Theater and plays Teacher Resources

Find Theater and Plays educational ideas and activities

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“All the world’s a stage,” exclaims Jaques in As You Like It, but it is the structure of the Globe stage and how that structure influenced Shakespeare’s plays that is the focus of an on-line research project. Class members visit a series of bookmarked sites and gather information to complete a Globe scavenger hunt. Using what they have discovered, they discuss the limitations and opportunities the structure of the Globe Theater afforded Shakespeare.
Students role-play how organisms adapt to their environment. They play 20 questions with plant and animal habitats. They create a web of life to demonstrate how each plant and animal relies on the other for survival.
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 lesson, 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.
Students become acquainted with the New Deal's Federal Theatre Project (FTP) and the rationale for its creation. They analyze primary source material regarding the relationship between art and propaganda.
Students 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. Students create their own event schedules for the Public Theater.
Here are some suggestions for using Reader's Theater in the classroom.
Reader's Theater lesson plans get students reading in a fun and motivating way.
Students read the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare. In groups, they identify the instances of similes, metaphors and personification. They use the Internet to compare and contrast the events in the play with historical facts. To end the lesson, they hold a mock trial to examine Brutus' innocence or guilt.
Anytime you make concepts clear with role playing or hands-on experience, it's a win for the whole class. Ping-Pong balls are used to represent carbon in a carbon cycle role-play activity. In small groups, children first discuss what carbon is and how it moves through each of Earth's spheres. They show how carbon moves by drawing a card and acting out the movement of the carbon as described on the card. This is a great visual way to represent the carbon cycle!
Class members examine a series of primary and secondary source materials to try and ascertain the role films played in forming “a new generation of youth after World War I.” Individuals are assigned one of three documents to examine, form expert groups to share their findings, and then participate in jigsaw discussions. The documents, part of the packet, include a plot summary for The Jazz Singer, an excerpt from Herbert Blumer’s, Movies and Conduct, and a commentary about the film Are Parents People? Individuals craft a reflective essay to conclude the exercise. The 2001 Frontline program Merchants of Cool and the accompanying materials provided by PBS would provide a great extension to the exercises in this resource.  
Students describe to a partner theater experiences they have had in their lives that were memorable, and analyze why. They study about one director's original artistic choices for staging Shakespeare by reading and discussing "Nature's a Stage, and Often a Player." They will then plan a production of a play studied in class by acting as directors and envisioning, in small groups, a new way of staging, casting, costuming, and using music to bring it alive.
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.
Elementary students research the history and construction of movie theaters, read a book of their choice and portray its primary characters and plot in a visual, movie-style report. They design and create their own movie theater in which to show their book report.
Students participate in a reader's theater about the Civil War. In this performing arts instructional activity, 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 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.
Students investigate the Middle Ages and it's relation to the theater.  In this acting lesson, students read Arthurian stories form the Middle Ages and practice using vocabulary words from the Medieval Times.  Students write a play set in the era and act it out in front of their classmates.
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 can understand Shakespeare's language using comprehensible input and dramatic play.