Overview: Using the theater element of voice choice to understand characters in E/LA
Children are natural actors. They do not require an acting class to change their voices or body shapes and levels to represent a lion or a giant, a mouse or a little boy. What they may not have, however, is the vocabulary to name what they are doing and the awareness to intentionally create characters by the use of their voices and bodies. That is what this lesson provides. In addition, students are encouraged to harness that natural tendency in dramatic play to adopt voices for characters and transfer that to their reading using different voices for different characters as they read. Students are invited to explore and name vocal pitch and body shape and level by listening to music and responding and ultimately dramatizing stories to reflect intentional acting choices to portray characters. Download this FREE arts integration lesson below!
Content Standard: CCSS.ELA-Reading.RL2.6
Theatre Standard: TH:Cr1.1.2 c.
As an extension, you may wish to take a short scene from a familiar story like “Jack and the Beanstalk” that includes dialogue between Jack and the Giant. In pairs, have the students practice their scene together with one student playing each role. Have them discuss their vocal and physical choices. Observe students looking for appropriate character choices. Team up pairs of actors and have them present to one another as you circulate and observe aurally and visually.
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Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.