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Lesson Plan

The Ten-Minute Play: Encouraging Original Response to Challenging Texts

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The Ten-Minute Play: Encouraging Original Response to Challenging Texts

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 50-minute sessions (plus performance time for each group)
Lesson Author

Laura Hennessey DeSena

Sparta, New Jersey

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

After reading Beloved or another suitable novel, students review some of the critical elements of drama, focusing on differences between narrative and dramatic texts, including point of view. They discuss the role of conflict in the novel, and work in small groups to search the novel for a passage they can adapt into a ten-minute play. Students write their play adaptation in writer’s workshop sessions, focusing on character, setting, conflict, and resolution. When the play draft is complete, students review and revise it, then rehearse and present their play to the class. As the plays are performed, students use a rubric to peer-review each group’s work. Because students are responding to a novel with significant internal dialogue and conflict, they are called on to use both analytical and creative skills as they create the adaptation, rather than simply cutting and pasting dialogue.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Teaching Racially Sensitive Literature: A Teacher's Guide: This resource offers point for consideration prior to teaching a racially sensitive piece of literature, including teaching and discussion ideas for the classroom.

Ten-Minute Play Planning Questions: Students can use the questions on this handout as a guide when planning their ten-minute plays based on a novel.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

When asked to read and respond to a challenging piece of literature, students can be easily tempted by the intellectual shortcuts of online summaries, responses, and student essays. Because this lesson requires students to make informed and thoughtful decisions about dramatic possibilities in a text, the assignment has several benefits. It is both imaginative and analytical, improving the likelihood of engaged, original, and thoughtful student work and response.

Students use existing dialogue and references to characterization, action, and behaviors in conjunction with imagined dialogue and stage actions to create a response to the text, all the while maintaining the integrity of the original. That is, they must keep in mind the author's own vision for the work while adding their own unique view and interpretation through a retelling. To encourage additional critical thinking, students perform their adaptation and participate in an analytical peer review process, placing the dramatic adaptation in the context of the novel as a whole.

Further Reading

DeSena, Laura Hennessey.  2007. Preventing Plagiarism: Tips and Techniques. (Chapter 2). Urbana, IL:  NCTE.

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