Theater and plays Teacher Resources
Find Theater and Plays educational ideas and activities
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The magic of toy theatre from days gone by is captured beautifully in an app that allows for staging and recording a paper cut-out play of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (or using his characters to create your own). Great for young learners or advanced thespians alike, this is fabulous for rehearsing lines, practicing blocking, and storyboarding.
From mystery plays to Shakespeare! Progress chronologically through the evolution of English drama, which began as a way for English clergymen in the eleventh century to illustrate biblical stories to the mass of illiterate commoners. Learners will discover how the medieval morality play would eventually inspire playwrights of the Renaissance to write about the inner struggles and conscience of man.
Students compare and contrast a website layout and the layout of a Greek theatre. In this Greek theatre instructional activity, students research the Greek theatre and produce a bulleted list of five facts about the Greek theatre. Students complete a comparison of the Greek theatre websites. Students create a bulleted list of four major themes in and write a paragraph about one of the themes from the prologue of Antigone.
Bring a reading of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax to life with this reader's theater script. Simply assign roles and read through the script as a class, or spend time creating props and costumes for a school-wide performance, the choice is yours. This activity would make a great addition to a celebration of Earth Day or Dr. Seuss' birthday in the upper-elementary grade levels.
Students study satirical and political theatre to learn how performing arts can be used for social change. In this theatre study lesson, students read about satirical theatre and create art from issues they see in their own lives. Students complete several activities to study the political theatre.
Students complete activities to study the traveling Jewish theatre and the ideas of tolerance. In this theatre study instructional activity, students read information about the Traveling Jewish Theatre and learn about the project to unit artists from the US and the Middle East, Jews and Muslims, and Israelis and Palestinians. Students complete several activities to learn how theatre can help students explore important social issues.
Young scholars explore the Public Theater in New York City. In this theater lesson, students consider mission of the Public Theater and learn more about its productions. Young scholars create their own event schedules for the Public Theater.
Engage and entertain young learners with this collection of readers theatre activities. With over 25 different scripts, a wide range of topics are covered from simple counting and rhyming exercises to adaptions of popular children's literature like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The BFG. No matter what the grade level, this resource has something for every elementary school teacher, offering a great opportunity to add some variety to the standard curriculum.
Here are some suggestions for using Reader's Theater in the classroom.
Build reading fluency and classroom community with a Reader’s Theater activity. Class groups select a myth, or if part of a myth writing unit, select a group member’s myth, craft a script, and perform for the class. Directions for scripting a myth and a model myth are included in the plan.
Students create and perform folktale plays. In this reader's theater and Asian literature lesson, students work in groups to rewrite Asian folktales into scripts and perform the folktales for their class in a Reader's Theater. Lesson includes links to many applicable folktales.
Take your class to the theater! First graders will examine characters that actors play such a villians and heroes. Then participate in creating plays and performing in them. They will also research what it takes to create scenery, props and costumes and take a unit assessment.
Fifth graders perform a skit using scenes from Esperanza Rising. In this reader's theater lesson, 5th graders create their own script from a scene in the book. Students discuss the differences in readers' theater and an actual play. Students perform their skit for the class.
Students participate in a reader's theater about the Civil War. In this performing arts lesson, students review the Civil War through a reader's theater. They practice reading their parts to work on expression and fluidity before performing for the class.
Students act out the Civil War through reader's theater. In this performing arts lesson, students research the Civil War and find costumes, props and scenery appropriate to the time period. They become characters from the Civil War time and identify and connect with these people.
Students analyze the conventions used in Noh plays and write an introduction to a Noh play of their own. In this Noh play instructional activity, students identify the conventions of the Noh form and analyze the realizations the main character achieves. Students complete a short quiz on the Noh theatre, choose a story from mythology, literature, folklore, or popular culture to write a short Noh play. Students also write an analysis of the play.
Welcome to the Globe Theater! Use this PowerPoint presentation to introduce your class to William Shakespeare, his plays, and the theater his plays were performed in. Just basics are provided here, but it provides a nice overview or introduction for those not knowing much about this era.
In collaborative teams, young readers work to improve their fluency and build on stage confidence. Each group practices a reader's theater piece, focusing on fluency and reading with expression. They don costumes and perform their pieces for the class. The lesson focuses heavily on team building as well as reading skills.
Explore script writing based on prose in a cross-curricular literacy lesson plan. After listening to the folktale The Drum, middle schoolers identify and describe specific story elements such as characters and events. They work in groups to write a script for the story, and each group performs its play.
Students participate in an economics role-playing video game demonstrating social responsibility In this economics lesson, students play "The Cost of Life" game which requires students to think critically to make decisions, identify problems and formulate solutions, and take part in social responsibility.