There are nine reasons to teach radio theatre.
In high school, I had a fan girl crush John Boy of “The Waltons”. Maybe you don’t know of the television show, but I bet you can find it running somewhere on television. This birthed my love of radio theatre.
Part of the mystique of the show was the time period (during the Depression) in which the show was set. How I could romanticize the time period, I’ll never know but I kinda think it’s because of John Boy. Also, I thought it was very heart warming when the family sat around the radio and listened to the evening radio show.
Anyway, back to the reasons I’m blogging about this topic.
I have taught radio theatre for over twenty years and I’m amazed by how many people still don’t know much about the media.
I’m going out on a limb here, but really friends, you need to teach your students about radio theatre.
- It’s creative
- It’s a perfect example of differentiated instruction.
- Listening skills are strengthened–listening for one’s cues, creating sound effects by focusing one’s attention to them
- Speaking skills are polished–enunciation, rate of delivery, and diction come in to play when a student reads aloud
- Reading skills are cultivated–when a reader reads something repeatedly, they can’t help but become a better reader
- Language skills are honed–students become better communicators
- Cooperative learning is such a necessary part of this study
- Many of the radio theatre play scripts I teach with are from previous eras–what a super way for students to learn about the past
- It’s just plain fun!
Although I use radio theatre in my drama classroom, but I am acquainted with several teachers who have used it in the language arts and social studies/ history classes as well.
There are scripts of classic books (Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells) and historical moments, some fictionalized. Today I found one about Abraham Lincoln. How great!
How about these:
- The Hindenburg Disaster
- D-Day Invasion
- War of the Worlds
- Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor
- Nazis Enter
- Albert Einstein Speaks on the Importance of the Radio
- Winston Churchill’s Speech, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”
- John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis
- And countless more!
My Teacherspayteachers product is the radio theatre unit only. I created it so teachers can use it to complement their teaching of a particular script.
This TEN DAY unit, nearly 30 pages in length, is suitable for middle and high school drama classes or elementary gifted classes and includes:
• a lesson on the history of radio theatre,
• information about Foley engineers
• three links to video clips of Foleys
• student created sound effect project
• five links to radio play performances (some vintage and some recent)
• a lesson in writing and producing radio commercials
• links to four commercials and two acting exercises focused on sound effects
• procedure plan to follow throughout the unit
• teacher’s questions
• a sound effects quiz
• a student group example of a radio commercial
• trivia about radio theater stars
Comprehensive? You bet! This is a guaranteed successful teaching and learning experience created by a veteran drama teacher of thirty-eight years.
Here’s what other teachers have said about Dramamommaspeaks products:
“This is a great very well written resource and very good for text comprehension! Thank you!”
“This is such a wonderful and creatively made resource!”
“Love this activity! What a great way for students to work together!”
If you are looking for a whole unit (complete with unit and script) I have two of which you might be interested.
The Invisible Man
Looking for something to spur conversation about our personal perceptions of ourselves and how the world sees us? Based on the story by H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man is a terrific play to use with your students. Wells. It has a cast of 17 + with roles for both experienced and novice actors including several Foley engineers, a pitchman and music tech. The play runs about 15 minutes with commercials.
The Canterville Ghost
If you are looking for something spooky, but fun then The Canterville Ghost is a great choice. The Canterville Ghost radio play is based on the novella by Oscar Wilde has a cast of 15 +. There are roles for experienced performers and novices, several Foley engineers, a pitchman and music tech. The play runs about 30 minutes including commercials.
Check out other products of mine at: Dramamommaspeaks Teacherpayteachers Store
What experiences have you had with radio theatre? I’d love to hear about them. Contact me at email@example.com or DeborahBaldwin.net
For more information about other drama education products, check out these posts: