All the world’s a stage

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“All the world’s a stage” - Analyzing Drama
The Teaching Context: Middle School students (6th/7th grade)
This particular unit plan is designed for 7th grade students in a wealthy suburb. The majority of the students are upper-middle class Caucasian who are eager to learn and perform well in school. Most, if not all, have supportive parents and a stable home life.
The students vary slightly in terms of reading level. A few of the students are below grade level in terms of reading and writing skills. But a dominant portion of the class is either at or well above grade level. Their prior educational experiences have supplied them with the knowledge necessary to read short novels with a moderate amount of teacher aid. Additionally, the students are on the verge of reading and analyzing short pieces with limited teacher intervention. The students know how to write basic sentences and paragraphs and can therefore construct simple five paragraph essays.
Students will thrive in this unit if they have an understanding and appreciation for relationships and use of every day vocabulary, slang, and styles of communication. The students will also benefit if they have motivation to learn about drama and its relationship with other genres and aspects of the real world.
This particular unit will late in the first semester of the school year meaning students will have a general knowledge of a few other genres for comparison. They will have also acquired higher-level vocabulary and ability to produce more complex sentences. Lastly, students will have gained confidence and comfortability in the class with both the teacher and fellow classmates. Students will have continued to develop their friendships up to this point, though most of them have gone to school with each other since kindergarten.
Unit Rationale
The focus of this unit is drama. By studying the purpose and other distinct characteristics of this particular genre, students will gain awareness of drama and recognize its appearance in daily life.

1. What will they learn:

A. Students will understand:

- How to determine a central theme or idea within a piece of dramatic literature. (R.NT.6.04)

- The importance of literary devices to develop plot and theme. (R.NT.6.04)

- The role of dialogue in enhancing plot, characters, theme, etc. in drama and how it builds climax and distinguishes major and minor characters. (R.NT.6.03)

- Good dramatic literature is composed of clear and coherent writing appropriate for the task, purpose, and audience. (Writing GLEC)
B. Students will be able to:

- Construct a piece of dramatic literature that properly uses literary devices, vocabulary, structure, etc.

- Compare and contrast pieces of literature and correctly identify drama.

- Analyze dramatic literature and provide both summary and an opinion. (R.NT.6.04)

- Develop and revise pieces of dramatic literature with guidance from peers and teachers. (Writing GLEC)

- Respond to multiple texts and compare/contrast ideas, form, and style. (S.DS.6.02)

- Evaluate the quality of dramatic literature. (S.DS.6.02)

- Compare/contrast the experience of reading and/or viewing a drama. (S.DS.6.02)

C. Students will know:

- The necessary and effective elements of a drama.

- “Dialogue is best when it sounds like natural speech.” (Lindsay Price)

- An author can help “you learn so much about [a] character by how they speak.” (Lindsay Price)

- The impact of drama changes when it is seen and when it is read.
2. What will be assessed:

Students will write weekly paragraphs (“Monday Paragraphs”) based on genre-related prompts. These will allow students to individually explore fundamental aspects of drama. The students will also create a fictional character to develop. After determining the essential details of said character, the students will create fictional Facebook profiles based on their characters. Next, students will write either a dialogue or a monologue. These will be worked on and revised in class with peers and the teacher. Lastly, the students will compile all of their knowledge on drama and write a short scene. This will be graded on completion and successful incorporation of proper dramatic elements.

3. What students will do:

- Students will read “Group Scene – Monica et al” from “Oddball.” (Lindsay Price,

- Students will read “Duet Scene – Josie and Pete” from “Somewhere, Nowhere.” (Lindsay Price,

- Students will read a selection of monologues: Henry from “Hall Pass” and Josie from “Somewhere, Nowhere.” (Lindsay Price,

- Students will hear a mini-lecture on literary terms and definitions within drama. They will then test this knowledge in a Fly Swatter Game. (

- Students will hear a mini-lesson on vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation within drama.

- Students will practice analyzing dramatic literature to determine theme.

- Students will read handout on character development. (Lindsay Price,

- Students will complete activity of creating characters. (Lindsay Price,

- Students will read handout on creating and developing dialogue. (Lindsay Price,

- Students will write weekly paragraphs based on prompts for drama while including elements of writing that will be developed throughout the school year.

- Students will participate in weekly free-writing in dialogue journals. These journal entries will allow for critical response as well as individual communication with the teacher. (Nancie Attwood)

- Students will create their own character and produce a fictional Facebook profile based on said character.

- Students will write a draft of either a dialogue or monologue for peer revision and teacher consultation.

- Students will create a final copy of either a dialogue or monologue and include a paragraph of character description.

- Students will compare/contrast and evaluate samples of dramatic literature.

- Students will watch clips of drama in television and film in order to compare/contrast the experience of reading versus watching drama.
4. How they will learn:

Throughout the unit, students will participate in a variety of activities to ensure their understanding of drama. They students will practice note-taking during mini-lessons, write individually in journals, participate in a physically engaging activity, work in small groups for in-class activities and revision, etc. By including this variety of lessons, students will gain knowledge of dramatic literature while developing their individual reading and writing skills. Moreover, students will develop their ability to work collaboratively with peers.

C. Texts: Central and Supporting

- “Ths phn 2.0: The Next Generation” by Lindsay Price (

- Duet Scene: Josie and Pete from “Somewhere, Nowhere” by Lindsay Price (

- Duet Scene from “Wait Wait Bo Bait (Middle School Edition)” by Lindsay Price (

- Group Scene: Monica et al from “Oddball” by Lindsay Price (

- Monologue: Henry from “Hall Pass” by Lindsay Price (

- Monologue: Josie from “Somewhere, Nowhere” by Lindsay Price (

- Film: Clips from “She’s The Man”

D. Big Ideas & Basic Themes
The main focus or big idea of drama unit is to explore a new genre or way of telling a story. Plays share many common elements with other genres, but they have a very unique form. This unit will help students in the future as they work with other genres because examining drama allows them to focus on character development, descriptive language, dialogue, etc. Students will be able to take what they learn from the drama unit and apply it to other forms of storytelling and writing. Additionally, after this unit the students will gain confidence with plays. As they encounter heavier works like Shakespeare in high school and college, they will already have a basic idea of how to analyze characters, plot, dialogue, etc.
E. Feedback

In terms of feedback, I really valued what my peers had to say. I received a lot of praise and positive feedback on my ideas. At the same time, I was also given suggestions from improvement. I took all of the comments into consideration when revising; I wanted to build upon the ideas I already had and make them better. Additionally, I reflected on my own writing and rearranged or changed things in order to create the best unit I could.

F. Bibliography

  • “Ths phn 2.0: The Next Generation”, “Somewhere, Nowhere”, “Wait Wait Bo Bait (Middle School Edition)”, “Oddball”, “Hall Pass”. Price, Lindsay. Https:// Web.

  • She's the Man [video Recording]. Dir. Andy Fickman. Perf. Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum. Dreamworks Home Entertainment, 2006. DVD.

  • "Fly Swatter Game." I Love That Teaching Idea! Web. 28 Feb. 2012. .

The Unit Schedule (and 3 Lesson Plans)

1. What is Drama? Give non-graded pre-test. Mini-lesson on literary terms, examples, etc. Collect/Assign Monday Paragraph

2. Continue introduction of Drama. Recap terms and definitions. Fly Swatter Game. Discuss where we see Drama.

3. Wrap up introduction. Dive into recognizing drama based on structure and other characteristics of the genre.

4. Begin reading first piece (Ths phn 2.0). Analyze and evaluate present elements. Complete genre worksheet in small groups. *

5. Continue analysis of first piece. Discuss answers to genre WS. Finish with Free Write (Dialogue Journal or Monday Paragraph.

6. Explore characters. Major v. minor, development, descriptions, etc. Read Handout. Collect/Assign Monday Paragraph

7. Mini-lesson on character development. Writing day: Create your own character in journal. Write 2 paragraphs for HW.

8. Continue with characters. Check HW. Examine characters in first piece. Read next drama (Josie & Pete)

9. Recap. Assign Character Profile (from journal). Go over rubric, example, expectations, etc. Allow for brainstorm time.

10. Work day for Character Profile. Allow for peer or teacher meetings for inspiration. End with Free Write. Profile due day 13.

11. In-class work day for Character Profile. Students will have access to art supplies. Collect/Assign Monday Paragraph.

12. Final day of work on Character Profile, due next day. Reserve last 20 minutes to introduce dialogue v. monologue.

13. Profile due. Mini-lesson on dialogue v. monologue – characteristics & purpose. Class discussion on both. Read (Wait Wait). Read next pieces (both monologues ).

14. Compare/contrast style, purpose, etc. Mini-lesson on how to write both. Activity: Write dialogues/monologues in small groups

15. Assign final scene writing. Explain rubric, goals, etc. Due day 18. Writing Day: Brainstorm and start writing. End with Free Write.

16. Review elements of drama that should be in final scene. Work day in class. Peer review & teacher conferences. Collect/Assign Monday Paragraph.

17. Continue in class work on final scene (computer lab), teacher conferences.

18. Final scene assignment due at beginning of class. Mini-lesson on reading v. watching drama aka purpose. In class discussion. Give pre-test again (still not graded).

19. Wrap up by finishing reading v. watching drama. (Read section of Twelfth Night?) Watch clips of “She’s the Man” and compare.

20. Celebrate final day of unit. Finish video clips, hear radio drama. Enjoy snacks. Free Write Friday – final letter/entry in dialogue journal about the unit.

Day 7: Character Development – Mini-lesson and Writing Day

Materials – Notebook (mini-lesson lecture notes), character handout/prompts, journals


Good morning! Today we’re going to focus on characters in dramas. On your desks are a few character handouts. We’ll start with a mini-lesson on writing good character descriptions and then you will all have a chance to create your own characters. After the mini-lesson. you’ll get time to brainstorm and write in your journals.


Teaching Point

As we’ve seen in our drama unit and other genres, characters are really important in literature. They are the used to tell stories and complete actions that move the plot along. And one of the most important aspects of a character is how the author describes him/her. We can usually tell a lot about a character based on an author’s description. For instance, J.K. Rowling describes Harry Potter as a dark haired boy with glasses and a lightning bolt scar on his forehead. In those few details, Rowling painted a picture of Harry so that readers could imagine what he looks like. As the series progresses, Rowling tells readers more about who Harry is (bravery, determination) and his physical characteristics through descriptive writing. Today, we’ll be looking at effective ways to describe characters in our writing. When you write your character descriptions in your journals, focus on powerful language, similies, metaphors, and other descriptive devices. For example, saying Bob is tall with brown hair and freckles doesn’t tell much about him. That description doesn’t use strong imagery. Instead, saying “Bob, at six feet tall, towers over all of his friends. His chocolate brown hair is long and shaggy, but doesn’t hide the freckles that are splattered all over his face,” is a much stronger description.

In addition to writing a paragraph description on your character, you’ll also write a paragraph that explains more about who your character is as a person. (What are their likes/dislikes? What does he/she want to be when he/she grows up? etc.) Take us on a quick journey into your character’s life.


Active Engagement

Students will receive character development prompts and brainstorm/write a description of made-up character.


Formative Assessment

Walk around and see the progress that each student makes. Look for brainstorming and use of strong imagery. [The next day: Check in homework and look for strong imagery.]


Great job developing characters today. Tomorrow we’ll read a short drama and continue to explore the characters in that piece.



As you sit through the rest of your classes and go on to your after school activities, think about how you can describe the people around you with strong imagery.


Day 14: Dialogue vs. Monologue – Reading and Writing Day

Materials – Handouts with Dialogues and Monologues, Venn Diagram (compare/contrast activity), journals.


Good morning! For the last two weeks we’ve been looking at the main characteristics of drama. We’ve looked at its form and how authors build characters through descriptive writing. Today we’re going to take a look at another very important aspect of drama: Dialogues and Monologues. In every drama, playwrights use conversation or dialogues to tell a story; dialogue also explains events and feelings. Dramas also use monologues, where one character gives a short speech or tells the audience how they feel. During the first part of class today, we’ll read examples of dialogues and monologues. We’ll then look at the sue of word choice, grammar and punctuation to see what makes strong dialogues and monologues. Then you’ll get into small groups and create dialogues/monologues based on prompts that I’ll give you. This will be good practice for your next assignment, which I’ll go over tomorrow.


Teaching Point

Think about the conversations you have with friends, teachers, family members, etc. Chances are you talk to your friends differently than you do with your parents or grandparents. What makes conversations with your friends different? Do you have your own slang or common phrases? When authors write plays, they create dialogues with specific goals in mind. A dialogue between friends will sound differently than a dialogue between enemies. Therefore it’s safe to say that good dialogues use language that is appropriate for the specific situation. When you write dialogues, be sure to include relevant words and phrases to make your scenes more relatable. Oppositely, monologues serve a different purpose. When a character is alone in a scene and shares their side of the story, the overall language will be different. Characters giving monologues do not typically address anyone. Instead, they say how an event or person makes them feel.

In either situation, playwrights use language and grammar very intentionally. For example, a character who is a king may use very sophisticated language and proper grammar, while a young child would use simple words and ungrammatical sentences. In all situations, how a character speaks tells a lot about them. Keep this in mind as you work in small groups to write your own dialogues and monologues.


Active Engagement

Students will receive dialogue/monologue prompts and, in small groups, write their own dialogue/monologue to share in class.


Formative Assessment

Walk around and monitor how well the students work together and stay on track. Wander around to offer assistance and observe progress. [After class: Read dialogues and monologues. Look for any issues that need to be addressed the next day – they will write in their journals and leave them in the classroom, if any group needs more time, they’ll be allowed to continue the following day.]


You all did a wonderful job today. I can tell you thought hard about your prompts when you wrote your dialogues and monologues. Tomorrow you’ll share your work with the class. After sharing, I’ll assign the next activity.



Be sure to pay attention to the conversations you hear and participate in today. Listen for key words and phrases that make the conversations unique. See you tomorrow!


Day 10: Peer/Teacher Review & Free Write Day

Materials – Assignment (In-progress), Art Supplies, Journal (Free Write)


Good morning! We’ve got a busy day ahead of us. Today we’re going to spend a lot of time working on Character Profiles. I’ll be available for brief one-on-one meetings if you need help. You’ll also have the opportunity to have a peer review session if you’d like. Otherwise, I expect you to work on hard on completing your Profile. And as usual, we’ll be ending the day with our normal Free Write time.


Teaching Point

Before we begin, I’d like to review the goals and expectations of your assignment. When you create your character, please provide strong descriptions and details that show and tell more about who that character is. You’ll need to include a 2-4 paragraph character bio along with sections on their hobbies, interests, etc. Remember, I’m not grading on artistic ability, but rather your ability to develop a character that you make up.

I’ll let you know when we have five minutes left of work time before we switch to Free Write. Just like every Free Write Friday, you’ll have the chance to just sit down and write. This time can be used to write your Monday Paragraph, a letter to me about what you’ve read lately, or simply a journal entry about something in your life.


Active Engagement

Students will spend the majority of the class working on their Profiles or having student/teacher meetings. The class will end with 15-20 minutes of Free Write.


Formative Assessment

Walk around for a few minutes and see the progress that each student makes. Then sit at desk so that students may have one-on-one meetings. At the end of the hour, allow students to write freely.


I’m proud of how much you were all able to accomplish today. Remember, you’ll have this weekend a few days in class next week to finish your Profiles. I’ll also be available next week if you want to discuss the assignment further.



Be sure to keep thinking about and working on your profiles. We’ll keep working on them on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend.


IV. Assignments

  • Character Profile (Bio coming later)

  • Create a Dialogue/Monologue (Coming soon)

V. Summative Assessment – Final Scene

- For the final assessment of the unit, students will create a short scene that incorporates everything they learned throughout the unit. They will have two options for the assignment.

1) 2-3 Characters with a 2-page dialogue (double-spaced) and one 1-page character biography.


2) 2 paragraph Monologue and 2 paragraph character biography.

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