Teaching Theatre Online
Top Ten Tips for Teaching Theatre Online
- Start by surveying your students: what technology do they have access to? how can they communicate with you? Consider spending the first online class going over how to use the technology together. Plan to communicate as often as possible to keep students feeling a part of the classroom community: office hours, text messages, emails, one on one sessions, etc.
- Mix it up in your time together: combine interactive portions, videos, live teaching, guided group movement exercises, breaks for paying attention to SEL and chances to reflect; utilize a mix of guided group instruction and small group or duos. Combine short group sessions with independent assignments to further learning while minimizing screen time. It is especially important to keep sessions short and engaging for younger learners.
- Don't forget about accessibility; be sure to make efforts to make virtual content accessible to students of all abilities in planning your online teaching. The National Endowment for the Arts created this list of resources to help.
- Use an online file management system or your school's learning management system to stay organized and communicate with students and families. Google tools, Google Classrooms, Dropbox features, all can be used to organize student assignments and grades for easy cloud-based access available anywhere.
- Organize your space for teaching; just as you might organize your desk in your classroom. Teach your students to create a space for learning; coach them to try to access class in the same place each time, and to always have a journal and pencil ready. Encourage them to keep regular sleep hours and to get ready for classes just as they would get ready for in person school. Help them with simple rituals to start and end class.
- Adjust your lessons to match both the challenges and the freedoms of online learning; see the list of curriculum suggestions below for ideas that translate well into a virtual environment.
- Embrace this time as a chance for creativity and student choice; engage your students in finding innovative ways to use the technology for storytelling and theatre making. It is not a question of IF we teach and perform theatre, it is just a question of HOW. Be proactive with a plan and communicate it to your administrators and families. Let them know you are ready to go online whenever the need arises. Make it easy for them to imagine how theatre education, led by an experienced and qualified theatre educator, can be delivered in a virtual world.
- Plan project based lessons which include a web based element - these lend themselves well to flipped classrooms or hybrid learning situations where there is a combination of in person and virtual instruction. Check out the "Click to Teach/Click to Learn" online curriculum packages on Theatre Educator Pro- perfect for in person OR online instruction.
- Protect student privacy and safety. Use tools and aps which offer student privacy agreements (check the National Database to be sure), avoid sharing student contact information, use web based programs which do not require a download to access. Protect meeting safety. Be aware of and use privacy controls when hosting virtual sessions. Check with your district for additional advice about policies or protections.
- Follow copyright and licensing rules for recording or streaming performances. Check with your licensing agencies. Check for the appropriate licensing rights for recording book readings. Check Fair Use and You Tube guidelines when using YouTube.
Tutorials for Commonly Used Tools - Log in to View
You may be wondering how online learning can connect to your theatre curriculum? You are not alone. This is a wonderful time to return to your curriculum and make new discoveries. To get you started, here is a list of ideas which theatre educators are finding easy to teach online. Whenever possible, we have also provided a link to a resource right here on Theatre Educator Pro; along with occasional links from the internet which seemed too good to pass up.
Acting for the Camera
Acting Styles – Stanislavski, Strasburg, Meisner, Hagen, Adler, etc.
Audio Drama (Radio Plays)
“Beyoncelogues” (turning lyrics from songs into monologues)
Careers in the Theatre
DocuDrama (Newspaper Theatre)
Design Challenges: prop construction, costume design, set design, sound design, light design, make up design, etc.
Digital Storytelling (Digital Narrative, Digital Character Exploration, etc.)
Musical Theatre Genres
Sonnet and Soliloquys
Social Justice Theatre (theory/applications)
Storytelling as Student Outreach Projects (ex: theatre students create instruction for elementary use)
Virtual Stage Management
See more ideas under "Lesson Plan Nuggets" right here on Theatre Educator Pro.
EdTA Resources for Creating Online Learning
- Getting Started A step by step guide to creating online learning experiences.
- Tools to Use Lists of tools that meet your needs for communicating with students, collecting student work, tracking student progress and more.
- Lesson Plan Nuggets Ideas for lesson plans that come with a suggestion for how you might link that content to a standards based activity.
- Click to Teach/Click to Learn Specially designed lessons suitable for online teaching or student self paced learning; these include everything you need to teach standards based content and measure learning.
- Theatre in Our Schools K-12 Page published for Theatre in Our Schools Month includes sample lesson plans and curriculum for grades K-12 and valuable curriculum maps to jump start planning at all levels.
- Tech Theatre Toolkit Series of PowerPoint based lessons by educator B.K. Goodman which make wonderful projects for online learning.
- Community Forum Participants share tips, curriculum and resources in this open community.
- Dramatics.org Student friendly resources in an interactive media format. Check out these highlights sorted by Writing, Acting and Stage Management
A Webinar Toolkit
Zoom Tales; Teaching Performance OnlineContains 2 Component(s), Includes Certificate Recorded On: 06/09/2020
Learn how to fine tune your use of Zoom and Google based tools to teach performance skills in a virtual environment; including strategies to help bring virtual scenework alive and ideas for creating an online curriculum.
Story Drama WebinarContains 2 Component(s), Includes Certificate Recorded On: 06/01/2020
Story drama turns literature into an exciting jumping off point for creative drama and creative play as a vehicle for teaching theatre to young children. Story drama also translates very well to online learning. This informative webinar offers strategies for teaching story drama in the classroom or online and demonstrates an online lesson.
Creating an Elementary Theatre CurriculumContains 2 Component(s), Includes Certificate
Learn how to structure a theatre curriculum for grades K-5, along with tips for setting up your space to work for online teaching and ideas for teaching elementary students in a virtual environment.
Improve Your ImprovContains 2 Component(s), Includes Certificate
Learn how to structure a lesson in improvisation for online teaching. The Educational Theatre Association in Partnership with the Maryland Theatre Education Association offers this interactive improv webinar led by Joanna Chilcoat Fellows.
Teaching Theatre Through Games Online or in the ClassroomContains 2 Component(s), Includes Certificate
Theatre educators Jill Panyard and Debra Macut demonstrate teaching theatre through games- online or in person.
- Models of Assessment
- Standards Based Lesson Planning
- Resources for Creating Online Learning
- Resources for Creating Virtual Performances
- Click to Teach: Lessons for Online Learning
- Theatre for Social Justice
- A Day with TE-Pro
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Theatre Educator Pro
EdTA’s flagship tool, Theatre Educator Pro raises the bar for theatre educator professional development through an online suite of resources offering standards-based curricula, K-12 lesson plans, live and on-demand webinars, and much more. New materials are added regularly for use in class and onstage, creating an ever-evolving catalog.