Chris Adcock
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Grade 11 ELA
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Scene Preparation & Memorization

    Scene Preparation & Memorization


    In this lesson, students will get more practice with two things: preparing and memorizing their scene and working on their essay.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Memorization Practice

    • Provide feedback about the Perfect Paragraphs to aid student revision.
    • Have students perform their 15-line scenes for their partners. Tell the partners to give and take constructive criticism to help them do well on their presentations.
      • SWD: Some students may benefit from practicing with you or another adult rather than with a peer. For those who have extra difficulty with memorization, assign student pairs carefully.
    • Next, have students switch partners and practice again.
    • Encourage them to use the appropriate criteria to give each other feedback. They can find this on the Performance and Prompt Book Project assignment sheet.
      • ELL: Since ELLs are usually doing a lot of memorizing in all aspects of their education, this can be a great opportunity for them to share any techniques they’ve learned with their partner. You can encourage them to share how they have managed to memorize vocabulary and sentence structure, for example, and how they think that might help them here.


    Begin this lesson by practicing your scene with a partner.

    • Give your partner some pointers, and receive some yourself.
    • Once you’ve both presented and given each other feedback, get a new partner and practice again.

    Argument Development

    • Make sure students have had time to read and react to the comments you made on their Perfect Paragraphs.
    • Using the information from the final essay assignment sheet on Much Ado About Nothing , have them come up with three arguments that will help them to prove their ideas. Have them write these three arguments clearly and succinctly. They can do this in their Notebook or on paper; regardless, they will need easy access to their essay work in future tasks and lessons.
    • Have students share their ideas with their partner.
    • Partners need to give and take constructive criticism to help each other do well on their essays.
      • ELL: To support students still learning the language of constructive criticism, you can brainstorm some examples of phrases they can use beforehand and put them on the board for reference.
    • They need to assess the reality of their arguments: are the points different from one another?
    • Can they be proven with examples from the text?
    • Is the conversation moving beyond plot summary?

    Work Time

    Now that you have your teacher’s response to your Perfect Paragraph, think about how you might edit the paragraph so it provides the best possible support for your essay’s main argument.

    Next, come up with three arguments that will help you prove your essay’s main idea.

    Share with your partner your ideas for your three arguments as well as the editing of the Perfect Paragraph. Help each other to make sure that these arguments are sound.

    Here are some things to consider.

    • Is each of your three ideas different and unique?
    • Do your ideas address the questions or prompt that you’ve chosen?
    • Do they make sense in the context of the play?
    • Can they be proven with examples from the play for support?
    • Is this discussion going beyond plot summary?

    Essay Organization

    • Have students continue to work on their arguments.
    • Remind them of how you’d like them to work on their essays, whether digitally or on paper.
    • Circulate throughout the room to answer questions and help with problems.

    Work Time

    Now that you have your three arguments in mind, as well as edits you can make to your Perfect Paragraph, begin to organize your essay. Flesh out the next few paragraphs.

    • Start to include quotes from the text to prove your points, and be sure to write down the act, scene, and line numbers.
    • Remember, you will need many quotes from the text for support in each paragraph.

    Open Notebook

    The Prompt Book Project

    • Review the requirements for the Prompt Book project.
    • Remind students that the Prompt Books are due on the day that each individual student gives a performance.
      • SWD: For students who struggle with organization and prioritizing, you can have them submit their Prompt Books before their performance in order to provide earlier guidance and feedback.
    • Make sure that everyone has a link to the examples of the Prompt Book. A good example of a professional prompt book can be found at the TheatreCrafts website.

    Work Time

    Put your essay draft away for today and have a group discussion of the Prompt Book project. This project will be handed in on the day that you perform your scene. This is the last time you will have in the full class format to have your questions answered.

    As you review with your class, keep in mind the following.

    • Your scene for the Prompt Book project is the same scene that contains your memorized passage.
    • Your Prompt Book needs to include at least three of the major prompt book elements, such as script, blocking, and a copy of the ground plan for the stage.
    • Be as specific as you can! If you are chosen as a director, your actors will be relying on your directions.
    • Your Prompt Book is due on the day you perform your memorized lines for the class.

    The Final Rehearsal

    • Make sure students know the order in which they are presenting their scenes. Beginning with the next lesson, five to six students will present per day. The order is determined by the order of the play. Those performing scenes from act 1, scene 1, for example, will go first; those doing act 5, scene 4 will go last.


    This is your final dress rehearsal, so to speak, for your performance project. Presentations will begin during the next lesson.

    • Take turns rehearsing your lines with your partner, and help each other out.
    • Do you have any tricks or strategies that have helped you memorize your own lines? Share them with your partner.

    Final Memorization Preparations

    • Before students leave, make sure to address any outstanding questions about the Prompt Book project and memorization performances.
    • Remind students that this recitation is just the first part of the performance assignment and that they will be creating a full scene performance with other students after all the recitations are done. Prompt them to listen to each presentation with the full scene production in mind to find the scenes that they are interested in performing in (since not all the memorized passages will be presented as productions).
    • Students need to continue to work on their memorization and their Prompt Book project. Line memorization performances will begin during the next lesson.


    • Continue to work on your memorization skills as well as your Prompt Book project. Presentations begin during the next lesson!