Instructor: Mr. Evans
Room:  W-14

Course Objectives:

Hello and Welcome to High School Drama Class.  Most of you already know who I am but I know there are a lot of you who do not know what to expect from this course or from me as your teacher.  This syllabus will help to clarify course objectives, my intent, and the necessary information for successful completion of this class.  If there is any information you cannot find here, it is your responsibility to make me aware of what you need.  I cannot read your mind and I cannot anticipate all of your individual needs without your assistance. 

This theater class is primarily designed to offer opportunities for you to learn how to express yourselves in front of an audience.  Essentially acting is at the center of the course.  This means it is mandatory for you to perform in front of the class.  No exceptions.  The various in-class acting assignments will include monologue, duo and group scene presentations. 

As a class, you will participate in trust and improvisation exercises on a regular basis.  Participation in these exercises is also mandatory.  You will also have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular theater and Drama Club presentations. 

In addition to acting skills, you will be introduced to elements of stage craft, technical production, make-up and costumes. 

A great deal of reading, memorization, and self-evaluation is required for this class.  You will be expected to read at least two plays on your own every term.  At least one of these plays must be a viewed stage production, but as far as seeing productions, I will be providing those opportunities.  Reviews of these plays will be submitted in writing at the end of each term.

Studying Theater and Acting will expose you in depth to one of the greatest of the performing arts.  Being able to deliver memorized speeches develops confidence and presence.  Learning how to develop characterizations helps by training the mind to draw upon emotional and physical memories and abilities.  Drama allows us to explore the human condition, and by doing so, you will be able to relate to people better, having experience with a wide range of emotions and feelings.

Here are some of the things I am hoping you will learn in this class:

1.    Confidence as a public speaker.  I think everyone can benefit from theater exercises and one of the greatest side effects of the theater experience is confidence about being in front of other people.
2.    Critical Reading Skills.  Because you will be acting (performing) in plays and scenes specifically written for the stage, you will need to learn how to better understand how to read the written word and understand the intended message authors want you to understand.
3.    Improved Writing Skills.  Through reading, and eventually writing your own scenes  with classmates and reviews of plays, you will improve your skills and develop your natural abilities in writing.
4.    Creativity.  This class is hopefully going t open up many opportunities for you to express your creativity and develop pathways to seeing and thinking about the world in different ways.  When you do that, you begin to apply creativity to other areas in your life.
5.    Planning and Time Management.  Because you will be addressing assignments which range from memorization and collaboration all the way to design and production, you will need to learn how to plan and manage your schedule.

Here are the 20 specific standards you are expected to complete in this course:

1.    1.12.1  Write a script in proper format for stage, television, film, or electronic    
media using  historical or cultural research as a basis for the script.  Students use reading process skills and strategies to build comprehension.
2.    1.12.2  Create a theatrical performance by conducting auditions, casting characters, directing scenes, and conducting production meetings.
3.    1.12.3  Explain and demonstrate knowledge of varied responsibilities of technical personnel involved in television, theater, film or electronic media production.
4.    1.12.4  Develop an aesthetically unified production for theater, film, television, or
electronic media.
5.    1.12.5  Create a variety of materials for a media campaign for theater, film, television, or electronic media.
6.    1.12.6  Work collaboratively and safely to design and/or construct a variety of scenic devices (e.g.  scenic drops).
7.    1.12.7  Justify choices of costumes, make-up and props as they relate to the
interpretation of a production.
8.    1.12.8  Describe and demonstrate different lighting and sound techniques and equipment for film, stage, television, or electronic media.
9.    1.12.9  Design and/or use a light and/or sound plot for film, stage, television, or electronic media.
10.  2.12.1 Analyze and describe the physical, emotional, and social dimensions of characters found in a variety of text.
11.  2.12.2  Identify, examine, and demonstrate various classical and contemporary acting techniques and methods.
12.  2.12.3  Create and sustain a character within an ensemble for stage, film, television, or electronic media.
13.  3.12.1.  Critique the effectiveness of the visual, aural, and kinesthetic elements of a performance.
14.  3.12.2  Justify personal aesthetic criteria for critiquing a dramatized performance.
15. 3.12.3  Compare and contrast classical and contemporary dramas and comedies in various media.
16.  4.12.1  Compare and contrast the ways in which universal themes  and archetypes in dramatized events are expressed in another culture and another
historical period.
17.  4.12.2  Analyze methods of conflict resolution among characters.
18.  5.12.1  Analyze the ways in which common themes or stories are interpreted
in works from the four arts areas.
19.  5.12.2  Analyze the development of dramatic forms, production practices, and theatrical traditions across cultures and historical periods.
20.  5.12.3   Evaluate different ways technology is used to enhance theater, film,
and television.

The district curriculum for this course is located at : www.elko.k12.nv.us/pages/curriculum_guides.html  
The Nevada State Standards for this course are located at: http://www.doe.nv.gov/Standards/Arts/theacont.pdf

Course Description:

During the first nine weeks of this Drama course, class will generally be split into two daily sections.  The first of those sections will concentrate on the technical side and Direct Instructional methodology of the course.  The second portion of the class will be given over to acting and improvisational techniques.  Your first structured and summative assignment (approximately 2 weeks from today) will be to read a memorized poem in front of class.  After the first nine weeks or so, we will shift from the technical and direct instructional phase to project oriented assignments, where you will focus on the production aspects of Theater Arts, while continuing to place emphasis upon performance.

Personal Statement Regarding Expectations:

I do not want my being blunt to be taken the wrong way.  This is a class where either you are willing to do the work, or in many cases, your classmates suffer.  At least 75% of what we do as a class is tied to working together in teams and groups.  If you are not willing to check your ego at the door and participate fully in both daily activities and in assignments, you should get checked out of this class and into another.  If this was a regular elective, like creative writing or psychology, I wouldn't be saying this, but this drama class is simply a different sort of thing.  Everyone in this class needs to know he or she can depend on any other person in the class.  There is no shame in leaving for a different class if you do not feel comfortable about the nature of this course. 

The Importance of Reading:

Reading is a fundamental aspect of this course.  Most every assignment will require reading of some kind.  You should expect to be assigned a major reading assignment or a re-reading a major work every week.  I cannot force any of you to read the assignments, but it will be quickly apparent who is reading and who is not.  If you do not like reading, you will have a difficult time with this course, so if you do not enjoy reading, you will need to find a way to get through the school year as best you can.  If you are having difficulty comprehending the various passages, I suggest you share the assignment of reading with a friend or partner.  One of the best ways to gain understand of something is to talk it over with others.  Extending this logic, participation in discussion by asking questions, offering possible explanations, and listening to others will add to your overall understanding and increase your chances of receiving better grades.


Textbook and other resources:

1.             Theatre Art in Action
2.             An Introduction to Modern One-Act Plays. 
3.             Various Plays and Scenes.

Class Procedures:

1.             Reading Quizzes:  Quizzes will be assigned according to the various reading assignments given in class and will be entered in as Formative Assignments.

2.             Exercise Participation:  As a class, we will have some exercise to perform or participate in every time we meet.  Usually this will take place in the second half of class, but that is subject to change depending upon the daily schedule.  However, there will be a participatory exercise every day.  As we go through and learn various aspects of performance and preparation, you will be graded with regards to your participation.  

3.             Late Work:  Late work will only be accepted at the discretion of the teacher, and only for valid causes.  

Formative:  Formative work will not be accepted late for credit except as previously noted.

Summative:  In the case of Written Summative Assignments, students may arrange with me to mitigate any missed or poor showing by completing alternative assignments as arranged between the student and myself in a timely manner.  Missed performances may only be made up by presenting evidence of a valid excuse from parents and the attendance office.

4.             Performance:  All students are expected to perform in class and in front of the other students.  Performances will be the greatest portion of your grade and you cannot pass this class without getting up in front of the class.  Refusal to perform the first time is marked as a zero and cannot be completed at a later date.  A second refusal to perform in front of the class necessitates a parent-student-teacher conference.  It is your responsibility to prepare for

                        Students will accumulate points throughout the nine weeks.  Points will come from the following categories, and will be based on the following percentages:

·         Category 1:          Formative                                          30%
·         Category 2:          Summative                                        70%.

A Word About Grading Performances:

If you are under the impression that performances cannot be given a grade because of their interpretive natures, you are mistaken.  Each performance, from your very first to your very last will be given a letter grade.  Those grades will be translated into a numbered score and put in the grade book to calculate your overall grade.  My grade of your performance in any and all circumstances is final and not subject to appeal.

1.              Major Assessments
a.     Scene Performance:  Throughout the year you will be assigned performances.  These are summative assignments, and will affect your grade accordingly. 
b.    Written Reviews:  You are required to read and review at least two plays every nine weeks. These are summative assignments as well.
c.     Portfolios:  Each nine weeks there will be at least one major assignment given to reflect the technical aspect of Theater.  That assignment and all materials will be addressed in the form of a portfolio, which is a summative assignment.
d.    Written exams:  Plan on at least one written exam at the end of each semester, to be held in conjunction with a performance final.
2.              Daily Assignments
a.     Participation
b.    Reading/Academic study
c.     Scene Preparation
3.              Homework
a.     Readings:  Most days you will be given a reading assignment.  These reading assignments will be monitored by the use of quizzes.
b.    Written work:  Most written work assigned should be considered as homework because most class time will be taken up with learning writing strategies and the discussion of literature.
c.     Scene Preparation:  Just because we will be preparing scenes in class does not mean you have enough time in class to adequately prepare for your performances.  Homework is implied with every performance and written assignment, whether it be in the form of memorization, scene preparation, or portfolio creation.

Grading System: 

All assignments, regardless of whether they are formative or summative, will be graded on a 4 point scale: 

                        4 = Exceeds Standards 90-100%            (A)
                        3 = Meets Standards                 80-89%             (B)

                        2 = Approaches Standards       70-79%             (C)
                        1= Below Standards                 60-69%             (D)

                        0 = Insufficient Evidence          0-59%               (F)

The purpose of this scale is to help make the transition to a standards based grading system.  Some of the math does not appear to be correct, but it reflects the need to perform at a certain level to be considered proficient at any various assigned task.  In addition, the actual percentages are irrelevant because the real measure of a grade is based upon whether or not the evidence you provide suggests you are exceeding, meeting, or not addressing the standards set forth.  Grades for Summative assignments will be calculated on a traditional letter grade/percentage scale for ease and convenience of students and parents, but be translated to the 4 point scale when put in the grade book.  These numbers will be carried over to two decimal points (e.g. 3.5 or 2.75).

Make up work:
Policy: Students will have two days for every day they are excused for being absent to make up their work. Assignments will be scored as incomplete “I” until the work has been turned in. If a student is absent (excused) the day assigned work is due (e.g. an essay or portfolio) the assigned work is due the day they return.  If not turned in, the grade entered will be a “0.”

A Few Words on Cheating & Plagiarism

Make no mistake about my views on cheating and plagiarism.  If I catch you cheating or plagiarizing on an assignment, you will be referred to the administration for disciplinary measures at the administration’s discretion, and I will schedule a conference with your parents and the counseling office.  This will happen every time I catch you.  Cheating (which plagiarism is) is defined by all of the following activities:
1.    Copying in part or whole another person’s work, words, and/or ideas and attempting to pass it off as your own.
2.    Copying in part or whole another person’s work, words, and/or ideas and neglecting to give credit to that person.
3.    Having someone complete assigned work for you.
4.    Completing assigned work for someone else.
5.    Looking at another person’s answer sheet during a test or quiz.
6.    Allowing someone to look on you test or quiz for the answers.
7.    Attempting in any way to subvert the directions given for any assignment or test.

Be warned:  I only accuse someone of cheating or plagiarism when I have irrefutable evidence, so if I make the charge, it will stick.

Be further warned:  Even though I am not allowed to affect your grade because of cheating or plagiarism, I still have options.  I am allowed to grade according to evidence of work shown and I am allowed to assign additional remediation and create additional features to help ensure academic honesty.  These options may include:

·         Requiring that you compose your essay in my room after school over the course of several days to ensure the work is yours.
·         Providing evidence of; and a detailed, written description of the complete writing process along with your essay.
·         Conducting additional research above the minimum guidelines of the original assignment.

Availability for Extra Help:

1.             Please see me before school or after school.
2.             You may request to be placed with me for guided instruction.

Students are encouraged to come see me before or after school for additional help and explanations of concepts or help in approaching summative work as the course requires.  Students should also make arrangements to come see me during guided instruction.  It is not only my job to help when a student asks for help, but it is one of the more enjoyable aspects of my work to interact with students on a one-to-one basis.  In the long run, coming to me will be helpful to you, more so than asking a classmate who might be guessing or to simply let the opportunity slide.

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