strong feedback by using language from the Weekly Ensemble Rubric.
In this fifth lesson, students continue to practice classroom norms and continue to practice giving strong feedback. In the performance task, students will practice giving strong feedback by giving a specific suggestion for improvement.
In this sixth lesson, students continue to practice classroom norms and continue to practice giving strong feedback. In the performance task, students will give peers strong feedback through using body language and vocal tone to encourage and show eagerness for peers to improve.
3 Posters designed for the drama classroom, to support the Ensemble Building and Class Norms objectives.
TA6.RE.1 - Engage actively and appropriately as an audience member.
a. Identify the role of the audience in different environments.
b. Analyze the relationship between an audience and a performer.
c. Create guidelines for behaviors appropriate to a theatre experience.
d. Model appropriate audience behaviors.
TA7.PR.1 - Act by communicating and sustaining roles in formal and informal environments.
a. Execute effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills in performance (e.g. rate, pitch, volume, inflection, posture, facial expression, physical movement).
b. Participate in a variety of acting exercises and techniques that can be applied in a rehearsal or theatre performance.
c. Engage in various performance styles.
C.3.2 - identify and apply the skills and attitudes needed to perform various tasks and responsibilities in producing drama works (e.g., use active listening and cooperative problem-solving skills; practise punctuality; use tact in suggesting changes and improvements; demonstrate willingness to accept criticism and build consensus)
C.3.3 - demonstrate an understanding of theatre and audience etiquette, in both classroom and formal performance contexts (e.g., as a performer: show willingness to take direction and behave appropriately towards other actors; as a viewer: demonstrate respect for performers and other audience members by paying attention, not interrupting or talking, and applauding when appropriate)
B.3.1 - identify and describe skills, attitudes, and strategies they used in collaborative drama activities (e.g., brainstorming, active listening, and cooperative problem-solving skills; strategies for sharing responsibility through collaborative team roles)