Communication Through Voice

Lesson 3: Communication Through Voice


PLEASE NOTE: The Drama Skills Unit Objective, Big Ideas, Essential Questions, & Enduring Understanding are included in the folder we shared with you, on our “Curriculum Map Assignment”. Or you can click here: 

(45-55 min)


Lesson Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of expressing emotions by communicating various emotions and character traits with their voices.


National Arts (UT Core) Standards:

  • Cr3.1.4.b. Develop physical and vocal exercise techniques for an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work.
  • Re7.1.4.a. Identify artistic choices made in a drama/theatre work through participation and observation.
  • Re8.1.4.c. Identify and discuss physiological changes connected to emotions in drama/ theatre work.



  • Chalkboard or White Board and Writing Utensil


Before class, write the “I can” statement on the board: “I can use my voice to show different emotions and characters”

Warm-Ups (3-5 min): 

At the beginning of class, have the students sit on their dots and give instruction from the front of the room.  Begin class by saying “We’re going to start class today by warming up our ears, voices, and parts of our face.”

First, warm up the ears. Be as quiet as possible and listen to the things around you.  What do you hear?  People walking outside in the hall, breathing, air conditioner…? What background noises can you identify?

Now we’re going to warm-up our voice. Be sure to enforce classroom management with this one as it can easily get out of hand.  If students start to goof off, pause until they are behaving as they should.  Instruct the students to say an “Aaahh” sound.  Say it loudly, quietly, in a higher note, in a lower note, and variations of these things.

Now let’s warm up our faces!

  1. Stretch – Mouth instruct the students to open their mouths as wide as they can, then as tight as they can.  Go back and forth for various lengths of time.
  2. Stretch – Tongue (in and out, brush inside of cheeks & around teeth)
  3. Lip Rolls – (“brrrr”)
  4. Yawns – “Ahh” (high to low) & (low to high)
  1. Tongue Twister – write “Fast Feet Fleet For Fun” on the board. Have the students say it slowly, enunciating each word clearly, then faster & faster) 



Begin class by reviewing what’s happened in the previous classes.  Ask the students what they remember.

Answer: We’ve learned how to tell stories with our faces and bodies. 

Practice a few things they’ve learned previously.  Instruct the students to use their facial expressions and body language to show different emotions such as happy, sad, angry and tired.  Remind the students that they should not be using their voices.

Hook (3-5 min):

Today, we’re going to learn how to communicate stories through our voices.  When might we only use our voice to tell a story?

Possible answers: puppetry, scary stories, radio shows…

Have the teacher face away from the students and say “Today is Monday” with different emotions (sad, excited, tired, etc).  Have the students guess what the emotion is as a class. 

After a few different emotion examples done by the teacher, say “Now you get to practice changing your voices to show different emotions.”


  • Have the class come up with a list of emotions and write them on the board as they’re shared.

Possible answers: happy, sad, angry, tired, frightened, confused, surprised, embarrassed, sick…

  • Select different emotions and say “I’m going to a friend’s house” in each emotion. Remind the students that they’re focusing on their voices, not body language.

Next, we’re going to play a knock knock game. Explain the following to the students:

  • A student will come up and pick a card out of the bag, [tell students not to show it to anyone.]
  • This student will begin the knock knock joke by saying the phrase,”Knock, Knock” using their natural speaking voice
  • The class responds, “Who’s there?” using their natural speaking voice
  • Then the one with the card says, “Guess Who!” using the type of emotion on the card.
  • The class then guesses the emotion until they get it right.
  • You may need to ask the person with the card to try again, by asking, “Who’s there?”
  • Do 4-5 rounds as a class by calling up a student and guessing as a class to make sure they understand this.
  • Have the students then split into groups of 4 to do this on their own.  This will give an opportunity for every student to participate.
  • Hand each group some cards to play the game.
  • Throughout the activity, check-in with the various groups.

Bring the class together again and ask “What did you learn about using your voice during this activity?”

Possible answer: Our voices can tell a lot of different emotions.

Wrap up activity:

Have the students go back to their groups and decide on a story to tell with their voices. They need to have a specific emotion in their story that they’re trying to tell.  The students will be telling the story with their back to the audience, so they need to rely on their voices to tell the story.

Give the students 10 minutes to work on their stories, then use the last of class to do their performances. Ask the students what emotions they identified after each performance.