TH302 Creative Drama

for SP 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


TH 302 Creative Drama


SP 2012 HO


Southard, Andrea


Instructor, Theatre


Ph.D., University of Kansas, Theatre
M.A., University of Kansas, Theatre
BS, Secondary Ed. Language Arts, University of Kansas

Office Location

Alumni Hall, 3rd floor

Office Hours

9:00 T-Th

Daytime Phone

816-584-6450 & 816-584-6452

Other Phone

816-716-8749 for emergency only


Semester Dates

Jan. 16-May 11, 2012

Class Days


Class Time

12:00 - 1:15 PM



Credit Hours



Creative Drama in the Classroom and Beyond, Nellie McCaslin.  The book is strongly recommended, although it need not be the 8th edition.  The Sixth and Seventh editions are acceptable and can be found at on-line sources.  The Publisher for the 6th edition is Longman, 1996.  The Publisher for the 7th edition is Longman, 2000.  The Publisher for the 8th edition is Allyn and Bacon, 2006.

Additional Resources:
Other materials may be needed for various projects, but the costs should be minimal.  Handouts will be given and/or posted on e-companion, and some internet sources will also be used, as well as library sources.

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Course Description:
TH 302 Creative Drama (MLL) Theory and practice of the use of creative drama as an alternative teaching/learning tool and as a support technique in working with diverse-needs populations and age groups-such as drama in education for curricular and language skill enhancement; drama as self-esteem, social interaction, and coordination building tools. Course includes off-campus workshop opportunities. Course is recommended for Education, Communications, Psychology, and Social Work majors and for recreation leaders. 1:2:3 @

Educational Philosophy:
All dreamatics and theatrical work is essentially an ensemble (team) and social effort.  Studying ways to utilize creative dramatics as an educational, personal experience, or tool is also an ensemble and social effort and can only be learned through participation in classes and class projects done before and during class time.  Work and learning on the university level should be collaborative, yet guided.  This course will utilize various means of teaching and learning:  limited lecture and demonstration, student involvement as both leaders and participants, reading, and written lesson planning based primarily on the course text, class participation and discussion.  The semester will culminate in a final project to be submitted in writing as well as presented to the class. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will learn, and practice the principles of drama as they apply to creative dramatics.
  2. Students will develop and apply the skills necessary to lead dramatic activities with young people and other age groups.
  3. Students will demonstrate an awareness and ability to experiment with the key concepts in drama including transformantion, group improvisation, stage pictures, role playing and performance techniques.
  4. Students will construct exercises for application in out-of-class activities using creative drama techniques as a means to encourage creativity and learning.
Class Assessment:
A.  Attendance and participation in class activities and project are required.  Two absences are allowed for illness or other necessary personal crises--no more without acceptable written proof that is accepted only at the instructor's discretion..  Tardiness or ten minutes or more over three class periods will be counted as an absence.  Leaving the class early or in the middle, even if the student returns, can also constitute an absence.  Any class missed beyond the two "free" absences will lower the grade for this portion of the grade.
B.  Activities/Written Work:  Guide sheets will be provided.
     1.  Assignments in the textbook reading or outside research will be indicated in the daily syllabus that follows the first pages of this syllabus.  All material should be prepared for the classes before the class begins.  Extra credit, at the discretion of the instructor given the amount of work the student does, can be earned for participation in some way in a Park University Theatre production.
    2.  Certain individual and class projects are assigned in the daily syllabus.  Be prepared for all these projects at the time they are due.  No projects will be due before the date scheduled in the daily syallabus, and any delays in the due dates will be announced in class.  Each project or presentation will require a self-evaluation of the effectiveness of the project or presentation of your performance and input.
    3.  An activity file of creative drama exercises as an on-going semester project for submission with your final research project will be due the week before the last two class periods.
    Units that will be explored during the semester include:
Movement and Improvisation
Storytelling and other Verbal methods
Dramatization of a Story and Puppet/Mask/Actor usage in Story Drama
Writing and producing a script from researched topics
Using Creative Dramatics as a teaching tool, with other venues (after-school, alternative spaces or alternative group dramatics), production or appreciation-building/participation programs.  You will be required to observe at least once at the out-of-class venue before your presentation and provide written proof of this observation, and you must present you "lesson"/activity to the class before you present at your chosen group venue. 
Writing a Five-day Unit Plan and accompanying five lesson plans on a subject not covered in class but utilizing and apapting the creative dramatics techniques learnied in the class.  You will present the unit plan and a 20 minute lesson from that plan to the class during the last 3 weeks of the semester.  This is your Core assessment project and the final piece of that Core assessment project will be a self-evaluation of your project and presentation--due on the day of the Final Exam.
    5.  Dress:
a.  In-class work days:  You are going to move around quite a bit--especially at the beginning.  Wear clothing in which you can move freely and tat you will not mind getting dirty.  Wear soft-soled shoes, or if you prefer to work without shoes, please bring a pair of socks.  You may also work barefooted, but I cannot vouch for the cleanliness of the floor, particularly as the semester progresses.
b.  Presentation days:  Dress in a manner that will aid you in imparting your message and does not distract.
    6.  Student-to-Instructor Communication :  If you have any questions regarding an assignment, or if you have a conflict that seriously interferes with your ability to complete any aspect of this course by the due date, notify me immediately.  Do not wait until the last week of class. 


1.  Attendance, participation and quality of daily work (which includes individual preparation for class work, individual or group; reading assignments prior to class; any quizzes (possible over daily assignments), attendance at Park University Theatre productions--20% of the grade.
2.  Creation of an activity notebook of creative drama exercises--5%.
3.  Your participation and positive input in class or group projects (presentation of outside-of-class activity to the class before the outside-of-class presentation), outside-of-class activity work [10%]; puppet plays [10%] and research plays [15%]; and evaluations of your participation in these group projects [5%]--25% of the grade.
4.  Work on outside-of-class individual presentations (observation before outside-or-class activity, planning of outside-or-class activity presentations, puppet-making and preparation for the puppet plays, preparation for the group research plays)--20%.
5.  Core Assessment Assignment:  The creation of a researched and documented 5-day unit lesson plan and five lesson plans for a particular age group, on a subject not covered in class, but utilizing creative dramatics techniques to "teach" the unit and lessons [10%], followed by a presentation of one of the unit's active dramatic lessons using creative dramatics techniques (your classmates will be your "students") [10%].  After the presentation you are to write an assessment of the effectiveness of your unit, the five written lesson plans and the presentation of a single lesson.  Your paper should include an evaluation of the strengths of you plans and possible changes to those plans in light of what you have learned [5%]--25% of the grade. 

Late Submission of Course Materials:

1.  Presentations, readings, self-evaluations and papers, unit plans and lesson plans, and core assessment papers are due on the dates assigned in the Daily Syllabus.  Papers turned in a class period after due will be marked down one grade for that assignment.  After that work will not be accepted unless there are unusual circumstances (determined at the instructor's discretion).  Any work not presented will be a zero.
2.  The student is responsible for anything missed on the day of the absence.  This includes making up lost work, getting assignments for the next class, and learning what announcements have been made on the date of absence.
3.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".  An Incomplete will nto be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for the course.
4.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must no exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment.  Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

An attitude of cooperative participation accompanied by a positive demeanor and appropriate behavior are imperative to your success in this course.  All cell phones must be silenced and not used during class.  Any use of the computer must be for note-taking or relevant research during group work.
1.  "Cooperative participation" means all students will participate as fully as physically possible in all in-class activities, discussions, etc.
2.  "Positive (Respectful) Demeanor/Appropriate Behavior" means all students are expected to exhibit a mature and supportive attitude at all times during class.  Examples of inappropriate attitude or behavior are:
    a.  derogatory comments/eye-rolling/snickering, etc. during individual performances or discussions
    b.  whispered conversations during individual performances or discussions
    c.  excessive rattling of papers and materials during individual performances or discussions
    d.  entering or exiting the classroom during individual performances or during class (go to the restroom before or after class)
    e.  excessive off-the-topic verbal interruptions or discussion domination.
NOTE:  Please see the current Park University Undergraduate Catalogue for further information on University policies regarding student conduct expectations.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:




Jan. 18           Handout syllabus; discussion of course objectives and requirements; first experience:  write a narrative about your past experiences with drama, theatre, performance, creative dramatics and follow that with some memories of interesting learning experiences you have had in classrooms or out-of-school activities.  You will have 20 minutes to write.  Please use all of these 30 minutes.    

                        Storytelling techniques presented in a videotape.

                        ASSIGNMENT:  For next class period, read Chapters on Creative Drama:  An Art, a Socializing Activity, and a Way of Learning,; Imagination is the Beginning; Play; and Movement and Rhythms; Speech and Speech-Related Activities; and Storytelling:  We are All Storytellers; and handouts.


                        ASSIGNMENT: Find or devise a story which can be used for dramatization.  Prepare to tell the story in class on Feb. 6th.     


                        SEMESTER-LONG ASSIGNMENT:  Begin a Creative Dramatics Exercise Notebook, 8x11 notebook.  Start making daily entries (in this case daily means 5 entries per week) noting ideas for creative dramatics exercises.  At the end of each chapter, you will find a section "Suggested Assignments" and “Journal Writing”.   In this section you will find a series of suggestions that will give you ideas for your Creative Dramatics Exercise entries and for recording in your notebook responses to the reading.  The notebook will be due April 25th.  That means you will need to have 70 well planned entries for a top grade.  Do it daily and it won't be a problem.  Please see the handout guideline for content and format.


Jan. 23           Creative dramatics improv/movement experience.  Discussion of experience and relationship to reading assignment. 

            ASSIGNMENT:  For Jan. 25 class period BRING SOME KIND OF INSTRUMENT–found or homemade noisemaker.  Be inventive.


Jan.  25          ASSIGNMENT: For Jan. 30 class read Chapters on Pantomime:                         The Next Step; Improvisation:  Characters Move and Speak,                                     and handouts. 

NOTE--PLEASE BRING SOME KIND OF COSTUME OR PROP PIECE NEXT TIME--some ordinary or unusual object or costume which can be used by the class during improvisation work.   


Jan.  30          Creative dramatics improv/movement experience.  Discussion of experience and its relationship to assigned reading.


Feb. 1             Continued discussion and experimentation. 

                        ASSIGNMENT: Individual stories due next class.


Feb. 6             Telling class individual stories.  Continued discussion and experimentation.


                        (Please note your instructor needs to attend that presentation).

                        ASSIGNMENT: Prepare Self-evaluation Assessment of your Storytelling.  A guide for this Self-Evaluation will be provided.  Due Feb. 15.  

                        ASSIGNMENT:  Read Chs. Puppetry and Mask Making; Dramatic Structure:  The Play Takes Shape; Buidling Plays from Stories, and handouts.


Feb. 8             Finish storytelling. Division into groups for the purpose of planning and improvising the group selected story or stories told.  If possible, begin discussion of puppet and mask making.  Explain and discuss Mask-making, Puppet-making and Character creation in preparation for developing a script for a Puppet/Mask/Actor production for children. 

                        Choose date for outside-of-class workshop session.


Feb. 13          Explain and discuss Mask-making, Puppet-making and Character creation in preparation for developing a script for a Puppet/Mask/Actor production for children.  Group work improvising, discussing and beginning the creation of a "play" to be prepared by the group using puppets, masks and/or actors.  Begin with choosing the “story” to dramatize and then creating the characters that will be included in the "cast" of your group’s "play". 

ASSIGNMENT:  Puppets or masks will, by necessity of time constraints, need to be made outside of class.  Due Feb. 22.

Group work–choosing and improvising characters for the “puppet/mask/actor” productions.

                        ASSIGNMENT: Read handouts.


Feb. 15          STORYTELLING ASSESSMENTS DUE.                                              


Feb. 22          Show and tell about puppets made.  Group work improvising, discussing and creating the “play” to be prepared by the group using puppets, masks and/or actors.  Experimentation should begin with creating individual characters that will be included in the “cast” of the “play” your group is developing. This "play" will be presented to the class Feb. 27.

ASSIGNMENT: Read Chs. Drama as a Teaching Tool; Creative Drama for the Special Child; Creative Drama in Alternative Spaces; Playgoing for Appreciation and Learning and handouts.


Feb. 27          Puppet/mask story dramatizations due today.  Discuss ways to improve the experience. The remainder of the period will be devoted to further work on puppet/mask story dramatizations.  These "plays" will be presented to children either March 5 or 7.  After the "plays", which are dramatizations of stories using puppets, masks, and actors, there will be follow-up discussion of the experience.                      

                        ASSIGNMENT: Read handouts.


Feb. 29          Discuss puppet/mask/actor story dramatizations and discuss ways to improve the experience.  Preparations for Puppet Show.  Determine who can come early to help transport and set-up.  Work on puppet/mask/actor plays.  Puppet plays either March 5 or 7. 


March 5         Puppet plays.

ASSIGNMENT: Prepare for March 19 the assessment of the Puppet Play and your contribution to it.

                        ASSIGNMENT:  Read Chapters 10 and 11 and handouts.


March  7        Discuss Puppet show.  Puppet play assessment due March 19.

                        Begin Out-of-class activity in-class presentations.

                        ASSIGNMENT:  Read Ch. Creating Plays from Other Sources; Sharing Work with an Audience


March 19       Assignment of class project or groups projects utilizing other educational topics and sources--developing a "play" similar to those described in the handout.  Possible improvisational work in preparation for this class project utilizing other educational source material and topics. 

                        Discuss readings and work on Research Plays.

                        Out-of-class activity in-class presentations.


March 21       Out-of-class activity in-class presentations.  Work on Research Plays.                                                                                    

March 26       Out-of-class activity in-class presentations.  Work on Research Plays.                          


March 28       Out-of-class activity in-class presentations.  Class discussion of chapters not yet discussed and/or group work on project. 


                                                                                                            April 2            Presentations of research group plays.

Group project work.                                                                                             

April 4            Finish presentations of group plays if necessary.


April 9            Discuss presentations of group plays.           

                        Reminder: Unit plans are due April 16.   Be prepared to do your presentation of one of the lessons in the Unit and to turn in your Unit and its five lessons.      

ASSIGNMENT: Prepare assessment of the Research plays and your contribution to them.  Due April 16.


April 12          NOTE:  In lieu of the usual class meeting time, the Research Plays will be presented during the Student Research and Creative Arts Symposium.


April 16          Assessment DUE of the Research plays and your contribution to them.

                        Unit plans due.  Begin presentations.  Discussion may follow each presentation.  Written UNITS and their 5 INDIVIDUAL LESSON PLANS DUE after presentation of one of the lesson plans in your planned unit.                     


April 18          Unit and lesson plan presentations.


April 23          Unit and lesson plan presentations.  Discussion may follow each presentation.  Written UNITS and their 5 INDIVIDUAL LESSON PLANS DUE after presentation of one of the lesson plans in your planned unit.


April 25          Creative Dramatics Activity Notebook due.  It will be returned on the last day of class.  Unit and lesson plan presentations.


April 30          Unit and lesson plan presentations.  Begin final discussions tying up the types of creative dramatics units and projects with which we have experimented and sharing other ideas which they may have generated for use in the classroom and beyond.  Those papers not returned today or May 2 may be picked up on the date of the final exam.


May 2             Finish final discussions. 

                        Final Exam Date:  Core Assessment Self-Evaluation Paper due on Core Assessment Project.


Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .

Guide and Format for Activity Notebook

Guidelines for the Selection of Stories for Storytelling

Guideline for Self-Assessment of Storytelling

Guide for Outside-of-Class Workshop Presentation

Teaching with Puppets


Outside-of-class workshop SELF-EVALUATION Guidelines.doc

Creating Plays from Other Sources.doc


Guide for Puppet Play Assessment


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Last Updated:12/19/2011 8:29:56 AM