Super Charge Your Classroom Warm Up Exercise

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Storytelling-Super-Hero-Post-Card-Stories-3238578

Are you looking an exercise to super charge your classroom?  A  FREE product to try with your classroom from a veteran teacher? Something fun but useful to teach with these weeks right before a holiday break?

Super Hero Cover 6 Ad

Simply put, this warm up exercise is loads of fun because YOU are the hero!  Students love creating the story around you.

Your materials list is easy:  a box of photographs of all kinds and a copy of a postcard story of your own or another student group from another time. In the lesson, I  have included a copy of one my students’ stories just to give you an idea of what to expect.

Sometimes my students dramatize their story (it’s always very short) or merely share the story with the class. When they dramatize their story, I ask them to use chanting (repeated words or phrases for an effect), a sound effect or two and some movement.  They even create a title for their story. My students LOVE this exercise!

I’d love to hear how this exercise works for you.

If you enjoy this one, please check out my store at Teacherspayteachers.com.  I’m always adding new products.  Maybe something else will help you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

Dramamommaspeaks.com Youth Theatre

The Impact of Youth Theatre on the World

 

You know I am all about this. Theatre has saved many a child, including me. I have never known it not to impact someone’s life.

I am hoping this post will be helpful to parents.

Read this post if you’d like to know about my journey. https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/01/17/how-theatre-saved-m%EF%BB%BFy-life/

Those of us who work in youth theatre can give you countless reasons why your child should be involved in theatre.

Read this post from a Litpick.com article I penned for them.

https://wordpress.com/post/dramamommaspeaks.com/1943https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/09/20/top-seven-reasons-drama-education-is-important-to-your-childs-life/comment

How Theater for Young People Could Save the World

By Loren Gunderson of the Huffington Post

Theatre for Children

March 20th is World Theater for Children and Young People Day.

Some of you might be thinking, “Oh lord, why do we need a day to

celebrate actors being silly, wearing bright colors and singing obnoxiously

at squirming kiddos and bored parents?”

But if you think that’s what Theatre for Young People is,

you’re missing out on truly powerful, hilarious, bold, engaging,

surprising theater that might just save the world.

Around the world artists are creating a new stripe of

Theatre for Young People that combines the elegance of dance,

the innovation of devised theater, the freshness of new plays,

the magnetism of puppetry and the inciting energy of new

musicals.

Theatre for Youth

Kids have access to more and more mature theatrical

visions premiering from Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center

to Atlanta’s Synchronicity Theatre to San Francisco’s

Handful Players to Ireland to Adelaide to Kosovo to Cape

These plays range from re-imagined fairy tales and adaptations

of favorite books to brand-new plays and electric new musicals

about everything from physics to bullying to the American Civil War.

But how could theater, especially theater for young people,

really matter in a world as fraught and disparity-scattered as ours?

Not to sound overly grand (too late), but so much of the toxicity

in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy.

We don’t understand each other, and we don’t want to.

But theater invites us — no, forces us — to empathize.

As my friend Bill English of San Francisco’s SF Playhouse says,

theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up

the muscles of compassion, to practice listening and understanding

and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves.

We practice sitting down, paying attention and learning from

other people’s actions. We practice caring.

Kids need this kind of practice even more than adults do.

This is going to be their planet and they’ve got more time to apply

that empathy and make a difference. Buddhist roshi Joan Halifax

challenges us to actively and specifically teach

children (and vote for presidents with) empathy.

Why not take your child to the theater to do just that.

In fact “Take A Child to the Theatre Today” is the campaign theme

of The International Association of Theaters for Young Audiences

for the next three years.

If you take a child to the theater, not only will they practice empathy,

they might also laugh uproariously, or come home singing about science,

or want to know more about history, or tell you what happened at

school today, or spend all dinner discussing music, or learn how to

handle conflict, or start becoming future patrons of the arts.

On March 20th, take a child to the theater. Take them all the time.

And don’t “sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.” Lean forward, engage

and start changing the world for the better.

Theatre for Children– a great place to live.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

The Drama Exercise to Jazz Up Your Class and Impress Your Parents

Do you need an exercise for your students and parents to participate together? How about tableau in a unique way?

Your dramamomma has you covered!  Here’s a new lesson plan for your drama classroom using tableau as the springboard.

If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to encourage your parents to be involved whenever they visit class.  This exercise is a sure fire winner.  I have used it at the beginning of the school year and also when parents visit to see a class play.

It’s a sneaky to get your parents to perform with their child.  In many ways, it helps everyone.  The students get to “play” with their parent and have their full attention, the parents are given permission to “play” as well.  Together their have a shared experience, too.

Generally, parents really enjoy this little ice breaker.  It certainly engages everyone.

The exercise takes about fifteen minutes in length.  You could also lengthen the exercise by asking two student/parent groups to work together and perform a larger memory they might have–say, seeing a baseball games (two are the players and two are the baseball fans in the bleachers, etc.)

I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you!

Go to:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Vacation-Tableau-3431865?aref=kayx2rtcVacation Tableau Ad (2)

Like Halloween? Then You’ll Enjoy This Costume Sale

Do you like Halloween like I do?  Tomorrow, it’s October! Yippee! Have you found a theater’s costume sale you can peruse?

October is one of my most favorite months–the leaves begin to change to scarlet and gold, pumpkins are everywhere, the air is crisp.

When our daughters were children, we had a rule: you couldn’t talk about Halloween until September 1st. No drawing pictures of what your costume should be, negotiating for some extravagant costume piece, and NO buying Halloween candy.

Recently,  I ran on to an article in the New York Times about the Royal Shakespeare Company’s costume sale. Wow, that would have been a neat thing to see. I was in England in August and visited Stratford in Avon where the sale was held. If only I had visited a bit later…

Read on.

Ball Gowns, Lace Ruffs and Fairy Wings: Theater History for Sale

By Holly Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, England — Have you ever wanted to step into the shoes of a great Shakespearean actor? Over the weekend, shoppers here in Shakespeare’s birthplace, which is also the home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, had a chance to walk away with a piece of theatrical history, as the legendary company held a sale of 15,000 costumes and other items.

By the time the sale opened at 9 a.m. Saturday, a line snaked down the street; the first fans had arrived at 5 p.m. the previous day, camping out to secure a spot. Such patience was rewarded, and customers emerged clutching treasures, from the sublime — period ball gowns, lace ruffs, fairy wings — to the ridiculous — gold lamé lion tails and grotesque pig suits.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has the largest costume department in British theater, and it employs 30 members of staff, including experts in armor and millinery. The sale was raising money for the company’s Stitch in Time campaign, to renovate its costume workshop and to finance specialist apprenticeships. Around a third of its stock — items too worn or too specific to be reused — was on sale at bargain prices: from 50 pence, or 67 cents, for a fan to 30 pounds, or roughly $40, for a velvet cloak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The life-span of Royal Shakespeare Company costumes, recycled across productions and for up to 100 performances, is among what makes them special, and every item has a sewn-in label identifying the actor who wore it last, and in which show. Beady-eyed rummagers could pick up Anita Dobson’s grubby underskirt from “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” or Joanna Vanderham’s silver gown from “Othello.” One happy shopper claimed to have found a dress worn by Jane Asher.

It can be bittersweet, however. “What makes this so emotional for someone like me — I put on my first R.S.C. costume in 1966 — are the name tags,” said the British actor Patrick Stewart, who fronted the Stitch in Time campaign. “I already found one item worn by a dear friend of mine, long gone.”

Indeed, among the armor, I came across a breastplate with “Tim Pigott-Smith” written on a label; the British actor died in April.

Even stars of Mr. Stewart’s caliber are not immune to feeling awe when taking on the mantle (at times literally) of acting giants. “I was once given a jacket which I did not really like,” Mr. Stewart said, adding that he had then seen from the label that it had been worn by Paul Scofield, a British actor who died in 2008.

“So of course I wore it,” he said. “Although it had to be cut down, because Paul was a much taller actor than I was, in every sense.”

Performers often highlight how vital costumes are, and by trying on a vast crinoline (used in the “Tempest”) and an absurdly heavy cloak (“Henry VIII”), I can understand why: They completely change the way you move and hold yourself.
“There were times when the costume had a significant impact on the work I would do on that character,” Mr. Stewart said, recalling the transformative effect of a luxurious pale gray three-piece suit worn for a modern-dress “Merchant of Venice” in 2011 — “which I should have stolen because it fitted me so well.”
I unearthed a kitsch, frothy wedding dress from the same production, worn by Susannah Fielding as Portia. Indeed, a whole rail of wedding dresses were available to make wedding days extra special — once they’ve had a good clean, at least.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outside, members of the public emerged enchanted with their hauls. Jenkin Van Zyl, whose parents drove up from London so that he could fill their car, went on quite a spree: “I only wear theater costumes,” he said. “So I just came to top up, but I didn’t realize how cheap and amazing the sale was going to be. I spent £800.”
Shelley Bolderson from Cambridge, England, also wears costumes in her daily life. She said she had been delighted to find a coat made from pages of a book, created for the dancing satyrs in the 2009 production of “The Winter’s Tale.”

“I just hope it won’t dissolve in the rain,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sale is also a godsend for amateur theater groups. Miriam Davies, from Stamford, England, is a costume designer for a company specializing in Shakespeare.
“You can’t really miss something like this,” she said. “Having R.S.C. costumes is a special thing — it’s history.”

Lots of theater companies have costume sales prior to Halloween.  Their costumes are worth the money they ask for them.  Trust me on this.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com

Ten Audition Secrets From a Director

Previously, I blogged a list of audition secrets from a director. So, I brought this one out of the moth balls for you!

You knew this subject was coming, didn’t you? It only seems natural to speak about how I make decisions about casting someone in a play.

Remember, these are only my opinions. Someone else will have a different viewpoint, obviously.
Here is my advice (and secrets) to landing the part:

1. Arrive on time for the auditions and stay until they are finished. If you arrive late or are in a rush to leave early, it implies that the production is not that important to you.

2. Dress appropriately for the audition. If you are auditioning for a musical and there are going to be dance auditions, either bring the right shoe wear or wear them. There is nothing more distracting to a director than observing someone flop around in the wrong shoes as they attempt to dance or move about the stage. And ladies, you hair needs to be swept back away from your face and controlled with a bobby pin or something.

3. Read the script prior to auditions. Now reading the script ahead of time does not guarantee you a part in the production, but most scripts are very well written (that’s why they are produced) and worth your time to read. Or at least watch a movie version of the play or musical if there is one available. My guess is some people don’t read the entire script before auditioning because they don’t want to commit their free time because if they aren’t cast, it feels like they have wasted their time. One hasn’t wasted their time. They have enriched it.

I try to be patient with people who haven’t read the script ahead of time, but secretly nothing is more frustrating than having someone say to me, “So, what’s this play about?” I don’t have the time to explain the story to them nor do I think it is my job to do so.

4. Pay attention during the auditions. If the auditions aren’t closed and you are able to observe them, watch other actors. You never know when a director might call you up to read with someone and if you pay attention you are ready to go.

Ten secrets to a great audition5. A director doesn’t need to know if you have a cold or don’t feel well, or whatever the excuse might be at the moment. So, don’tannounce your maladies–just audition confidently. A director will ask the actor to call backs if he thinks he needs to hear the actor once the cold or illness is over.

6. If you mark on your audition sheet that you will accept any role you are offered, please tell the truth. Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time to cast someone and afterward they announce they won’t accept the role you gave them (since the person wanted another one instead.) Tacky! And, if the accused auditions for another one of the director’s plays, chances are the actor won’t even be considered them based on their past actions.

7. If you mark on your audition sheet that you have no conflicts, then a director expects you to have no conflicts! Avoiding informing the director of a few conflicts and spinning that you have none then coming back later with a litany of conflicts does nothing for the actor’s relationship with the director. Better to tell the truth and let the director work around the conflicts if he thinks he can do so. An actor’s behavior gets around in a theater community very quickly, so just be honest and up front.

8. Sometimes a director will put out the word that they are looking for a particular age actor for a role. It is not wise to try and make yourself up to look half your age if you aren’t really able to convince your best friend of your age change. If your friend thinks you look silly trying to be twenty-five when you are fifty-five, then believe them. Audition for a play that suits your age range.

If you are an adult, you can usually appear ten years either direction of your age. Children and teen agers are a bit different in this regard. Personally, I am more likely to cast someone who is taller and thirteen to play a sixteen year old than a short thirteen year old to play a ten year old.

9. No matter what, always finish your audition with a thank you and get the heck off the stage. An actor trying to make conversation with the director can come across as a desperate attempt for attention. If the director initiates the conversation, then I think it is safe to chat a moment with him or her. But I wouldn’t begin the conversation. Directors are usually considering many things during auditions, so it’s best not to interrupt them.

10. Be confident in your audition. If you audition with others and someone does something that is comical (and the director reacts by laughing), it does not mean you must do the same thing if you read the same part. Be yourself. Be clever and memorable, but don’t behave in such a manner that you make others feel uncomfortable by your audition. In other words, keep your clothes on, keep your mouth clean and be polite.

10. The biggest secret to auditions? Listen to what the director asks of you. I am more likely to cast someone who honestly tries to do what I ask of him (such as lowering the pitch of his voice, trying an unusual laugh or reaction), than someone who has a preconceived vision of the character and can not or will not budge from that idea. Also, I really don’t like it when an actor just imitates someone else portraying the role–either someone else at the auditions or someone they have seen portray the role in the film version, for example. Generally, if I don’t think the inflexible person can adapt themselves to my needs, then I can’t cast them. Simple as that.

So, there you go—audition secrets from a director.  I hope this helps you. I would love to answer any other questions you might have about auditions, so send them on. P.S.  If you’d like to audition for Beauty and the Beast, go here for information http://www.theatrelawrence.com/index.html

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborrahBaldwin.net

Peter Rabbit film

Some “Hoppy” News For Peter Rabbit Fans

http://variety.com/2017/film/news/peter-rabbit-movie-trailer-james-corden-1202565619/

Oh my, James Corden is the voice of Peter Rabbit in a new film Peter Rabbit!

Read on…

Everyone’s favorite rambunctious rabbit finds new life as a party animal in the first trailer for the live-action/animated comedy “Peter Rabbit.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The film stars James Corden as the the titular mischievous bunny whose feud with Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) escalates as they rival for the affections of the animal lover who lives next door (Rose Byrne). The film also stars Sam Neill and features the voices of Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki, and Daisy Ridley as his triplets Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

The trailer shows Peter and his furry friends raiding Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden and trashing his home in a wild party, then frantically dispersing when the farmer returns home unexpectedly. The critter exudes so much charm that even a fox who previously tried to eat him is a welcome party guest.

Book Series

The movie is based on the character from Beatrix Potter’s children’s book series. Peter Rabbit first appeared in “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in 1902 and the series has since sold more than 150 million copies worldwide in 35 languages.

The film is directed by Will Gluck who also wrote the screenplay with Rob Lieber. Gluck’s previous directing work includes “Easy A,” “Friends With Benefits,” and the 2014 remake of “Annie.” Lieber has previously written the screenplay for “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”

“Peter Rabbit” hits theaters on Feb. 9, 2018.
Staff Writer

Matt Fernandez

Staff Writer

@matt_fern

 

 

 

Kamishibai Storytelling Unit–An Engaging and Unique Unit for Your Students

Are you looking for an oral communication unit for your students? A guaranteed hit with your students which is engaging, fun and a unique unit for your students?  Check out my Kamishibai Storytelling unit on teacherspayteachers.com

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Kamishibai-Paper-Performance-Storytelling-3260379

 Kamishibai Ad 3 (2)

Simply put, Kamishibai storytelling is a form of storytelling which integrates art and storytelling.

It can used with reading or an ELA, english/language arts, social studies, music  or drama class.  The subjects are endless.

Let’s say you have a reading class.  That’s an easy one.  Have your students draw picture for a particular book or chapter.  The next step is for them to tell the story.  What a great way to help your students retain the plot!

How about in social studies?  If you were studying Mexico, the students could create Kamishibai for a particular region’s folk lore (I advised one SS teacher who was teaching about Austrailia and they used Kamishibai to share Aborigine stories.)

ELA?  The students could create Kamishibai for an American tall tale.

English?  Mythology would work great with this form of storytelling.

Music?  Tell the story of the life of a famous composer.

Drama?  Use it was first intended (sorry, you’ll need to check out the actual lesson at Teacherspayteachers.com for that.)

The Kamishibai Paper Performance product is a three week unit, complete with a day by day calendar, instructions for creating kamishibai (which is a little involved if you have never tried it, but I clear those worries up right away) and suggestions for extensions.

And….it’s a bargain.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

 

What are Super Hero Postcard Stories? 

Another lesson plan is up! 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Storytelling-Super-Hero-Post-Card-Stories-3238578

Dramamommspeaks

Why is the Name of My Blog Dramamommaspeaks? 

I’ve often wondered why I chose Dramamommaspeaks as my blog’s title.

It made a lot of sense to me and still does.

I teach drama.

I am the momma of two wonderful girls.

I talk about both many times in a day.

Plus, it came from my personal email address many years ago. I’m fairly right brained so anything I can do to keep my life organized always helps me.  Having some funky blog name or website name would frazzle me.

I took one of those very serious tests on Facebook.  You know the kind….and it revealed Helen should be my name.  You know what?  My MIDDLE name is Helen.  Spooky.

iceberg

I was called Hogan when I was a Girl Scout about a million years ago.  We were training to be camp counselors.  I needed a name for the girls to call me other than my real name.

I remember I liked the TV series “Hogan’s Heroes”.  Why, I haven’t the foggiest idea.  You know how sometimes you remember the strangest things, but can’t remember what you ate for dinner last night?  This is one of those.

I chose my name as I made my bed,  while I was listening to the “Hogan’s Heroes” theme song playing on the TV.  Gosh, isn’t that exciting to know?

mountains

In college my nickname was Coonrad.  Some people even called me Coonie. People liked the nickname so much I was given a raccoon stuff animal in honor of it.

My maiden name is Conard.  It’s German and our ancestor’s names were Kundr.  My understanding is that when my family came to America, the name was changed to make it easier to say and spell.  There aren’t a lot of Conards in the country.  We are NOT Conrads. Ugh.

My students call me Momma B., Mrs. B. and Mother Baldwin.  It depends upon where I am and with whom I am working.  Some students desire the intimacy a nickname gives a teacher, so it’s fine with me.

desert

I taught the last group of students for six years straight.  Some of them loved theatre so much they took every class I taught progressing through each grade level.  Those are the most beloved students of mine.

Even their parents call me Mrs. B.!  That’s when I know I’ve made an impact on a student’s life.

It doesn’t always occur that a teacher is fortunate to teach a student over many years, but I taught in an unusual public school program for home schooled students.  We saw them once a week for one or two hours for the entire school year.

That isn’t a lot of time, but when you think about how much a child develops over nine months, it is marvelous to observe and be a small part of their lives.

cows

Most of my good friends call me Deb or Debbie.  I call myself Deborah Baldwin when I speak as an author to separate the author image from the teacher/director image.

Some times people call me Deborah when they are feigning that I am guilty of something.  When you stretch out the De-bor-ah, it has a nice lilt to it.  They usually sing it like a doorbell ringing, “Oh, De-bor-ah!”

My family called me DB when I was a child.  My oldest brother teased me with stressing the second syllable of the word, so it was “DeBORah.”  His name was Kent. There isn’t a lot you can do with his name to torment him and he knew it.  Argh.

Names are so important.  I’ve taught kids with names that made absolutely no sense and those poor kids knew it.  One student was named after a tree in India and another was named after a type of dwelling.   You could always tell they wished they’d been named Mark or John or Allison or Sarah.  My mother warned me to select names for our daughters which they could use their entire lives. That was a good suggestion.  Their names are dignified and classic.

ocean

And now….I’m called Grammie or Grandma.  Whichever name my granddaughter gives me, I’ll accept. She’s only six months old. Maybe she won’t name me those.  Maybe it will be something like Meemaw?  I suggested  to her mother she could call me Your Royal Highness, but that didn’t seem to go over too well.  I had to give it a try, you know?

Oh well, there’s always the next grandchild…..

P.S.  The photos in this blog have nothing to do with the theme.  I mean, what do I use for names?  I especially like the cow.  You’re welcome.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

 

 

 

 

money in suitcase

If I Won the Lottery

Did you hear about the seventeen year old who won the lottery and it supposedly ruined her life?  So, now she is suing her state’s lottery commission because she thinks no one her age should be allowed to buy a lottery ticket?  Give me a break.

True confession:  I’ve never purchased a lottery ticket in my life. A few times they’ve been given to me as presents, but even then I had a difficult time knowing quite what to do with it.  I know…..you think I’m weird.

money.jpg

I HATE to waste money, especially on chance.  I probably waste enough money as it is–have you ever seen my refrigerator’s vegetable bin?  Talk about a waste of money!

However, if I won the lottery I do have a few idea of the ways in which I’d spend it. I would take care of the usual things you’d expect– Pay off all debts we have left.  Set aside monies for our children and future grandchildren.

  I’m hoping we’ll get our act together in the US and make state colleges and universities tuition free.  In case that doesn’t occur, I’d gift money to our children to take care of any expenses incurred during their college life.

I’d donate to worthy causes such as not for profit organizations that are fighting unending challenges.  I think clean water and air, safe food to eat, inexpensive medications, secure neighborhoods and cities, properly equipped hospitals, police and fire departments and public libraries are essential.

pennies.jpg

Here’s the biggie, though…..

After that, I would build small community theaters across the country. I’m serious, here.  As you know, I’m keenly interested in sustaining the arts at any cost.  I think every part of the country needs one.

Think of the good a theatre can bring to a community…not only for entertainment’s sake, but a place to explore social issues through the written word. Many our current problems could be discussed through a stage play.  Maybe we would get something ironed out and resolved.

Of course, these theaters would need equipment such as sound, lights, props, set pieces, costumes, box office and publicity.  I’d give each theatre an endowment so they could learn how to budget the money in a wise manner. Occasionally, I’d review the company and award money as I saw fit.

Children dancing

The youth theatre programs would need some help (for scholarships and materials). I’d love to see throngs of kids involved in a youth theatre program after school rather than walking around town bored.

I promise you, if a kids gets involved in a theatre program, they’ll love it and never be bored. They’ll find their place within its walls.  Not everyone wants to be a performer.  Maybe a student would become interested in lighting design? Maybe the kids who participate in an after school theatre program visit children in hospitals?

senior-ladies

Let’s not forget programs for our seniors (transportation to the performances), too.  Many senior citizens are looking for experiences and hobbies to occupy their time.  A community theatre with a strong program for seniors would be such help to them.

Creativity and imagination don’t atrophy or age.  I know of a group of “vintage players” who travel to area care centers and perform for the residents.  I think the performers get just as much of a thrill out of performing as the residents do of the performance.  It’s a win-win.

theater.jpg

Yes, if I won the lottery I’d save the world through theatre.  What a kick in the pants it would be?

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or visit my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

pennies