Basic Acting Skills Lesson Plan

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Educate your students on various basic acting skills with this lesson plan. They will view a video lesson, take a related follow-up quiz, and participate in two fun hands-on activities.

Learning Objectives

After studying this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Compare techniques actors use to techniques public speakers use
  • Explain some of the methods actors use to improve their abilities
  • Name some ways for speakers to prepare themselves for their speeches


1-1.5 Hours


Key Vocabulary

  • Conscious awareness
  • Emotion
  • Improvisation
  • NODS
  • Performance
  • Props
  • Public speaking
  • Rehearsing
  • Space
  • Visualizing

Curriculum Standards


Describe how a particular story's or drama's plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.


Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.


Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they 'see' and 'hear' when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.


  • Inform your students they are going to be studying some basic acting skills.
  • Ask them if anyone has acted in a play in the past?
  • Review the key vocabulary terms.
  • Start the video lesson Approaches to Dramatic Acting and pause for the first time at 1:01.
    • What are some of the most common fears?
    • Are introverts often afraid of public speaking?
    • Are many actresses and actors shy?
    • How do they overcome this shyness?
  • Next restart the video and pause this time at 2:09.
    • What is the first tip to both acting and public speaking?
    • What are other ways to prepare?
    • What should the speaker know about the audience?
    • What does visualizing accomplish?
    • Why dress the part?
  • Now restart the video and pause for a third time at 5:15.
    • Should a speaker just present or also perform?
    • What does the term 'use your space' entail?
    • How do speakers control their stage presence?
    • For what does the acronym NODS stand?
    • How do speakers interact with various props?
    • How might speakers overcome self-doubt?
    • What should speakers do instead of burying their nerves?
    • Is speaking with any emotion better than speaking with no emotion?
  • Lastly, restart the video and view the section the 'Lesson Summary.'
  • Review the complete video lesson and answer any student questions.
  • Have your students take the lesson quiz to demonstrate their grasp of the material.

Activity One

  • Inform your students they are going to be writing and acting in their very own dramatic productions.
  • Divide your students up into small groups of 4-6 students.
    • Write a five-minute skit in which you are characters in a popular television show.
    • Each student in the group must have at least three speaking lines.
    • Lastly, perform your skits for the entire class.

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