Drama! Drama! Drama!

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SWBAT identify how the stage direction of a drama (teleplay) contributes to the plot of a drama.

Big Idea

"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"! Students read and analyze a classic teleplay to determine how the structure helps build the suspense!

Advanced Organizer

7 minutes

To prepare for today's lesson and to continue our study of dramas, I want the students to examine what they know! I will ask the students to brainstorm ways people, individually and as a group, react to fear.  I will have them complete the chart.  

I will first give them solo time to think and then have them share in a Round Robin.  I want them to be able to generate some ideas on their own and then hear the ideas and thoughts of their peers.  It allows them to do what they can, and then expand on their ideas by listening to others.  

Then, as a class, we will compile our list on the board.  This will be a great lead off for discussion, I like to let the students take the wheel with this conversation-keeping my foot above the brake, in case we get too off course.  

When discussing a "groups" reactions, I will guide them towards the possible ways people in a group can react.  What does our background or prior knowledge show us about groups who are living in fear?  I can bring up Hunger Games or other situations they may be familiar with-to get them to say people can turn on one another or blame one another.  

This will play a big role in the conflict the drama we are reading will present.  


15 minutes

After discussing the basics elements of a drama the students are better prepared to work with a more complex piece.  

To prepare, I will first have the students help me generate a list of the elements of drama.  I'll write the list on the board as the students explain what we learned.  I like doing this because it gives them a chance to process the information and recall what they know.  It is important to review stage direction.  The drama we are reading today develops the conflict through stage direction, so it's important that they have an understanding of what stage direction is and how it is structured within a drama.  

Our focus for our reading today is looking at how conflict is presented in drama verses how it is presented in a novel. I will pass out the notes and read over the information.  I will have the students read through the comparison chart for Novel and Drama and have them underline clues in the text that describe drama.  The students will see how in the "novel" version, the details are in the descriptions and in the "drama" version, the details are in the stage direction and character's actions.  

Then, I will have the students view the passage The Circuit.  We will read through the passage together and then I will have the students working, underlining details that demonstrate the conflict in the story.  Once they have underlined the conflict, I will have them check with their partners and work with them to describe the conflict of the passage.  

Finally, to have them really practice working with drama, I will have the students explain how the conflict would be presented differently if the passage was written as a drama.  I am hoping the students will refer to their notes to identify that the conflict would be revealed through stage directions, characters' actions, and characters' thoughts.  I may guide them at this point.  


Guided/Independent Practice

30 minutes

Today, we will be reading the teleplay The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.  I love presenting this story to the kids! It presents a lot of conflict and even sends out a great message/theme.  

Before reading the play, I think it is important to present some background information on the show.  I will have the students read the background information paragraph located at the bottom of their advanced organizer.  This talks about the series "The Twilight Show" and when the the teleplay aired.  To gain an understanding for why the characters in the teleplay react the way they do-I will ask the students what we know about technology in the late 1950's early 1960's.  I know when we read the play, the first question the students will have will be "Why didn't the people just use their cell phones to call the police?"  Or, "Why don't they use their smartphone to check the news?"  They have to go in with an understanding that at this period in history, that sort of technology didn't exist. 

I also think it is important to discuss what Americans new about space.  What were Americans' beliefs about aliens? 

I will hold a little discussion about it, just to help prepare them to read the story.  

I will remind the students that when reading, they should be taking notes on any details they feel are important.  They can annotate the teleplay as we read.

I will take volunteers to read the lines and review how we handle the stage directions.  I will also probably assign one person to read the stage direction-so it sounds more like a narrator and they do not confuse it for a character's thoughts.  

Today, we will only get through the first act of the play.  As we read, I will have the students work to write down notes on the conflict of the story.  If needed, I may prompt them as we go. 



7 minutes

To close today's lesson, I want the students to be thinking of the conflict that is occurring in the teleplay.  I want them to use the conflicts and make predictions about Act II. 

I will pass out the closure slip and have the students work to complete it.  I will ask them to turn it in once they have finished, so I can assess and use the information to determine if reteaching is necessary.