DTA | Unit Two: Improvisation Basics
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Part of the Middle School Curriculum

Unit Two: Improvisation Basics

Created by Lindsay Johnson

In this unit, students will learn, practice and apply three important rules of improv: accepting and building on offers, quick thinking, and strong offers. For each step, they will work with the Improvisation Rubric by both giving and receiving feedback. Students will also start to practice techniques to improve their vocal clarity. The unit culminates in a performance assessment in which students will play an improv game in front of an audience.

Standards Addressed

Overview
The overview lays out the lesson outline, assessment plan, and key vocabulary for the unit.
1: Accepting & Building on Offers
In this first improvisation lesson, students will work with the definitions of the key vocabulary terms by adding their own offers to improvised exercises and accepting and building on peer offers. Students will also give written and verbal peer feedback on the first row (ACCEPTING AND BUILDING ON OFFERS) row of the Improvisation Rubric, using language such as “improvisation” and “offers.”
2: Quick Thinking
In this second improvisation lesson, students will practice accepting offers, building on offers, and thinking quickly in improvisation exercises. Students will also give written and verbal peer feedback on the second row (QUICK THINKING) of the Improvisation Rubric, using language from the Rubric.
3: Strong Offers
In this third improvisation lesson, students will practice accepting offers, building on offers, thinking quickly and giving STRONG OFFERS in improvisation exercises. Students will also give written and verbal peer feedback using language from the Improvisation Rubric.
4: Performance Quiz
In this fourth improvisation lesson, students will participate in a mock improv assessment in small groups. They will also give partners written feedback on the entire Improvisation Rubric. Students will learn the exercise that will be used for their final improv assessment.
5: Intro to Projection and Volume
In this fifth improvisation lesson, students will learn the definition of “projection.” With partners, they will practice quick thinking, improv, and volume in performance. Afterward, students will give verbal feedback on the Improvisation Rubric and the VOLUME section of the Vocal Clarity Rubric.
6: Intro to Projection and Enunciation
In this sixth improvisation lesson, students will practice in partners quick thinking, improv, and enunciation in performance. Afterward, students will give verbal feedback on the Improvisation Rubric and the ENUNCIATION section of the Vocal Clarity Rubric.
7: Review for Improv Test
In this seventh lesson, students will practice their skills for the Lesson 8 test using a tongue twister (from Gilbert and Sullivan) as well as the improv game. Students will self-assess, and give/receive peer feedback.
8: Improv Test
In this final lesson for this unit, students will participate in the improv game Hitchhiker as part of a peer and teacher assessment on the Improvisation Rubric.
9: Posters
8 posters for the drama classroom, to support the objectives of the Improvisation Basics unit.
Attachments

Standards Addressed

National Core Arts Standards

Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 6

TH:Pr5.1.6.a - Recognize how acting exercises and techniques can be applied to a drama/theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 6

TH:Cr3.1.6.b - Identify effective physical and vocal traits of characters in an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work.

Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 7

TH:Cr3.1.7.b - Develop effective physical and vocal traits of characters in an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work

Georgia Performance Standards 2017 - Theatre Arts

Tennessee Theatre Curriculum Standards

Tennessee Theatre standards (2018) standards were built using the framework of the NCAS which is built on four key domains: Creating, Performing/Presenting/Producing, Connecting, and Responding. Within each of these domains are foundations and standards to support the development of curriculum, programs, and learning.
(source: Tennessee Department of Education, Tennessee Academic Standards for Fine Arts, Summer 2018)

Please refer to National Core Arts Standards to determine the standard that best suits your needs.

Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts

MS 117.211 LI - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

C.1.D - develop an understanding of the mechanisms of vocal production.

MS 117.211 LI - Creative Expression: performance

C.2.A - demonstrate safe use of the voice and body.

MS 117.212 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

B.1.E - demonstrate knowledge of theatrical vocabulary and terminology.

MS 117.212 LII - Creative Expression: performance

B.2.A - demonstrate safe use of the voice and body.

Alberta, Canada

Improvisation/Acting Level III - Advanced

26 - pick up cues effectively

Ontario, Canada

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