Hamilton the Musical: A Lesson Plan with a Unique Perspective
I know, I know….the world knows about Hamilton, the Broadway musical.
I’m thrilled they do.
Recently, my husband and I finally had the great opportunity catching the touring company performance of it in Kansas City. It’s truly breathtaking.
And just in–the original Broadway cast will star in the movie version! To be released this summer! Hamilton Movie will Feature Original Broadway Cast
A combination of rap, musical, history and fabulous storytelling Hamilton is more than exceptional. It transcends modern-day musicals with its unique crafting.
Many American History and Language Arts teachers are teaching the musical in their classroom. Consequently, our students are learning about American history which they might never have learned otherwise
Hooray, I say!
What about the theater teachers? Or music teachers?
They are probably teaching the story and listening to the music.
That’s great, but frankly, I think there’s a lot more to teach about the musical.
I teach theater with a twist. This is a pretty good explanation of what I mean.
Some of our students do NOT want to perform, but they might be interested in some other part of the theater if we can pique their curiosity.
Here is one way to do so.
Hamilton the Musical: A Lesson Plan with a Unique Perspective
You may be aware I am creating a series called Page to Stage–musical theater lessons about Tony award-winning Broadway musicals and one concerning the Tony Awards. To date, there are thirteen. Purchase them separately or in a bundle. You can check them out– Bundle Drama Lessons: Broadway Musicals
My lessons offer many things. One of the most important is a description of the responsibilities a playwright, composer, lyricist or producer have bringing a production to life. Plus, I include video clips like this, Lin Manuel Breaks Down His Biggest Songs : https://youtu.be/Urp9MjHLP0s
In the Heights is my latest creation. it includes these descriptions and I’m mighty proud of it, too! Check it out here: In the Heights
Teachers are purchasing these lessons because they work with our students.
Here are the strengths:
- Letter to the teacher explaining the lesson and how to use it which alleviates any worries they might have.
- Warm-up game is included–after 38 years of teaching, I know which ones are appropriate and successful and I give you my version of the games
- Procedure–need I say more?
- Teacher’s Script–sometimes it helps to have a script, especially if you are leaving this for a substitute or an inexperienced teacher
- Photos of the production--we are all visual thinkers, so this is a big plus
- Tony Awards it Received (or Nominations)
- What are the Tony Awards–brief information about the Tony Awards and which awards the particular musical was nominated for or won
- New York City Map with Competing Theaters Labeled–this helps students visualize the theater section of NYC
- Trivia About the Shows and Broadway–these are so fun for me to compile!
- Lyrics Quotes from the Musical–Good for Discussions and Assignments
- Student Notes and a teacher’s key which makes grading a breeze
- Extension Activities--these are probably my most fun to create for teachers. Each lesson is completely different depending upon the nature of the musical.
- Exit Slip Suggestions–if a teacher wants to double-check if the students are comprehending the learning, this is a good way to do so
- Film clip links (hot)–these links are hand-picked by me and include the length and sometimes a recommendation of the grade level who would most appreciate them–all the teacher does is click the link and go!
- Sources— a teacher can check out the information if they are curious
Data, Data, Data
When I was writing this blog, I ran on to the importance of theater education. Anyone needing to defend the reasons to teach it?
Here are some from the American Alliance of Theater and Education website:
Did you know…
- Students involved in drama performance coursework or experience outscored non-arts students on the 2005 SAT by an average of 65 points in the verbal component and 34 points in the math component(1)?
- Drama activities improve reading comprehension, and both verbal and non-verbal communication skills?
- Drama helps to improve school attendance and reduce high school dropout rates(2)?
- A 2005 Harris Poll revealed that 93% of the public believes that arts, including theatre, are vital to a well-rounded education (3)?
- Drama can improve skills and academic performance in children and youth with learning disabilities?
Here are more reasons—
- Students involved in drama performance scored an average of 65.5 points higher on the verbal component and 35.5 points higher in the math component of the SAT
- Students who took courses in drama study or appreciation scored, on average, 55 points higher on verbal and 26 points higher on math than their non-arts classmates.
- In 2005, students involved in drama performance outscored the national average SAT score by 35 points on the verbal portion and 24 points on the math section.
- Students considered to be at high risk for dropping out of high school cite drama and other arts classes as their motivations for staying in school.
- Students who participate in the arts are 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance than those who do not
- A series of studies on the arts and education revealed a consistent causal link between performing texts in the classroom and the improvement of a variety of verbal skills, including especially significant increases in story recall and understanding of written material.
- Performance of Shakespeare texts helps to improve students’ understanding of other complex texts including science and math material.
- Drama can improve reading skills and comprehension better than other activities, including discussion.
- High school students who are highly involved in drama demonstrate an elevated self-concept over those who are not involved .
- Playwriting original works and dramatic presentation of existing works can help to build the self-esteem and communication skills of high school students.
- The act of performing can help students and youth recognize their potential for success and improve their confidence.
- A study published in Champions of Change (1999) cites theatre arts, including performance, classes, and participation in a drama club, as a source for “gains in reading proficiency, gains in self-concept and motivation, and higher levels of empathy and tolerance towards others” among youth of low socio-economic status .
- Drama activities can improve and help to maintain social and language skills of students with learning disabilities and remedial readers .
- Improvisational drama contributes to improved reading achievement and attitude in disadvantaged students .
- 93 percent of Americans believe that the arts are essential to a complete education
- 79 percent feel that the arts should be a priority in education reform
- 79 percent consider the issues facing arts education to be significant enough to merit their personally taking action.
Wow! Amazing data and stats, huh?
Check out Hamilton, the Broadway Musical at: Hamilton the Broadway Musical
and my newest version for the Google Classroom Hamilton Lesson Distance Learning
Or if you and your family want to learn about Hamilton together, check out: https://www.playbill.com/article/lin-manuel-miranda-announces-virtual-school-program-eduham-at-home
And now, the movie version of Hamilton is here! Hamilton Movie Disney Plus
What have you learned from a musical? I’ve learned so much it is difficult to know where to begin sharing.
I’d love to hear from you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DeborahBaldwin.net