Lesson plan

Summer Drama

You won't strike out with this lesson on finding the theme of a script. Use this lesson to help your students identify the elements of a script and find the theme.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the A Script with Adverbs pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the A Script with Adverbs pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify the parts of a script and write about its theme.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Display the Casey at the Bat worksheet and read through the script, making sure to be dramatic with the reading and adding gestures as appropriate. Follow as many of the stage directions as possible with your reading. (Note: you could also have some of your advanced readers split some of the narrator roles. Label Narrator 1, 2, etc., beforehand.)
  • Pass out sticky notes and ask students to jot down some details they understand from the reading and questions they might have about the script. After the reading, ask students to share their questions and the information they gathered.
  • Tell students this is a poem that was converted into a script to add drama and to help them understand the poem by acting it out.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain to students that the word script is part of the written text of a play and can be read like Reader’s Theater. Reader’s Theater is a style of acting out a play where the actors do not memorize the script, but rather read it aloud.
  • Tell students that the plot of the script tells what is happening in the text, but the theme tells the main lesson that they learn in the script. Tell students you will show them how to find the theme of a script by looking at the plot, but first you will label all the elements of a script.
  • Label the title, characters, additional information about the play, setting description, and the stage directions. Explain that the stage directions tell what the playwright, or author of the script, wants the actors to do throughout the play.
  • Refer to the sticky notes with the information students gathered from the read-aloud and read through some of that information. Explain that you will complete a literary response sheet to show how they can find the theme of a script.
(25 minutes)
  • Separate students into groups or pairs and have them read through the script together. Ask them to pay attention to the theme or lesson the author is trying to teach them based on the character's actions and the stage directions.
  • Ask students to share important details or lessons they think apply to the lesson and write them on the board.
  • Display and distribute the Find the Central Message: Literary Response worksheet and go through the process of answering the first sheet and thinking aloud your answers. Have students copy your teacher markings on their paper.
  • Ask students for a thumbs-up or thumbs-down as you think aloud your answers to signify if they agree or not. If they don't agree, allow them to share their thoughts on the matter.
  • Separate students into partnerships and ask them to answer the first two questions on the second page of the Find the Central Message: Literary Response worksheet together with their partners. Possible answers include the main character (the crowd) struggles with the thought of losing the game, and the crowd is learning that they might lose the game.
  • Ask for volunteers to share their answers to the two questions. Then, skip the central theme question to think aloud the answer to this question: "What is the most meaningful moment in the story?" One answer could be when Casey finally strikes out.
  • Discuss the overall theme of the script, based on the meaningful moment you chose as a class. For example, "Even the best player has bad days and may disappoint you." Make sure to refer back to their guesses and reaffirm those that were correct.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Reader's Theater: Camping in the Cold worksheet and ask for a volunteer to point out the key elements of the script (i.e., the characters, setting description, and stage directions). Then, have students label the elements of the script.
  • Distribute an additional copy of the Find the Central Message: Literary Response worksheet and tell the students they will now complete the same literary response for the Reader's Theater: Camping in the Cold worksheet.


  • Provide a word bank and sentence stems for the response questions.
  • Allow students to read the Reader's Theater: Camping in the Cold worksheet in partners before answering the questions with appropriate scaffolds.
  • Allow students to read or illustrate the scripts in groups and act out the text to better understand the story.


  • Allow students to complete the entire Reader’s Theater: Camping in the Cold and Find the Central Message: Literary Response worksheets on their own.
  • Ask them to describe more than one theme in the "Casey at the Bat" worksheet and provide textual evidence to support their answer.
(6 minutes)
  • Distribute index cards and ask students to answer the following questions as their exit ticket:
    • What is the lesson Casey probably learned from the text?
    • How can you apply the lesson Casey learned to your own life?
  • Collect the worksheets and index cards and use them as a formative assessment of their ability to label elements of a script and discuss key details about the theme of a script.
(4 minutes)
  • Allow students to share their exit tickets in partners or with the class. Emphasize that there is not any one "right" answer, but that the ideas need to have text evidence.
  • Summarize the lesson by reminding students that scripts are similar to fictional books, but they have a different structure.
  • Ask for students to turn to their elbow partners and share some similarities and difference between scripts and fictional texts.
  • Choose two non-volunteers to share their answers with the class.

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