I have a a favourite syllabus outcome. OK, I know, I have issues clearly. But seriously, I really do. I want to convince you that it’s good to have a favourite syllabus outcome! I have a favourite because for me, this is one of the many reasons why I became a Drama Teacher.
It’s just beautiful. It reads:
“Outcome 5.3.2: A student analyses the contemporary and historical contexts of drama”.
It goes on to say:
“Students learn to: experience and appreciate dramatic and theatrical performances.”
For me, this outcome is loaded with promise for an amazing lesson. I love that we’re developing analysis skills but mostly I just love that it is an opportunity in the Drama syllabus to experience and appreciate drama, theatre and yes, film too. Thus the basis for this post as you will see further on.
I’ve also been in a mood lately where I have just wanted to throw my structured, programmed lessons out the window and just appreciate. Appreciate theatre, drama, film as an artform. Drama as an artform that can inspire, pull us from our busy lives and give us some hope and happiness. For me, being a Drama Teacher is about sharing my passion of simply appreciating Drama for all the things it makes us think and feel. Drama is so intellectually rich I get drunk off of it.
I’ve also been wanting to find a new way for my fabulous Year 10 class to have fun, do something different and to link in a health and wellbeing aspect to the lesson. I’d been inundated with many of my kids feeling such a lack of self worth that I needed to find a way to make them be reminded that their perception is not always the reality and to do it in a dramatic way!
So I created an Oscars themed lesson. A “just ‘cos” lesson which says “stuff the program for 5 minutes and run with this.” I’d like to share it with you. I’ve included PDF links to all the worksheets I created so please use, be merry and tell me how it goes! Maybe this will inspire you to create another kind of “just ‘cos” lesson.
Pick A Winner
In the lead up to the Oscars. I gave each of the student’s a copy of this ballot paper from the Offical Oscars Website. We decided rather than picking a winner from every category we would pick “The Big 6” – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress. I had a prize for the person who got the most picks correct.
A History of the Best Picture
Both the Official Oscars Website and The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences have good quality, reliable, historical information on the ceremony and the films and people that have been nominated and won over the years.
I put together a small little activity called the Best Picture Activity. They had to pick a year (you could also do a lucky dip style ballot here) and find out what film won Best Picture that year. They then had to tell me the synopsis of the film, why it was nominated and what the trailer or poster design looked like. I got them to post it on Edmodo and share it with their classmates.
I put together a Powerpoint Presentation with a stack of clips in them about the ceremony, the voting process, the speeches and the goody bag. If you would like a copy of it please let me know in the comments. It’s a little large to be able to put it in this post. With the presentation, I took the angle of sharing the great things about the Oscars that we see at face value but added in a touch of critical analysis, coming at things from the view of the politics and business aspect.
As the kids were watching the clip I got them to fill in this Oscars Worksheet. We’d stop and discuss what they had watched after each slide. This is where you can pop in all those juicy questions to bring out the kids analysis skills.
You could also try a match-up game of Oscar Moments, matching them to the correct caption.
To play around with character and role, each student had to imagine they were on the red carpet getting their picture taken. We looked at creating physicality and belief. We experimented with voice work when they were being “interviewed” in a mock acceptance speech situation.
And The Oscar Goes To…
The last part of the lesson was my favourite. The student’s were each given a bright piece of yellow paper. They had to write their name on the top and then stick the piece of paper on their back. They were each given a marker and they had to go around and write one nice thing about each person in the class on their piece of yellow paper on their back. It could be anything like, “You have a nice smile” or “Great personality” etc. I then asked them to go around again and write something positive about their acting skills. Some examples were, “Good focus,” “Good at accents” etc. The student’s then had to pick one of the comments about their acting and put it on this DIY Oscar. We then stuck them up on the wall as a way of reminding the student’s that they’re doing great in Drama.
I also got them to create their own star on our very own Walk of Fame. The kids really liked this activity. You could feel how positive and special they felt. They now line the corridor outside our classroom. I have plans to add QR codes to the bottom and link them to our school Drama blog page that I am in the process of redeveloping.
It took a bit of planning and preparation but I think it was well worth it. I’m planning a Tony’s themed lesson for June so stay tuned.
Have you ever had a “stuff the program” moment and created a “just ‘cos” lesson? Share it in the comments.