ALEX Learning Activity


Classroom Warm-Up for the Theatre Classroom

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  This learning activity provided by:  
Author: Jamie Stephenson
System:Vestavia Hills City
School:Vestavia Hills City Board Of Education
  General Activity Information  
Activity ID: 1835
Classroom Warm-Up for the Theatre Classroom
Digital Tool/Resource:
Web Address – URL:

Students will do a series of quick warm-up activities lasting approximately 5 to 10 minutes to prepare for their work in theatre class. They will stretch their muscles, do vocal warm-ups, and practice mental focus in order to prepare their bodies and minds for their work in the class.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

  Associated Standards and Objectives  
Content Standard(s):
Arts Education
ARTS (2017)
Grade: 9-12
Theatre: Accomplished
5) Collaborate as a creative team to make interpretive choices for a drama/theatre work.

Unpacked Content
Artistic Process: Creating
Anchor Standards:
Anchor Standard 2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Process Components: Develop
Essential Questions:
EU: Theatre artists work to discover different ways of communicating meaning.
EQ: How, when, and why do theatre artists' choices change?
Concepts & Vocabulary:
  • Author research
  • previous productions of the specific play
  • Text breakdown
  • Expositions
  • Public Solitude
  • Biomechanic
  • Lessac
  • Laban
  • Accents
  • Method of Physical Action
  • Warm ups
  • Laban
  • emotional memory
  • sense memory
  • substitution
  • affective memory
  • given circumstances
  • ensemble work
  • lighting
  • innovation/evolution of technical theatre
  • technical crews and their jobs
Theatrical production
  • World of the play
  • Production concept
  • Copyrights and the right of the playwright
Skill Examples:
  • Students will pick one of 10 plays that represent plays from across multiple genres. They will begin the design process using research about prior productions of our play. They will work together to present their design for the play. Their research will be a large part of their grade.
  • Students will study lighting in class. They will have lecture and discussion about the evolution of lighting in theatre. They will also discuss how lighting has allowed them to accomplish more with less instruments. Additionally, the students will "invent" their own lighting instrument that will fix the issues that they are currently experiencing as designers and technicians.
  • The students will begin studying the acting technique of Stanislavski and The Method. They will demonstrate their new knowledge in their monologues for class.
  • Students will work together to create a performance of Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology. They will work together to find pieces for every student in the class that work within the intent of the assignment. Students will create strong characters based off the short monologues in the play. Students will pair and critique each other during the process. Students can perform for other classes or film themselves for a final review after the performance.
  • Students will create costumes, lighting, sound and a set design for their performance of Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology.
Learning Objectives:

Students will collaborate during warm-ups to prepare their bodies and minds to make interpretive choices in dramatic work.

  Strategies, Preparations and Variations  

Warm-ups are important to protect an actor's mind, body, and voice. 

The students will:

1. Find a spot to sit. Ask students to close their eyes and focus on a number. Push all other thoughts out of their heads and just see their number. They will not think about the test they have to take, the friend that made them mad, the dinner they are going to eat with their parents... only focus on their number.  When they have pushed away thoughts that are not focused on the present moment, they will open their eyes. 

2. Stand. Reach to the sky and arch backward. Then behind over and touch the ground stretching hands to the floor. 

3. Slowly rise to a standing position. They will need to come up vertebrae by vertebrae letting the head be the last part that settles to the standing position. 

4. Shake out their hands, feet, and shoulders. 

5. Vocalize: HaHaMaMa and go through the Vowel Tree. If they are unfamiliar with the Vowel Tree, you can use this video:

Staying focused, they will play the ball game.

          a. The students need to stand in a circle facing into the circle.

          b. The teacher will begin by throwing 1 ball to the first student. The teacher will continue to throw a ball to the first person until they are throwing at least 2 balls per person in the circle. Use tennis balls or something that is soft, as you will pick a person to throw to, then they pick a different person to throw to, then so on... until every student is catching from a student and throwing to another student.  It helps if you have the students hold up a hand so that 2 students don't throw to the same person. 

         c. The goal is to have the students go through the entire process and not drop the ball. They should be able to hold focus and not drop the ball for 5 minutes. 

Assessment Strategies:

How well did the student follow directions in the exercise 1 - 10

How well did the student use the exercise to maintain focus 1 -10

How well did the student work with their peers to reach the group goal 1 - 10

Advanced Preparation:

Just make sure that you have something soft to throw and you have enough for every student to have two eventually.  

Variation Tips (optional):

Students should eventually run the warm-ups themselves. You can give the students a quick grade on how well they lead the warm-ups. 

Notes or Recommendations (optional):
  Keywords and Search Tags  
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