Introduction

Welcome to the module that will introduce the newly adopted Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for high school theatre, including the revised standards for Theatre (Levels I-IV), and new TEKS for Technical Theatre and Musical Theatre.

Students on stage reading lines

 

As in the earlier grades, the five strands provide structure for the TEKS. High school theatre courses provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to continue studies at the college level, pursue theatre as an avocation, or become educated audience members.

The high school theatre TEKS focus on these areas:

  • Enhancing perception, interpretation, and performance
  • Understanding of diverse cultures
  • Understanding influences of theatre, film, television, and digital media
  • Reflecting and evaluating personal work and the work of others

Theatre Arts I encompasses the following:

  • Theatrical vocabulary, elements, conventions, and basic concepts
  • Historical and cultural backgrounds
  • Experiences that develop a broad-based body of knowledge and technical skills
  • Strategies for evaluating theatre experiences

Theatre Arts I is a survey course that establishes the base for all subsequent theatre courses. Beginning with Theatre Arts I, each theatre class builds on the foundation of the preceding level. Theatre Arts II, Technical Theatre I, Musical Theatre I, and subsequent courses focus and expand the student's knowledge base and continually refine techniques and skills in the specific domains.

Objectives

Students in costume on stage reading lines
Our focus in this module will be on the revised high school theatre TEKS. By the end of this module, you should be able to do all of the following:

  • Identify differences between the original and revised high school theatre TEKS.
  • Articulate some of the guiding principles behind the newly adopted high school theatre TEKS.
  • Revise current lesson designs to align them to the revised theatre TEKS.

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the revised high school theatre TEKS, adopted 2013. Review the high school theatre TEKS comparison that shows the changes from the original high school theatre TEKS to the corresponding revised TEKS. Refer to this chart as we look at some of the changes in each strand.

In addition, review the high school theatre TEKS alignment chart. This document shows how skills are scaffolded from one grade level to another.

Original and Revised TEKS

There are many changes between the original and revised theatre TEKS. However, we do not have to examine each one. All the fine arts TEKS were revised through the lens of creativity—on the art of theatre-making rather than the craft of theatre-making. Just because a student is involved in a play doesn't necessarily mean he or she is being creative. The reason for this focus on creativity is the understanding that developing creativity through the fine arts is central to student achievement and sound adolescent development. In the revised TEKS, the important skills learned in theatre are essential skills for student learning across academic domains, as well as for lifelong success.

Student mime pulling invisible rope

Introduction to the Strands

This module will focus on the Level I and II theatre TEKS, though others will also be included. Please click on the link to the course discovery secondary theatre to get an overview of the Theatre, Level I-IV TEKS and examples of what using the revised strands might look like in the classroom. Take a moment to review the charts before we discuss each strand. Keep the charts handy to refer back to them as we review each strand.

Seated student singing from book
 

Theatre Strands

Foundations: inquiry and understanding
The student develops concepts about self, human relationships, and the environment using elements of drama and conventions of theatre.

Creative expression: performance
The student interprets characters using the voice and body expressively and creates dramatizations.

Creative expression: production
The student applies design, directing, and theatre production concepts and skills.

Historical and cultural relevance
The student relates theatre to history, society, and culture.

Critical evaluation and response
The student responds to and evaluates theatre and theatrical performances.

Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

The first strand in all theatre courses, which was previously called Perception, is now Foundations: inquiry and understanding.

While the first strand in the original Theatre I TEKS articulated six student expectations (A-F), the revised TEKS include five more, for a total of 11 student expectations (A-K). Like many of the revised TEKS, the student expectations are more rigorous and promote the development of 21st century skills and the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Note that expecting students to "understand the value and purpose" of activities is different from expecting students to simply perform those activities. This revised student expectation, of course, will impact how to teach this standard. Take a moment to think about how this might impact instruction.

Student posing on stage

 

Foundations: Inquiry and Understanding

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Theatre, Level I (c)(1)(A) improvise, using emotional and sensory recall.

Theatre, Level I (c)(1)(A) understand the value and purpose of using listening, observation, concentration, cooperation, and improvise, using emotional and sensory recall;

Photo by James Goulden via flickr. Photo used with permission ©2015 Long Center. All rights reserved.

Creative Expression: Performance

New student expectations will have an impact on classrooms. Theatre teachers will need to consider what their courses look like with the original TEKS and how they will need to change to assure that they are addressing the revised TEKS. Encouraging the development of creativity is a vital basis for all fine arts courses since interpretation and individual expression are a valuable component of every produced piece of work. Not only are students expected to be creative, but they must also define creativity and think about it in their work. This will require pre-thought and reflection on what creativity is and also embodied creative learning.

Teens preparing for performance
 

Creative Expression: Performance

A new student expectation in the Creative expression: performance strand is:

Theatre, Level I (c)(2)(B) define creativity as it relates to personal expression.

Review the course discovery Theatre Arts I, General Survey to view how the Creative expression: performance strand is taught. You may also wish to view the examples provided to see what teaching with the revised high school theatre TEKS looks like in a Level I course.

Photo by James Goulden via flickr. Photo used with permission ©2015 Long Center. All rights reserved.

Creative Expression: Production

Student next to light
As a theatre teacher, you will have to differentiate the roles of all elements of modern productions and how technical advances have contributed to the overall effect. Note how the student expectation below has changed to include "media performance" as an option.

How might you include media performance in the classroom?

Review the course discovery Theatre Arts I, General Survey to view how the Creative expression: production strand is taught. You may also wish to view the examples provided to see what teaching with the revised high school theatre TEKS looks like in a Level I course.

 

Creative Expression: Production

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Theatre, Level I (c)(3)(E) analyze the roles of actor, ensemble, and director in production decision making and produce a unified theatrical production.

Theatre, Level I (c)(3)(C) perform a analyze the roles such as actor, ensemble, and director, designer, technician, or editor in production decision making and collaborate with others in a production role to tell a story through live theatre or media performance and produce a unified theatrical production.

 

Historical and Cultural Relevance

Consider how changes to this strand will impact how you teach theatre history and culture. Note, in particular, the additional requirement of "world drama" and the verb change from evaluate to research in the student expectation listed below. To fully satisfy the requirements of this expectation, teachers will need to introduce students to major changes in dramatic literature, as well as notable figures and works from various time periods and parts of the world.

Students performing on stage

 

Review the course discovery Theatre Arts III, Follows Theatre Arts II to view how the Historical and cultural relevance strand is taught. You may also wish to view the examples provided to see what teaching with the revised high school theatre TEKS looks like in a Level III course.

Historical and Cultural Relevance

Original TEKS Revised TEKS

Theatre, Level III (c)(4)(A) evaluate historical and cultural influences on theatre.

Theatre, Level III (c)(4)(D) research the influences of world drama and theatre and identify key figures, works, and trends in dramatic literature evaluate historical and cultural influences on theatre;

Photo by Michelle Michel via flickr. Photo used with permission ©2015 Long Center. All rights reserved.

Critical Evaluation and Response

Students performing on stage
The Critical evaluation and response strand requires that theatre coursework include opportunities and paths for students which are connected to, but outside of, theatre. Consider how the new expectation listed below will impact a Theatre I course.

Teachers will have to help students evaluate the skills they have learned and how those skills can be useful in future careers, even in those outside of theatre.

Critical Evaluation and Response

A new student expectation in the Critical evaluation and response strand is:

Theatre, Level I (c)(5)(H) connect theatre skills and experiences to higher education and careers outside of the theatre.

Review the course discovery Theatre Arts I, General Survey to view how the Creative expression: performance strand is taught. You may also wish to view the examples provided to see what teaching with the revised high school theatre TEKS looks like in a Level I course.

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS (Theatre, Level II)

This lesson sample is based on the original TEKS under the Creative expression/ performance strand. Take a moment to look at the activities and the corresponding student expectations.

Students taking notes

 

Original Lesson Revised Lesson

High School, Theatre, Level II Original Lesson Sample

TITLE: Creating Dialogue
ORIGINAL TEKS ADDRESSED:
Theatre, Level II (c)(2)(D) improvise and write dialogue that reveals character motivation in short vignettes.
ACTIVITIES: students independently write short vignettes and then read to others in class.

High School, Theatre, Level II Revised Lesson Sample

TITLE: Creating Dialogue
REVISED TEKS ADDRESSED:
Theatre, Level II (c)(2)(F) create, write, devise, and refine original monologues, improvisations, scenes, or vignettes to convey meaning to the audience through live performance or media forms.
ACTIVITIES: students collaboratively devise short vignettes, record on iPads, phones, or other devices to share with the class.

In the revised lesson example, the high school theatre teacher has adapted the activities to include collaborative devising and also the use of technology for students to share their work. Take a moment to look at the differences in both the student expectations and also the activities.

Reflection Activity

Download the interactive PDF to respond to the following question:

How will using such technology in the classroom change the learning environment?

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS (Theatre, Level I)

Student in costume

Download the Theatre, Level I original lesson that was then revised based on the new TEKS.

  • What is different?
  • What stands out?

Now download the Theatre, Level I incomplete lesson based on the original TEKS, and modify it based on the revised student expectation shown.

  • What are some ways to refresh the lesson based on the specificity of the student expectation?
  • How might creativity and personal meaning be incorporated?
  • In what ways might assessments change?

Download the interactive PDF to record your responses. There are no correct answers. This is just an opportunity to explore how to modify an existing lesson to meet the revised TEKS.

How Lessons Change with the Revised TEKS: Your Turn

Find a personal lesson. Choose one of the original TEKS student expectations and then replace it with a revised student expectation. You may use the lesson plan template to help organize your thoughts.

How will the lesson be adapted to embrace the revised TEKS?

Teacher in front of students on stage

 

Starting from scratch is not required, but do reflect, revise, and align to be sure you are meeting the revised TEKS. Our goal is to offer the best theatre education possible to our students and to encourage 21st century learning, college and career readiness, and, of course, creativity every day!

Photo by James Goulden via flickr. Photo used with permission ©2015 Long Center. All rights reserved.

High School Theatre Courses

Technical theatre student

Many courses that were designated as innovative courses by TEA are now approved for fine arts credit in the revised TEKS for Theatre I-IV.

Additional TEKS were also written and approved for the following theatre courses:

  • Musical Theatre I-IV
  • Technical Theatre I–IV

Students can now take advantage of a wide range of courses to investigate the many facets of theatre.

New course offerings for high school theatre include the following:

  • Theatre and Music Communications I-II
  • Playwriting I-II
  • Directing I-II
  • Musical Theatre I-IV
  • Technical Theatre I-IV
Students performing on stage

 

Go back to the course discovery secondary theatre. There you can explore high school theatre courses, including newly-approved courses.

Photo by Michelle Michel via flickr. Photo used with permission ©2015 Long Center. All rights reserved.

The Revised TEKS with Special Education Considerations

Theatre teachers make accommodations for Section 504 and special education students on a regular basis, which allows all students to take part in and benefit from theatre courses. Accommodations change how the content is taught but not what is taught, while modifications change both how the content is taught and what the student is expected to master. Theatre teachers must be aware of all accommodations required for their students and have easy access to students' plans, as well as the resources needed to accommodate all student needs.

Students in circle on stage holding hands

 

Examples of accommodations include the following:

  • One-on-one instruction
  • Small group instruction
  • Extended time
  • Special seating

You can use the theatre TEKS and accommodations plans for students to develop student skills by using kinesthetic, aural/oral, and visual techniques and address all learning styles to reach all learners.

The Revised TEKS with Considerations for English Language Learners (ELLs)

English language learners (ELLs) also benefit a great deal from theatre class. Theatre classes provide great opportunities for students to practice skills such as the following:

  • Producing sounds of newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters to pronounce English words in a manner that is increasingly comprehensible
  • Sharing information in cooperative learning interactions
  • Narrating, describing, and explaining with increasing specificity and detail as more English is acquired

To help ELL students connect learning, teachers can incorporate the English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) into theatre curriculum.

Students studying in group at desks
 

The Four Language Domains

Listening is the ability to understand spoken language, comprehend and extract information, and follow social and instructional discourse through which information is provided.

Speaking is the ability to use spoken language appropriately and effectively in learning activities and social interactions.

Reading is the ability to comprehend and interpret written text at the grade-appropriate level.

Writing is the ability to produce written text with content and format to fulfill grade-appropriate classroom assignments.

Conclusion

Thank you for participating in this online course. We hope it is helpful to you in implementing the newly adopted high school TEKS into your classrooms.

Students putting on stage make-up

Photo by James Goulden via flickr. Photo used with permission ©2015 Long Center. All rights reserved.

Quiz

Extend Your Learning: Tools and Resources

There are many resources and professional development opportunities to help align a district's curriculum and teacher instruction to the revised high school theatre TEKS. Listed below are a few that will be beneficial to creating and developing a program. Take a moment to review each one. You may wish to bookmark these resources or some of the others used in this module, such as the high school theatre TEKS alignment chart, the high school theatre TEKS comparison, and the course discovery secondary theatre.

Tools and Resources

Professional Development Opportunities for Theatre Teachers