Sandra L. Jensen
Grade level: 1-3
Time Frame: 20 minutes at a time. Repeat on several occasions.
TOPIC: Drama lesson connecting the arts with language arts featuring a group choral speaking of poetry.
RATIONALE: The voice is an instrument for both singing and speaking. Almost all people of the world use their speaking voices more than their singing voices. Discovering and training the speaking voice is important. The voice has tremendous impact and influence on people.
Artistic Perception: Each student will be able to recite the poem, "The Frog on the Log" paying particular attention to precise diction, pacing, projection, inflection, volume and rhythm.
STRATEGY: Direct instruction and group process.
VOCABULARY: Diction, Pacing, Projection, Inflection, Volume, Rhythm
Diction: pronunciation and enunciation of words
Pacing: rate of movement
Projection: thrusting the voice forward
Inflection: change in pitch or loudness
Volume: degree of loudness
Rhythm: a regularly recurrent alternation of strong and weak elements in the flow of sound and silence in speech
INTRODUCTION: Ask the children to name a nursery rhyme that they know. Write responses on the board. Choose one which you feel most all of the students know (ex. Mary Had a Little Lamb might be a good choice). Have everyone recite it together. Using this example introduce pacing. Have the children recite it really fast, then really slow. Introduce volume. Have the children recite the poem, really soft or really loud. Talk about rhythm and all the other vocabulary words. Check for understanding. Have the kids try to recite the poem in a different rhythm.
1. Teacher recites the entire poem:
The Frog on the LogThere once
2. Almost always, some will beg, "Say that again!" Do so. After repetition, invite the children to learn it. One line at a time, say the poem with expression and sharp diction, and have the class repeat.
3. Proceed with you and the children speaking two lines alternately.
4. Finally, recite together all of the lines in sequence, after instructing children to watch your lips, just in case they are unsure of the words.
5. Repeat the whole poem two or three times in succession while giving words of praise and motivation as the process continues.
6. On another day or days, fine tune the poem in this way:
* Playfully recite the first two verses.
* Make an abrupt change of pace on the third verse as you say the words with caution in your voice.
* Pick up speed on verse four and increase it steadily until that frog is down under water with the last "splash!"
* Add action to the last "splash." Children should put their fingertips together at waist height, raise the hands quickly and throw the arms up in perfect time with the last word. Exaggerate the last sh loudly by holding onto it while keeping the arms fully extended. The teacher motions for the cutoff. All sound stops! Arms come gently down to the sides.CLOSURE: Class discussion covering what has been learned. Key points to include are: diction, pacing, projection, inflection, volume and rhythm. Students could perform this and other choral readings at a school assembly, for parents at an open house function, for another class or for their own enjoyment. EVALUATION: The teacher asks the students to perform the choral reading especially with one or two elements in mind (i.e. volume and pacing). The teacher will listen for the production of these elements. Other element focus could be, diction, inflection, rhythm and projection.
The Frog on the Log poem