School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Advanced/Gifted and Talented: An advanced/gifted and talented tool is an idea for a complex, multi-step instructional task that requires students to apply knowledge and skills of multiple objectives that support one indicator. Tasks require students to interpret, analyze, and evaluate text at an appropriate level of complexity and embed a variety of differentiation strategies to challenge advanced readers. Many of these strategies and activities can be adapted for use with all students.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 2. Analyze and evaluate text features to facilitate and extend understanding of literary texts

Objective a. Analyze text features that contribute to meaning

Instructional Task

Students will analyze text features in order to facilitate the interpretation of a play. The students will take on the role of a dramaturge, one who studies a play to interpret it for a company of actors. The student dramaturges will interpret aspects of the play's production including set design, costumes, acting, and the play program. The teacher will organize a drama company meeting at which each dramaturgy team will defend its production plan based on an analysis of the text features. As an option, the drama company may perform the play for an audience of younger students (authentic product).

Development of Task

  1. The teacher will provide students with a play written at an appropriate level of complexity. The following activities may be completed after reading the first act of the play.
  2. Before reading, the teacher will ask students to think about how a play is actually produced by asking, "What is needed for the production of a play?" (actors, costumes, sets, directors, publicity, etc.) The teacher will introduce the concept of dramaturgy, defined by Merriam Webster as "the art or technique of dramatic composition and theatrical composition." A dramaturge is one who studies a play to interpret it for a company of actors, answering questions about the text, language, historical period, clothing, customs and manners of the characters. A dramaturge may assume other roles such as researcher, playwright, critic, or publicist.
  3. During reading, the teacher will ask students to note how text features are used to suggest elements of play production, such as how the actors speak and what they do. Students will identify examples of organizational, graphic, and informational text features in the play and explain what element of play production could be understood from those features (Objective a).
  4. After reading, the teacher will organize the students into dramaturgy teams. Each team will analyze text features in order to create a plan for play production. Team members will select to create a (1) design plan, (2) character interpretation, or (3) play program (choice). Teams will complete the following tasks:
    1. Analyze text features with a focus on organizational aids (titles, subtitles) and informational aids (footnotes, captions, biographical information, introductions, photographs) in order to create a design plan for the set and costumes. The dramaturges will explain to the company how they used text features to help them design the production (logical-mathematical intelligence).
    2. Analyze the text features with a focus on graphic aids (punctuation, illustrations, print features) in order to interpret the characters. Each dramaturge will take the role of a character and present dramatic interpretations of brief selections from the play. The dramaturges will explain how the play's text features helped them interpret the characters and bring the characters to life (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence).
    3. Analyze text features with a focus on organizational aids (titles, subtitles) and informational aids (footnotes, captions, biographical information, introductions, photographs) in order to design the play program. The dramaturges will design a cover illustration, list of scenes, characters and actors; background information about the author and play, photographs of popular actors that could play the characters, and advertisements. The dramaturges will explain how they used text features to design the play program (visual-spatial intelligence).
  5. The teacher will organize a meeting of the drama company in which each team will present its work and explain how text features were analyzed to develop the production plan. Each team will act as critics, evaluating the extent to which the other team's plan is based on a thorough analysis of the text features (evaluation). After the presentations, the students will discuss: "How vital is the role of a play's text features in the world of theatre?"
/toolkit/vsc/advanced/reading/grade8/3A2a.xml
Resources for Objective 3.A.2.a:
Lesson Seeds | Public Release Items | ADVANCED/G-T |