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Lesson plans for Term 2, 2021 (Part 2 of 2)

At the time of writing this post we’re in Week 2 of Term 2, and as a teaching team we’re rocking and rolling, enjoying the start to the new term very much!

This blog post follows on from our previous post, describing what can be expected in lesson plans for Term 2, 2021.

The last post was centred around what’s in our lesson plans for the 1st half of the term. This post gives an overview of what our students will be learning for the 2nd half of the term (weeks 6 - 10).

Week 6: Speech and drama juniors: Creative devising. Speech and drama intermediates and seniors: Reading to an audience. Senior communication skills students: Persuasive talks.

In this week’s lessons our junior speech and drama students get introduced to the concept of “creative devising”, which is a process in which all students develop a sketch collaboratively. It teaches inventiveness and a readiness to collaborate with others.

Meanwhile, our intermediate and senior speech and drama students are practicing their reading aloud skills. Why? Because by reading scripts age-appropriate books or stories, reading skills and confidence performing in front of others, increases. It’s a fantastic way to motivate reluctant readers and it also provides confident readers with the opportunity to explore genre and characterisation.

Lastly this week, our senior communications students will be encouraged to choose their own “contentious” issue, which they’ll make a persuasive speech about to their classmates. This activity encourages students to think critically and logically, while asking themselves questions such as; Why is this an important issue to discuss? Why has this become an issue? What are the arguments for and against the issue, and how can I give examples to support my argument?

Week 7: Speech and drama juniors: Mime skills Speech and drama intermediates and seniors: Delivering a monologue

This week our junior speech and drama students switch their focus towards learning about miming. What is a mime? Using only gesture, movement and facial expressions to act as a character in a situation. It’s an important (and fun!) way to develop empathy for others’ emotions, feelings and body language, without using words.

In Week 7 our intermediate and senior speech and drama students will be delivering monologues. In theatre and film, a monologue is when a character speaks in an extended fashion to the audience. As an actor, this is akin to a solo performance in an orchestra, when you have the opportunity to showcase your performance.

We teach monologues to our students for many reasons, but a particularly strong one is to ask them to think about what their character is really thinking, which in turn helps the students to develop their own empathy for others in real-life situations.

Week 8: Speech and drama juniors: Puppetry Speech and drama intermediates: Delivering prose. Speech and drama seniors: Analysing unseen texts. Senior communications skills students: Analysing unseen texts.

Week 8 for our junior speech and drama students is all about puppetry! What can puppets teach my child, you ask?! Research shows that making and performing with puppets has many benefits related to language skills and developing imagination. This week junior students will make their own puppets, and practice their oral speaking skills by telling a story to that puppet :)

This week our intermediate speech and drama students will be focused on delivering a prose piece, which is a small part of a whole story taken from a book. Although similar to a monologue, which these students learned last week, prose pieces differ in that they are not focused on revealing the internal thoughts of a character. Eg. they may be full conversations, or descriptions of a location or action happening.

Senior speech and drama students, in Week 8, will be given a poem they’ve never seen, to read through. Their teacher will then initiate a discussion in which the student is invited to discuss their thoughts on the style of the piece, the language, the messages/themes being conveyed, and how this may be realised for recitation and performance. As well as all of those focus points, students are all learning how to engage with ideas, offer thoughts, and participate positively in discussion.

Lastly this week, our senior communications students will be analysing written texts. The purpose of this is to develop the student’s skills in analysing, with a tight deadline, the message that the writer is intending to convey, and the most appropriate and creative methods that could be used to convey the message. This activity will be spread over two lessons with a variety of choices of speeches offered by the teachers.

Week 9: Speech and drama juniors: Improvisations with puppets. Speech and drama intermediates and seniors: Improvisations and acting in pairs. Senior communications skills students: Analysing unseen texts.

In the second-to-last week of the term, our junior speech and drama students will be having lots of fun learning about how to improvise scenes with the puppets they made last week! Improvising is a fantastic way for students to learn skills related to empathy for others, by putting themselves in the shoes of others (in this case their puppet). To do this, our juniors will be doing things like lying their puppet down to imagine how they breathe, how they wake up; whether they yawn, rub their eyes, stretch their limbs, maybe even sit up? Then they’ll see how they stand up and how they might walk.

Students will consider how their puppets were talking last week and match the puppet body to the same character; considering things like speed, smoothness and weight of movement. The teaching points encouraged are for students to notice that these are all the same things we can think about in our own bodies, both when we’re being a character in lessons, and in normal life too.

Meanwhile, our intermediate and senior speech and drama students will be learning more advanced skills in improvisation and acting-in-pairs. Students will choose a fairytale before the improvisation begins, and then will have 60 seconds to act it out in their pairs from beginning to end. Whenever things slow down, the teacher will prompt students by narrating a new event for the scene. The teacher will also be coaching students on improvising tips such as how to “accept offers” and build on them. E.g. If somebody tells you that you're wearing a hula skirt, tell them that yes you are, and that you made it right here on holiday in Hawaii.

Lastly this week, our senior communications skills students will be continuing on from their two-part lesson they started last week, focused on analysing written texts.

Week 10: Speech and drama students (all ages): Characters in costume. Senior communications skills students: Impromptu talks to video.

In Week 10, our senior communications skills students will be running through some quick thinking and relaxation activities to warm up. Then they’ll be given a range of impromptu speech topics to talk to for 2-3 minutes each.

Each student will record a video of themself and then have the chance to watch their video and provide self-feedback using the “commend, recommend, commend” model.

For our speech and drama students of all ages, the final week of term is purely about having as much FUN as possible, and we use lots of costume work to do so! Teachers are all equipped with lots of costumes for students to dress up in.

Once they have, they’ll play a variety of games which require them to create a character. They’ll need to invent their names, ages, how they will speak, how they will move, and what they can tell others about their life. For the duration of the lesson they will no longer be students with a teacher – they will be their new characters and will not come out of that character until they get out of their costume.

Students love these games, and really LOVE it when their teacher gets into costume and into a role too!

That's Term 2, in a nutshell...

So there it is! Across this and our last post, we’ve laid out a really solid overview of what your children and teenagers will be learning in this, the 2nd term of 2021.

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