Drama Rituals Unit

Welcome to grade 10 Drama & the Rituals unit. The Rituals unit should ideally be held a ways into the semester – because of the nature of the unit – making abstract movements, gestures and sounds – students often aren’t comfortable at the beginning; allow enough time for “ritual games” & warm ups to get students involved & enthusiastic.

Click for a copy of the Rituals Unit Plan:

Drama Rituals Unit Plan
The Rituals Handout should be provided to the class on day one. The teacher should work through the handout with the students – it is suggested that a variety of strategies should be used to do so. For example, a class discussion could be facilitated by the teacher regarding the 7 common elements of primitive rituals & 21st century theatre; students could complete a graffiti activity to brainstorm examples for each of the 6 purposes, etc.

Click for a copy of the student handout & teacher answer key of the rituals handout:

Rituals Handout

Introduction to the Ritual Unit:
A few clips of primitive rituals and/or movie clips should be used to introduce the ritual unit to the students. Often students don’t realize they know what a ritual looks like, starting them off with some great clips can really get the ball rolling.

Ritual Video

Ace Ventura – Tribal Fight

Mask Sketch Designs:
For their ritual performance, students will have the opportunity to design, make and decorate their very own masks. Students should complete their mask sketches & upload them to the class wikispace. Once images are scanned & uploaded, students should provide constructive feedback of their peers’ sketches.

Ritual Mask

Ritual Performances:
Final performances should be videotaped & uploaded onto the class wikispace. Post performance, students are required to complete a Peer & Self evaluation. Students may refer to their video performance in order to provide feeback on the actual performance, however Peer & Self Evaluations should also include the student’s reflections of the individual’s work ethic, willingness to take risks, attitude, collaboration and their role in the group throughout the creative process. A copy of the creative process should also be included on the class wikispace. It can be found here: Creative Process

Getting Started:
The ritual unit is not an easy one for students to come into – especially if the students are quite ready to take some risks in the class. One simple class activity involved making a sound ritual. The class should start off by brainstorming noises they can make with their feet, hands, fingers, and voices. Be creative! What’s around you that you can use? Keep in mind pacing! Pick one short & easy rhythm for each of the body parts (feet, hands, fingers, voice). Next divide students into equal groups, each group will take responsibility for one of the created sounds. At the call of the teacher, have each group join in at a different time. Continue to practice your sound ritual, have the teacher or the student conduct the class throughout the sound ritual.

A Teaching Block Fairy Tale

First day back at Brock from my teaching placement & my Drama I/S advisor hands us a fairy tale template ūüôā

Once upon a time, a student teacher name Miss Rundle left the warm security of Brock University to enter a strange new land named High School.¬† The High School was like a castle.¬† It towered above her in the sky and stretched as far as the eye could see.¬† She shivered as she walked nearer and was covered by its shadow.¬† At the centre of the school, paths & hallways came and went from every direction, like a maze.¬† During Miss Rundle‘s month -long stay, she met numerous challenges, including finding a mutual respect with the students, keeping a positive frame of mind & ensuring the students were engaged.¬† Drawing on strengths or organization & deep breathing, Miss Rundle met the very difficult challenge of engaging students by asking lots of questions & planning fun & exciting lessons.¬† At the end of the adventure, Miss Rundle returned to Brock University with a new awareness of good planning & patience.

Learning the Learning Skills

An overdue blog from a PD Day session throughout my first block. 

The PD Day focused a lot on Learning Skills & the evaluation of these skills¬†– likely a large topic considering midterm reports just went out for students which included the new skills…

The discussion included the “evaluation” of learning skills & where letter “marks” (E, G, S, N) come from.¬† One concerned raised was whether Learning Skills are evaluated on a given standard or each individual.¬† My initial reaction was that learning skills, just like all other skills or subjects are evaluated based on a decided standard.¬† When a teacher marks an assignment, test, or presentation, he/she should already have shared the criteria¬†with the class & be marking from that criteria.¬† Right?¬† The teacher who raised this concern however brought up a valid point – what if, a “satisfactory” for one student is actually a “good” or “excellent” for another?¬† If a student has improved drastically from where they were and are performing excellently or their personal best – should they only merit a “satisfactory” or even worse a “need [more] improvement” simply because they are matching the top of the class?¬† This raised a huge point for me.¬† As a future teacher of the arts, it isn’t fair to mark students against one another, against a criteria.¬† Why should kids who have raw talent always get the step up from other students who maybe work harder?¬† Shouldn’t students be marked against themselves?¬† Agains’t their own personal best?¬†

Another concern raised was the criteria besing used to evalutate Learning Skills.  In most of the catergories there are at least 4 bullets.  The point raised was what should happen when a student is excelling in 3 of the 4 bullets, but struggling with the 4th bullet.  Or vise versa.  Where does this leave the teacher?  Where does it leave the student? 

What about the students?  Do they understand how Learning Skills are being evalutated? 

After all the concerns raised throughout the PD Day, the Arts Department at the school decided to work together to create “I am…” statements for each specialization (drama, music, art, photography etc.) to better understand each bullet.¬† For example, under responsibility: I come to class prepared for the day’s lesson with my binder, paper, props, costumes etc.¬† The “I am…” statements are a great idea I think becuase they are written in student friendly language that could be shared with students (and should be shared with students!) at the beginning of the year so they understand the Learning Skills & where the evaluation srems from.¬† Another idea that was brainstormed during the collaborative period, was to create a document (“I am…” statements included) and have the students evaluate themselve on the Learning Skills throughout or at the end of a unit.¬† The teacher would also provide his/her evaluation of the students Learning Skills.¬† This chart would then continue throughout the semester.¬† The idea, is that the teacher could see whether the student is understanding where their “mark” is coming from & also so the student can see where they need to improve.¬†

I think the big thing with this PD Day was reminding teachers how important Learning Skills are.  I think parents often under-estimate the importance of them while being pre-occupied with a letter or percentage grade in each subject.  As much as grade 10 Science is important, Learning Skills are for life.

Happy Websites :)

On October 23, I attended a massive online presentation put on by Discovery Education.  The sessions were super informative, as too were the discussions happening in the chatroom.  Check this out:  Discovery Education Session Archives

I attended Hall Davidson’s Ten Things You Didn‚Äôt Know You Could Do with Video ‚Äď and Two You Did; a short presentation by Tally Berkheart on picture stories (http://tinyurl.com/2ey7wo9¬†example of a photostory); and Kyle Schutt’s Digital Media, Formative Assessment, and the 21st Century Classroom.¬†


http://www.livephysics.com/¬†– A great resource website for teachers & students.¬† Live Physics focuses on “physics, science, space and technology news”.¬† Definitely a cool site for science teachers!

Streaming Video Tools: http://gik.com¬†and http://dirpy.com¬†-> I don’t know much about streaming videos, but these two sites were highly recommended.¬† What I got from it – instead of streaming videos live in class, with the risk of the videos not working, these tools allow teachers & students to download a section of the video (or the video itself), save it, and embed it into a powerpoint presentation.

http://yttm.tv/¬†– Awesome site!!¬† Travel through time & check out videos from 1860 – 2010.¬† What a great site for history teachers.¬† Remind your students they could embed these videos into a power point presentation ūüôā

http://blabberize.com/¬†¬†Blabberize a video?¬† I found this website after the presentation becuase I didn’t understand what “babberizing” was.¬† Really cool though – esp. for younger grades.¬† Take a picture & make it talk!¬† A history project would definitely be more fun if you could put words in Sir John A.’s mouth.¬†

http://scribblemaps.com/  Map creater for geography activities

http://voicethread.com/¬†Voice thread is a really cool tool for teachers & students¬†– voice thread could actually save students a lot of at home confusion.¬† The way it works, record a video (or take a video already recorded), record your voice ontop of the video & if you want draw on the video as you go.¬† How could this save homework frustration?¬† If your students are at home & need to review a lesson & you’ve recorded a voicethread & uploaded it onto your class wikispace – click!¬† your students can re-watch the lesson & learn!

www.qik.com A new way to share live video via internet or mobile phones

http://www.khanacademy.org/¬† Is a really cool website for the math wiz.¬† The purpose of the website, you’ll see is to help students with different sections of subject content.¬†

http://www.xtramath.org/ Another math site for students Рregistration required. 

http://www.wallwisher.com/¬† “A new way to communicate” – wallwisher allows you (wihout registration) to create a wall.¬† Check out the demo wall I made – leave a note!¬† http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/teacherdemo

http://www.glogster.com/ Poster yourself!  You can link video, audio, images & texts.  A great idea for class projects.  http://edu.glogster.com/ Рfor teachers

http://reading.ecb.org/teacher/index.html A great site for teachers Рalthough surrently under construction, there is a section for students too.  This site has great ideas for laying out your classroom & a full section dedicated to learning strategies.  Definitely check this one out!

Another option for teachers is becoming a DEN Star.  A DENStar allows teacher access to Progress Zone .  Progress Zone is a new & improved form of assessment.  Progress Zone allows teachers to create (optional) online mini quizzes that provide teacher & student feedback.  Progress Zone quizzes can be linked right onto the class wikispace. 

I know that¬†if you’re reading this you’ve likely¬†has heard of wikispaces, but I’m including this as a website because Kyle Schutt promoted class wikispaces so much, that I feel it would be a disservice to not pass on this great idea.¬† A wikispace is a great idea for a class because it provides a digitial platform for the classroom.¬† Why do we need a digital platform?¬† Because it allows for accessibility & communication.¬†¬† With a class wikispace, students will be able to access class information 24/7 & parents will also be able to better communicate with the¬†teacher & understand what’s going on in their child’s class.¬†

Overall GREAT sessions.  A ton of websites.  And one very long blog.

education talks

A follow up to the discussion I participated in last week – “Elevating the Education Reform Dialog”

What a great discussion with many great speakers.  Guest speakers included: Alfie Kohn, Diane Ravitch, Deborah Meier, Chris Lehmann, Gary Stager, Will Richardson, Julie Evans, and Sir Ken Robinson.

Although each speaker took a slightly different angle at the Education Reform and all had valuable information to share, near the end of the presentation I was struck by several messages that repeated themselves throughout each speaker.

RESPECT:The idea of respecting educators, and educators respecting each other.¬† Julie Evans reminded the group that “one size fits all” teacher’s don’t fit.¬† Diane Ravitch suggested that there is a significant lack of “the Educator’s voice” in the Teacher Reform because teachers aren’t safe to speak up.¬† If there was more respect for teachers, would they feel comfortable voicing their concerns?¬† Chris Lehmann brought forward such a key point in this matter – “Anti-teacher movements will never build better schools”.¬†

TRUST: Deborah Meier brought forward an important message about Trust.  Trust in our school communities Рtrust between teachers, students, parents and administrators Рand taking the time to build that trust. 

Education for Students:What is the focus of education?¬† What is the goal of school?¬† To empower students.¬† I thought this was very powerful.¬† Often in schools the idea of “what is best for children” is over powered by “what is instilled by the curriculum”.¬† Chris Lehmann made such a powerful and important statement, that as teachers we must understand the difference between “I teach English” and “I teach children English” – this statement will forever be at the forefront of my teaching career – remembering that as teachers we are not simply teaching a subject, but we are teaching children.¬† As teachers we have the opportunity to inspire students and show them their potential!¬† To guide them towards a future which they can be passionate about.¬† Remembering that school is for students should always come first!¬†

Education as Personalized: The discussion of education being personalized was a very important point in the conversation for me.¬† Sir Ken Robinson points out that as educators we need to promote diversity and not uniformity.¬† Students who dropped out of school are brought back into the system via a personalized curriculum BUT, as Sir Ken Robinson insists, if the system had been personalized to begin with some of these students would never have dropped out to begin with!¬† This is such an important part of being a teacher!¬† Understanding students’ learning styles!¬† Students will struggles until teachers understand and attempt to appeal to each child’s learning style.¬†

Included are just a couple of the websites I picked up and a blog I really enjoyed and related to discussions we’ve been having in my pre-service Assessment & Evaluation Class.

Websites Mentioned:





Don’t Weigh the Elephant: Feed the Elephant

An Online Classroom

Participating in an online discussion/presentation can be really overwhelming! 

I just participated in a world wide online discussion hosted by Future of Education.com & Edutopia.  The dialog was intended to be a way to include educators in the ongoing discussions that have been happening in regards to the education reform without the input of teachers or students. 

I’ll be honest, my first thoughts were anti technology.¬† It took me several tries to log on – which was the first step to me announcing that if technology wasn’t even used in my classroom there wouldn’t even by technology problems!¬† Once the discussion started however, I was¬†fairly satisfied with the outcome.¬†

The neat thing about an online classroom is that everything is happening so quickly, and sometimes you simply can’t take it all in, BUT instead of becoming frustrated by this, take in what you can!¬†¬† Form your own opinions as a learner!¬†

Take what you can, leave what you can’t, & form your own opinions.¬† – Especially when it comes to a discussion about education reform.¬† A small bit of knowledge is better than no knowledge.

Lots of resources were shared, lots of thoughts and ideas were hatched – stay tuned for more (as soon as I reorganize me notes…)

A Little French Inspiration

An activity in my I/S French class today brought about the fact that anglophone students taking french, most especially core french classes throughout their elementary through to grade 9 years lack inspiration for learning French.¬† The response to french, as our teacher puts it is “french sucks, I hate this, I quick, this sucks…”¬† The activity, called graffiti had students listing adjectives (in french) to describe different current celebrities that the teacher named.¬† The activities then became a word wall for students to use throughout the unit.¬† At the end of the activity, students were asked to guess what adjective all of the celebrities had in common.

So…what do:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Angelina Jolie, Brendan Fraser, Brooke Shields, Evangeline Lilly, Halle Berry, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Lisa Kudrow, Mick Jagger, Robin Williams and Lady GaGa

have in common?

They’re all bilingual!

It was pretty surprising to find out some of these people are fluent in french!

Get more info at:

French Speaking Celebrities

Catch the FISH!

I’m new to this blogging world, and as it appears to the whole world of technology.¬† I’ve just started a twitter account, on my way to a Google account and learned about NING.¬† I’m a technology infant taking my first steps, so bare with me.

I’ve been struggling with what to write for my first blog, and I’ll admit, I cheated – guilty of snooping at others’ blogs to get ideas.¬† I suppose your first is never your best, and there’s always room for improvement.

Today, I had my first Principles and Practices for Professional Certification – aka one highly important class in becoming a practicing teacher.¬† We watched this great video and I feel that it’s super important to share this with everyone!¬† I’ve seen this video before and can honestly say that taking part in the FISH philosophy really can change the way you shape your day and your career, if not your life.

The fish philosophy follow 4 simple rules:

  1. play
  2. make their day
  3. be there
  4. choose your attitude

Watch the video, you could make a student’s/teacher’s/parent’s/administrator’s day.

FISH philosophy