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Fine Arts - Theater Curriculum
Theater - 3rd Grade
Course Preface Course Preface
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Core Standards of the Course

Standard 1
Playmaking The student will plan and improvise plays based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history for informal and formal theatre.

Objective 1
Plan, with the teacher, interrelated characters in a classroom dramatization.

  1. Plan and pantomime interrelated characters in a classroom dramatization.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students divide the class in half. Each half pretends to be a carnival that travels to small towns around the country. What no one knows is that these two carnivals are from the future. Their entertainment and games offer hints of a world that exists only in our imaginations. Plan the carnivals and create the entertainment and games that come from the future. Take turns visiting each other's carnivals. What conflicts or tensions might exist between the carnival people and the townspeople? The teacher should be in-role with the students from beginning to end. What do these future games and entertainment tell us about the future?
  2. Plan and improvise interrelated characters in an opened-ended dramatic situation.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students pretend they are riding a merry-go-round at the state fair. Very few people know each other. Suddenly, a loud thud is heard on the roof and a huge helicopter lifts the entire merry-go-round off the ground and flies off with it. How will they help each other hang on? What happens next? Why is this happening? How does the story end? Name several ways in which all characters are interrelated.

Objective 2
Plan, with the teacher, dialogue and physical attributes for characters experiencing high tension.

  1. Plan and improvise a brief scene where one character, alone, is experiencing high tension.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students consider urgent situations in everyday life; e.g., late for the school bus but can't find shoes, locked out at home in a storm and trying to get in, accidentally threw year-long class project in huge garbage dumpster at school.
  2. Plan and improvise dialogue and physical attributes in a scene between two characters experiencing high tension.
    Strategy Example:
    In Cinderella, have students, in pairs, consider the part where Cinderella's mean Stepsisters try frantically to make the glass slipper fit.

Objective 3
Plan, with the teacher, alternative endings to a familiar story.

  1. Create and improvise a new ending to a familiar story.
    Strategy Example:
    What if a turn of events made Cinderella a Princess and the Prince a poor man?
  2. Create and improvise several new endings to one familiar story.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students create a different ending from the viewpoint of several characters in the story of Cinderella; e.g., the Stepmother, the Stepsisters, the Fairy Godmother, and the Carriage Animals, etc.

Standard 2
Acting A student will cooperate, imagine and assume roles, explore personal preferences and meanings, and interact in classroom dramatizations.

Objective 1
Develop body awareness and spatial perception through movement and pantomime. (See Dance Core.)

Button to show lessons.
  1. Use large rhythmic movements in space.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students use their bodies to "paint" in space with the music, while others try to figure out what they are painting; e.g., modern art, famous events, landscapes, people, places, things, etc.
  2. Use movement to endow animals with human traits and vice versa.
    Strategy Example:
    In groups of three and four, have students create circus acts that include at least one human being in each act; e.g., a trapeze act with monkeys and humans, a bear act, a lion act, a clown act with seals and humans. Repeat the activity. This time the audience is made up of all animals that have come to see the humans perform under the control of the animals. What circus acts would animals like to see humans perform for them?
  3. Use clear pantomime to communicate one person's idea.
    Strategy Example:
    In pairs, have students pretend to take another student to a special place and show them around. Have the visiting student report to the class what was experienced.
  4. Use clear pantomime to communicate a group idea.
    Strategy Example:
    Working in small groups, have students figure out some things in nature they all agree are things to be thankful about; e.g., sun and rain causing the flowers to grow, trees to climb and hug, caves to explore. Each group will find a way to pantomime all input as one group idea.

Objective 2
Develop expressive use of the voice.

Button to show lessons.
  1. Use clear diction. (See Music Core.)
    Strategy Example:
    Have students sing or speak nursery rhymes together in groups of four. Others will respond to the clarity of the diction and the unity of the foursome.
  2. Use pitch, tempo, and tone quality to create unique voice qualities.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students imitate the voices of their favorite cartoon characters. Improvise a scene that takes place in life every day; e.g., they engage in conversation with other people while using cartoon voices. How does this change communication and message?

Objective 3
Develop body sensory awareness and sensory recall.

  1. Use the senses to listen, observe, and discriminate.
    Strategy Example:
    Divide class into four lines or teams. The first person in each line listens to the teacher say, "large black triangle!" The team that finds, goes to, and touches it first gets a point. Whole team must touch it.
  2. Use sensory recall to pantomime walking over pretend surfaces.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students consider using environments like thick grass, hot pavement, slippery rocks, deep mud, etc.

Objective 4
Develop cooperation and patience when working with others in classroom dramatizations.

  1. Demonstrate cooperation while staying in the scene.
    Strategy Example:
    In a pantomime, have students, in pairs, cooperate to help each other escape over and through dangerous pretend obstacles such as deep mud, thorn bushes, hot sand, rope bridge, barbed wire fence, etc.
  2. Demonstrate patience in-role.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students, in pairs, escape across a pretend rope bridge. One person is injured and weak, and the other must be responsible for guiding both of them across safely. Because of the injury, they must move very, very slowly.

Standard 3
Understanding Art Forms The student will compare, connect, and incorporate art forms by describing and analyzing methods of presentation and audience response for theatre and dramatic media, including film, television, electronic media, and other art forms.

Objective 1
Understand and practice appropriate audience behavior when attending live theatre.

  1. Understand that an appreciative audience helps the actors do their best.
    Strategy Example:
    Discuss questions in class like: How many of you have been to a live play? How does that experience differ from going to a movie? A circus? A sports event? Do actors know you are there? How do they know? How can an audience help or hinder actors?
  2. Understand that audience etiquette requires specific behaviors.
    Strategy Example:
    With your help, have the students make a list of etiquette behaviors important to live theatre; e.g., promptness, good listening and watching, appropriate laughter and applause, inappropriate noise control, most always no food or drink, limited coming and going. Discuss why these behaviors are important. Have students role-play the effects of bad etiquette on live actors.

Objective 2
Understand the use of visual, aural, oral, and kinetic elements in live theatre. (See Visual Arts Core.)

  1. Identify visual, aural, oral, and kinetic elements and explain how they are used in live theatre.
    Strategy Example:
    Have students attend a live theatre production; e.g., Charlotte's Web. Then have students identify visual, aural, oral, and kinetic elements and explain how these elements were used in the live theatre production they attended.
  2. Identify visual, aural, oral, and kinetic elements and explain how their use in an animated film is similar to and different from their use in live theatre.
    Strategy Example:
    Watch an animated film; e.g., Charlotte's Web. Have students identify elements and discuss similarities and differences between the art forms of animated film and live theatre.

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