6th Grade ELA : Unit #7 - Unit 5 Drama : Lesson #1

Don't Be So Dramatic!

Objective: SWBAT define the elements of a drama.
Standards: RL.6.1 RL.6.2
Subject(s): English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Advanced Organizer - 7 minutes

To help switch the students mindset from reading prose to drama, I want them to recall as much as they can about both genres.  

I will have them pick up a Venn Diagram and complete it-listing the characteristics of a Drama on one side and then the characteristics of a Novel on the other.  I want them to start thinking in terms of the structure, purpose, and style.  I also want the students to realize both have a plot and very similar elements.  

I will have the students work quietly for 3 minutes, listing as much as they can.  Then, I will have the students share their Venn Diagram with a Venn Diagram Stand Up Hands Up Pair Up to share their answers and compile more to their own list.  

Then, as a class we will discuss the elements of both.  I will inform the students that today we will be looking at the elements of a drama and learn how to read and comprehend a play.   

2 Instruction - 25 minutes

First, to give the students a little background information on dramas, I will go through a Drama Power Point that highlights the elements of a drama.  I will have the students follow along using the guided notes page to take notes on the important information.  There is a LOT of details in the power point, so I provide guided notes so the students can focus on the important pieces of information.  

As I go through the power point I will use the video clips within the power point to present the different types of dramas. The first video clip is long, I only show the first 4 minutes to demonstrate the structure/set up of a drama.   *Important note:  Preview the Tragedy clip to make sure your students are able to view it.  I had parents sign off on a waiver to make sure they were okay with a scene in the clip. 

Have the students stop to check for understanding with their notes.  I will have the students do a quick partner check to share what they learned or to explain a concept.  This will give them the chance to process the notes they are taking.  


3 Guided Practice - 20 minutes

Once they have the basics knowledge of the elements of a drama, I want to model how to read a play-with the stage directions.  I have found student often think they don't need to read the directions and skip them all together.  This can hurt their comprehension and understanding of the play, character development, and plot.  

To model the reading, I will use an adaptation of The Phantom Tollbooth and display it onto the board.  I will begin by pointing out the structure of the play: the capital letters demonstrate dialogue, parenthesis demonstrate stage directions, etc...

I will have the students underline stage directions as I read the story.  I want them to eventually see how the stage direction is the key to understanding character development, plot, and conflict.  Student Sample

I can call the students up to demonstrate underlining the stage direction .

Once I am done reading, I will ask the students explain how the stage direction helps me as an actor.  Then I will ask how it would help me as an audience participant.  Again, I will guide them on how the stage direction lets us know about the characters, plot, and conflict.  

Finally, I want them to see how a drama is brought to life.  I have the students use details from the script to describe the staging elements (scene, characters, sound effects, props)


Working with Text

I will be honest, I dreaded going in to this unit.  Teaching drama is not my favorite unit to teach and usually the students are not very thrilled.  I was pleasantly surprised that they were more engaged than I had expected.  When it came to this section-modeling the use of stage direction, the students did very well.  They were able to explain the importance of including the stage direction and how it impacts the development of the story.

I was really happy to hear the students explain how it helped develop the character, the conflict, as well as the plot of the story. 

I did end up having the students come up to the board and demonstrate the underlining.  A movement break was much needed by this point in the lesson and it seemed to re-engage the students at the right moment. 

I still feel they need additional practice with reading and understanding how the stage direction fits into the structure of a drama, but am happy with the progress we made today. 

4 Independent Practice - 20 minutes

Now that I have modeled how to read and analyze a drama, I want the students to give it a shot.  I am going to use a piece from the drama You're A Good Man Charlie Brown 

I will put the students into groups of six and have them pick a character from the play.  They can read through the play as a group, following the stage direction when possible.  As they are reading, I will monitor their reading and check for understanding.  

I want the students to underline important stage directions that help us understand the characters, plot, or conflict.  student's work

We will discuss the key stage directions and I'll have the students describe the staging elements of this drama as well.  (Scenery, props, sound effects, etc) 

5 Closure - 5 minutes

To wrap up the day and help the students process their own learning, I will ask the students to complete a Closure Slip.  They will have to demonstrate their understanding of what a drama is and how stage directions are important to the comprehension of the text.  

I will give them about five minutes to work to complete.  I can use this as an assessment and to plan future lessons.