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Silent Film Acting Movement Unit

Lesson 1: Introduction to Nonverbal Communication and Movement


Silent Film Movement

Lesson 1

Introduction to Nonverbal Communication and Movement

Educational Objective

Students will demonstrate their understanding of nonverbal communi-cation by participating in discussion and various movement activities.

Materials Needed

blank slips of paper, soft music, a hat or bowl to hold charade papers


Dim the lights and have soft music playing as students enter the room. Instruct them to lie or sit wherever they would like to in order to get comfortable and relax.
Have students close their eyes, be completely still, and focus on their breathing for a few minutes. Long, slow breaths.


Have the students return to their chairs, grabbing their journals on the way. Write the journal entry on the board.

Journal Entry:

55% of communication is nonverbal.
38% of communication is through vocal elements.
7% of communication is through the words themselves.
Before asking them to write anything, talk about what this means. What does nonverbal mean? What about vocal elements? (we just had a vocal unit) Are those numbers kind of crazy? 93% of communication is based on everything BUT your words!
Question: How do you communicate using your body?


Ask students if they remember what soft focus means. Invite students to move about the space in soft focus, focusing on their nonverbal communication. First, have them portray different emotions (excited, panicked, curious, annoyed, proud, enraged, etc.). Then have students move around the space like they are in a different location/environment (pouring rain, halls at school, in a crowd, on a beach, hiking, etc.). Lastly, have students try to portray different characters using nonverbal communication (old man, thief, cheerleader, nerd, child, football jock, etc.)
Switch it up. Sometimes do half and half, having some of the students become the audience. Sometimes have some students freeze and stay as statues while other students mill about like they are at a museum. Ask questions after some. Notice some of the different things students are doing. Notice some of the same things students are doing.


Conduct a game of reverse charades. Pass out strips of paper and have every student contrib-ute at least two different things to the bowl. Reverse charades means that everyone but one person is acting it out and one person is guessing. Split the class into two teams. Give each team two minutes to guess as many words as they can. Tally up how many they guessed correctly at the end of two minutes as their score. Play a few rounds.