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Cross Curricular Lesson Plan for Drama Students

Updated on July 29, 2014

Conception

The Theatre Production Project was an idea that came about when I discovered that the majority of Drama I students were not taking the class for acting. Many of them were there because of scheduling dilemmas and I had to get through the standards, but couldn’t realistically expect every child to want to be on stage. The Project contains all elements of a production from choosing a play, ordering scripts, casting the show, designing the sets and costumes, designing the program, selling tickets, advertising, and keeping a budget. It crosses curriculum as the students use reading skills (showing reading comprehension as they analyze their script), writing skills (writing a professional letter to the script company to order their scripts), math skills (measuring for costumes and sets and keeping a budget), and visual arts skills (drawing costumes). Through the work, the students have an idea of many aspects of theatre, aside from the obvious one of acting.

Description

This six-week unit covers the many various aspects of theatre production and crosses curriculums into Language Arts, Math, and Visual Arts. Included in the lesson plan are the unit goals and objectives, the Sunshine State Standards, Assessments, Accommodations, and a layout of the Weekly schedule at a glance, as well as a daily schedule.

Each day begins a procedure and routine of coming in and immediately beginning a bell work assignment, which is responding to a writing prompt that is written on a flip chart. They begin this before the bell rings and during attendance. On Mondays, students receive their vocabulary list and on Thursdays, they take their vocabulary quiz. Fridays, depending on class behavior and work completed, the final 10 minutes of class will be student directed activities from improvisation activities to theatre games. The students work daily from bell to bell.

Feedback

The first semester that I assigned this project, I handed them the worksheet, described the project on the first day and let them work for 2-3 weeks, not realizing at first how overwhelmed many of them were by the sheer quantity of material they needed to generate. I explained as needed, but monitoring student progress was not my priority and when it came time to present, almost every group was missing at least one element per presentation. I realized that I had to tweak my approach and chunk the material so that students could learn time management AND how to do the things like writing a letter and keeping a budget! The second semester, because things were “due” each week and could be checked off, (and kept in the room), more of the groups had a majority of the materials.

  • From the first time I taught this, I changed the methodology when I saw there was an issue with 100% completion, I realized it was a teaching problem and I needed to teach the material that I had assumed they would already know. I had to teach, re-teach, demonstrate, model, show, coach, and observe from the sidelines and side by side. I had to plan the project systematically in an order as real as possible to how a director would choose and produce a show and had to help the students realize the systems in place for productions, writing, reading comprehension and summarizing, casting, measuring, balancing a check book, designing on the computer, advertising, time management, drawing, and other facets.

At the end of the project, students presented their information, using speech giving skills and the acting skills of vocal production, clear diction and volume, interesting tonality, and expressiveness. Assessing the project was all done by a rubric, which I have included in my packet of information. Once the second semester students completed and presented the project, the results showed that a majority of the students worked fairly diligently, neatly, and thoroughly. I do not have student work to show, but I can share that many of the students took a lot of pride in their work and admitted that they learned a lot more than they expected to. The following year, in emails from students who went on to high school, they informed me that they knew a little more than their peers from other schools because of their focus on vocabulary, production, and technique.

Getting Started with the Lesson, pg 1

Theatre Production Project Worksheet Due Date _________________

  1. Come up with a name for your production company. Specify if you are a school theatre group, community theatre or professional theatre.

Name of Company _________________________________________________

Type of Theatre ___________________________________________________

  1. Assign officers. Director, Producer (treasurer), Musical Director/Choreographer, Technical Director (lights, sound, props, sets), and Costume Designer. Each of your names should be listed in the following. It does not matter, in the long run, who is listed in what area. However, the producer or director is the one who will sign the checks.

Producer _________________________________________________

Director _________________________________________________

Technical Director _________________________________________

Musical Director/Choreographer ______________________________

Costume Designer _________________________________________

  1. Come up with a logo, an address and phone number for your company (in space provided)

Address ___________________________

__________________________________

Phone ( )_________________________

(Here, the students design what their company letterhead and checks will look like. Students have the option to design their letterhead and checks digitally on the computer or they can draw their checks by hand.)

Checkbook

Catalogue

TheatreFolk

123 theatre Street

Theatreland, NY 00001

ROYALTIES: $50 for 1st show. $30 for every show after. (Professional $500/$300)

SCRIPTS $5 (Professional $50 per script)

SHIPPING& HANDLING 10% of total

"Apostrophe's" A comedy in one act. 35-40 minutes. 13-16 performers of any gender. Summary: Are you sometime's amazed at how many apostrophe's s'ome people manage to fi't into s'entence's? Then you're not the only one. That’s just the problem that needs to be solved.

"Will and Whimsy" A serious comedy in One Act. 50 minutes. 8-35 performers. Making Shakespeare sonnets come alive.

"Hamlette" A comedy in one act. 30 minnutes. 5-13 performers. Hamlette is the girl version of Hamlet…

"The Robbed Reindeer" A play in one act. 40 minutes. 3 men, 3 women + ensemble. The evil Dr. H.Q. Crankspea has really done it this time. The dastardly villain has stolen the antlers from Santa's reindeer. Everybody knows that reindeer need their antlers to fly straight. Christmas is doomed! Joe Mufferaw (our hero) needs help from the most likely of sources -- the audience. Can the stolen antlers be recovered? Can Christmas be saved? Or will Joe be too late?

"Deck the Stage" 6 Winter Skits. Two acts. Flexible cast of 27 + ensemble. Plays inspired by Christmas carols.

"The Taming of the Shrew" A one act play in 60 minutes for a cast of 5M, 3 W, and 9 either. The relationships of men and women, how a man tames a contrary woman.

"Much Ado About Nothing" A one act play in 45 minutes for a cast of 4 M, 4 w and 8 either. See what happens when people make a big deal out of nothing!!!

"MacBeth" A one act in 60 minutes for 16 M and 5 W. Tragedy of a Scottish king with witches, ghosts, and destiny.

COMPANY 2.

Pioneer Drama Service

456 Pioneer Way

Dramaland, OK 10000

Scripts: $4.25 Professional $42.50/script

Royalties: $90 for 1st showing, $45 for additional performances. Professional $900/$450

Shipping & Handling: $4.95

"Looking Glass Land" The story of Alice in Wonderland with a flexible cast of 31 + ensemble members

"The Glass Slipper" The story of Cinderella with a flexible cast of 20 + ensemble.

"The Jungle Book, the Musical" The story of the jungle book with a cast of 22 + ensemble members.

"The Empty Chair" A cast of 8.

"A Little Princess, the musical" the story of Sara Crewes living in a girls school as a rich little princess until her father dies and loses all of his money. She becomes a poor servant, but still has a big heart. A cast of 16 + ensemble members.

"Babes in Toyland" a story set in Mother Goose land. A cast of 27 + many extras.

"The Secret Garden" 19 + extras. A little girl finds a secret garden.

"The Ransom of Emily Jane" the story of a little brat who gets kidnapped. Cast of 8.

"Laffin School" the story of an obnoxious class of students and their substitute teacher. Cast of 13 + extras.

"Oz, the musical" the story of the Wizard of Oz. Cast 0f 21 + extras

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the Musical" Cast of 17 plus chorus.

"Rapunzel" 19-24 cast members.

"Pocahontas, the musical" cast of 21 plus extras.

COMPANY 3:

Random Theatre House

999 Theatre Ct.

Random, TX 44444

Scripts: $6.25 Professional $62.50/script

Royalties: $100 for 1st showing. $75 for add’l performance. Professional $1000/$750

"Ghost for Rent" a mystery in one act for a cast of 9.

"You're someone special" 4 skits about self esteem. A flexible cast of 21.

"A Christmas Carol" the story of Scrooge. 90-100 minutes. Cast of 7 W, 9 M and 9 either.

"Nunsense" A musical comedy about nuns trying to raise money to bury the 4 dead nuns in their freezer. Cast of 5 W.

"Into the Woods" A musical w/ many fairy tale characters. Cast of 23.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" A cast of 19 plus extras.

"Whodunit?" A farce in one act for 8 M, 5 W, and extras.

"The Miracle Worker" the story of Helen Keller. A cast of 13 plus extras.

Charlotte’s Web” The story about Some Pig. Flexible cast.

COMPANY 4:

Readers Theatre

1245 Teacher Books

Teacher, FL 33333

Professionals may not do this one!!!!

"Just Deal with it!" Funny skits about life's not so funny moments. $24.95 for the book, no royalties, reproducible book, shipping and handling $4.95.

Next Steps in the Lesson

5. Get a catalogue. Choose a play/show to produce. Note price per script, how many scripts you will need (ALL actors, all chorus members, and all people involved.), decide how many shows you will perform, tally up scripts, royalties, and shipping and handling.

We are choosing to do the play

_________________________

because __________________

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________.

6. Write a letter to script company, requesting scripts, pay royalties and scripts and shipping & handling with a check you create. Your check should have your theatre company logo on it. LETTER MUST BE TYPED AND PROFESSIONAL, CORRECT GRAMMER AND MUST HAVE THE PHRASE “HERE IS OUR CHECK FOR $____.” Director or producer signs letter.

7. Subtract amount of scripts, royalties, and s&h from budget.

8. Get chosen script from Drama Teacher. Read through script as a group.

9. Write out all characters and cast the show. You may not put yourself in as an actor. Use students from this school-- any grade, any class. (Choose someone who will fit each role…) CAST LIST MUST BE TYPED AND INCLUDE EVERY CHARACTER LISTED IN SCRIPT.

10. Salaries: If you a professional group, you must pay actor and staff salaries. See Drama Teacher for amounts.

Write a check for each salary payment (each actor and staff member gets their own check)

We are spending $________ on actor salaries and $______ on staff salaries.

If you are a community theatre, you must pay your staff. See Drama Teacher for salaries. Write a check for each salary payment (each staff member gets his own check)

We are spending $____________ on staff salaries.

If you are a school theatre, you do not pay your staff or actors.

Subtract salaries from budget spreadsheet.

11. COSTUMES: Choose 3 characters from the cast and 3 scenes. Measure all people in your group as if each of you were characters. Choose a character to be. (Use measuring worksheet to write in measurements)

Once measurements are figured out, you must design costumes for the 3 chosen characters in 3 different scenes. Draw the costumes. COSTUMES MUST BE IN COLOR ON PLAIN WHITE COMPUTER PAPER, NO LINES. INDICATE WHO THE CHARACTER IS AND WHAT SCENE THE COSTUME IS FOR ON EACH PAPER.

Choose how you will supply costumes for all your characters. You may choose 1 or all 3 depending on the character.

  1. Costume Company. Rental $45 per day per costume.
  2. Sewing costumes. Fabric $3 a yard, all characters need varying amounts. See Drama Teacher for patterns. Notions: $10
  3. Getting costumes from Goodwill $5 a costume piece. (shirt, tie, top, etc.)

We are supplying our actors’ costumes

by using ______________________

because______________________

_____________________________

___________________________.

We are spending $________ on costumes.

Subtract costumes from Budget spreadsheet.

12. SET: Select one scene. (Decide how big your stage is -- Drama Teacher's room or auditorium.) Measure the stage and draw on paper a scale of the stage. Use 1/3 inches for every 1 feet. Design the set you will have. Flats, furniture, etc. Decide how much paint, lumber, nails, canvas you will need and all furniture needs and subtract from budget. Frames for flats $15, canvas for flats, $30, paint $6.99 a can, nails 1.99, lumber every square foot is $3. Furniture (Goodwill up to $30, borrow - free, rental $12/day)

Our stage is _____ x _____ feet.

We have/have no fly space.

We are ordering ____________

_________________________

_________________________

________________________,

and will be spending $______.

Subtract set costs from budget spreadsheet.

SET DESIGN MUST BE IN 3-DIMENSIONAL DIORAMA AND TO SCALE.


Sample Check

Costume Measurements Chart

Final Pieces Before Presenting

13. Advertise your show. Make a poster of how you will advertise the show. Buy advertisements in the paper and design ad. (Whole page ad $150, half page ad $75, quarter page ad $35, business card sized ad $25). Radio- free. Billboard $1000. TV- if on news, free. TV advertising channel - $300. If school, have announcements on PA and school news. (Write out announcement)…other avenues???

Decide how to advertise. Indicate newspaper, radio, billboard, PA, school news, TV.

We are advertising _____________________________________________________.

We are spending $______ on advertising.

Subtract advertising costs from budget spreadsheet.

ALL GROUPS MUST HAVE A POSTER THAT INCLUDES THE NAME OF THE THEATRE COMPANY, THE TITLE OF THE SHOW, THE DAYS, DATES, TIMES, AND LOCATION OF THE SHOW. POSTER MUST BE IN COLOR, NEAT, AND EYECATCHING.

14. Make Program. Program should include, name of theatre company presents title of show, date of performance and place of performance. Time of performance. All directors, all cast members, any thing else you can think to add that is important. PROGRAM NEEDS TO BE TYPED, AND IN COLOR.

  1. Tickets: How much will you charge for tickets? _____ Who is your audience? _______________ How many seats are in your theatre? ______See Drama Teacher for Number. How many performances are you having.? ______ Drama Teacher will tell you how many tickets sold? ______ We made $___________.


Add money from ticket sales to Budget spreadsheet.

  1. Ending Budget. Our ending balance in our bank is $_______________.

What to turn in: AT THE END OF PROJECT, TURN IN:

  • One copy of this worksheet packet
  • Your cast list (typed)
  • Your program (typed)
  • Your professional letter (typed) with check attached.
  • All checks written
  • Your costume drawings
  • Your set design
  • Your advertising poster and any advertisements

Presentation: BE PREPARED TO PRESENT THIS TO THE CLASS 8-10 MINUTES, USING SPEECH CHARACTERISTICS THAT YOU WOULD IF YOU WERE PRESENTING A MONOLOGUE. YOU MUST SHOW YOUR VISUALS AND DEFEND YOUR WORK.

Reflections

Student Learning:

  • I wanted my students to not only learn a little about drama, but also to cross over the curriculums to see how math and language arts are used in the theatrical realm. I wanted them overall to be well rounded and informed. When I noticed from the first semester that work was missing, I found a solution to correct the missing work by chunking the project from one giant task to smaller tasks. Accommodations were included as well as methods such as Kagan’s Cooperative Learning and Differentiated Instruction. I differentiated the instruction in my classes, by allowing the groups who needed a little extra help to use forms, form letters, and guides to reach the end product, whereas the more independent and creative workers did everything by scratch. Technology was used in the classroom. Our school was a Positive Behavior Support Model School, so we also had intrinsic rewards. Mine were that the students were allowed to choose an activity on Fridays for the final ten minutes of class. This motivated many of them to complete their work so they could “play” on stage. What I liked best about the project was that Project Based Learning is one of the data-driven methods that tends to teach the students the material they need and it is not in a lecture format, so I felt the kids learned.

Progress Monitoring:

  • Using a check list on the Theatre Production Project worksheet for the students to manage their time wisely, having each task handled on a day to day basis with mini-due dates, chunking the material from large to small, and using a rubric to assess the student work shows my management and monitoring of student learning. Also, being able to pace classes depending on progress. The unit shows a day by day schedule, however, that does not mean that every class followed that exactly. Some classes worked quicker and moved a day or two ahead and others worked slower and had a little extra time, more time in the computer lab or more time in explanations, or more visual demonstrations. Knowing when the student is not “getting it” is key to maintaining that learning management.

Project Rubric, pt. 1

Project Rubric, Pt 2

Rubric for Presentation

Share, Steal, Modify, Use

If this is something you can use, please feel free to use it. If you'd like to have the Word documents of the Catalogue, Worksheet, or Rubrics, please send me a fan message with an email included and I can email the attachments to you.


Enjoy!

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