Create a Playbill!
- Grades: 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Students will have an understanding of the various elements found in a drama experience or a written play.
- Understand the purpose, set up, and construction of an advertisement for a drama.
- Students will produce the following within a playbill:
- Cover design reflecting the play and its genre
- Character description (main/minor, protagonist/antagonist)
- Description of costumes (can be represented visually)
- Labeled picture of the stage/set
- Summary of a dramatic plot, without giving away the climax
- A dramatic play taken from your state-adopted literature series. Although, any piece of literature will work. Students may even use their own writing.
- Construction Paper
- Markers, colored pencils, rulers, scissors, etc.
- Class sets of the following handouts:
- Understanding Drama worksheet (PDF), a complete list of literary elements and definitions.
- 35 Ways to Publish Students Research & Writing by Michael Gravois
- Playbill Rubric (PDF), a rubric created to assess students' use of dramatic elements in this specific project.
- For teachers with technology access (Students may want to make their own playbill template.)
- Internet access
Set Up and Prepare
- Make enough copies of all handouts before introducing the lesson.
- Plan an area for setting out the markers, scissors, etc.
- Create a playbill before teaching the lesson to get an understanding of time requirements based on resources available and to have an example of the final product.
Hand out all copies of the various worksheets before beginning each part of the lesson.
Part One: Class Identification of the Elements of Drama
Step 1: Introduce the literary elements and definitions in the worksheet, Understanding Drama. Read aloud with students each of the elements and definitions.
Step 2: Facilitate a reading of a dramatic play with the whole class. Allow for a class discussion and allow students to ask questions if necessary. This will ensure students' comprehension of the dramatic play. Work with the class, using the Understanding Drama worksheet, to fill in examples of dramatic elements, from the play just read.
Part Two: Individual or Small Group Recognition of the Dramatic Elements.
Step 3: Students may select any piece of literature, including their own writing, to begin identifying and analyzing the various elements of a drama. This may be facilitated in groups or as an independent activity.
Step 4: Using the Understanding Drama worksheet, have students identify and analyze the various elements of drama in their selected piece of literature. Complete the worksheet as individuals or groups. It will be necessary recognize these elements to create the playbill.
Students will work in groups to produce, direct, and act in a play. Each group may perform live or by video taping the performance for the class. Costumes, props and other dramatic elements should be incorporated in the play. By providing this lesson, the students will be exemplifying various language arts and reading standards, as well as utilizing their multiple intelligences. Any standards-aligned rubric or project rubric can work for the assessment of this lesson.
Part Three: Create a Playbill
Step 5: Students are now ready to begin creating their playbills. Allow students to view the teacher-made sample and be sure to explain the purpose of a playbill.
Step 6: Go over the Playbill Rubric so that students can see how their work will be evaluated.
Part Four: Editing Circle
Step 7: Have students share their playbills with their peers for more ideas. Divide students into groups of four. Have students present their playbill to the other members of the group. The three students who are listening can give feedback to the presenting student by comparing the playbill to the requirements on the Playbill Rubric
Have students complete their playbills at home. Give a date by which the playbills must be submitted.
Did students respond to the way I introduced the dramatic elements? Did using a "dramatic play" as an example help students understand how to find various elements of drama? Did I provide them with the ability to get started right away? Did students develop an overall understanding of dramatic elements? Did students remain on task during various activities?
Did the majority of students create playbills that represented an accurate understanding of various dramatic elements? Were students able to articulate their understanding of a dramatic play in the extended lesson? Should I change anything in the way I model or teach this lesson?
Using the Playbill Rubric, assess the students based on their ability to develop a playbill that included the necessary elements of a drama. I also assess students' effort and class participation throughout the unit.