Monday, February 11, 2013

Shakespeare Isn't the Only Way to Bring English and Drama Together

Having Trouble Making Your English Class Exciting?  Are Your Students Not Understanding the Beauty and Deep Meaning Behind the Literature You Are Reading? 
Well readers,
I have the answer for you!  Today I am going to give you an exercise that you can do in your classroom that will make your students interested and able to appreciate what they are reading on a higher level.

On last week's blog I discussed ways in which theater can be used in the math classroom to enhance learning, but on this week I am going to list some of the ways theater can be incorporated into English classrooms.  Combining Theater and English does  not mean just reading Shakespeare, although that is another good way to fuse the two disciplines, but they are less obvious to do so.

This is:

Exercise 1: Reading for the Pleasure of Language 

This first exercise is simple.  All you need is a book and students.  You may want to begin class with this relaxing exercise or perhaps ending it with it, could give your students the enjoyment of English by ending class on a high note, with beautiful words.

Either way it is excellent for your students because they will learn the rhythym of how authors write and it allows your students to freely express themselves.

To get to the point:  

What do you do?

Have your class take out their books and choose a favorite passage or two and be prepared to share them allowed as well as why it is their favorite.  Instruct them to read the passage the way they think it should sound (meaning pauses, emphasis on certain words, and inflection in their voice)

*Some interesting results should come from this since the way one student may read a passage and interpret it may be completely different from the way another person sees that particular passage.

Wait for them to make their selections (no more than 5-10 minutes)

Bring the class back together and state that each person can speak when they feel they are ready (of course you should make it clear that they shouldn't purposefully cut on another off)

As this process occurs, you can ask questions such as:

  • What literary devices did you notice in this passage
  • How do the literary devices shape the passage and book as a whole?
  • How did it make you feel when you heard the passages read?
  • Was there anyone that received a different impression of the passage upon hearing someone else verbally perform it?
As you may notice these questions vary from simple to complex as to push students thinking deeper.  

This exercise can be done where students stand up and read the passage or sit down.  (For quite students, you might want to ask them to stand since they can use their diaphragm more effectively to project their voice)  

The words will come to life off of the page and the students will be surprised about how powerful and precise the author's diction is in order to evoke specific emotions from readers.

This is a great exercise to use when you are starting off the year because the students will feel more comfortable verbally performing the passages, rather than having them stand up and block.  It is a great way to ease them into performances and other public speaking assignments.
This is very rewarding for self expression and literary analyses!

Keep Clicking for more later this week,
Aliana ~Theater Lover~
Future Teacher

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