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Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

  • 1.  Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-17-2021 19:27
    My principal has asked me to teach Beginning Drama and Drama II in the same classroom (15 students in Beginning Drama, 15 in Drama II), and not only that but she wants to be able to say that Drama II is an honors class because having accelerated programs will make the school look good. If it wasn't honors, I could see my way clear to changing the curriculum enough from year to year, so that the kids wouldn't FEEL like they were just doing the same thing, but with a similar skills progression. But I can't see calling it Honors unless the Drama II class went deeper into genres, writing, directing, etc., and I can't imagine doing that simultaneously. Thoughts?

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    Erin Philyaw
    IL
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  • 2.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-18-2021 10:48
    Hi;

    I used to combine Theatre 2 with Advanced Acting.  That was an easy mod. But intro and Drama 2 seems a bit of a stretch, especially if they want the advanced class to be honors level.  Would you be able to use the drama 2 students as mentors or demonstrators for the beginners as a means of beefing up the Drama 2 curriculum?





  • 3.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-19-2021 11:36

    Anything is possible…it's just not the best case scenario. There are some worthwhile suggestions on here. Personally, I would give the advanced students more project-based assignments such as playwriting, tech, directing, etc. Yes, the advanced students can be a helpful resource, but it's not their job to teach. Obstacles can be a great breeding ground for creativity. Hang in there & make some creative "lemonade" out of the situation.

    Best,
    Garry 



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    Garry Tiller
    Theatre Arts Teaching Artist
    Sidwell Friends
    Washington, DC
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  • 4.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-18-2021 11:00
    Hi Erin!
    This is my headache EVERY year. Unfortunately the powers to be don't respect…or understand the need to
    have the classes separate. Mainly because of funding issues. Imagine "them trying to shove l,Ii and Iii's in one class!! 🤦🏽‍♀️ I put my foot down in my situation and got my admin. and counselors understand that at least let my I's stay all I's and I'll work with the I & III combo. I get it that drama III's is rare so perhaps if your admin. won't budge try to make the situation work for you. I start my semester/ year off as "review" and as I introduce new concepts (mainly for the drama I's) to the class I use my more advanced students as "student directors", "class/group leads" or whatever you decide to call them, "teach" the concept, spearhead writing a script or even directing small class skits or productions. the drama I'd are graded normally and the advanced students are assessed on the retention of the material, how well the deliver to their classmates and the success of the end product. Abeit a quiz, a script, or even that mini production. As you move on to material that may be new to all the "playing field" becomes even and all students become novice.
    Sorry this was so long and I hope it is coherent and helpful!
    🎭respectfully, Tania

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    Tania Chatman
    Dramatic Arts Instructor and Coach
    Redan High School
    GA
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  • 5.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-18-2021 11:09
    Seems like common problem everywhere.  I told them it's the equivalent of putting an algebra and geometry class together and then asking the geometry students to help teach the algebra students.  The problem would be that the curriculum for the geometry students wouldn't be taught, so they would be cheated out of learning opportunities.  I have 40+ students in on class period that are two different levels and they don't fit in my room so I have to teach in a cafetorium.  Both groups feel cheated and so do I.

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    Amy MacCord
    Musical Theatre Teacher
    Westwood Middle School
    FL
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  • 6.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-18-2021 11:48
    Edited by William Eyerly 09-18-2021 11:49
    I feel your pain. For the last 15 years I have been teaching mixed levels in theatre including beginners and honors levels in the same class. The differentiation can occur a couple ways. One way is the level of the assignment and how the assignment is assessed. For example, when working scenes, beginners might do a basic character analysis while more advanced might have to do a beat analysis. I also teach blocking and direction units to the advanced and have them block and direct the beginning students' scenes. I also develop semester capstone units for the advanced/honors students that is project based and scaffolded leading to an end of year showcase of the capstones.

    In short, it is possible. It is a bit more work, but I have found it rewarding and the student to student mentorship between levels has built my program and added to the family feel in theatre.

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    William Eyerly, PhD, EdD
    Academic Dean
    Director Upper School Theatre
    The Village School of Naples
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  • 7.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-18-2021 17:26
      |   view attached
    I did it pretty unsuccessfully early in my career.  The second-level students already knew the fundamentals, and their skill and knowledge intimidated the first-level students.  And Drama II was not Honors.  I wish I had answers.

    It worked far better to have the Theatre I separate, and then have the upper levels together in classes that produced shows.  There was still time after the play or musical closed to do playwriting, etc.  Many of the NC Theatre Arts standards could be covered as part of the production process.  In fact, I think it would be really difficult to accomplish the objectives without a production.  All of the classes after Theatre I were Honors.  There were differing requirements for some assignments: during playwriting, 2nd level had to write a 2-character scene, 3rd level had to write a 3-character scene, and 4th level had to write a complete work.

    After a couple of years, I added a Tech Theatre Practicum class with a maximum of 3 students that could be dropped into any Theatre I class period.  Those students had to have taken 2 Theatre classes previously, so they had knowledge and skills.  They worked on projects in support of our productions, such as marketing campaigns, research, costuming, scene design, props, etc., that they could do with minimal direct instruction from me.  They also hung audition and show posters around the school, reorganized the prop area after each show, restocked costumes after they had been laundered, did an inventory of the classroom play library at the end of the semester, and so on.  It was a great way for students who couldn't get into an upper-level class to stay involved.

    I would probably ask the principal to direct me to other teachers who teach two courses simultaneously, one of those Honors, to get their advice before I agree to this new plan.  Are Spanish I and II taught in the same class period, with Spanish II being Honors?  How about math classes?

    If your principal bristles at being challenged in a meeting, maybe writing an email or letter might allow you to explain the problems with this plan more cogently.

    Definitely let your Illinois Theatre standards for Introductory and Intermediate levels be your evidence and here.

    Good luck!



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    CJ Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator
    NC
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  • 8.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-19-2021 18:46
     I'm used to teaching Drama I & II in the same room by adding a line on the rubric for Drama II or making them mentors/directors. But to call Drama II Honors with the added GPA bonus seems disingenuous if I don't truly elevate their curriculum. How do I justify the double-enhancement of the class, if I don't have the space/time for instruction in concepts/skills/content that the Drama I kids shouldn't be ready for? How is it more than just a label?

    Erin Philyaw
    Member Educational Theatre Association
    Pronouns: She/Her/Hers (more information on pronouns here)
    Von Stueben MSC Drama teacher/director





  • 9.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-28-2021 13:05
    I would say no to that. I have other levels mixed but Beginning Theatre needs to be alone.

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    Bernadette MacLeod
    East Mecklenburg High School
    NC
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  • 10.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-28-2021 15:56
    Too much buzzkill in this thread. This is an amazing opportunity.

    I have Theater 1, 2, 3, and sometimes even 4, all at the same time. I did resist at first, but it is an absolute godsend. The veterans create the culture for the new arrivals. Rehearsal doesn't need to be the only place where that happens - it can be magical in the classroom, and greatly shortens the learning curve of how to be a responsible and 'yes-saying' student of the arts.

    I suggest you treat them all like one class. Same assignments, same syllabus. You might lighten the expectations/rubrics for the beginners, but I do not. Veterans will create leadership with very little urging from you, and the 'first year' stuff gets handled (usually) more quickly - and the seasoned students DO benefit from revisiting the basics. Beginners get full immersion, and they will either love it or leave it. Win, win, win.

    I further suggest that you have a two year rotating curriculum, so the students who take you both years don't repeat the same stuff (unless, like me, you find you have some activities that they look forward to doing every year). You might find you have enough units and projects in your hopper to do three or four years' worth without repeating anything.

    I hope this creates some space for you.

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    Josh Kauffman
    Teacher, Thespian Society/Drama Club sponsor
    Winfield City Schools
    Winfield, AL
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  • 11.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-28-2021 16:13
    Thanks. I do already teach 1&2 together and it is just as you say. I even do the 2 year rotating curriculum. My concern tbf was more with calling Drama 2 an honors class. It seemed that the honors label possibly merited curriculum that was even more elevated than just Drama 2, like adding genres, acting approaches, etc. that require more teaching time but which would come at the expense of teaching the basics well to D1 kids in the same class. 






  • 12.  RE: Is it possible to teach beginning drama and level 2 drama in the same room simultaneously?

    Posted 09-30-2021 12:30
    I do get that, and I apologize for skating over it in my response. I agree with what others have said about finding ways to create leadership opportunities for the "Honors" kids, perhaps more deliberately rather than trusting it to happen naturally, It is possible that some students might chafe under that expectation, but I wouldn't expect many to. I don't know if you've asked the students for their thoughts on making this work and be successful, but if you have, what did they say?

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    Josh Kauffman
    Teacher, Thespian Society/Drama Club sponsor
    Winfield City Schools
    Winfield, AL
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