Anticipatory Set/Hook Read a story or a couple of children’s stories to the class.
Step 1: Pre-assessment: Have students take out a piece of paper and divide the paper into three columns. In the first column have students write “what they know about socially responsible theatre or how theatre can evoke change in our society?” And, in the second column, the students can write what they “want to know” about the same subject. Invite students to share answers with the class. Collect these and hand them back on the last day of the unit.
Step 2: Brainstorming: Post three pieces of poster board in the room. On the top of one piece write: “PBS”; “Nickelodeon”; “Disney” Invite the students to create a graffiti wall by brainstorming ideas related to each of these children’s network.
Step 3: Discussion: Based on the graffiti wall, create a working definition for a few different categories of children’s media. Some examples might include educational, inappropriate, etc.
Step 4: Assessment: Watch some different clips from different examples of children’s media, and place them into the categories that were previously created.
Clips could be taken from the following movies:
Wallace and Gromitt Incredibles Barbie Mr. Rogers Ratatouille
Step 5: Group activity: Each group will brainstorm things that they don’t like about children’s media that they’ve been exposed to. Have the group rephrase those problems with children’s theatre into “rules of good children’s theatre.”
Step 6: Discussion: After the groups create their own lists of “rules of good children’s theatre.” Have the students create a class master list. Attached to the lesson plans are two documents that have additional ideas for adding to the master list. Every student and teacher, should write down the master list; the appropriate following of these rules will help determine the grade on the project. If you run out of time for this activity, you can extend the discussion of the rules into the other class periods.
Step 7: Group Activity: Give the unit assignment. Divide the class into groups of four, and give the children’s story assignment sheet. The students will begin the process of creating their character’s plays.
By the end of the period, they will need to turn in step 1 of their projects. The students will each need to turn in a list that demonstrates some serious thinking about what stories and what issues might be good to discuss in a children’s play. A satisfactory idea will have at least five or six ideas under both stories and issues. The list is worth 10 points. Students will also be asked to actively participate in the class discussion. Proper participation looks like note taking during lecture, commenting during discussion, and participating in any learning activities done during class. Students are given 5 points for proper participation.