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Radio Days Lesson Plan

Instructor:  Amanda Good
 
Lesson Title:  The Actor’s Voice:  Old Time Radio Shows
 
Time Frame:  Six class periods.
 
Target Audience:  8th Grade Performing Arts Class, 31 students
 
Special Concerns:
 
This class includes six students with special learning concerns; most are specifically related to reading and writing.  Accommodations include repeating directions and shortening assignments.  Students are all integrated into pre-assigned groups with students of varying levels of reading proficiency.  Students with limited reading and writing skills will be assigned the job of “foley artist,” which is sound effect researcher.  There is less writing involved than the other two roles.
 
Rationale: 
 
Our culture is very visual. It is difficult at times for students to express themselves using only the voice. The actor’s voice can communicate much about a character.  Often, young actors are focused on their appearance that they forget to utilize the power of the voice.  By eliminating physical action and focusing specifically on the voice, students will continue to practice good acting while intensely focusing on vocal skills.   
 
Previously, students have completed an introductory handout on the human voice.  Next, they analyzed the vocal techniques used by two professional actors reading Dr. Seuss books.  Students then practiced some techniques such as projection, volume, speed, inflection, pause, and emotion by reading Dr. Seuss Books.  The next step is applying these techniques to develop a character. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to study American history and culture during the 1930's through 1950's. They will also be able to compare the development of technology from the radio to today's mp3 players.
 
Goals/Objectives:           
 
Students will explore the history of radio programming, and apply this knowledge to perform a script for a radio mystery/suspense or comedy series. Students will explore the use of sound effects and apply them to their performance. Integrating prior knowledge of the use of vocal techniques to create character, students will practice the radio drama script.  Students will create original commercials to accompany their radio show.   Finally, students will create a recording of their performance and will publish their final production on the web.  
 
Content Area:            Performing Arts:  Basic Acting Skills, Character Development
 
Content Expectations:
  • National Arts Standards –Theater Grades 5-8.2 Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes
  • Michigan Technology standard 6-8 CI2: create an original project (e.g., presentation, web page, newsletter, information brochure) using a variety of media (e.g., animations, graphs, charts, audio, graphics, video) to present content information to an audience
  • Michigan Technology standard 6-8 RI1: use a variety of digital resources to locate information
Technology Integration:           
 
Students will utilize computers to research many aspects of Old Time Radio.  Specifically, students will participate in a webquest and listen to recorded media.  Students will utilize recording equipment and post their performances on the web.
 
Materials:


·        Student journals·        Notecards·        Computer lab·        Headphones·        Radio scripts·        Recording equipment (borrow from band)


Procedure:
  1. Day One:  Lesson Introduction:  Mrs. Good asks the following questions, and students will discuss with their pre-assigned group, and record their answers in their journals. 
    1. Pre-assessment:  What do students already know about Old Time Radio Programming?
    2. Why was radio programming an important part of culture in the first part of the 20th century?
    3. What are the different types of radio programming?
    4. There are some elements common to most productions. What are some of these?
    5. How did these programs seek to simulate reality?
  2. Mrs. Good will hand each student a card with a role assignment on it.  Roles include:  Script Researcher (2 per group), Foley Artist (sound person), and Advertising Executive.
  3. Class will begin the webquest, “Radio Days,” by Cynthia Matzat.  Students will record observations in their journals.  This process is expected to take the remainder of the first class period and half of the second class.
  4. At the end of the second class (last day in the lab), students will go to the website www.radiolovers.com and listen to 5-8 minute excerpts from two different genres of radio productions.
    1. Students will take a few short notes in their journal on each of the shows they listened to
    2. Students will write a 2-4 sentence recommendation for each show.
  5. Day three:  Students will choose a radio script to perform.  While practicing, students will:
    1. Use actor’s vocal techniques
    2. Incorporate sound effects.
  6. Day Four:  students will write two commercials to include as a part of their performance.  Commercials should:
    1. Include all students
    2. Utilize sound effects
    3. Incorporate actor’s vocal techniques.
  7. Day Five:  students will record their segment of the radio program post it to the web.   
Evaluation:
  1. Day Six:  Students and teacher will listen to all recordings.  They will evaluate using the following rubric:

Oral Presentation Rubric : Old Time Radio Show

     
     
     
Teacher Name: Mrs. Good   
     
     
Student Name:     ________________________________________Total Score_______________/40___________
     
CATEGORY4321
Actor's Performance of Vocal Techniques (double points)Actor uses examples of at least three actor's vocal techniquesActor uses examples of two actor's vocal techniquesActor uses examples of one actor's vocal techniquesActor does not use examples of actor's vocal techniques
Actor's Performance of Sound EffectsActor creates at least three effective and believable sound effects during the performanceActor creates two effective and believable sound effects during the performanceActor creates one effective and believable sound effect during the performanceActor does not creates effective and believable sound effects during the performance
Introductory questionsStudent attempted to answer all 5 introductory questions in their journalStudent attempted to answer 4 introductory questions in their journalStudent attempted to answer 3 introductory questions in their journalStudent attempted to answer 1-2 introductory questions in their journal
Webquest TimelineStudent created a timeline in their journal including 5 itemsStudent created a timeline in their journal including 4 itemsStudent created a timeline in their journal including 3 itemsStudent created a timeline in their journal including 1-2 items
Webquest Notes on RolesStudent took notes about his/her role assignment in their journal including 5 itemsStudent took notes about his/her role assignment in their journal including 4 itemsStudent took notes about his/her role assignment in their journal including 3 itemsStudent took notes about his/her role assignment in their journal including 1-2 items
Radio Days Progam RecommendationStudent wrote a 3-4 sentence recommendation for two radio showsStudent wrote a 1-2 sentence recommendation for two radio showsStudent wrote a 3-4 sentence recommendation for one radio showStudent wrote a 1-2 sentence recommendation for one radio show
Collaboration with PeersAlmost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group. Tries to keep people working well together.Usually listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group. Does not cause "waves" in the group.Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group but sometimes is not a good team member.Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group. Often is not a good team member.
Recording of ProjectStudent Recorded radio play and commercialStudent Recorded radio playStudent Recorded commercialStudent did not Record radio play or commercial
Evaluates PeersFills out peer evaluation completely and always gives scores based on the presentation rather than other factors (e.g., person is a close friend).Fills out almost all of the peer evaluation and always gives scores based on the presentation rather than other factors (e.g., person is a close friend).Fills out most of the peer evaluation and always gives scores based on the presentation rather than other factors (e.g., person is a close friend).Fills out most of the peer evaluation but scoring appears to be biased.

  

 

Resources and References:

 

(2009). Radiolovers. Retrieved from http://www.radiolovers.com  

 

Bell, G. (2009). Greg Bell's Blog, Retrieved from http://www.gregbellblog.com/ 

 

Genco, L. (2009). The Original old-time radio site. Retrieved from http://www.old-time.com/ 

 

Matzat, Cynthia. (2004, May 10). Thematzats.com. Retrieved from http://www.thematzats.com/cynthia.html    

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