**This lesson can be used as a stand-alone lesson or could be inserted into any voice/diction unit or acting unit to focus students on their voice and projection.**
As the students are getting settled, go to the front of the room and say in a loud clear voice, “Get out a sheet of paper we’re having a pop quiz. When I tell you to start I want you to write down every word I say.” Begin when they’re ready. Recite a poem and don’t project and don’t use diction or enunciation. Basically, make it sound like gibberish.
Transition/ Discussion: Ask the students “Why was so hard for you to understand me?” “What was I doing or not doing that made it hard to understand?” “What could I have done to help you understand?” start a discussion.
Instruction: Explain that as actors they are trying to tell a story. How is the audience going to understand what is going on if they can’t understand you?
Modeling: Take the same poem as before and perform it again but incorporate projection and diction.
Guided Practice/ Check for Understanding: Give every student a copy of a different poem. Have them practice using diction and projection. Walk around and make sure every student is understandable.
Competition: Now announce to the students that we’ll be having a poem competition focusing on projection and diction. You can even go as far as moving the desks out of the way. What you want to do is have the audience stand on one side of the room and the performer on the other, preferably the longer side of the classroom. Having a prize for the top winners might help the competitive students get involved. Pass out the rubric for the competitions so the students know what the requirements are.
Closure: After everyone performs the poem, ask the students about the importance of diction and projection in theatre. When are other times that the ability to speak clearly and loudly can help you? How do you use diction and projection in a full performance with a character and such?
The competition will be the main assessment. If everyone participates they get the points for the day no matter how well they did.