Word Coloring and King Lear


Students will understand what classifies a tragedy and how to understand and incorporate word coloring into their monologues by analyzing their monologues and practicing individually.


Materials Needed:

– individual monologues


Homework Check:

Students all need to turn in their bulleted lists of what their punctuation told them about their characters.


Play Synopsis (30 minutes)

King Lear! Select a student to draw on the board again.
Remind students to take notes on the plays.


Discussion: (15 minutes)

What makes this play a tragedy?
What does this play have to do with your life?


Instruction: (15 minutes)

Word coloring comes in three parts—texture, tone, and speed. Obviously, vocal levels is also a huge part of word coloring as well, but it’s so important we dedicated an entire lesson to it. Don’t forget that.


TEXTURE GRITTY —————————————– SOFT

TONE LOW —————————————— HIGH

SPEED SLOW ——————————————- FAST


On every word, there is a color—the less important words stay in the middle of all the ranges. Important words jump to the extremes of one or more of the ranges. But how do you know which words are important and which words are not as vital?


1. Alliteration: Alliterations show when the character is picking their words specifically. They’re awesome.
2. Verbs: Verbs tell the story. Obviously we needs verbs to follow the ACTION.
3. Adjectives: Adjectives are slightly less important but still bring a lot of the famous Shakespeare imagery.
4. Other plot words (probably important nous): Again, less important, but still needed.
5. NO PRONOUNS: Pronouns are boring. All they do is restate the subject that has already been stated. So why would we say it again and emphasize it? We wouldn’t.


Group Practice: (10 minutes)

Each group will be assigned a word coloring technique. It is your group’s responsibility to physicalize the technique. It is a 15 second presentation to the rest of the class. You can move or be frozen, but you must be silent.
Count students off into 6 groups Students have 5 minutes to come up with the best way to show off their punctuation.
Gather students back in and have them perform their technique.

Discussion: (5 minutes)

Why do you think I had you physicalize your word coloring?
What ideas/emotions did the physicalizations bring to your mind?
How can you transfer this physical version of the word coloring technique to your voice?
Spend the rest of your time in class today figuring out how to make the different word coloring options fit with your monologue.


Individual Practice: (10 minutes)

Students have the rest of class to work on their word coloring. Students need to come up with a way to color code their script, maybe squiggle under gritty words, highlight low words blue and high words yellow, etc. and write a key down at the bottom of the script. Word coloring is one of your biggest keys to success in helping your audience understand the plot of your monologue.


– Do all of your vocal levels still work with how you’re coloring your words? Change any vocal levels or word colorings that need changing!!!



Students color code their scripts according to the most important words in their monologues.


King Lear Synopsis