A Baker’s Dozen of Teaching Ideas for the Frazzled Drama Teacher
Here are a baker’s dozen of teaching ideas for the frazzled drama teacher which I hope will help you. I know you. I’ve been there, too. I’ve been frazzled, exhausted and had no brain space to plan or organize yet another lesson for my students.
There are one or two weeks in the school year which nearly put a drama teacher over the edge–technical week of a production.
It’s very difficult for people to understand the ammount of details and responsibilities that rest on a theater teacher during this challenging time of a production.
It’s a large number, yes? Every part of a production has details, understandably. But the details have details! And on top of that, the teacher must attempt to teacher her classes and deal with student behavior. In other words, you have two jobs–one the classroom and one directing a production
I mean…come on!
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Frazzled Teacher Days Suggestions
For those days when you are frazzled, here are my suggestions of subjects your students can learn about*:
- Play analysis–read, analyze, present, create an object.
- Broadway musicals–study and compare them
- Stage properties— learn about and create one for your show (that’s an awesome idea!)
- Radio Theater–work in small groups and creat their own radio theater performance (pick up FREE this live sound effects checklist)
- Costume design–read the production you are rehearsing and design for the production
- Set design–study design and create a model for your production
- Famous theater artists–learn about and portray him or her through a short monologue about their life
- Devise a theater piece— focuse on the themes in the play or musical you are producing but take a different slant
- Technical theater–view video clips about various Broadway productions. I have a blog post about this at Never Underestimate the Influence of Teaching with Videos
- Choice Boards–students study what they are interested in giving them more feeling of ownership. You can use mine at: Bundle of Choice Boards
- Playwriting–animate a short story (with dialogue) or scene from a play. Check out this software program at Celaction. (They have educational licenses available.)
- Sound Design–develop a sound scene focused on a particular holiday or important day in history
- Producing–project an imaginary budget for a production from start to curtain closing–advertising, script rental, royalties, show budget, etc. This is best for high school students. Check out this blog post for more ideas–Drama Lessons for High School from an Award Winning Drama Teacher
*Most of these suggestions have limited teacher-to-student contact which is what you are looking for, essentially.
I have a bundle with virtually all of these and several more. You can find it here: Bundle Drama Units for High School Tech. Week
OR a larger bundle at: Bundle Drama Units and Lessons for High School
Pre-Planning Your School Year
A word of advice: the minute you select your dates for your production I suggest you count back ten days and begin to plan those days of your instruction to your classes. That way, you have carved out a reasonable amount of days to keep the students occupied and engaged without you losing your mind.
There is a lot of research about the distracted mind and why it’s a problem. I searched about on the internet to find something which applies to this particular case. Here is what I found in an article on www.inc.com:
“Psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert found that the human mind is actually wired for this state of continuous distraction. In a study conducted with 2,250 adults, they concluded that we spend around 47 percent of every waking hour “mind wandering.” Also called “stimulus-independent thought,” mind wandering is an experience that so ordinary, so natural to us, we don’t even notice it.”
A Baker’s Dozen of Teaching Ideas for the Frazzled Drama Teacher
Here is something else, according to an article in www.theGuardian.com,
“The impact of interruptions on individual productivity can also be catastrophic. In 2002, it was reported that, on average, we experience an interruption every eight minutes or about seven or eight per hour. In an eight-hour day, that is about 60 interruptions. The average interruption takes about five minutes, so that is about five hours out of eight. And if it takes around 15 minutes to resume the interrupted activity at a good level of concentration, this means that we are never concentrating very well.”
When you are working on a production, how many distractions take your attention from the show?
I’ve discovered something important about myself. If I have important details on my mind, anything I can do to eliminate less important things from my brain or checklist allows me to better concentrate. By planning ahead, I can help my mind to focus easier and with less struggle.
Are you this way as well?
It’s Tiger Time
One activity you can do for yourself is use “Tiger Time”.
Tiger Time is a habit used in working: turn off all distractions, close your door, put a sign on the door that you are unavailable until a particular time and take on one thing on your list. Yesterday, I used Tiger Time to create a new product for my store.
If you want more information and a free checklist, check out AmyPorterfield.com. Amy has a huge on line business teaching entrepreneurs how to create a webinar for an on-line course. She explains it the best.
The Pomodoro Technique
Another time management method of working is the Pomodoro Technique. I like the Pomodoro Technique because it’s simple. You work on a task for a fixed amount of time (a pomodoro, e.g.: 25 minutes) without any distractions and take a short break after (such as 5 minutes.) Then, after a certain amount of pomodoros (e.g.: 4), you take a longer break.
I think it’s more fun and kind of like a reward!
Here’s a great time from Todoist.com–-Keep an “Overlearning” project in Todoist with a list of tasks you can quickly choose from the next time you find yourself with pomodoro time to spare.
Generally, I’m more the Pomodora method type of girl. Although I’m guilty of making my breaks shorter, because I’m usually inspired and just don’t want to stop. How about you?
Be Careful Not to Over Plan
Be careful that you don’t over plan your day. I like to take care of the most pressing responsibilities I have and then work from there. For instance, today I needed to compose an email for my email list folks and this blog post. These go out on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. This is Monday.
By the end of the week, I need to have a new radio theater play script written. If I get these two bi-weekly responsibilities out of the way today, the rest of the week is more relaxed. I don’t procrastinate tough jobs. I put them on paper and give myself time to “perculate on them”. I know that while I’m composing the email message and scheduled and writing this blog post subconscious brain is considering the story I’m going to adapt and how I want to adapt it.
My Free Director’s Helper Checklist
If you want some help with organizing your backstage crew chiefs or parent volunteers, pick up my checklists at Director’s Helper Checklists
Remember, I’ve been you and I know what’s like to try to juggle a multitude of details all at once. I hope all of these suggestions and time management techniques come in handy for you.
What questions or comments do you have? Please feel free to contact me at DhcBaldwin@gmail.com