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Creative Drama and Improvisation


Language Arts  



Title – Creative Drama and Improvisation
By – Melissa Schack
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 4
Activity Time: One Week @ 40 minutes each lesson

Introduction to Theater
Grade 4
20 Students
Creative Drama and Improvisation
Instruction Time: One week:
40 minutes each lesson

-This is a weeklong lesson on what creative drama is and how actors go about their acting. The students will learn what steps actors take to become a character. The class will define and practice the terminology in performing and producing creative drama. They will have several exercises to understand what processes actor have to go through.

After discussing what the practices in performing and producing creative drama are, the students will…
1. Define what movement, voice, staging, playmaking, ensemble, improvisation, characterization, directing, technical elements, discipline, and self-concept mean, with 80% accuracy.
2. Perform in various improvisation and creative drama exercises, with 80% accuracy.
3. Discuss what an actor does to prepare in becoming a character.
4. Discuss the processes of theater and how they are applied to the actors.

At he beginning of the week, the teacher will discuss what the processes of theater are and how these processes are applied to the actors. The teacher will introduce the practices and of producing and performing in creative drama. Finally, the teacher will have the class participate in various exercises that an actor would do to help him/her become a character.
Day One: Processes of Theater
1. The teacher will explain the processes of theater and how they are incorporated into to the production of a play.
2. What is an actor?
~ An actor is one who acts in plays and movies.
3. What is an audience?
~ An audience is a group of people who attend a play, production, or watch performances in a movie theater or on television.
4. What are costumes?
~ Costumes are the clothes and makeup that the actor wears when acting in a performance.
5. What is a gesture?
~A gesture is a movement of a part of the body to express ideas, emotions, or a state of mind.
6. What is scenery?
~ Scenery is painted screens, backdrops, etc. used on stage to represent places.
7. Other vocabulary to be introduced will be:
drama, fantasy, lighting, imagination, pantomime,
performance, story, and setting.
Day Two: Creative Drama
1. The teacher will discuss the following vocabulary to introduce what creative drama means.
1. Movement
2. Voice
3. Staging
4. Playmaking
5. Ensemble
6. Improvisation
7. Characterization
8. Directing
9. Technical elements
10. Discipline
11. Self-concept

2. The teacher will give various examples as to how these apply to actors in the theater. The teacher will have the students come up with various ways the actor may apply these concepts when becoming a character.

Day five: Creative Exercises
The teacher will have the class participate in various exercises, to have the students understand what an actor goes through in becoming an actor.
1. The first exercise that the class will do is called Ali Baba. In Ali Baba, the students (in a group of 16) will stand in a circle. The leader begins, saying “Ali Baba and the forty thieves” while doing a repeatable motion. As soon as the phrase “Ali Baba and the forty thieves” is finished, the second person picks up the leader’s first motion, saying the “Ali Baba” phrase. The leader is now saying “Ali Baba…” for the second time, with a new hand motion, so the second person must still keep an eye on the leader- he/she will have to duplicate every motion as the leader finishes. The motions travel around the circle in this fashion, with the leader coming up with a new motion every time he/she says “Ali Baba…” until the first motion reaches the leader. When the leader sees the person to his/her left finishing up the first motion he/she made, the leader stops the action. Then the non-action follows the circle until the last person has repeated the last motion.

2. The second exercise is called the teamwork game. This is when the group of 16 is broken into 2 groups of eight. The two groups are given an object to become the object and to use teamwork to become this object.

3. The third exercise called the Party Game. In this game, the groups are broken into 4 groups of four. There is a host and three guests to each group. The first guest knocks on the door and the host greets them. The second and third then enter. These guests are to act as the character they have chosen. When the host knows whom a guest is, the host tells that guest to freeze and says what that guest is.

4. The fourth game that is to be done is called Improvisation starters. The students will be broken into groups of two or three. Each student is given a motivation, what the person wants in the scene. The students should decide the “why” behind their desire before they start the scene. This will help them to keep focused during the improvisation. The following scenes will be used:
1. A girl brings a bunny into her house who “followed her home.” She tries to convince her mother to let her keep the bunny.
2. Two siblings play a board game. One accuses the other of cheating. An argument ensues.
3. A teacher tries to teach the multiplication table to a few students who only want to talk about TV shows.
4. One friend tries to convince another friend that she has seen a UFO. The friend is disbelieving.
5. A mother and her child are shopping for school clothes. The mother does not think her child’s attire choices are appropriate for his/her personality.
6. A young child is at the doctor’s office with his/her mother to get a shot. The child is very frightened and the doctor has to use tactics in order to give the shot. The mother is very nervous.

-The students have just learned what the process of theater are. They also learned what the practices in performing and producing creative drama required. The class took these concepts and performed improvisational exercises to understand what actors do to become the characters.

-A bunny
-A dog leash
-Board game
-A Frisbee
-Dr. Lab coat
-Chalk board
-Cards with character ideas

-The students’ understanding of what the processes of theater is.
-Each student will individually assessed, by class participation during each class activity.
-At the end of each lesson, the students will have the opportunity to express their understanding by participating in a class discussion.
-There will be a formal exam on the vocabulary that was taught in this lesson. There will also be a few application questions as to how these processes apply to the actor.

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