Friday, January 5, 2007

Improvisation Exam

Improvisation Summative Assessment Preparation &
Final Project Selection

We are at a transitional point in the course. We will be finishing our unit on Improvisation. We have already completed two units: one on theatre games & group cohesion and another unit on dramatic criticism using Goethe's standards for evaluation.

Prop Improv Story Workshop

Students picked up the prop that they were "buzzed out" with for the Whose Line Is It Anyway version of Prop Improv that we performed as a large group. Students were asked to remember the property story that they developed during the class period following that exercise.

Students were then put into pairs to workshop this exercise for a portion of our summative assessment. Dating Game will be one-third of the Improv Final; Prop Story will make up another one-third of the Improv Final; and Freeze Play will comprise the remaing one-third of the final. Students then have at least three performances that comprise their Improvisation Final which is worth 100 points.

Step 1: Modeling the Process

Mr. McLaughlin and the class brainstormed how the pewter mug might generate a character. If used as a cup: a pirate, an Octoberfest participant, a medieval noble, etc. We also brainstormed how the prop might be used as another object: a trumpet for a musician, a hearing horn for an old person, a telescope for an explorer.

Then, we discussed what story that prop might have in relationship to the given characters:

Pirate: used during a pirate party causing him to fall overboard, encountering a shark
Old Person: a gift from ungrateful children who sought an inheritance
Musician: the horn that he/she used to play for a "command performance" for the king/queeen.

Step 2: Working in Small Groups: Guided Practice

Students then worked with partners to brainstorm a list of "real" and "possible" interpretations of that prop and generated a list of characters (that could be physicalized and vocalized) and stories that center around that prop.

Step 3: Review of Evaluation Criteria: Teaching & Modeling

Students then were reminded of how we evaluate improvised performances:

Vocalization: vocal pallette, essence creation, prosodic modification, modeling, imitation
Physicalization: movement dynamics, foot manipulation, physicalization/body centers
Script-Writing: character introduction/exposition, storytelling/rising action, conflict-centered action.

Students were shown that they must stand with their back to the partner and upon the "signal" from the teacher to assume character and turn towards their partner in character to their partner. Mr. McLaughlin modeled with with a hunch-backed, slumped over, old person.

Step 4: Guided Small Group Practice

Students then made a decsion on character, vocalization, physicalization and story. They assumed the character with their back to the audience, turned in and practiced their story for :90 seconds.

Step 5: Self Evaluation and Peer Evaluation

After the performance, each performer "predicted" how Mr. McLaughlin would evaluate him/her on each of the criteria. The student estimated whether they would receive and "up" or a "down" from me in vocalization, physicalization and script writing.

The performer's partner then shared his/her estimation of how Mr. McLaughlin would evaluate the performance. Students were asked to be honest.

Step 6: Repeat Steps 4 & 5 for Another Performer

Step 7: Repeat Steps 2-5 for the "Third Peformer" in Odd Groups & Repeat Steps 2-5 for a Second Performace in "Even" Groups

Choosing Your Final Performance Option &
Guidelines for Finding the Right Piece for You

Students were reminded of the final performance requirements that were discussed on January 03, 2007. Students were asked to make a preliminary decision as to which of the options that he/she would choose. Most students chose to be involved in a scene.

Mr. McLaughlin shared some of the additional criteria for dress/costumes, properties, sets for each of the options.

Students were given resources to help them find a piece:

(1) Go onto the internet and enter key word "monologue" and a wide-range of sites will make themselves available;

(2) Check the following sites for good and time-appropriate monologues: and

(3) Use the books on reserve in Mr. McLaughlin's office and mark selected scenes with a "Post It Note" with your name on it.

(4) If you don't have internet, come to Mr. McLaughlin's office with a pass at anytime before school, after school, during school and work in there to find a piece. Or use the internet at the Council Bluffs Public Library.

(5) Use your The Stage and the School Book's tan section to find monologues or scenes.

(6) Use scenes and monologues found in Mr. McLaughlin's brown lateral file by the entrance of the Drama Room.

(7) If all else fails--which it shouldn't--see Mr. McLaughlin before the deadline for selection a piece.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Five Paragraph Essay Style Sheet



MLA Heading

Student First Name Student Last Name

Teacher or Professor

Course, Assigment

00 Month, 2015

Format and Craft Your Writing Carefully

Use Standard English, avoid informal language

Double space

Use 12 pt. Times New Roman font

Always write in complete sentences unless it is for effect

Avoid run-on sentences or fragments

Write in third person - he, she, it

Avoid using “I” unless the essay is of a highly personal nature

Use past tense unless it is for effect

Indent all paragraphs

Proofread by reading out loud to check for easily corrected errors

Run spell check

Use blue and black ink for formal assignments

If you make an error, draw one line through the word and use a ^, then write the correction above the carat

If you have errors, make corrections and reprint

Common Problems with Usage

Subject-verb agreement -use they were, not they was, I saw, not I seen

Write out numbers from one to ten, otherwise use the number - 11

Use appropriate abbreviations (there is no abbreviation for you)

Avoid incorrect phrases - use all of a sudden, not all of the sudden

Avoid dropping the letter d -supposed to, not suppose to

Use should have not should of

Spell out because, not cuz or cause

Use homonyms correctly i.e. there shows direction- over there, their shows possession – their
car, they’re means they are – they are going to the movie

Watch for words that join together and become one word i.e. himself, not him self

Avoid contractions

Essay Construction/Organization & Structure

Paragraph 1: Set up the essay with a “hook,” “lead,” or “attention getter.” Introduce the topic in a thesis statement. A thesis statement gives an overview of the essay and the main point or positions you will prove or discuss in your essay. Use a transition statement to set up your next paragraph.

Paragraphs 2, 3, and 4: Discuss at least three different aspects of your topic – one per paragraph. Use explainers, support, evidence (examples, details, facts, incidents, comparisons, statistics, anecdotes, expert opinions, inferences, personal experiences and/or reasons) to prove your points. Organize your information logically. Use transitions to move from one paragraph to the next.

Paragraph 5: In a craftful way let the reader know that the end is near. Conclude your essay by restating in other words the important points you made in your essay. Make sure that you restate your overall thesis with strength. Leave the reader with a sense of finality by designing a clincher or a closing that extends the reader’s thinking.

© Thomas V. McLaughlin Jr., Mary Langille, Laurie Nielsen, 2006--for permission to use this document for purposes other than classes taken with these teachers, please contact them at Lewis Central High School, 3504 Harry Langdon Blvd., Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Drama I Trimester Performance Final

You will be using all of the formative skills that we've learned in class so far: improvisation, vocal characterization, physical characterization, public solitude, storytelling, chunking, memorizing for your final performanc project. We will draw numbers for these performances. You will perform for the entire class. This assignment is required to pass the course.

OPTION 1—Monologues—two contrasting monologues (one comedy, one drama) that are :90 seconds each. One good fit, one stretch. 3:00 total performance time.

OPTION 2—Scenes—two or three actors (no more than this), balanced scene, comedy or tragedy. 5:30 total performance time.

Some sites for you to consider are:

Colin's Movie Monologue Page at

Sample Monologue from Colin's Movie Monologue Page
Dead Poets Societywritten by Tom Schulman
Mr. Keating: In my class, you will learn to think for yourselves again. You will learn to savor words and languages. No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world. I see that look in Mr Pitts' eyes like 19th century literature has nothing to do with going to business school or medical school, right? Maybe. You may agree and think yes, we should study our Mr. Pritcher and learn our rhyme and meter and go quietly about the business of achieving other ambitions. Well, I have a secret for you. Huddle Up...Huddle UP! We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business these are all noble pursuits necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, and love; these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman "Oh me, Oh life of the question of these recurring. of the endless trains of the faithless of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these? Oh me, Oh life." "Answer...that you are here and life exists....You are here. Life exists, and identity. The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse." The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

The Monologue Archive at