Identifying Focus in Performance


Students will be able to identify the different types of focus (watching, listening, feeling, and teamwork) by analyzing a short film clip.


Materials Needed

A Bug’s Life DVD,
Projector & screen or TV,
DVD player,
Copies of Focus Test to hand out to students   Focus Test



Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook
As the students are coming in, be sitting on a table in front of the class focusing really hard on “drawing a picture”(you will actually just be writing the words “watching” “listening” “feeling” and “teamwork”). If the students ask what you are drawing a picture of or ask to see it, simply ignore them and keep your focus on what you are doing. Be sure to not allow them to actually see your “picture”.
After about 3-4 minutes of this, look at your picture as if it were complete and place it face down onto the table.




Step 1: Discussion

Ask the students what they thought I was focused on?
Can ones focus be in more than one place at a time?
How could they tell I was focused? What was I doing physically or vocally to show it? Or what wasn’t I doing to show that I was focused?

Flip over your “picture” and show the class. Explain that these are the four types of or ways one can employ focus. Ask them which of the four they saw the teacher doing in the performance and how they were demonstrated physically.

Point out to the students that we have yet to practice “feeling” as a type of focus. How does one focus by feeling or touch?


Step 2: Feeling/Touch Focus exercise

Have the students partner up and find a space in the room and sit down together. Let them assign a partner A and B. Partner A will go first by taking their dominant hand and holding out the pointer finger of that hand. They will then imagine that there is a large object next to them such as a piano, a car, an elephant, etc. that they slowly will feel with their finger. As they are feeling this thing, they are to talk to the other partner about what things they feel. Encourage them to find extreme minute detail in the thing they are feeling. What material is it made of? What temperature is it? Is their grease on it? Dirt? Etc. Tell them that they are not to look at the thing they are feeling but rather into their partner’s eyes. Let them do this for about 8 minutes. Then switch and let the other partner feel a new item of their choice.
As they work on this, walk around and coach the students to discover the peculiarities of their item. What sort of things are they noticing that you might not be able to notice by just looking at it?


Step 3: Discussion

Bring the class together and ask for a response of the activity that they just did.
What new things did you discover?
How does this type of focus relate to the others?
Where might you see this type of focus in performance?


Transition: Where have you seen any of the types of focus in performance whether on stage, in film, or just in everyday life?


Step 4: Practice identifying the types of focus as a class

Show the short “Geri’s Game” (on A Bug’s Life DVD) to the class. As you are watching the short, point out how Geri has to have a complete focus when playing chess with himself. Instruct the class to be looking for examples of the four types of focus (watching, listening, feeling, teamwork) in the clip.

Watch the clip again and have the students yell out pause when they see an example of each of the four types of focus. Encourage the students to find at least one example of each of the four. Let the students explain why they felt it was an example of focus.


Step 5: Individual Assessment

Hand out the Assessment paper (see end of lesson). Read through the directions out loud with the class and ask for questions. This is an individual test and therefore everyone must work on their own and be silent throughout the duration.
Show the clip of the circus bugs and their big failure when they light the whole place on fire (about 28 minutes into the movie).
Collect the tests after the students have completed the assessment.




Instruct the students that next class they will be identifying these types of focus in their everyday lives and so when they go home they need to find an example at home of one of the types of focus.




Focus test