Building on year 7 drama skills and knowledge through close analysis of a play. Focus is on speaking, critical responding and composing, and performance.
Duration 5 weeks
Cross curriculum content
Difference and diversity
Reading, writing, speaking, listening,
viewing and representing
Close study of a play such as: Honey Spot, Two Weeks with the Queen or Hating Alison Ashley
1.responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.
2. uses a range of processes for responding to and composing texts.
5. makes informed language choices to shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence.
11. uses, reflects on and assesses individual and collaborative skills for learning.
This drama unit is designed to revisit and extend the knowledge and understanding of the students through a close study of a play. A close study of a play invites a critical and detailed study of characterisation, the play’s concerns, dramatic techniques and the staging of the play. Students will be required to compose a critical response to these aspects, developing their exposition and personal response skills. The other main focus is the development of the students’ speaking skills. Through performance of monologues and dramatic performances, students will learn to develop and exploit their oratorical skills. The CD-ROM StageStruck is used as a main resource.
The unit begins with a class reading of the play. Even though this can be slow, it ensures that all students have read the play and allows teachers and students to stop and closely analyse aspects of the play as they read. After the initial reading, the real fun can begin. Individual and group work follows with performance of key scenes, monologues and other challenging tasks relevant to drama. It would be advantageous of students could view a live performance. It is not important if the performance is not the play they are studying, as the experience of live theatre is far more significant for their understanding of drama and performance. Allowing students to explore roles that they are interested in, in the world of theatre is another aspect of this unit. Students can choose to be actors, set designers, makeup artists, costume designers, directors or back stage people.
respond to and compose texts intended to inform, persuade and entertain, including humorous texts
interpret, question and challenge information and ideas in texts through close study
respond to and compose texts beyond the literal level
Deep knowledge /higher-order thinking
graphically represent aspects of texts such as the storyline of a novel or film, the structure of a poem, the set of a play, and links in a webpage
demonstrate understanding of the complexity of meaning in texts
describe and explain qualities of language in their own and others’ texts that contribute to the enjoyment that can be experienced in responding and composing
use a range of listening, reading and viewing strategies, including skimming, scanning, predicting and speculating, reading and viewing in depth and re-reading and re-viewing, according to the purpose and complexity of the texts
use and adapt the processes of planning, drafting, rehearsing, responding to feedback, editing, and publishing to compose texts over time
use processes of planning, including investigating, interviewing, selecting, recording and organising ideas, images and information for specific purposes in composing
respond to their own and others’ compositions by considering ideas, images, information, linguistic and visual forms and features, tone, style, and type and structure of text, with reference to their appropriateness for the text’s purpose, audience and context
discuss and explain the processes of responding and composing, and identify the personal pleasures and difficulties experienced
make oral presentations that demonstrate a personal point of view, including speeches and drama performances
compose personal texts in literary forms such as narrative, poetry, speeches and scripts
ask questions, listen and negotiate to clarify an extended group task with teacher and peers
perform an allocated role responsibly in a group and assess the success of collaborative processes
Students learn about:
the ideas, information, perspectives and points of view presented in imaginative, factual and critical texts
their emerging sense of personal style and taste in composition and response
inference, figurative language and alternative readings as strategies for responding to and composing texts beyond the literal level
the complexity of meaning in texts
techniques for planning and rehearsing including brainstorming, mindmapping, storyboarding, role-play and improvisation
alternative ways of expressing ideas
Higher-order thinking – student direction
roles and responsibilities of individuals in groups
reflection strategies such as learning logs, journals, letters to teachers and peers, guided discussion
Week 1: The opening act
Learning and teaching activities
Spelling – look, cover and write – revisit drama terms. Students select 15-20 challenging words to begin their drama glossary after discussing meaning in groups.
Depending on the main issue in the play being examined, such as coping with loss or bullying, place the class in small groups and give them a short scenario such as: “A group of students is bullying a younger student in the playground.” The students have ten minutes to allocate roles, discuss characterisation, dialogue, action and movement and create their role play. Students present their scenarios dramatically. Follow this with a class discussion about:
dramatic techniques used by different groups (and others that could be used)
elements of drama such as movement on stage, acting and relationships, creating mood, tension etc.
Glossary of dramatic terms revisited. Check if any word is unfamiliar and discuss meanings in groups.
Background knowledge: prior knowledge of drama, conflict and dramatic techniques
Knowledge integration: links to the Creative Arts K-6 Syllabus
Close reading of the play:
Teacher to model a range of note-making strategies such as mindmapping, main idea – supporting ideas, listing key words. Teacher to revisit the play’s central issue and tell part of the story of the play to engage students. Begin reading the play and allocate roles to those students who volunteer. Stop at significant moments, discuss and, using a variety of strategies such as group brainstorm, mindmapping, acting out brief sections, students make notes on:
Characters: traits, motivations, dialogue and actions
Conflict: what causes it and the consequences
The playwright’s perspective of the issue
Main issue: how it is conveyed
Language features: tone, word choice, figurative devices, syntax, modality, etc
Spelling and vocabulary – look, cover and write. Select 15 – 20 verbs and adverbs from the play and use ten in your own sentences about the play and your response to it so far. Share and discuss your sentence writing with a partner.
Close reading of the play:
Continue close reading, discussion and notes in preparation for critical response, a monologue by one of the characters and group performance of a key scene. We should complete the reading by the end of the week and use the last lesson the week to start on the assessment task. Students continue to add to notes about the play (character details, setting, mood, plot).
Assessment tasks: Critical response
Students will be required to compose a critical response: an analysis of one of the characters in the play
The response is due at the end of week 4 and the draft is due at the end of week 3. Remind students to carefully read what is expected. We will be making notes in class to prepare for the response and there will be class time this week spent on the response. Students are asked to hand in their draft before the due date so their final copy is of a high standard. If time permits, students could workshop their expositions in pairs or groups using a teacher-generated set of critical reading and peer editing guidelines and questions (see scaffolds and assessment sheet).
Higher-order thinking: the two tasks are challenging and require students to synthesise their knowledge of the play
Extend your research into the play’s main issue and compose a feature article for the local newspaper, e.g:
for The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty: Bullying is causing major concern in all schools throughout the world. The local newspaper would probably publish a feature article with interviews with students, staff and counsellors
for Two Weeks with the Queen: coping with cancer is a concern for many families, especially when it involves a young person. Read articles about people who have coped with cancer such as Lance Armstrong the Tour de France champion cyclist.
Students find examples of feature articles to use as models for their own responses.
Assessment task 1: Character analysis Outcomes:
A student responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.
A student uses a range of processes for responding to and composing texts.
Language modes: reading and writing
Nature of task: A character analysis Select one of the characters from the play we are studying in class and, in a piece of writing, explain how you would play the part of this character if you were an actor.
In your response, refer to your reading of this character’s:
your personal reading of the character and how he or she should be portrayed
a draft must be submitted before the end of week 3
a well structured, polished response
Date Due: End of week 4
Assessment task 1: Character analysis scaffold This is a suggested scaffold that you can use or modify or ignore and create your own to suit the task. Remember the key elements to be covered are your interpretation, or reading of the characters:
personality and appearance
voice, movements, costume and makeup
relationships with other characters
role in the play – refer to a key scene
reception by an audience.
Paragraph 1: Briefly introduce the character you will be playing and outline your interpretation or reading of this character.
Paragraph 2: Describe in detail your interpretation of what type of person the character is and his or her role in the play. Include some quotations from the play and comment on the quotations.
Paragraph 3: Describe the age, appearance, voice, movements, costume and makeup of the character. Include some quotations from the play. And comment on the quotations.
Paragraph 4: Discuss the character’s actions and refer to a key scene that features this character. Describe how you would play parts of this scene. Include some quotations from the play and comment on them.
Paragraph 5: Describe the character’s relationship with other characters. What tone you would use with certain characters and how you would deliver your lines when you are talking with them. Include some quotations from the play, with accompanying comments.
Paragraph 6: Discuss how you intend an audience to respond to your portrayal of this character.
Paragraph 7: Conclude by expressing your feelings about playing this character.
Week 2: Spelling – verbs and adverbs
Select 15 or 20 words verbs and adverbs from the play and our notes.
Week 3: Stage struck
Learning and teaching activities
Spelling & vocabulary – look, cover and write. Find 15 –20 challenging words from the StageStruck CD-ROM and add any new terms to our drama glossary
Students complete the character analysis and submit a draft at the end of this week. If time, provide writing workshop time for the writing process.
In pairs, students navigate through this detailed and informative CD-ROM. They examine the role of a director, staging a play, acting, costumes, make-up and stage design. As students will be performing a monologue and a scene from the play, they need to make relevant notes from the CD-ROM.
Monologues: As students are required to deliver a monologue to the class as one of the characters in the play, the class will view a variety of actors performing a monologue so students have an idea of what is expected. Students should be making notes as they view the extracts on the features of a monologue. Note film ratings – see DET Memorandum number DN/02/00113 dated 28/01/1988.
Kenneth Branagh as Iago in Shakespeare’s play Othello
Malvolio in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night
Malcom from Malcom in the Middle
The Wayne Manifesto (ABC TV)
Focus and make notes on:
delivery of words: pitch, volume, pace and intonation
Assessment task 2: Monologues
Students elect a character from the play they could become. They decide what the character will be reflecting on and find key quotes and ideas from the play. Remind them to choose an appropriate topic for the monologue and think carefully about what motivated the character to deliver a monologue (see assessment sheet).
Read the monologues provided as models before you begin at .
Student direction: students choose the character they connect with
Assessment task 2: Monologues Outcomes:
1. A student responds to and composes texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis and pleasure.
5. Makes informed language choices to shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence.
Language modes: speaking and viewing and representing
A monologue is a short dramatic speech that reveals the inner thoughts of a character. Choose the character in the play we are studying that you could easily become and deliver a two to three minute monologue as that character. As this is a dramatic performance, think about the monologues we have read and viewed and consider the following when you are writing the script:
appropriate the character’s words from the play
note his or her personality, relationships with other characters and behaviour, and try to capture what these reveal about the character and what he or she could be contemplating in a monologue
use emotive language as you are trying to convey their thoughts and emotions
decide when the monologue could have occurred in the play such as just before the curtain falls the character reflects on what has happened or directly after a dramatic conflict the character considers his or her role in the conflict or the consequences
include pauses and stage directions so that when you come to learn the script you remember how to perform it.
When you are delivering the monologue:
use your voice and let it be heard! Stress certain words, modulate your voice and convey a range of emotions.
use facial expressions and body language to reinforce the emotions.
it is a viewing and representing task as well as a speaking task. So become the character – wear a costume and use props.
submit your draft to the teacher before your performance
learn your lines
you will have two to three minutes for the delivery.
Date due: To be performed at the start of week 4
Week 3: Spelling – StageStruck
Select 15 or 20 challenging words from StageStruck CD-ROM.
Spelling and vocabulary – look, cover and write. Find 15-20 dramatic words from our notes and the play and discuss with a partner.
Assessment task 2: Monologues
To be performed at the start of the week.
Assessment task 3a and 3b:
Group performance of a scene and viva voce Form a group of six or more, select a brief scene from the play and allocate the following roles:
Actors and understudies: decide how you will perform the role and record your impressions of the character and how you intend to play the character in your Dreaming Tracks journal. Learn your lines.
Director: decide how you want the scene to be played, direct the actors how to play their roles and record your directorial vision and justifications in your Dreaming Tracks learning journal.
Costumes and makeup people: decide on the costumes and makeup of the characters and record your decisions including drawings and/or photographs in your Dreaming Tracks journal. Include explanations for the costumes and make-up you have chosen.
Back stage people and set designers: select the props needed, design the set and record your decisions and sketches of the set designs in your Dreaming Tracks journal. Include justifications for your choices.
Producer and promoters: design the program, tickets and an advertisement for the performance. Include copies and justifications for the designs in your Dreaming Tracks journal.
You will have two weeks to rehearse and complete your set tasks. Ensure that you select a brief scene, as the schedule is tight.
(See sheet for viva voce and assessment guidelines.)
Student direction: students select scene and roles
High expectations: tight deadline and challenging task
Knowledge integration: links to other key learning areas such as Creative Arts
Inclusivity: all students valued and a variety of learning styles and interests catered for by the task
Social support: collaborative team work essential for success of performance
Week 4: Spelling – revisiting the glossary
Select 15 or 20 drama words you found challenging.
Assessment task 3b: Viva voce
2. A student uses a range of processes for responding to and composing texts.
11. A student uses, reflects on and assesses individual and collaborative skills for learning.
Language mode: speaking
Nature of task:
Discuss and explain the processes of responding and composing, and identify personal pleasures and difficulties experienced in a viva voce. A viva voce is an interview where you be asked questions on the following:
Calcutt. D, Dracula, Oxford University Press (evil and courage)
Calcutt. D, The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty (bullying)
Davies. J The Honey Spot, Currency Press (racism and friendship)
Marsden. J, So Much to Tell You, Lothian Books (difference/diversity and coping with problems)
Morris. M, Blabbermouth, Currency Press (friendship and difference/diversity)
Two Weeks with the Queen: The Play (Coping with problems)
Tulloch. R, Hating Alison Ashley, Penguin Books (friendship and growing up)
Burton. B, Making Drama a Drama course for Junior Secondary Students
Peerson Education, Australia, 1995
Gaffigan. C (Ed), By Kids, for Kids, 1994 (monologues)
Howie. J, Basics in Communication & Drama, Moreton Bay Publishing, 1987
Tourelle.L & McNamara, A Practical Approach to Drama Performance, Heinemann, 1998
Monologues: Free Monologues “Girl Problems” (Teen Monologue, Male Drama)
Bullying for The Terrible Fate of Humpty Dumpty:
Stop Being Bullied
www.faithlinks.org (statistics and links to other sites)
Suffer in Silence
www.dfes.gov.uk/bullying (video and simple explanations)
www.nobully.org.nz (simple definitions)
NSW Department of Education and Training November 2004 Page of