Anatomy and Script Writing

LESSON 4-Anatomy and Script Writing


Educational Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of basic vocal anatomy and script writing by labeling a cartoon chart with the different parts and working together to create a short script.




Hook: Have the phrase, “The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue” written on the board.  Have the students read it out loud together.  Have them go faster, slower, louder, and then again more clearly.


Step: Ask a student to tell you one of their favorite lines from a movie.  Write it on the board and have them practice rate and pitch and diction with this line as well.  Ask them if they have been paying more attention to the way they speak naturally during the day because of the things you have talked about in class.  Discuss as they share.


Step: Explain that today they will be learning the very basic parts of our vocal anatomy.


Step: Hand out a chart of the vocal anatomy.  Project the same chart of the vocal anatomy on the board.  Go through each part and label it with the students.

  • Vocal chords-the chords that vibrate to make your voice
  • Teeth-our tongues move air near and between our teeth in order to create different sounds
  • Top of mouth (hard palate)-this also helps us create shape and sound with our breath
  • Tongue-helps us create sounds for individual letters
  • Nasal Cavity-air flows through here too when we talk and breath. We can also direct our air when we sing toward our nasal cavity in order to make our sounds more direct or piercing.


Step:  Explain that the muscles we use for breathing play a vital role in giving us energy and projection while performing.  Define projection as the ability to use our breath to project our voices farther.  Actors use this in order to be heard from back in the house/audience.


Step:  Show them the difference between breathing with your chest and breathing with your diaphragm.  Have all the students lay on the ground on their backs with one hand on their chest and one hand on their belly.  The goal is to have their bellies rise up and down with their breathing rather than their chest.  Babies breathe with their diaphragms.  This gives them/us more air support when we act and helps us project as well.


Step:  To practice using their diaphragms and projecting, have all the students stand in a row facing one way.  Explain that you will go down the line and each person will need to take turns saying “Hi!  My name is [state their name or an appropriate character name]”.  They need to make sure they take a deep breath before speaking, make their diction strong, and make it loud enough for you to hear at the other end of the room.


Step: Tell everyone to write down the name of a man/boy.  This man should be someone that everyone knows.  He could be a character from a book or movie, etc. or he could be a real life person like a famous actor or a teacher.


Step: Once they’ve written it down, have the students fold down the name in such a way so that they can pass the paper to the person on their right without letting them see the name.  The next person writes “met” followed by the name of a well-known woman/girl.  They fold the name over again and pass to the right once more.


Step: The next person writes “at” followed by the name of a place or event (somewhere where you could meet someone).  They fold and pass after writing this as well.


Step: The next person writes “she said” followed by any appropriate thing they want.  It could even be a line from a show or movie if it helps them think of something.  After writing, they fold and pass once again.


Step: The next person writes “then he said” followed by another appropriate line of whatever they think of.  They fold and pass again.


Step: The last person writes “and so” followed by the end of story or tale.  It can be any appropriate idea they have. (examples: and so they lived happily ever after; and so they went to eat ice cream; and so the aliens attacked NY and separated them; etc)


Step:  If the class is fairly small, have the students take turns reading all of what is on the paper they ended up with.  They should be pretty random and funny.  If the class is really large, just have a handful of students read their final papers.


Step: Explain that today they will be put into groups of 3-4 and will get a chance to write their own script for a puppet show!  The show they write should only be about 2-3 minutes long (one lined sheet of paper that is front and back and another that is just one-sided) and it does not have to follow the format we just used for the game.  It was just meant to get their creative juices flowing and the format can be used as a model if they have a hard time coming up with something.  They need to think of characters that they can develop different voices for.


Step:  Place them in groups. Give them about 5 minutes to brainstorm story ideas within their groups. After 5 minutes, get their attention and have a couple of them share what ideas they have come up with.  Ask follow –up questions that will help them think about the kinds of voices they will need for their characters.  Encourage them to use animals or other strong character types. This brief follow-up discussion should help refocus their work if they begin to get off track or become lost.


Step: Give them the rest of the period in order to get as far as they can with their stories.