Anticipatory Set/Hook Have students clear the desks away. Have students get a partner. They are to face this partner and silently without talking, copy all the motions of their partner. No one person is to be the leader, students need to work together to create the movement.
Step 1 (Group Practice): Break the class into two groups, creating two circles. Let the students know that this is a silent activity that requires group cooperation. Have the circles face the front of the classroom. Tell the students that they are to copy the movements very carefully of the person who is at the head of the circle (most far front). The person in the lead is to go slowly so that the rest of their group mates can follow them. As that person shifts to the right or left, someone new will be at the head of the circle. That person now takes control over the movement and the rest of the group copies them, always following the person at the head of the circle.
Step 2 (Discussion): Have students put the desks back and return to their assigned seats. What kinds of movements did you create with your partner at the beginning? At what times did you feel only one person was in control? Were there times you able to move completely together? What happened? Tell the students that the second group activity they did is called “Flocking”. Why do you think it is called flocking? How long do you think it took you for your group to get in sync? How did it feel to work as a whole group? Did you prefer to lead or to be led? How does this relate to our relationships with people in theatre? (Lead the discussion so that students talk about working with other people, other actors and the director).
Step 3 (Transition): Let students know that the new unit they will be working on is Directing. Ask students: What is the director’s role? Can a director be a leader and a follower? How?
Step 4 (Group Discussion): Have students form groups of three with students close to their desks. Have each student share a best and worst experience with a director, teacher or leader with their group mates. Give each student three minutes to share their stories. Then have the group chose one best and one worst story to share with the rest of the class. Discuss what made the experiences of the students positive or negative. After students are done sharing their stories, with students’ help, write a list of the qualities of a good director/leader on the board.
Ex Traits: Gives Choices Patient Gives Guidelines or Structures: You know what they expect Communities what they think, feel and want effectively Informed Enthusiastic Inspiring. Ask students to try to develop these traits as they work with their classmates and as they begin the directing process, to be kind to one another, to listen and to work as a group.
Step 5 (Instruction): In this directing unit you will be split into groups of three. We will be doing activities and having discussions to learn Directing skills, and then we will apply these skills to a specific project. We are going to choose poems, interpret the poems to create stories and characters and then stage our interpretation for the class. Later on you will get a chance to direct your fellow students in a scene.
Step 6 (Modeling): Put up an example (short) poem on an overhead. Have a student read it out loud for the class with feeling. Then have the students help you analyze the poem. What is this poem about? What message is the poem trying to get across? What is the mood or emotion of the poem? Is there a real life story you can relate to this poem or an experience? When have you felt this way? Have students help you create an interesting story or plot line that incorporates these things.
Step 7 (Instruction): Tell students that this is what they will be doing with the poems they choose. They will analyze it and then decide on a basic story outline that uses the mood and the message of the poem. There is no right way to interpret the poem. Students can use whatever creative license they want. Their goal is to work together with a group and take turns being the leader. Use the skills you learned in flocking to “collaborate” and create a work of art.
Assign students into groups of three. Give each group copies of the poems. Allow students time to choose a poem, read it out loud as a group. Have students fill out the first impressions of the poem worksheet. If there is not enough time, have them at least put down their group names and the title of their poem.