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.
National Core Arts Standards
Organize and develop artistic ideas and work - Grade 6
Organize and develop artistic ideas and work - Grade 7
Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation - Grade 7
Organize and develop artistic ideas and work - Grade 8
Organize and develop artistic ideas and work - Grade HS Proficient
Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 7
Refine new work through play, drama processes and theatre experiences using critical analysis and experimentation - Grade 7
Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work - Grade 8
Speaking and Listening
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.1 - Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.6 - Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
California VAPA Standards (2019)
6.TH:Cr2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
7.TH:Pr5 Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
7.TH:Cr2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
8.TH:Cr2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Prof.TH:Cr2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
7.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
7.TH:Cr3 Refine and complete artistic work.
8.TH:Pr6 Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Florida Sunshine State Standards
Critical Thinking & Reflection
Historical & Global Connections
Innovation, Technology & the Future
TH.68.O.2.5 - Explain how the contributions of significant playwrights, performers, directors, designers, and producers from various cultures and historical periods have influenced the creative innovations of theatre.
Skills, Techniques & Processes
Georgia Performance Standards - Theatre Arts
Grade 6 - Creating
TA6.CR.1 - Organize, design, and refine theatrical work.
a. Identify artistic choices, utilize theatre vocabulary, and demonstrate non-verbal communication skills in the rehearsal process.
b. Interpret a character’s motivation by understanding the relationship between their background and their behavior.
c. Identify the variety of relationships between characters.
d. Identify, define, and classify character traits.
e. Recognize and demonstrate the roles, responsibilities, and skills associated with collaborative performance.
f. Use resources to identify and create technical elements of theatre.
TA6.CR.2 - Develop scripts through theatrical techniques.
a. Identify the elements of a story.
b. Identify the theme and structure of a play.
c. Articulate creative ideas in oral and written forms.
d. Use the dramatic writing process to generate a script.
e. Demonstrate the conventions of dialogue and stage directions.
Grade 6 - Performing
TA6.PR.1 - Act by communicating and sustaining roles in formal and informal environments.
a. Demonstrate effective verbal and non-verbal communication skills (e.g. rate, pitch, volume, inflection, posture, facial expression, physical movement).
b. Execute character creation in a performance.
c. Demonstrate a variety of types of theatre performances.
Grade 7 - Creating
TA7.CR.2 - Develop scripts through theatrical techniques.
a. Create ideas for stories.
b. Analyze the theme and structure of a play.
c. Use the dramatic writing process to generate a script.
d. Utilize dramatic conventions in the scriptwriting process (e.g. stage directions, dialogue, scenes).
Grade 8 - Connecting
TA8.CN.1 - Explore how theatre connects to life experience, careers, and other content.
a. Investigate and prove common themes and structure among theatre and other disciplines.
b. Defend how theatre reflects life.
c. Incorporate multi-disciplinary aspects into theatre performance.
d. Identify and analyze professions associated with different forms of production (e.g. director, stage manager, designer, technician, playwright, actor).
Grades 9-12 - FUNDAMENTALS OF THEATRE LEVELS I-IV - Connecting
TAHSFT.CN.1 - Explore how theatre connects to life experiences, careers, and other content.
a. Examine how theatre reflects real life.
b. Analyze how theatre employs aspects of other art forms and disciplines to effectively communicate with a live audience.
c. Demonstrate awareness of the discipline, knowledge, skills, and education required for careers in theatre.
d. Explore various careers in the theatre arts (e.g. performance, design, production, administrative, education, promotion).
North Carolina Essential Standards
Beginning High School Standards - Communication
Beginning High School Standards - Culture
Intermediate High School Standards - Communication
Intermediate High School Standards - Culture
Proficient High School Standards - Communication
Advanced High School Standards - Culture
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Theatre Arts
MS 117.211 LI - Creative Expression: production
MS 117.211 LI - Critical evaluation and response
MS 117.212 LII - Creative Expression: production
MS 117.212 LII - Critical evaluation and response
MS 117.213 LIII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding
MS 117.213 LIII - Critical evaluation and response
HS 117.315 LI - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding
HS 117.315 LI - Creative Expression: production
C.3.C - perform a role such as actor, director, designer, technician, or editor in production decision making and collaborate with others in a production role to tell a story through live theatre or media performance.
HS 117.316 LII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding
HS 117.316 LII - Creative Expression: production
HS 117.316 LII - Critical evaluation and response
HS 117.317 LIII - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding
HS 117.317 LIII - Creative Expression: production
HS 117.318 LIV - Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding
HS 117.318 LIV - Creative Expression: performance
Improvisation Drama 10
Directing - Drama 30
Junior Goal II Objectives
Junior Goal III Objectives
Movement Level I - Beginning
Improvisation/Acting Level I - Beginning
Improvisation/Acting Level II - Intermediate
Junior Goal I Objectives
Technical Theatre - Levels I, II, III - Awareness
Senior Goal I Objectives
Orientation Drama 10
British Columbia (2018)
GRADE 6 - ARTS - Reasoning and reflecting
GRADE 6 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting
GRADE 7 - ARTS - Exploring and creating
GRADE 7 - ARTS - Reasoning and reflecting
Research, describe, interpret and evaluate how artists (dancers, actors, musicians, and visual artists) use processes, materials, movements, technologies, tools, techniques, and environments in the arts
GRADE 7 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting
GRADE 8 - ARTS - Reasoning and reflecting
Describe, interpret and evaluate how artists (dancers, actors, musicians, and visual artists) use processes, materials, movements, technologies, tools, techniques, and environments to create and communicate ideas
GRADE 8 - ARTS - Communicating and documenting
GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Exploring and creating
GRADE 9 - DRAMA - Reasoning and reflecting
GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Explore and Create
GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Reason and reflect
GRADE 10 - DRAMA - Connect and expand
GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Explore and Create
GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Reason and reflect
GRADE 11 - DRAMA - Connect and expand
GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Reason and reflect
GRADE 12 - DRAMA - Connect and expand
Grades 9 & 10 - Foundations - Responsible Practices
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)
Grades 9 & 10 - Reflecting, Responding and Analyzing - Connections Beyond the Classroom
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)
Grades 9 & 10 - Creating and Presenting - Presentation Techniques & Technologies
A.3.2 - use a variety of voice and movement techniques to support the creation of character or atmosphere during rehearsal (e.g., use voice and movement to suggest an airport, circus, or factory environment)