In order to preserve as much time as possible for students to plan and prepare their skits, I keep this as brief as possible. I have students write a response to the following question, which I have posted on the SmartBoard:
Describe a time when you dealt with one of the conflicts your group selected yesterday. Be careful to include the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why) and How it was resolved.
I ask this question of the students in order to give them a few moments to get back into the necessary train of thought to complete the day's task. I also ask it because it gives my quieter students, and those students who may need more time to process information than their peers,an opportunity to think more in-depth about one of the assigned conflicts. These students may then feel a bit more empowered when it comes to planning time, and will hopefully be more actively involved in the planning process.
I also ask this question because it gives me further insight into how the students think and feel by giving me a small glimpse into their lives. I like to integrate academic and personal writing as often as possible to maintain its overall meaning and value for the students.
I start my rounds from group to group by meeting with any groups that have not "pitched their proposal" to me, or whose proposal was not accepted yet. These groups are my primary concern as they are behind in the process. I want each group to have a full shot at success, and that means they need as much time as possible to plan the specifics and begin practicing. Once I have met with these groups, I continue making rounds to the others.
Using the Conflict Skit Planning Document I provided for them, the groups will continue to plan out their skits. They will also begin planning extra items such as props and costumes. I do not make these items mandatory, but I inform the students that such items always help to get more into the skit and make it more entertaining for the audience. I always talk to the students about how people tend to remember more about the content of things when it is presented in an enjoyable way. It doesn't matter if it is serious, touching, or humorous; emotional connection to information is a powerful tool for learning and understanding information. I help them to imagine the types of things they could include in their skits that will increase the overall performance value by asking them questions about the characters, setting, and basic plot. In describing each to me, they begin to truly envision it, which is great.
About halfway into this portion of the class, I find that students typically begin practicing/rehearsing. I have the benefit in my space to have access to a large hallway as well as an outdoor breezeway that I am able to have students utilize for this. It is easy to have both classroom doors open and keep an eye on the students, while allowing them enough space from their peers that they feel less self-conscious. I have had times where a particular class needed to remain in the classroom to practice, and those skits turned out fine as well, but spreading out a bit is more ideal.
Students leave off at this point in various points of preparation. Some of them have made plans to work together during our extended prep time, some to work together after school, and some are feeling really confident that they are prepared to present the next day with no further efforts required. I caution these students especially that there is no such thing as being too prepared in class or in life.