Students will demonstrate their ability to control their voice through the use of rate and pitch by performing in a nonsense puppet show.
Laptop/Computer DVD or download of selected clips Projector PowerPoint presentation (you create) Puppets Copies of nonsense scene: Nonsense Scene
Play a movie clip for the students to see. I recommend something from a movie with puppets, for example from “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” the scene with Luke and Yoda. However, something from a more serious movie would also make this lesson fun.
Step 1: Using the DVD program controllers on the laptop, play with the different media controls of rate (fast, slow). Tell the students that one way they can control and manipulate their voices is through the rate at which they speak. Have the students practice saying a simple sentence, such as “I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” in a normal speech, then fast and slow speeds.
Step 2: Using the DVD program controllers on the laptop, play with the different media controls of pitch (high, low). Tell the students that one way they can control and manipulate their voices is through pitch. Have the students practice saying a simple sentence, such as “I like ham and cheese sandwiches,” in a normal pitch, then high and low pitches.
Step 3: Using the DVD controllers, show the students that they can mix and match the two together. Ask students what they want you to do to change the voice of the clip. Change it three or four times during the clip.
Step 4: Since you already have the projector, using PowerPoint display a famous quote such as the Gettysburg Address or Preamble to the Constitution. Have the students read it a section of it together in their normal voices.
Step 5: Ask for two student volunteers. Tell one that they are responsible to indicate which pitch the students will speak. They will simply say “higher” or “lower” depending on what pitch they want the class to do. Tell the other that they will do the same with rate, saying “faster” or “slower.” Have the class continue through the quote, with the two volunteers alternating turns and controlling the pitch and rate at which the class speaks.
Step 6: At their tables, the students will present a nonsense scene puppet show. Describe what a “nonsense scene” is. Pass out copies of the script and tell them that a nonsense scene is something you wrote at 4am, so it makes no sense. Assign each table to perform the script in a different combination of pitch and rate: Fast, Slow, High, Low, High Fast, High Slow, Low Fast, Low Slow. Give the students 5-10 minutes to rehearse.
Step 7: Write the order of the tables presenting on the board and have the students perform their nonsense scenes.
Have the students return their puppets. Review the terms from the unit (projection, diction, rate, pitch).
During their nonsense puppet shows, assess how the students incorporate pitch and rate into their performance.