Skip Navigation

 

Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Drama Lesson Plan

Grades:

4-8

Lesson Plan:

Comparing Technical Elements

Students compare two dramatic excerpts and plan a production of a folktale, legend, or fable.
  • Length: 3 class periods

Concepts/Objectives:

  • Students will discuss, compare, and analyze technical elements in the “Buzzard and the Monkey” and Wind in the Willows video excerpts.
  • Students will reflect on and discuss how the technical elements contribute to dramatic selections.
  • Students will describe and discuss dramatic works from various cultures.
  • Students will create and plan for appropriate technical elements in the dramatic presentation of a folktale, legend, or fable.

Resources Used:

The Buzzard and the Monkey
Found On: Storytelling Sampler
Video Length: 00:10:31

Wind in the Willows: The Motor Car
Found On: Performance Excerpts
Video Length: 00:05:31

Wind in the Willows: Toad and His Horse
Found On: Performance Excerpts
Video Length: 00:05:13

Vocabulary

character, costumes, lighting, literary elements, movement, performance elements, plot, props, scenery, technical elements, vocal expression
Materials

TV/VCR or DVD player; chart paper and markers for group reports; variety of books of folktales, fables, or legends for performance assessment

Handouts:

Instructional Strategies and Activities

Cultural Comparisons

These excerpts lend themselves to a variety of comparisons in addition to the use of the elements of production. For example, “The Buzzard and the Monkey” is an African folktale told by one storyteller. The Wind in the Willows excerpts are taken from a well-known children’s story from the European tradition. This comparison can be extended by adding in Native American legends and Aesop’s fables (from the performance assessment), giving students an opportunity to discuss how diverse cultures and styles affect drama.

Lesson Overview

Day 1: Students review vocabulary, view videos, discuss, and compare technical elements in “The Buzzard and the Monkey” and the excerpts from Wind in the Willows.

Days 2 and 3: Students work in cooperative learning groups to choose a folktale, legend, or fable for which they will create and design the technical elements for a dramatic presentation.


Introduction

Review relevant drama vocabulary.

Discuss briefly with students the differences between the two dramas they will see. In the “Buzzard and the Monkey” excerpt, one actor plays multiple roles (Buzzard, Rabbit, Turtle, Monkey) with minimal scenery, costumes, and props. In the Wind in the Willows excerpts, there is an actor for each role (Otter, Rat, Toad, Mole, Badger, Weasel) and elaborate scenery, makeup, and costumes.

Review technical elements vocabulary.


Analysis of Technical Elements

Divide the class into six groups. Assign each group one technical element to describe and analyze for the two excerpts presented. The elements are

  • stage set and scenery
  • costumes
  • makeup (including wigs, warts, teeth)
  • props
  • sound/music
  • lighting

Students should take notes about the particular elements assigned to their groups while viewing the videos. Afterward, each group should report out to the class.

View “The Buzzard and the Monkey” and the excerpts from Wind in the Willows.

Give each group a few minutes to organize its list on chart paper, then have each group report on what it recorded for its particular technical element.

Discuss. Was each technical element appropriate for the particular drama? (For example: What props were used in “The Buzzard and the Monkey”? Were they appropriate? Why or why not?) How did this element contribute to the particular drama (e.g., the characters, the plot, the setting, etc.)?

See the Teacher’s Guide to Possible Student Notes on Technical Elements handout for more information. The Performance Assessment description below covers the Day 2 and 3 activities.

top

Support • Connections • Resources

  • KET teacher’s guides for Telling Tales and Wind in the Willows (PDF format; complete list of guides available at www.ket.org/education/guides.htm)
  • Bruchac, Joseph. Pushing Up the Sky: Seven Native American Plays for Children. New York: Penguin Putnam, 2000.
  • Evans, Cheryl and Lucy Smith. Acting and Theatre. London: Usborne Pub., 1992.
  • Lee, Robert. Everything About Theatre: The Guidebook of Theatre Fundamentals. Colorado Springs: Meriwether Pub., 1996.
  • Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2000.

top

Extensions for Diverse Learners

  • Student completes an analysis of the use of technical elements in a movie, television program, or dramatic production of his or her choice and shares the analysis with the class.
  • Student adapts a short story into a dramatic script that includes directions for use of the technical elements.
  • Student performs a folktale, fable, or legend of choice, incorporating elements of production.

top

Applications Across the Curriculum

Science

  • animal characteristics
  • food chain
  • habitats

Open Response Assessment

Prompt: In dramatic presentations, the technical elements contribute to the audience’s understanding of the plot and characters.

Directions: After viewing excerpts from “The Buzzard and the Monkey” and Wind in the Willows, contrast the use of the technical elements in each using appropriate drama vocabulary.

Open Response Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
Response is complete and demonstrates extensive knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary of the technical elements. Response demonstrates consistent, effective application of the elements of drama in contrasting the drama excerpts. Response demonstrates effective communication skills, with insightful use of supporting examples and relevant details from the excerpts. Response demonstrates broad knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary of the technical elements. Response demonstrates effective application of some of the elements of drama in contrasting the drama excerpts. Response demonstrates effective communication skills, with use of supporting examples and relevant details from the excerpts. Response demonstrates a basic knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary of the technical elements. Response demonstrates some correct application of at least three elements of drama in contrasting the drama excerpts. The response may include errors or misconceptions. Response communicates on a basic level, with limited use of supporting examples and relevant details from the excerpts. Response demonstrates minimal or incorrect knowledge of the concepts and vocabulary of the technical elements. Response demonstrates inappropriate or no application of the elements of drama in contrasting the drama excerpts. Response includes errors or misconceptions. Response demonstrates ineffective communication skills, with little or no use of supporting examples and relevant details from the excerpts. Response contains no drama vocabulary or concepts.

top

Performance Assessment

Performance Event: Using the Anansi the Spider stories (African folktales), Aesop’s fables, or Native American legends, your group will choose a story and plan for the appropriate, effective technical elements. The planned technical elements should contribute to an audience’s understanding of the folktale, legend, or fable.

Directions:

  • Write your directions and descriptions for the elements in chart or paragraph form.
  • Each group member may create and design one element, or group members may work together on all six technical elements: props, sound effects/music, scenery, costumes, makeup, and lighting.

Performance Scoring Guide
4 3 2 1 0
Students’ use of technical elements demonstrates extensive knowledge and application of the cultural context of drama and extensive understanding and application of the concepts and elements of drama. Directions and descriptions demonstrate effective communication skills, with the meaning of the folktale, legend, or fable insightfully communicated through the technical elements. Students’ use of technical elements demonstrates broad knowledge and application of the cultural context of drama and broad understanding and application of the concepts and elements of drama. Directions and descriptions demonstrate effective communication skills, with the meaning of the folktale, legend, or fable communicated through the technical elements. Students’ use of technical elements demonstrates basic knowledge and application of the cultural context of drama and partial understanding and application of the concepts and elements of drama. Directions and descriptions demonstrate basic communication skills, with the meaning of the folktale, legend, or fable partially communicated through the technical elements. Students’ use of technical elements demonstrates little or no knowledge and application of the cultural context of drama and underdeveloped understanding and little application of the concepts and elements of drama. Directions and descriptions demonstrate ineffective communication skills, with the meaning of the folktale, legend, or fable uncommunicated through the technical elements. No technical elements, directions, or descriptions.

top

Academic Content


Academic Expectations:

  • 1.11: Students use appropriate forms, conventions, and styles to communicate ideas and information to different audiences for different purposes.
  • 2.22: Students create works of art and make presentations to convey a point of view.
  • 2.23: Students analyze their own and others’ artistic products and performances using acceptable standards.
  • 2.24: Students have knowledge of major works of art, music, and literature and appreciate creativity and the contributions of the arts and humanities.

Program of Studies:

  • Intermediate students use appropriate terminology to discuss elements of drama.
  • Intermediate students compare and contrast dramatic works from diverse cultures, periods, and styles.
  • Middle school students select scenery, props, lighting, sound, costumes, and makeup appropriate for scripted scenes.
  • Middle school students explain the functions and interrelated nature of scenery, props, lighting, sound, costumes, and makeup in creating an environment appropriate for drama.

Core Content for Assessment:

  • AH-(04) 05-1.3.1: Students will (identify or describe) analyze or explain the use of elements of drama in dramatic works (literary, technical, performance).
  • AH-(04) 05-2.3.1: Students will (identify) describe or explain how drama has been a part of cultures and time periods throughout history. Culture: West African (storytelling).
  • AH-(04) 05-4.3.1: Students will create and perform using elements of drama (literary, technical, performance).
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.1: Students will (identify or describe) (analyze) compare or evaluate the use of elements of drama in dramatic works (literary, technical, performance).
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-1.3.2: Students will describe how the technical elements (staging, scenery, props, costumes, makeup, lighting, sound) communicate setting and mood.
  • AH-06-2.3.1: Students will analyze or explain how diverse cultures and time periods affect drama/theater. Cultures: African influences on American storytelling.
  • AH-(06) (07) 08-4.3.1: Students will create and perform using elements of drama (literary, technical, performance).

Author:

Mary Ann Chamberlain, Ph.D.

top

Please comment on this lesson plan


600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951