Problem solving, group dynamics, pantomime, theater games and exercises, and short scene work are the operating modes in fifth grade drama, the main goal being for each child to feel a sense of security and self-assurance in front of the group. 5th graders learn and apply basic acting concepts (e.g. use of cues, improvisation, projection, entrances & exits) through activities. For example, short poems are assigned for performance, which students memorize, dramatize and costume to present to their peers in a private workshop setting. The final assignment in fifth grade drama is a short scene, which the students prepare with a partner for an invited audience.
The year ends with a study and screening of West Side Story in late spring, which helps to put the critical elements of the modern American musical (e.g., character, story arc, script, staging) into context.
Below is a segment from The Making of a Middle School Musical (shot right here at PMFS) about the process students go through to prepare to present a full scale musical, the culmination of the PMFS theater program.