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Playwriting Unit Plan

High School Drama (20 level) 5 Credits

__________________ School

Ms. Shania Mack

Rationale Playwriting is an intrinsic part of drama. Playwriting considers the


structure, scenario, scene and workshopping of a play, and of course,
the play itself. Indeed, a good script is a crucial starting point for a
good play. This module is intended to introduce students into the
realm of playwriting and its components in writing a one act play;
and to help students begin to refine their budding craft.

Students will be evaluated on two main portions of work: the


playwriting test, and a fifteen-twenty minute, four to six character
one act play that follows a linear story arc. The content of the
playwriting test (ie. terms, types of plot) will be introduced in the first
two classes and tested in the third. The next twelve classes will see
students incite and formulate dramatic ideas and scenarios, write an
initial draft of a one act play, allow for students to workshop their
play with their peers, implement student and teacher feedback, and
submit a professional draft. This submission will be used for
summative assessment. Following this submission, a scene of each
play will be presented to the class, and the Drama 30 class. All
completed scripts will be presented to the Drama 30 class for an
opportunity to be produced.

Monday to Thursday classes will be an hour and a half in length and


Friday classes will be an hour. However, it will be assumed that
Friday classes are being guest taught by a stage fighting instructor.
Playwriting lessons may not always take place in a linear order, nor
will all playwriting lessons take up a whole class period. Assume that
there are eight Drama 20 students.

Learner Playwriting SLOs:


Expectations 7.1: Demonstrate understanding of the basic structure of a play.
for this Unit 7.2: Define and identify plot, character, thought and diction.
7.3: Demonstrate understanding of script format.
7.4: Generate and collect ideas that have dramatic possibilities.
7.5: Write a scenario.
7.6: Identify character types and their functions and attributes.
7.7: Demonstrate understanding of and write exposition.
7.8: Use effective diction.
7.9: Define character objectives.
7.10: Define conflict.
7.11: Construct a conflict between two characters (protagonist and
antagonist).
7.12: Construct a scene with two contrasting characters.
7.13: Give and accept constructive criticism.

Playwriting TRMs:
7.14: Understand need for effective entrances and exits for all
characters.
7.15: Construct a conflict involving three or four characters.
7.16: Control and coordinate the objectives of three to four characters
in a scene, while centering the piece on the protagonist.

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7.17: Write effective entrances and exits for a three to four character
scene.
7.18: Incorporate the actor/stage directions into scene.
7.19: Workshop scene.
7.20: Anticipate the theatrical effect of visual and sound elements in
the scene.
7.21: Re-write scene incorporating changes resulting from
workshopping.
7.22: Create characters that are appropriate for the thought of the
play.
7.23 Recognize the relationship between dialogue and rhythm.
7.24 Write a one act play, integrating character, plot, thought and
diction.
7.25: Workshop play.
7.26: Rewrite play incorporating changes resulting from
workshopping.

Activities: Lecture style lesson on playwriting (1/2 of class time).


Day One
Monday Materials: PowerPoint, teacher lecture notes, definitions list (text and
visual, to be distributed to all students), sample script, students
Drama duotangs and writing utensils.

Objective: Introduce or reacquaint students with associated


terminology, structures and attributes of characters, plot, plays and
writing. Build a basis of understanding that is required for
playwriting and to meet course/instructor expectations.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 7.1, 7.2, 7.6, 7.7, 7.9, 7.10.

Assessment: Observed student engagement and participation; student


comments and questions.

Activities: Class review of previous lesson via going through each


Day Two definition on list and addressing questions/comments/clarity issues,
Tuesday multiple choice practice quiz to be marked by peers (3/4s of the class
time).

Materials: Teacher lecture notes, definitions list, students Drama


duotangs and writing utensils, practice quiz.

Objective: Repeat and expand upon recently introduced/reacquainted


subject material. Build a basis of understanding that is required for
playwriting and to meet course/instructor expectations. Lessen stress

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associated with upcoming test.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous lesson.

Assessment: Observed student engagement and participation; student


comments and questions; student responses on multiple choice
practice quiz.

Activities: Relaxation exercise, playwriting test, introduction/outline


of the playwriting final project, high stakes scenario improv activity.
Day Three
Wednesday Materials: Students writing utensils, playwriting test, playwriting
final project outline and rubric.

Objective: Lessen stress associated with upcoming test, assess


students knowledge and understanding of associated terminology,
structures and attributes of characters, plot, plays and writing,
potentially incite ideas for playwriting final project.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 3.36, 7.1, 7.2, 7.6, 7.7, 7.9,
7.10.

Assessment: Observed student engagement and participation; student


comments and questions; student responses on playwriting test.

Activities: Solo, partner and small group improv games, short, low
stakes writing activity (three play ideas in thirty minutes
Day Four worksheet) based on 1) story prompt list, 2) four random words
Thursday selections and 3) playwrights own idea.

Materials: Students writing utensils, writing activity worksheets,


prompt lists, assortment of cut up, random mix of words/word types
(ie. adjective, noun, verb).

Objective: Potentially incite ideas for playwriting final project,


introduce/expand upon students formulation of dramatic ideas and
scenarios.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 3.36, 7.4, 7.5.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation and


productivity; student comments and questions; student responses for
writing activities/playwriting outline.

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Activities: Playwriting work period in the computer lab for first draft
of play.
Day Five
Monday Materials: Students Drama duotangs and writing utensils,
playwriting final project outline and rubric, writing activity
worksheets, school computers.

Objective: Have students start working on their one act play final
projects, assist students when needed, provide feedback.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5, 7.6,
7.7, 7.8, 7.9, 7.10, 7.11, 7.12, 7.13, 7.14, 7.15, 7.16, 7.17, 7.18, 7.20,
7.22, 7.23, 7.24.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; student comments and questions.

Activities: Playwriting work period in the computer lab for first draft
of play.
Day Six
Tuesday Materials: Same as previous lesson.

Objective: Have students continue to work on their one act play final
projects and develop characters/conflict/ideas/structure/text, assist
students when needed.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous lesson.

Assessment: Same as previous lesson.

Activities: Playwriting work period in the computer lab for first draft
of play.
Day Seven
Wednesday Materials: Same as previous two lessons.

Objective: Same as previous lesson.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous two


lessons.

Assessment: Same as previous two lessons.

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Activities: Final playwriting work period in the computer lab for first
draft of play. Students can submit their final draft by Monday at
Day Eight 12:00 AM, and can do so via email.
Thursday
Materials: Students Drama duotangs and writing utensils,
playwriting final project outline and rubric, writing activity
worksheets, school computers, printed scripts.

Objective: Have students finish work on the first draft of their one act
play final projects and finalize characters/conflict/ideas/structure/text,
assist students when needed.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous two


lessons.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; student comments and questions; first draft of play.

Activities: Explain guidelines and rules of in class activity. Break


Drama 20 students into groups of four. Distribute four copies of each
Day Nine play to each group, along with twelve feedback forms. Each play will
Monday be read/critiqued separately/on paper by each student. The students
can also directly edit the scripts by highlighting or changing grammar
and syntax issues, formatting issues, etc. The play will then be read
aloud and critiqued via discussion by the group. This can help the
playwright identify diction and syntax issues. It is expected that the
playwright will take notes on the back page of their script while the
discussion is taking place.

The in class editing process is reflective of professional editing


processes: plays can be read and edited by dramaturgs, critiqued with
staged readings, and workshopped with/by actors during rehearsals.
Each student will get half of a class period to be focused on their
play. The students can also directly edit the scripts by highlighting or
changing grammar and syntax issues, formatting issues, etc. Any
additional class time will see students reading over their scripts and
feedback to see where additional and appropriate changes are made.
The scripts and the feedback form will be handed into the to the
teacher at the end of class.

Materials: Students Drama duotangs and writing utensils,


playwriting final project outline and rubric, printed scripts with
feedback forms stapled to them.

Objective: Have students receive constructive criticism and

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experience workshopping process in positive environment, to give
life to the play and show possibilities of the script.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 6.3, 7.13, 7.19, 7.23, 7.25.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; student comments and questions; peer edits to script and
notes on feedback forms; playwrights notes on back page.

Activities: Same as previous lesson.

Day Ten Materials: Same as previous lesson.


Tuesday
Objective: Same as previous lesson.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous lesson.

Assessment: Same as previous lesson.

Activities: Playwriting work period in the computer lab for


professional draft. The students will also be expected to consider or
Day Eleven start summarizing their play in twenty words.
Wednesday
Materials: Students Drama duotangs and writing utensils,
playwriting final project outline and rubric, school computers, printed
scripts with student and teacher edits, student and teacher feedback
forms stapled to them.

Objective: This draft will see the students implement changes based
on the peer critique and workshopping, as well as the teacher critique.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 5.3, 7.13, 7.19, 7.21, 7.25,


7.26.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; student comments and questions.

Activities: Final playwriting work period in the computer lab for


professional draft. Although it is the last day to work on the play in
Day Twelve class, it will not be due via email until the following Monday at 12:00
Thursday AM.

Materials: Same as previous lesson.

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Objective: This draft will see the students finalize changes based on
the peer and teacher critique for submission. This work period will
also see students work on summarizing their play in twenty words if
it is completed.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous lesson.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; student comments and questions; final draft of play that
will be compared to first draft/feedback/playwright notes; twenty
word summary does the students perception of what their play is
about actually match what they have wrote?

Activities: Each group will work towards basically blocking/staging a


three to five minute teacher selected scene from each play. They will
Day Thirteen also work
Monday
Materials: Script of selected scenes, students writing utensils.

Objective: To culminate the playwriting assignment, to give life to


the play and show possibilities of the script, to give students a venue
to present work to their peers.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: 2.15, 2.16, 2.17, 2.18, 2.19,


2.20, 2.21, 3.16, 3.26, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; group productivity and scene composition; student
comments and questions.

Activities: Same as previous lesson.

Day Fourteen Materials: Same as previous lesson.


Tuesday
Objective: Same as previous lesson.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous lesson.

Assessment: Same as previous lesson.

Activities: Presentation day: each group will present their basically


blocked/staged three to five minute teacher selected scene from each

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Day Fifteen play. Before each scene is presented, the teacher will read the
Wednesday playwrights twenty word summary to the class to give students who
are unfamiliar with the play an understanding of what it is about.

Materials: Scripts of selected scenes.

Objective: To culminate the playwriting assignment, to give life to


the play and show possibilities of the script, to give students a venue
to present work to their peers.

Learner Expectations Being Addressed: Same as previous two


lessons.

Assessment: Observed student engagement, participation, and


productivity; individual vocal character work and basic movement
choices; completed scenes; student comments and questions. This
performance will be used as formative assessment for Acting, Improv
and Speech Units.

Alberta Assessment Consortium Rubric Template. July 2014. Rubric


Template. Online, Edmonton.
Bibliography
Senior High School Drama Teacher Resource Manual. Edmonton:
Alberta Education, 1989. Print.

Rubric
See Rubric document additionally attached to email.