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Teaching Theatre Online

Top Ten Tips for Teaching Theatre Online

  1. 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. This is article offers a list of available free wi-fi services as of spring 2020.
  2. 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.   Find some excellent tips and tools on this California Department of Education's site Lessons from the Field - Remote Learning Guidance.
  3. 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
  4. 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.  
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.  
  7. 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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.  Learn more about the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act here. 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. 
  10. Follow copyright and licensing rules for recording or streaming in class performances. Check with your licensing agencies as needed.  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

Curriculum Ideas

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.
Audition Techniques 
Audio Drama (Radio Plays) 
 “Beyoncelogues” (turning lyrics from songs into monologues)
Careers in the Theatre
Character Analysis
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.) 
Directing Concepts
Devised Theatre 
Dramaturgy
Headspace Theatre

Masks 
Monologues 
Musical Theatre Genres
Play Writing
Puppetry 
Solo Performance 
Sonnet and Soliloquys
Social Justice Theatre (theory/applications)
Theatre History
Story Drama
Storytelling as Student Outreach Projects (ex: theatre students create instruction for elementary use)  
Verbatim Theatre
Virtual Stage Management

See more ideas under "Lesson Plan Nuggets" right here on Theatre Educator Pro.

EdTA Resources

  • 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 WritingActing and Stage Management  

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