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Theatre is a great way to pique students’ interest in any topic - Science, Math, Language Arts, History, etc. The problem is, how is a teacher supposed to find a play that deals with their specific …

Theatre is a great way to pique students’ interest in any topic - Science, Math, Language Arts, History, etc. The problem is, how is a teacher supposed to find a play that deals with their specific topic? The solution: write one! Developed over years of practice, we will share with you our tried and tested techniques for developing scripts with large groups of students. This fun and interactive session will include tons of information that teachers can take back and use in the classroom immediately, no matter what subject they are teaching.

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  • 1. Group Playwriting “ Captain” Josh Batenhorst and Christa Woodlief
  • 2. Why use drama in the classroom?
    • Addresses a variety of learning styles
    • Easily integrates with other subjects
  • 3. Why write a play?
    • It “sticks” with your students!
      • Repetition through rehearsal = Practicing and committing the material to memory
      • Drama catches kids!
      • Sense of community and teamwork
      • Cool way to assess your students!
      • It’s really fun!!!!
  • 4. So, how do we get started?
    • Follow the Group Playwriting Process
    • Trust the Muse!
  • 5. Step 1: “Yes” Session
    • Start with the standards or topics that the play “must” cover.
    • Let students give their ideas and record all ideas. Put them on the board.
    • Keep it positive. All things are possible.
    • Time frame – 45 minutes – 1 ½ hours
  • 6. Step 2: Find the plot
    • Given some time to reflect, go back to all those ideas. Is there a way to weave many of them together?
    • Stay positive – keep looking, keep questioning.
    • Key phrases: “How does this idea accomplish our goals ?“ “Do we have consensus ?”
    • Time Frame – 50 minutes.
  • 7. Step 3: Characters/Casting
    • List all the characters in the play.
    • Play does not have to be written to begin casting. Why?
    • Many ways to cast a play:
      • Self –casting. “Where do you see yourself?”
      • Teacher-casting.
      • 3 choice casting.
      • Auditions.
  • 8. Scripting
    • Time to put pen to paper!
    • Who is going to script depends on what you want to teach.
      • Integrating with Language Arts?
      • Can they actually work in groups?
      • Sometimes contributing the ideas up and to this point is enough.
      • Make sure the final draft accomplishes your goals.
  • 9. Producing a Play
    • Set a date!
    • Design/Build set, props, etc.
    • Rehearsals
    • Read-Thru
    • Blocking
    • Off book date! Something to aim for.
    • Dress Rehearsal
    • Performance!
  • 10. The 8 th Grade Chemistry Play
    • -Used to review our “Introduction to Chemistry” unit
    • Students choose well-known story and re-develop plot
    • We move through the Group Playwriting Process and cast roles
    • We have a school performance (sharing our knowledge with others) and an evening performance
    • We finish our unit by taking a quiz on what we learned from our play
  • 11. How can I use this to assess my students?
    • Choose the best time to utilize playwriting
      • To review a unit
      • To prepare for EOGs
      • To re-teach material that wasn’t mastered through traditional teaching
      • Student-led writing shows you what they know while reinforcing concepts!
      • Post-performance quiz provides a final assessment.
  • 12.
    • Let’s do it.