Assign scenes (excerpts) to groups.
In their small groups, students read their assigned scenes aloud again. As they read, students should pay attention to theme, language, and tone. You might ask students to highlight or underline the words that stand out to them. Groups may choose to read their scenes two or three times and then to have a conversation about the words and phrases they have highlighted.
Then groups discuss the scene. At the end of this discussion, students should agree on the words, theme, or message represented in this excerpt that they would most like to share with the class. To help structure the groups’ conversations, you might provide them with a series of questions to answer. The following are examples: What conflict is expressed in this excerpt? What theme is represented? What words or phrases are most important? What is the message of this text? What is most important or interesting about the words or ideas in this excerpt?
Now students are ready to prepare their performance. Students should be reminded that the goal is not to perform a skit of their scene but to use specific language (words and phrases) to represent the conflict, theme, and/or underlying message of that excerpt. Performances can be silent, or they can use voice in creative ways, such as by composing a choral reading that emphasizes key phrases. Students can use movement, or they can hold their body positions to create an image frozen in time, much like a photograph. It often helps to give students a list of guidelines or suggestions to follow when preparing their presentations, such as these:
- Repeat key words, phrases, or sentences.
- Read some or all of your selection as a group, as part of a group, or as individuals.
- Alter the order of the text.
- Position yourselves around the room as you see fit.
- You may not use props, but you can use body positioning to achieve a certain effect.
- Everyone has to participate.