Language Arts Written Drama Project
Purpose (Objective—although we are not suppose to use that Huntism) Students will work in collaborative groups to write and perform science-fiction dramas. The dramas will incorporate concepts (about planets and solar system) that have been learned in other disciplines. When the dramas have been written, students will work in collaborative groups to write musical scores that are inspired by the dramas. Ideally the two will be performed together.
Day 5 (Lesson one of the project)
Setup: The class will be divided into groups of four or five students per group. The groups will include boys and girls and will have a “distribution” of strengths. The names of the groups and students in them will be on cards that will be placed at each of the work stations (tables or clusters of desks) and students will be directed to find out which group they belong to. Groups could be given names of constellations or planets.
On a large piece of paper or on the board the following question is posted:
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED SO FAR IN YOUR STUDY OF PLANETS WITH A PLAN?
Each group will have a pad of post-it notes and will be instructed to write down one concept or idea per post-it to answer the question. Each group will be asked to have a minimum of four to five responses—each group member contributing at least one response.
The groups will choose one person to “post” the concepts that they came up with. They will read each note out loud and post it under the question. These will remain posted through the writing process as reminders of concepts and ideas that can be included in the dramas.
After the brainstorm has been completed, we will read through the “group roles” instructions and clarify through discussion what each of the roles means. The discussion will emphasize responsibility and respect and essential elements of cooperative learning.
Elements of Drama Mini-Lesson:
Before the groups begin the writing process it will be necessary to do a mini-review of the elements of drama. The assumption is that the groups have already been introduced to these elements in an earlier study of a play (too much to take on here). This mini-lesson can be done as a brief lecture or a review discussion.
The elements will be listed on an overhead and the teacher will ask each group to define and give an example for one of the elements. The groups will be given a few minutes to come up with the definition and example and will then ask one group member to go up and share the information with the class. (Overhead sample)
Day 6 (day 2 of project)
This is the day that the groups will be instructed to begin the process of writing their dramas. Each person in the group will be given a pre-write sheet and will be required to fill it out to be handed in for credit. (The answer will be the same but each member should be involved in writing out the brainstorming.)
Drafting the Drama (day 2&3 of lesson)
Directions: After your group has completed the pre-write questions, it is time to start drafting process. One member of your group will fill out this portion of the project, but each member is asked to contribute his/her ideas.
Storyboards: Draw a rough sketch for each scene of your drama and write a summary for each scene in two sentences. (A scene is one segment of action—you are encouraged to have at least four scenes in your drama.)
Writing the script (Day 3&4 of lesson)
After the storyboards are complete, the groups should have a pretty clear picture of which characters will be in each scene and will know the general plot line. The members of the group will decide which characters that they would like to play in the drama.
To write the drama the characters from a scene will discuss and write the dialogue for the scene. They will write their lines for the scene on note cards (in pencil). Each characters note cards will be a different color and the cards will be numbered so that when the script is compiled the lines should be easy to organize.
After the dialogue for a scene is written, the characters will read through the scene once before moving onto the next scene. If there are group members who are not in the scene being written, they will listen to the scene and make suggestions for clarity.
The drafting and scene writing steps will take two class periods. Once the scenes have been written up as dialogue, each member of the group will be given one scene to write out as a “master copy” of the scene. This way each member of the group is responsible for part of the compiling process. The teacher will make photocopies of the complete scripts.
Bringing Creation to Life (Day 5&6—Day 5 if we have extended period?)
After the scripts have been compiled, the groups will fill out the following “think through” handout and then begin to practice their dramas.
Ideally the groups will have two class periods to practice. It would also be ideal to have a flexible space and time frame for practicing the dramas. (A gym or two classrooms in a dream situation.)
(Another possibility would be to give each group a sack of “costume” and prop pieces to use. This sack of goodies would be the only pieces that they could use!)
Each day the members of each group will fill out a daily self-assessment form and hand in.
The groups will be assessed on completion of each step of the process. It is suggested to give “check” grades for completing components of a project and if each component is completed, then the group receives full credit for the project.
They will be presented at the lesson finale or the next week.