This first lesson involves students in developing the skill of portraying character roles following the reading of The Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleishman. Students need this skill before they address the problems to be solved in the unit through simulation and a mock trial.
Can one portray another’s physical, emotional and social character?
This objective will be assessed through teacher observation and feedback as students practice.
|Quality Criteria||Absolutely!||Almost!||Not Yet|
|Active and productive engagement in role play.|
|Stayed in character with convincing use of movement, gestures and expressions.|
|Dialogue was clear (clarity).|
|With good projection and emotion.|
|Strong interaction with other characters.|
Slide 1: Cover slide, By the Great Horn Spoon…What Happened Next?
Let students know that in this unit, By the Great Horn Spoon, we will be studying more about what was happening at the time of the Gold Rush in California. They will all need to learn to become different characters in some short dramas. Actors need to understand “character” as an element of theatre, so that they are understood, sometimes even when they don’t even say anything!
Slide 2 Ask the students what an “occupation” is. Chart responses: doctor, waitress, construction worker, secretary, teacher, etc.
In pairs, A and B. A begins and acts out (through movement only), their occupation. Without it becoming a “guessing game”, the one watching must be able to 1) state the occupation, 2) mood, 3) quality of the personality, and 4) physical appearance and/or health. Now “B takes a turn.
Slide 3: Ask if they know what “Dialogue” means (the words the actors speak). Just as movement tells a lot about the character in the story, dialogue does the same and also advances the plot of the story – moves the story along! Good dialogue must “belong” to the character, both in what they say and how they say it. Good dialogue must “belong” to the character, both in what they say and how they say it. The words of the character tell the story, or the plot. In addition, Character is developed by strong dialogue, with good interaction between actors, and also voices that speak clearly (clarity) and loud enough to be heard without yelling, and changing the tone of the dialogue. In theatre this is referred to as “projecting”. To be successful, actors must warm up their voices.
Slide 4: Students get in pairs again, A and B. “A” says the first statement in character, and “B” responds to the first character.
Students trade off, each time using the dialogue with the emotion required. If students can add the movements and gestures at the same time, that is terrific!
A: “I came to California to find gold” (excited young man)
B: “I came to California to find gold.” (tired old man)
A: “On our way here the sea was really rough and lots of people got sick.” (young girl or boy who had been seasick)
B: “On our way here the sea was really rough and lots of people got sick.” (older boy, who thinks it was funny)
A: “I found one small gold nugget just yesterday.” (any age – sad, discouraged)
B: “I found one small gold nugget just yesterday.” (any age, encouraged and excited)
After finishing the last partner dialogue: Call up a couple of the pairs and have them show one of their “dialogues”. Using the rubric as a guide for valuing the work, the class can describe what they observed the pair demonstrate in terms of movement, gestures, expression, speech (clarity), projection and interaction. Students analyze how the pair has made their character believable.