Monday, January 12, 2015

Rehearsal Centers for Drama

#Centers #Arts Integration #Theatre #rehearsals
One of the hardest part about teaching a large group of students (my classes range from 28-35) is allowing everyone to have meaningful rehearsal practice. When I first began teaching theatre I wanted to watch everyone rehearse and give meaningful feedback to each individual students. This was a great goal. But not very practical. The one student/group that was on stage got feedback and everyone else got... fidgety. It also was a huge time waster. It took me forever for me to get through all the students in rehearsal and there was a ton of down time for the students who weren't actively on stage. I had to find a new solution. I now do rehearsal centers.

Rehearsal centers are great because it allows every student to opportunity to work on different aspects of their performance independently. It also allows me to focus on one group at a time and give meaningful feedback while everyone else is engaged elsewhere.

Note:  Your room will get very loud during these centers. You need to have some sort of system in place for quickly getting everyone's attention. I use the rhythm clap but use whatever works best for you.

I like to change my centers up ever so often. I have listed many more centers than you would probably want to use in class. I like to try to keep groups at around 3-5 so I create as man centers as needed for my group size. You can always pick and choose until you find some that work for you. I recommend you choose 5 centers and have the students rotate every 8 minutes (this will work great in a 50 minute class). I have altered this to use less time or less centers and it still works great. Also tell your students to continue with the script from where they are when they rotate. If they start from the beginning every time they rotate they will never practice the ending. I recommend every student having a script that is theirs that they are allowed to write on. This teaches students the importance of purposefully marking their script.

#theatre, #Drama, #Rehearsal #ELA #centers
If you want some easy to use printouts for each of my centers check out my teacherspayteachers store. Rehearsal Centers

Characterization: (creating a character) at this center you want to focus students are learning more about their character. Students often make choices about their character without proving their reasoning. Create a worksheet asking students specific questions about their characters (or you can buy mine :) ) Make sure you ask the students about the character's age, gender, a motivation in the scene. Students need to be able to prove their answers from the text and also use their imagination (some answers you cant find in the script). Sometimes I let the students draw a picture of what they think the character would look like and wear at this station too.

Blocking: (moving around the stage) you will need an open area for this center. If possible this center should be in the same area they will perform for their final grade. In my class this is the stage center. Students should work through their script figuring out when each character should enter and exit. They should also establish where each character stands and when they move. This is a good time to make sure students are not standing in lines and not "blocking" each other from the audience.

Memorization: This is the easiest station to set up. Put several chairs in a circle and let the students practice memorizing their lines. I always have the students choose one person in the group to be the prompter. The prompter holds the script and tells actors the lines if needed. Actors must say "line" before the prompter can prompt (this eliminates a lot of tattling- "I knew my line and he said it anyways").

Timing: This station needs highlighters or yellow markers. I love this station because it forces students to slow down and read. My students have a bad habit of reading everything at the same speed. I use this to make them read the punctuation marks and stage directions. Students must read through the script marking every stage direction, period, and comma. Students then perform their script practicing pausing appropriately.

Facial Expression: I recommend going to the dollar store and buying five hand help mirrors. Its a small investment that pays off big time. Give each child a mirror and have them practice saying their lines into the mirror. Make sure they look at their eyebrows. The eyebrows add a ton of expression to a character face :)

IPad Facial Expressions: If you are lucky enough to have an IPad you can use the camera feature to have the students act out their facial expressions for the camera and play them back. This really ups the motivation and involvement but don't fret if you don't have one. The normal center works great too.

Body Movement: Ideally you will have a full length body mirror for this center. (You can usually get one at Walmart for under $10. Very useful for costumes in a theatre class). If you do not have a mirror, have students work together to critique each other on the body movement. Students should work on creating meaningful gestures and using their whole body to perform. I have my students usually concentrate on not wiggling and moving with purpose.

Vocal Work: This is a great technology center. If you have Ipods/Ipads you can use the voice recording app. If you have desktops/laptops in your room you can download Audacity and have the students use the computer mic to record their voice. You can also purchase mini USB  Microphones (a little expensive but I got mine from a donors choose project). Students can record their voice and then practice speaking clearly and with good pronunciation. Students should then listen to their recording and make sure they can understand their speech.

IPad Voice: If you use an IPad you can download either chatterbox kids or sock puppets app to add some fun to the recording process.

IPad Film Critique: Have the students record a movie of their performance then play back the performance. This center might be a longer one and you might need to let it go for two times.

Well I hope you enjoyed these centers. If you have any questions feel free to email me and I will be happy to help! Good Luck!