As we welcome our returning students back for the start of another year, and greet our new students for the first time, this blog post focuses on what can be expected in lesson plans for Term 1, 2021.
At Head Held High, our speech and drama lessons follow a set structure which provides stability and continuity for students. This means they, and you, can know what to expect each week!
Our speech and drama lesson plans are all carefully developed in-house, and take into account the age, stage and experience levels of individual students.
Week 1 - Group dynamics
The first lesson of this year (as it is every year) is devoted to creating bonds between classmates, and also between students and their teachers. The easiest, quickest and most enjoyable way to do this with students of all ages is to play fun, fact-finding games that establish things that students have in common.
These games are high energy and inclusive by nature. The aim with them is to get the term and the year off to an enjoyable start. By laying a foundational base of trust and fun, teachers encourage your child to think about expressing his/her identity - a theme which is carried through all speech and drama lessons.
Week 2 - Body language
Juniors start to explore body language. In exploring body language, juniors start to develop understanding of the importance of body language both in being more effective when we speak in front of others, but also how using confident body language makes us feel more confidently, internally.
In Week 2, the focus for senior students is on how to actively listen to others - both verbally and non-verbally.
Week 3 - Articulation
For all age groups, Week 3 delves into ‘articulation’ - using crisp and clear sounds when speaking. An example of how the importance of articulation is taught in an engaging way is the ‘emergency phone call’ game! Students sit in a circle with their backs to each other. One student is the 111 caller and another the emergency phone operator. The caller needs to come up with an emergency like their house is on fire or they’ve lost an arm, or they’ve fallen down a well but they can only mumble incoherently. The emergency phone operator can’t understand their mumbling but must be very very polite and over-articulate as they ask lots of questions to try to understand the problem and get help to the caller.
Week 4 - Projection
Week Four continues on from articulation by examining ‘projection’. Projection is throwing forward the tone, pitching it against the hard palate and the teeth, so that the sound reaches every part of the room in which you are communicating. It is not shouting. It comes from an ample supply of breath-turned-into-voice, made resonant, well-articulated, and directed up and out ;)
It’s a tricky skill to get your head around when first exposed to, but by the end of the lesson all students will be projecting a confident and clear voice.
In Week 5, as we focus on impromptu speaking, we explain to our students that it is what we do every day. We don’t get up and write a script for the day that everyone has to follow, we simply make it up as we go along!
Impromptu speaking is something which is very age-group dependent, and our teachers are very skilled at pitching their lessons to the specific needs of the students in the group they’re teaching.
Seniors, as an example, may be asked this week to stand up and speak for 2-3 minutes about an object which they’ve pulled out of a bag, sight-unseen! Whereas juniors, who are coming to grips with the uncomfortableness of impromptu speaking, will perform easier activities such as speaking for 30 seconds about a question like “If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?”, after having had 30 seconds to think about it first.
And that’s only the half of it...
By the end of Week 5 we’ll be halfway through the term. By this stage students will be very well acquainted with each other and their teacher, and will already have a whole host of new skills under their belt. From articulation, to projection, controlling body language and impromptu speaking; by the middle of the term students will really be in the speech and drama groove.