Students will demonstrate an ability to stand comfortably in front of an audience by participating in group warm-up activities, introducing themselves and answering interview-like questions.
Students’ Drama Journals (or paper for a written response)
In a circle, one person does a small gesture and quiet sound effect. The person to their right does the same movement and sound, but a little bit bigger, then the next person does it a little bit bigger than that and so on. Once the movement and sound has gone all the way around the circle, the person who did it first does it as big and loud as they possibly can! Then the game starts over with the person on their right starting a new movement and sound. The point of the game is to go as fast as possible without thinking. Try to emphasize during the game that this is a safe classroom and there is no such thing as a mistake in this room. “We are all doing the same movements and will all look silly at one point, so to just do it as big as you can.”
Step 1 (Discussion/Transition): Discuss how they felt doing strange movements in front of the class. Explain that feeling silly or nervous on stage is normal and that there is no cure; it just gets easier to handle with practice. Explain that everyone, even professionals get stage fright. Ask for examples of how people deal with their own stage fright.
Step 2 (Guided/Group Practice): Tell students that they will have to get used to being in front of other students without fidgeting or hiding themselves. Allow half of the students to stand up against the wall. Tell them their job is just to stand their without moving, hiding, touching their face, cocking their hips, twiddling their fingers etc. Instruct that the other half of the class has a job too. They are to just observe their classmates without talking, laughing, pointing, making faces or doing anything else besides observing the other people. Encourage silence to give the room that nice awkward tension. Switch the groups and do the same activity.
Step 3 (Discussion): Have a short discussion about how they felt, and what they thought about while they were being observed. Make sure to emphasize that it is okay to feel awkward or nervous in this class and that we will learn how to deal with being in front of our peers this term. (Address any issues or ideas that students bring up the best you can.)
Step 4 (Guided/Group Practice): Do the same silent observing activity. Discuss again. Ask them if they felt better or worse that time.
Step 5 (Transition): Talk about *“unlocking your imaginations.” Tell them in this class it is okay to pretend, even though it might seem dorky or silly. Most of the games and activities we will do rely on creativity because we don’t want to see the same stuff over and over. It gets boring. They can be as inventive and creative as they want.
Step 6 (Instruction/Independent Practice): Have students, one at a time, go to the front of the room and introduce themselves. Remind them to speak clearly and loudly so that the audience can hear them. Tell them to give their name, and say something unique about themselves. As they finish, ask them a few more questions, either about their unique trait or some other thing to get them thinking and talking as much as possible. A few examples are:
Would you rather go to bottom of the ocean or top of the moon and why?
If you were an ice cream flavor, what would be and why?
If you were a car, what kind would you be and why?
Cake or pie?
Chocolate or vanilla? Etc.
Step 7 (Closure): Instruct students to reflect on the day in their drama journals. They can write how it felt to be in front of the class, whether or not they were scared, and what caused them to feel that way. They can also write how they felt as an audience member as they observed other people speak clearly or not clearly etc. After they write, they can share a few of their thoughts if they would like. Remind them that stage fright is normal, and that we will practice becoming more comfortable throughout the term.
Students will introduce themselves to the class, and answer a few random questions as outlined above. Teachers should remind students before not to fidget, take a few deep breaths if they get nervous etc. Teachers will know the educational objective has been met if each student participates, even if the students are not completely comfortable yet. We will keep working on it in other lessons.
*NOTE: See Unlocking Your Imagination lesson plan for more ideas to loosen up students’ fears.