Students will be able to use projection and diction by performing a brief graded recitation in a large performance space.
Invite the students to sit down. Ask them to raise their hands if they know what diction is. Invite a student to define diction. [Using the vocal apparatus—lips, teeth, tongue specifically—to produce vocal sound that can be heard clearly and distinctly; hitting consonants and opening vowel sounds in words, sometimes referred to as “chewing your words.”] Prompt students as needed to give the correct definition by asking clarifying questions such as, “What parts of the body do I use for diction?” “How do I use those parts of the body? What should I emphasize in my speech to have good diction?”
Invite the students to stand again to recite Mary Had a Little Lamb. This time ask them use diction as well as projection: to emphasize consonants like T’s and D’s, and to open their mouths wide on vowels so words have a good opportunity to be understood. Recite the nursery rhyme together as a class.
Ask the students what they noticed. Did they notice any trouble spots in projection and/or diction? What things should they be thinking about as they recite? [Speaking on the breath, hitting consonants, opening up on vowels.] If desired, repeat the recitation again, encouraging students to try to improve their projection and diction.
Invite the class to sit down again. Ask the students to define diction and accept/restate a couple of definitions. Ask for a couple of examples from volunteers. Ask the students what the goal is when they speak in a performance space. [To be heard and understood.]
Performance/Assessment of Projection and Diction
Share the following instructions with the students:
Show the students a copy of the Projection/Diction Rubric [Example below and master copy included in supplements.]. Point out that S/E/G/F stand for Superior/Excellent/ Good/Fair, and that they will have an opportunity to again recite for the class. Using the rubric, they will be graded on their ability to project and use diction while giving a brief recitation; they may recite individually, in pairs or groups of three. They will stand at one end of the room and recite something of their choosing from preselected familiar choices. [Some suggestions might be The Pledge of Allegiance, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Jingle Bells, etc., or they may use something brief they already have memorized. It may be helpful for some students if one or two of these are already written on the board.]
Invite students to choose small groups if desired. They may volunteer, sign up on the board to recite in order, or the teacher may choose another means of selecting students for recitation.
Invite students to give their recitations. Use the rubric to give brief feedback after each recitation. Invite the performers’ classmates to also give brief feedback.