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Imaginative Writing Syllabus

 

Brief Overview of Course

 

Playwriting, whether fantastical or realistic, is the unveiling of the human experience through spoken word and action.  By studying the history and techniques used in creating live theater, each student will gain an appreciation of the approaches to writing for the stage.  Students will learn playwriting vocabulary and guidelines for formatting a script.  Students will bring in outside inspirations while also working on supplemental activities in class to help spark inspiration and individuality.  Students will experiment with different forms of playwriting to help build a framework for creating an original one-act play.

 

Required Material

 

To successfully complete this course, you will DAILY need:

*A THREE-RING BINDER with TEN TABBED DIVIDERS

*PAPER

*PEN

*PENCIL

*PAPER

 

Required Effort for Completion of Course

 

To successfully complete this course, you must:

*Complete all required writing exercises on time and categorize them correctly in your binder.

*Write daily in your journals.

* Know the different history of playwriting and major changes throughout history.

*Be able to write meaningful dialogue that shows the story rather than tell it.

*Create round and fully-developed characters.

*Bring in required assignments on time.

 

Grading System

1st Nine Weeks                                                             2nd Nine Weeks                                          3rd Nine Weeks                                4th Nine Weeks

Weekly Binder Check:           10%                  Weekly Binder Check:   10%            Weekly Binder Check: 10%                            Weekly Binder Check:  10% 

History Quiz:                             15%                                           History Quiz:                     15%                History Quiz:                15%        History Quiz:                  15%                      

Homework:                                15%                                              Homework:                        15%                Homework:                   15%         Homework:                                    15%

Aristophanes’ Frogs Test:  20%                                                 Rostand’s Cyrano                                 Susan Glaspell’s                               Churchill’s

Monodrama Play                    40%                                              de Bergerac Test:           20%                Trifles Test                     20%         Vinegar Tom Test:                          20%

                                                                                                Radio Drama:                    40%                Original 10-min. Play:  40%                             Final Project:                 40%

 

 

Binder Outline

 

Each student is required to keep a binder in the classroom that will contain ideas for plays, journals, quotes, works in progress, and different drafts and revisions of graded plays.  The binders will be checked weekly for completion and will be given a daily grade.  The binders will be separated by labeled dividers and will include the following items:

 

DAILY JOURNAL: Each class day will start with the completion of a daily journal.  These will be shared with the class after a five minute writing period.  These will be checked periodically for a grade.

 

CALENDAR AND WRITING SCHEDULE: Students will be given a calendar for each month to document outside writing time. Students will write down the days that they work and the time period.  This will help the student to track the best times for writing and how much writing they are completing in reflection of their plays.  These will be checked at the end of each month.

 

PLAY IN PROGRESS:  This section is dedicated to first drafts and play revisions. Also, this is where students will put critiques and suggestions about their plays. These will be checked periodically as the plays progress.

 

DIALOGUE: Dialogue exercises that are completed in class will be arranged here.  Also, students will keep a list of interesting phrases that they hear outside of class. These will be used for theatre games as well and shared with the class.  These will be checked periodically throughout the year.

 

NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE CLIPPINGS:  Students will bring newspaper clippings and magazine pictures for writing exercises.  The newspapers clippings could be stories, headlines, or interesting words.  Magazine clippings can include objects that can be used as props, pictures of people for character backgrounds, or interesting articles.  There should be at least ten entries at the end of every nine weeks.  These will be checked quarterly.

 

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES: Students will create a list of quotes for inspiration that will be checked quarterly.  These quotes will be used in exercises and theme for ideas.  There should be at least ten quotes added each nine weeks.  These will be checked quarterly.

 

EXERCISES:  Any written exercises that we complete in class should be organized in the binder.  These can be used as future inspiration for plays.

 

NOTES:  Any notes that we take for play formatting and theatre history should be organized in the binder.  This will help each student to have their notes continuously on-hand during class time.

 

GRADED MATERIALS: Any graded material that is returned should be organized and filed in the binder.  This helps with keeping track of grades for the student and creating a study packet for finals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

YEARLY COURSE OUTLINE

This is a basic outline that may change at the discretion of the teacher.

 

Half Day: Discuss rules and outline for the year.

 

8/3 First Full Day: GTKM Activity

 

WEEK 1:

Receive syllabus for class. 

Discuss playwriting as a class. 

Discuss beginner question worksheet.

First day of this week, turn in Beginner Questionnaire worksheet.

Organize Binder

Receive Notes on Ancient Drama

Discuss Characterization and Monodramas

Take Character Notes

Get Character Worksheet

Discuss history of Aristophanes and

Receive outline of Frogs

 

WEEK 2:

Discuss Satire and the use of plays for comedy and a message.

Discuss themes

Begin Reading Frogs by Aristophanes

Fill out playwriting analysis sheet

Take quiz over Ancient Drama Notes on Thursday

 

WEEK 3:

Choose a character to create a background

Discuss and begin to fill out character analysis sheet

Using character analysis sheet and background,

write an original monologue from character’s point of view

Take notes on Medieval Drama

Take test over Frogs

 

WEEK 4:

Discuss monologues and symbolism

Receive monologue to analyze for the class.

Work on significant object monologue.

Revised significant object monologue.

Bring in a magazine clipping of person.

Take quiz over Medieval Drama.

 

WEEK 5:

Personifying inanimate object monologue.

Write character background for clipping and monologue for character

Share with class.

 

WEEK 6:

Discuss outline of monodrama.

Discuss parts of plot and basic playwriting vocabulary.

Take notes on Restoration and 18th Century Drama

Focus on Commedia Dell’Arte characters.
Look for Commedia Dell’Arte characters in modern theatre and movies.

Create monologue for an original Commedia Dell’Arte character.

 

WEEK 7:

Begin discussing conflict.

Chalk Talk different types of conflict.

Begin brainstorming ideas for character monodrama.

Show clips of monodrama monologue, comic stand-up, etc.

QUIZ over restoration and 18th Century Drama Notes

Receive plot sheet.

 

WEEK 8:

Work on Monodramas.

Individual Teacher-Student Conferences

Binder Check.

 

WEEK 9:

Read Monodramas in class.

Turn in Dramas for grade

 

ENJOY FALL BREAK!

 

WEEK 10:

Welcome Back

Take notes on the stage directions.

Take notes on technical cues.

Take notes on formatting a script

Play Trust Game and Magic Clay

 

WEEK 11:

Take notes on 19th Century Drama and the Romantic Rebellion

*Improv from 3 bags (character, setting, problem or conflict) Students develop short, improbable scenes based on the chance selection of Character, Setting, Problem written on a piece of paper and drawn from each of three marked bags.

Discuss next reading, Cyrano de Bergerac

 

WEEK 12:

Begin Reading Cyrano

Complete Playwright analysis sheet.

Take quiz over Romantic Rebellion notes.

Finish play and discuss plot, symbolism, and props.

 

 

WEEK 13:

Watch film modern adaptation, Roxanne

Fill out comparison chart.

Take Test over Cyrano.

Bring in song that tells a story for next week.

 

WEEK 14:

Write a small scene based on the story told in the song.

Share scenes with class.

Take notes over Modern Drama

Partner Exercise: Creating an action and persona to demonstrate emotion.

 

WEEK 15:

Take quiz over modern Drama.

Watch stage version of A Doll’s House.

 

WEEK 16:

Notes over Radio Drama

Discuss favorite fairy tales.

Partner to create script.

 

WEEK 17:

Work in partners to write radio drama script.

Record scripts.

 

WEEK 18:

Finish radio dramas and play for class.

Study for exams.

BINDER CHECK

 

 

TAKE EXAMS AND HAVE A WONDERFUL WINTER BREAK!!!!

 

SPRING SEMESTER

 

WEEK 19

Discuss outlines and parts of play.

Discuss semester goals and timelines.

Receive notes on Symbolist and Naturalism Drama.

Discuss the importance of writing the play

you NEED to write, not that you want to write.

Discuss themes! Use newspaper and magazine clippings.

Development exercise of ideas using prompts.

Object in Room Writing exercise.

 

 

WEEK 20

Begin creating a conflict and storyboard.

Begin reading Glaspell’s Trifles.

Discuss the presence and absence of characters.

Take quiz over Symbolist and Naturalism Drama.

Discuss characters for plays.

Describe a person in your life that you DON’T know.

Activity vs. Action exercise.

 

WEEK 21

Secret Exercise.

Discuss character’s secrets using characters from binder.

Take notes on Expressionist, Absurdist, and Ensemble Theatre.

Begin Reading THE CHAIRS by Eugene Ionesco.

Take test over Trifles.

 

WEEK 22

Fill out Basic Play Elements Worksheet on THE CHAIRS.

Take quiz over Expressionist, Absurdist, and Ensemble Theatre.

Discuss the idea of a ten-minute play.

Discuss characters to be used in plays.

Fill out character worksheet.

Share with class.

Discuss conflict.

Fill out Basic Play Element Worksheet on original 10 minute.

 

WEEK 23

Read Sure Thing in class.

Receive outline for stage. Draw out scenery.

Write list of props.

Write At-Rise Curtain Description.

Decide on exposition. 

Hand-write dialogue for exposition.

Share with class.

 

WEEK 24

Week of hand-writing script.

Teacher-Student Conferences on play.

Must have Finished Copy ready by next week.

 

WEEK 25

Read scripts in groups.

Discuss common problems in plays.

Fill out common problems worksheet about play.

Begin Revisions on plays.

 

 

 

WEEK 26

Library/Laptop Week.

Format plays for typed copy.

Make final revisions of plays.

Plays are due at the end of class

Binder Check.

 

WEEK 27

Staged Reading of Plays in class.

 

ENJOY YOUR SPRING BREAK!!!

SEE YOU IN APRIL FOR A COMPLETE ONE-ACT PLAY!

 

WEEK 28

Discuss outline of last nine weeks of class.

Take notes on Contemporary Drama

Begin discussing the importance of specificity in play.

Look through magazine and newspapers for ideas.

Opening line exercise.

6 line play opener exercise.

 

WEEK 29

Take quiz over Contemporary Drama notes.

Read Caryl Churchill’s Vinegar Tom

Discuss history and current social issues

in the play.

Decide on play conflict.

 

WEEK 30

Fill out Play Element Worksheet.

Write Character List.

Complete character background for each character.

Take Test over Vinegar Tom

Receive rubric for final play.

Make prop list for play.

 

WEEK 31

Plot outline sheet for scenes of play.

Create Scene

Begin writing script in class.

 

WEEK 32

Rough Draft of Play due

Read plays in groups.

Complete peer review worksheet.

Teacher-Student Conferences.

 

 

 

WEEK 33

Two work days and continuance of conferencing.

Final Project Due.

 

WEEK 34

Staged Reading of Final Projects.

 

WEEK 35

STUDY

 

EXAMS!  HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER AND KEEP WRITING!!!

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