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Script Writing Activities

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Engaging your middle or high school students in script writing activities can seem challenging. These activities will help students work out their writing muscles using short exercises with rewarding results.

Script Writing Activities

Script writing is a challenging form of writing for many people but can be especially daunting for middle and high school students. Use these activities to help students build skills engaging with script writing in shorter, focused exercises. Each activity focuses on a specific part of script writing, such as narration, dialogue, props, and stage directions. The first activity is built for partners, the second for teams, and the third for individuals, although grouping can be adjusted as you prefer.

Reader's Theatre

  • Materials: short children's books or fairy tales, reader's theatre example(s), reader's theatre guidelines, access to technology (word processing), writing utensils, notebook paper

In this activity, student partners will use a children's book or fairy tale as the basis for crafting a reader's theatre script. Begin by engaging the class in a reader's theatre. By gaining experience with this form of writing, they will be more prepared to create one of their own. Next, create as a class or provide a list of reader's theatre guidelines. Partner students and provide choices of short children's books or fairy tales. Remind students that they can minimally use wording from the text itself but should mostly use their own words in crafting the script.

Provide time for partners to read the text they've selected and write their script. Combine partners into teams for script review and feedback. Allow time for adjustments to the script and access to technology for typing a completed version. Consider engaging the class in performing the reader's theatre scripts. Extend the activity by allowing authors to select a cast and direct the performance of their script.

Stage Direction Improv

  • Materials: short example scripts with stage directions, short scripts without stage directions, writing utensils, notebook paper

In this activity, student teams will improvise stage directions as they perform a script. Begin by placing students into teams. Provide students with at least one short script example with stage directions. Try to provide scripts with limited parts so that a single team can perform the script without additional participants. Allow time for student teams to practice performing one of the scripts, following the stage directions carefully.

Next, provide teams with a short script that does not include stage directions. It is best to provide each team with a unique script. Then, ask students to read through the script multiple times for the purpose of using meaningful expression and intonation. For an added challenge, you could advise that they not plan for movement and interactions that will require stage directions.

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