If you are new to my blog, welcome! I’m quite flattered that you’d check me out. I’m going to talk about the 8 lessons you should include in your middle school theater scope and sequence. Obviously, this is my point of view on the subject.
My first job was as an English teacher in a junior high school. Bear in mind that I was certified to teach English, but had never taught it or even experienced teaching it as a student teacher. My student teaching was in theater which in the 1970s was almost unheard of in the mid-west.
Anyway, I remember they gave me this HUGE book with all of the benchmarks or objectives I was to reach. It was so full of jargon, I had to sit and translate it into layman’s English. Finally, I got the hang of it.
8 Things to Include in Your Middle School Theater Scope and Sequence
When I began teaching middle school theater in the mid 90s (yikes), no one seemed to be clear on what they wanted me to cover. I came into the position with twenty years of teaching and directing outside the classroom, so I knew what to do in those circumstances.
However, teaching theater in a school was different than that. In the particular school I taught theater all those many years ago, I spent about a year trying out ideas until I perfected what I thought would be successful with the students.
A Thirteen Year Middle School Teaching Adventure
For thirteen years, I taught a pre-elective theater class to sixth grade students–all 450 of them. (Yes you read that correctly.) I had twenty-five days to fill with the many subjects of theater which was great fun but also rather challenging. Some of these classes were ninety minutes and some were forty-five. My tendency was to perfect something when we found it to work, but the students and I just didn’t have the time to do so since they moved to the next pre-elective class. By year thirteen, I topped out on what I could teach them. At this point, we moved to Colorado and I took a part time speech and theater middle school job–completely different and kinda crazy. But that;s a blog post for another day.
In 2017, I began my store on Teacherspayteachers.com. My plan was to recoup the pension I lost by staying home with our daughters when they were very young. I understood that I would lose half of my pension at the time of my retirement, but to this day I have no regrets. This was a real privilege and I’m aware that many educators don’t have the luxury to do the same. I know our daughters almost as well as they do themselves because I was with them when they were young.
My Middle School Scope and Sequence Curriculum
People purchase my middle school drama curriculum a lot. I’m very glad I can help them, but it never dawned on me that maybe I should include a scope and sequence with the units. Here I am today providing that guide for you.
I taught these lessons in this particular order beginning with the easiest concepts and progressing to the most challenging. This was a pass/fail course. I gave a daily participation grade as well.
1. Tableau (1 day)–Tableau is a staple of theater and a non-threatening concept which beginning theater students can learn. Students learn how to make stage pictures (which is one of the basic of directing as well), however they don’t have to say anything. You can find my tableau lessons here: Tableau lesson
2. Chanting (1 day)–Chanting, or a repeated word or phrase used to illicit an effect is the second component I teach novices. Got some questions about teaching middle school? Check out Striking a Balance with Students in Their Middle School Years.
3. Costume Design (2 days)–Who doesn’t like costume design? Depending upon the time of year, I like to teach about costume design with a thematic approach. You’ll have to check out my Halloween Costume Design Lesson here.
4. Movement (2 days)–Just like tableau, students enjoy creative movement because there is no speaking. Plus, it does a great job of giving students some physical exercise which they sorely need.
5.Kamishibai Storytelling (1 week)–Depending upon your assessments of you students and what they appear to engage with in your teaching, I like to use Kamishibai storytelling from time to time. Have you never heard of Kamishibai? Check it out here: Kamishibai Storytelling
6. Set Design (1 week)–Set Design units are super useful. They incorporate not only designing the set, but building a model of it. In addition, students work with a partner which is so good for teaching cooperative learning.
7. Performance (1 week) You can choose to direct your students in a one act class play or a short radio theater play-I liked to switch it up every now and then with one or the other. Word of caution–don’t have one class performing a play while the others are studying radio theater. You will make yourself crazy.
8. Enrichment (1 day) If you need a substitute, or your school is having a day of shortened class periods, watching a video clip of theaters around the world or studying about a famous theater artist such as Lin Manuel Miranda does an excellent job of changing the pace or giving everyone a breather. Want some free lessons? Go here.
Sometimes I’d throw in components such as stage properties or sound effects because quite frankly, I needed the change. Vocabulary was not as prevalent at the time, but since the I’ve created a Theater vocabulary word wall.
Objectives I Met with This Scope and Sequence Theater Curriculum
Here are the National Core Arts Standards which I used.
Conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.
- Anchor Standard #1. Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #2. Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Anchor Standard #3. Refine and complete artistic work.
Performing (dance, music, theatre): Realizing artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation.
- Anchor Standard #4. Select, analyze and interpret artistic work for presentation.
Anchor Standard #5. Develop and refine artistic techniques and work for presentation.
Anchor Standard #6. Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning.
- Anchor Standard #7. Perceive and analyze artistic work.
Anchor Standard #8. Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Anchor Standard #9. Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work.
Objectives I Met with This Scope and Sequence Continued
If you need Common Core Standards, here are a few of them which my guide completes.:
Key Ideas and Details:
Craft and Structure:
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:
Are you looking for some information about how to design a lesson plan? Check out this post: Why is it Important to Create a Lesson Plan?
Key Ideas and Details:
Craft and Structure:
Did you know I have an Instagram account with virtually different information than my blog? You can find it at: DramamommaSpeaks Instagram
A Word of Caution
In an effort to do a exemplary job at teaching, sometimes we teachers go overboard on what our students should learn. I’m not a big fan of scene study when students are in middle school or lower. Or even monologues. They simply do not understand it nor appreciate it. Unfamiliar with creative dramatics? Check out: Learn How to Teach Creative Dramatics in Your Lunch Hour
What I do encourage theater teachers of elementary and middle school to teach is using creative dramatics’ many facets. One could teach the components above, number one to five, and then apply them to a readers theater or short class play. Here is one of my which would work well for this plan: Inca Story The Magic Lake Readers Theater or The Brave Little Tailor play.
I hope my guide helps you in your teaching of middle school theater class. What do you like to include in your teaching? I’ve love to hear about it. You can email me at DhcBaldwin@gmail.com. Let’s chat!
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