Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Career and College Prep in Middle School Theatre

I don't know about you, but I am feeling the pressure to include more obvious college and career prep lessons in my curriculum lately.  Administration and parents love to hear that children are being offered this kind of instruction and support these days, but they do not realize they are already receiving it in their Fine Arts electives.  It's not in an obvious way, but the skills we teach in theatre directly pertain to college and life skills.

In Texas, the standards require that we teach theatre careers to older grades.  This year I had my advanced class (7th and 8th grade) create a theatre resume and I took a "headshot" (they ended up calling them mugshots) and laminated it to put on the wall next to their resumes.  This is something I saw my  high school director do with his advanced kids as they prepared for college, prep school, or a career.  Since schools are forcing kids to think about their future as early as 6th grade (!) I figured my kids could do their resumes, too.  My advanced kids participate in every production in some shape or form and are required to attend our speech contests, so they had plenty to put on their resumes.  I checked out a cart of chromebooks and had them do the assignment in Google Docs in a shared folder.  I can monitor their progress, give them feedback, and print the final product.  Easy.  This three days, starting with an interactive notebook lesson on jobs in theatre.

The next project I had them do was partner up and research a job in theatre, using local theatres as an example.  They had a week to research, analyze, and create a poster to present to the class on their career.  The poster had to be sturdy enough to be displayed to my other classes, and they did an assignment on this "Career Fair" while I had a sub.

Here's the finished Career Fair! (as you can see, one group didn't realize they were under a deadline...)

I've included the lesson plan, rubric, and PowerPoint for this lesson on my TeachersPayTeachers store for FREE!  It won't be free for long, though! Click HERE for Careers in Theatre Unit!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016


TeachersPayTeachers is a great collaboration and sharing site for teachers.  I just set up my own account to sell a few things I've created.  I've added documents for the Make Your Own Lesson Plan Book that I blogged about last year and still make!


Check it out if you want to customize the way you organize your days.  It's not just for Theatre educators, but the weekly template has the Theatre TEKS on it that you can take off.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Why a Good Website is Important for a Theatre Director

Did you notice how I said "Theatre Director" instead of "teacher"?  That was on purpose. We not only teach 5-7 classes a day, but we also have after school activities nearly every single day that vary throughout the year.  Districts are also pushing technology use for students in every classroom, including the arts.  A good website is a very important tool for theatre directors.

Your website should look like you spent time on it and update it often, otherwise parents and students will not use it.  Our district uses Weebly.  You can view my site as an example: http://mskorth.weebly.com

The Homepage

On the homepage I have an image of drama masks.  My district requires special permission to post photos of students so check before you post any.  Images enhance the aesthetic of the page.  I have my Twitter feed on the page, as well, for parents and students who are not on Twitter.  Substitute teachers will look at your webpage to see your class schedule, so I put mine at the bottom. (I know I did this as a sub; I always wanted to know when I was going to eat that day!) I don't want to have too many tabs along the top of the page so I added a few buttons/links about why and how children benefit from theatre classes.  Keep in mind that prospective parents and students may look at your page.  You can use this site as a recruiting tool, as well, by printing up QR codes on your informational flyers on Electives Fair or Open House nights.  I also list items that I would like to be donated to the department if parents/students wish.


We have a million things happening in theatre and you can keep them all organized with Google calendar and embed it on your webpage.  It updates automatically when you add something!  I add notebook lessons, due dates, rehearsal calendars, drama club meetings, progress reports/report card dates, etc.  With Google Calendar, I can create a separate calendar for each show or speech and print them separately for students with my website address written on them.


Your students should be able to find work online.  I have my students complete a quick warm up at the beginning of every class.  If they are absent (or lazy...) they can go to my website to find a link to a Google slide file with all of the warm ups.  The worksheet is also there to download.  I have a link to Google Classroom where I post images of our interactive notebook lessons for the day taken with my document camera.  On my assignments page I also have the district's policy for late work copied and pasted there, along with FAQ about what letters and symbols mean on Parent Portal when they are viewing grades.


On this page I list several things that we cover (or may cover) for prospective parents/students, or current parents.  It helps for admin to see this, as well.  What exactly do we do in theatre?  Well, this is it!  This would also be a good place to post information about how skills in theatre can prepare students for college and work.  High school directors may even have an extra page dedicated to auditioning for university or preparatory programs. 


I have a page for our musical, one act play, spring show, and speech.  On the musical page I included info to sign up for our Remind account, and I added a form for cast members to fill out if they knew there were going to miss rehearsal.  That was a lovely tool; I got an email several days ahead of time instead of a student telling me and me forgetting that they even told me.  I also have a page for our drama club activities.

About You

Parents and students want to know more about you.  Include a little biography with your teaching philosophy, experience, and education.  Bragging about your college to your kids is always a good thing!

Weebly has the option in the paid accounts to add password protected pages where you can post work without violating copyright laws.

Not only do you want your students to be able to access work, but you want your website to be a great tool to recruit new students and inform the public about your upcoming shows while keeping the cast and crew informed.

Now when my kids ask the dreaded question, "Ms. Korth, do we have rehearsal today?" I can tell them to check my website because it sounds like they lost their calendar! :)