Much of the drama we do in class is improvised, which means we make it up rather than reading from a script. You won't just be an actor in drama class though, you'll also be a director, a playwright, a theater critic, and sometimes a designer.
HOME LEARNING DURING SCHOOL CLOSURE
You can check out the Arts & Wellness section of the Home Learning pages. But I'll also post ideas here! I'll add a new one or two every few days ...
- Play Charades with anyone who is home ... or with a friend or family member over the internet!
- Challenge yourself to stay in role. Pick a character: try to walk, talk, and react like them as you do whatever everyday things you are doing. How long can you stay in character? (Caution: this one may drive your family members crazy!)
- Make up a dance. Pick a favorite song (it could be from a musical, but it doesn't need to be). Experiment with different moves, then decide which ones you want to use, and practice! You could perform for family, or show a friend online.
All fifth grade students have drama as a 'special' once per rotation.
Assessment is Standards Based for grade five.
Learn about the standards HERE.
We will create stories, portray characters and develop acting skills, explore ideas and conflicts through drama, and learn about theater. Sometimes you will work on your own, but team work will be really important almost all the time.
We'll play games and have fun, but I'll also ask you to be thoughtful, to challenge yourself, and to try your hardest at all times. You will do lots of acting, a fair amount of discussing, and a little writing too.Sometimes we will create drama work that is just for the experience and ideas, other times you will rehearse and then share your work with your classmates as the audience.
Homework is rare, but sometimes you may be asked to finish work not completed in class, to think about something specific and return with ideas, to rehearse a scene, or to bring in costumes or props.
In sixth, seventh and eighth grade students choose a performing arts subject to study for the full year. (Options are drama, art and chorus at Hanscom; drama, festival drama, chorus, band and orchestra at Lincoln.) Drama Ensemble meets once a week at Lincoln, and two times per rotation at Hanscom. Just as the musicians must practice at home, you will have practice and preparation to do at home also. Work at home will include research, generating ideas, character study, and rehearsal.
What we work on:
We continue to work on improvisation and character development. We aim to create lots of detailed characters, with specific ways of talking, moving and thinking, and to get inside their heads. We work to create 'back stories' for the characters, thinking about how their lives affect their thoughts, actions and emotions. Older students have the opportunity to further develop and refine improvisation and acting skills with additional focus on movement, emotional truth, and depth.
Play writing and directing skills are also important components of Drama Ensemble. What do we want to communicate? What do we want to find out? How can we make our ideas clear to an audience? What would this character say? Do? Feel? We will explore ways to express ideas through the medium of theater: brainstorming, experimenting, reflecting, selecting, refining, and finally performing. And you, the students (actors, playwrights, directors and designers), will work together to make the decisions, with increasing autonomy. (That means you get more say, and more responsibility!)
Each year students in Drama Ensemble will work on a number of projects. The sequence and content of the projects may vary from year to year, as we often work with a specific audience or event in mind, but will generally include the following.Performance skills and team-building. We start the year with acting and team building exercises, to establish a supportive and positive group dynamic, and to work on developing skills without the pressure of a public performance. Actors will work on characterization, emotions, gesture, vocal expression, movement, mime, staging, relationships, objectives ... and more!Devised drama project. Devised Theater uses a combination of research and improvisation to create theater around a specific topic. It is similar to what we do in fifth grade, but we think more about how we shape the work, and you, the students, begin to take more control of the decision making. Each group will create a piece planned for a specific audience and performance. It might be a school assembly, an elementary school class, or another special occasion. Performances will generally take place during the school day.
Scene study. This is our most traditional acting-focused project. Each student will work with a partner or partners to prepare and present a scene from a play. You will also learn about modern acting and directing techniques. Most years these scenes and any one-act plays are presented one evening for families and friends. This evening is a required performance for students.
Comedy/Genre Based Projects. Through practical exercises, we may explore a specific theatre genre, such as Melodrama, Commedia d'ell Arte, "Improv," silent movies, spoofs or advertising. After learning about the elements of the genre and experimenting, the ensemble will create a play or performance piece. We might end the year with a 'TheatreSports' style improv competition, a silent movie, a performance in the Talent Show, or another performance for an assembly. The comedy/genre project may involve a performance during the school day, or may just involve presentation to classmates. Families are invited to any in-school performance.
Assessment for all grades will be Standards Based.Drama ensemble students are scored on three standards: Acting, Playwriting/Directing, and Effort.For details, please take some time to read through the 6/7/8 Drama Rubric
Festival EnsembleAt Lincoln, students have the option to join the Festival Ensemble. This group also meets once per rotation. The students in this ensemble are highly motivated and committed theater students. They spend most of the year preparing a one-act play to take to the Massachusetts Middle School Theater Festival in late April or early May. There are no auditions for Festival Ensemble, but students must demonstrate a high level of motivation and dedication, and must commit to some after school rehearsals in March and April. The week of the festival (usually the first week after April vacation) there are mandatory rehearsals after school each day. Students in Festival Ensemble must commit to attending these rehearsals and the Saturday Festival.