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Student Projects

Newspaper Plays: Year In Review!

Authors: Melissa Daniels, Wendy Maples

Grade: 6th

Subject: Drama

Poster for
Newspaper with most of words blacked out next to poem created by remaining words
Students sitting in chairs discussing project
Students standing on stage for performance
Students standing on stage in front of projector screen
Poster for

How do we get our news?

How can I use my voice and body to tell more effective stories?

Where did Newspaper Theatre come from?  

Through Living Newspaper, students will create original poetry, performance pieces, learn vocal technique, and explore the origins of theatre history through dramaturgical work.  Four classes of theatre will perform as the four seasons of culturally significant news.  As a grade level, rather than reporting the news, students will perform the news of that year.  Exhibiting in December, the 6th grade will present their “Year In Review” through original script and performance.
Newspaper Blackout Poems
Inspired by the work of Austin Kleon, students will receive one strip of newspaper article and one black sharpie.  They will black out as much text as needed to reveal words in the article that will create an original poetry piece.
Performance Pieces
Using newspapers and present-day media, students will select culturally significant news items as the inspiration for original performance pieces.  Text from articles can serve as lines of dialogue in each piece, which should report the facts, controversy, and questions surrounding events from the year.  Through performance, we create a “living newspaper” reporting our year in review!
Theatre Programs
Each performance will be accompanied by a theatrical program.  Program content can include inspirational news sources, timelines, actor information, bios, and any pertinent information.
  • Vocal Technique– Skills Learned: monologue, dialogue, public speaking, breath control, projection
  • Movement– Skills Learned:  body awareness, tableaux, pantomime, spatial relationships
  • Connections– Skills Learned:  Theatre history, dramaturgy.  Areas of connection:  Humanities and Current Events.
Week 1Newspaper Black out poems– students create poems and then display work in our newspaper gallery collage!
Week 2: Research Week– each class is assigned one season of the year.  Winter (Jan/Feb), Spring (March/April/May), Summer (June/July/August), Fall (September/October/November) On computers, students research culturally significant news items of their season.  As a class, students decide on their top 5 items.
Week 3:  Draft 1– Students apply research to dialogue.  Draft 1 writing and present for critique.
Week 4:  Draft 2– Apply critique to scripts and revise.  Present draft 2 for critique and apply any changes to scripts before rehearsals.
Week 5: Rehearsal & Draft 3– In their groups, using kind rehearsal language, students rehearse the scripts that they have written.  Presenting Draft 3 in performance.
Week 6: Rehearsal & Program Development– students design programs in the style of newspaper pages
Week 7: Exhibition
After creating group rubrics and establishing criteria for the following three areas, students will evaluate their work.  Below are some components that should be addressed in the group rubric.
  • Performance– Are actors clearly reporting the news?  Are the actors being heard and communicating clearly? Was the performance entertaining and informative?
  • Program– Is information about the performance clear and available to your audience?  What audience are you serving?
  • Dramaturgy– Do you have a clear understanding of the origins of this work?  What are all of the components of the “news” that you’re reporting?