Drama 06-07

Drama Curriculum for 2006-2007 Academic Year
Grades 9-12

I had little clue how to lead a drama class at the beginning of the year, and it shows in the somewhat haphazard delivery in lessons. However, I did get my kids through a variety of skill development exercises: movement, vocal, character development, analysis, script writing, rehearsal, performance, critique, and group cooperation. I have endeavored to meet the California state content standards, but have a long way to go.

For the most part, I set aside Mondays for reading and responding (literacy reinforcement), and Fridays for drama games (the kids’ favorite day.) Three of my students are Advanced Drama students, but this year they get the same curriculum as the beginning students. I haven’t had time to create separate projects for them, plus I’m not sure they got all the basics down last year. Next year I hope to create special projects for drama students who had me this year.
I’ve borrowed many ideas from several wonderful drama books. They are referenced with superscript notation to footnotes at the bottom of the page.

I’ve also displayed my art curriculum.

Aug 14
About Me
Student surveys
Game: “Two truths and a lie” Game: “Sell your name”1 “Sell your name”1 (cont.), drama games Group mini-drama from children’s books a la “What’s Up Tiger Lily?”
Aug 21
“What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (cont.) “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (cont.) “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (cont.) “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” (cont.) Drama Games
Aug 28
Introduction to improv:
– read & respond to “Rules of Improv”1
– chair exercise
Read & respond:
– “The Job of the Actor”2
– “Technique Outline”2
Vocal exercises, especially articulation Vocal games and exercises Drama Games
Sep 4
HOLIDAY Read & respond: “Physical Action”2 Movement exercises3 Movement exercises3 Drama Games
Sep 11
Read: “Analyzing a Scene”2 Respond to reading, discussion, analyze a scene (group project) Analyze a scene (cont.) Movement exercises3 Drama Games
Sep 18
Read & respond: “The Truth of the Moment”2 Movement exercises3 Movement exercises3 Character exercises1 Drama Games
Sep 25
Read & respond: “Externals”2 Group worksheet: analyze a short play for externals Character exercises1
– “Like an Animal” steps 1-4
– Laban Effort Actions
“Like an Animal”1 steps 6-7 Drama Games
Oct 2
Read & respond: “Preparing for a Scene”2 “Like an Animal”1
– create scripts for 2-person scenes
“Like an Animal”1
– rehearse scenes
“Like an Animal”1
– perform scenes
Drama Games
Oct 9
Read & respond: “Trouble-
“Like an Animal”1
– perform scenes
“Like an Animal”1
– perform scenes
Character development: 2-minute interview1 Drama Games
Oct 16
Read & respond in pairs: “The Tools of the Craft”2 Character development: humors and colors, character sketch1 Write a monologue based on new character from 2-minute interview Write a monologue (cont.) Drama Games
Oct 23
Read & respond: “The Actor’s Art” & “The Method”4 Write a monologue (cont.) Write a monologue (cont.) Rehearse monologue (cont.) Drama Games
Oct 30
Read & respond: “Physical Basics”4 Perform monologues, feedback Perform monologues (cont.) Perform monologues (cont.) Drama Games
Nov 6
Read & respond: “Stage Geography” and “Blocking”4 Perform monologues (cont.) Perform monologues (cont.), survey possibilities for school play (catalog) Drama Games HOLIDAY
Nov 13
Read & respond: “Sets”4 “A Streetcar Named Desire”
Act I, scenes 1 & 2
– group discussion
– character analysis on Blanche or Stanley
Drama Games
Nov 27
School play selection, read three choices in class School play selection (cont.) School play selection (cont.) “Streetcar”
– Act I, scenes 3 & 4
– second character analysis: Blanche/ Stanley
Drama Games
Dec 4
“Streetcar” reading and discussion “Streetcar” reading and discussion (cont.) “Streetcar” reading and discussion (cont.) “Streetcar” reading and discussion (cont.) Drama Games
Dec 11
– reading and discussion
– discussion and essays
– collage project
– collage project
Drama Games
Dec 18
– view movie
– view movie
– view movie
(no class – finals schedule) “Streetcar” Quiz, Drama Games
WINTER BREAK: Week of Dec 25
Jan 8
Read: “Executive Team”4 “Executive Team”4 skits “Executive Team”4 skits (cont.) “Executive Team”4 skits (cont.) Drama Games
Jan 15
HOLIDAY “Executive Team”4 skits (cont.) “Executive Team”4 skits (cont.) “Executive Team”4 skits (cont.) Drama Games
Jan 22
“Executive Team”4 skits
– performances
“School for Nerds” (school play)
– seated read-through
“School for Nerds”
– seated read-through (cont.)
“School for Nerds”
– seated read-through (cont.)
Drama Games
Jan 29
“School for Nerds”
character sketches
“School for Nerds”
character sketches (cont.)
– share sketches with whole group
“School for Nerds”
– share sketches with whole group (cont.)
“School for Nerds”
– share sketches with whole group (cont.)
– begin blocking
Drama Games
Feb 5
“School for Nerds” blocking (cont.) “School for Nerds” blocking (cont.) “School for Nerds” blocking (cont.) “School for Nerds” blocking (cont.) Drama Games
Feb 12
HOLIDAY “School for Nerds” blocking (cont.) “School for Nerds” blocking (cont.) / reflection on blocking process Discuss props and costumes, go through old prop/costume box Drama Games
Feb 19
HOLIDAY Laid out stage dimensions on floor with masking tape (nothing accomplished due to minimum day conflicts between schools) Read and respond: “Directing Theater” by Debra Bruch Drama Games

1) Source: “Stages: Creative Ideas For Teaching Drama” by Talia Pura
2) Source: “A Practical Handbook for the Actor” by Melissa Bruder
3) Source: “At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater” by Elizabeth Swados
4) Source: “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amateur Theatricals” by John Kenrick

Upon reflection, I feel that “A Practical Handbook for the Actor” by Melissa Bruder (2) was too advanced for my high schoolers. I have ordered high school drama textbooks for next year (or maybe the late part of this academic year!):

“Basic Drama Projects” by Fran Avarett Tanner, PhD

It does a great job of covering the content standards. I am relieved that I will have an individual text book for each student. I don’t believe there has ever been a drama textbook in this school before (at least, not recently).

By Dawn Pedersen

Science advocate, web designer, educator, artist, and mommy.

5 replies on “Drama 06-07”

I am a first year drama teacher. Please help me, where can I find some easy free improvisation/acting games for my students? I saw on your schedule you do games each Friday….do you have a link somewhere to the games you use? Anything would be helpful. Thank you so much….

Alicia Spears

Hi Alicia!

The best resource I have for games is “Stages: Creative Ideas For Teaching Drama” by Talia Pura. I got many as well from “At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater” by Elizabeth Swados, and “Theater Games for Young Performers” by Maria C. Novelly.

Many of these games are classics, and not copyrighted by the book authors. In time, I will try to post descriptions of many of them.


I may be teaching 2 sections of drama and 3 sections of English next year. I wanted to know how you:
(1)Planned your daily/weekly lessons?
(2)How did you decide how to grade the class on homework, classwork, skits, performances?

Thank you!

(1) I really flew by the seat of my pants on this one. I purchased about ten books for drama teachers, and a couple designed for actors or stage personnel. I tried to focus on acting, character development and script analysis in the first semester. I tend to get ideas for what I want to do a week or two in advance. I do a lot of thinking about it in the car or drifting off to sleep. Then on the weekend before the new unit, I sit at the computer and draft up handouts, assessments, what-have-you, or I put Post-It tags on pages in books I want to photocopy. The books listed under the curriculum above were especially helpful.
(2) This is a toughy and I am still working it out. It’s super hard to give individual assessments when we are spending the second semester rehearsing a play. One student isn’t in the play at all – she’s the costume designer with little to do. I have to find ways every so often to keep her busy. For an assignment that involves character development, script writing, and performance I will grade each of those criteria seperately. Read-and-respond worksheets are graded like any other worksheet-type assignment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.