GARRISON KEILLOR'S NEW YEAR'S EVE SPECIAL, a live broadcast from Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, will showcase Garrison Keillor and the other regulars from his popular radio show, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, as they and a variety of musical guests usher in 2007. In this lesson, students will learn about the fictional Minnesota town that is the focus of the weekly radio show, Lake Wobegon, and study both historic radio programs and those modeled after them. After watching the Keillor special, students will create and perform their own old-time radio program and provide each other with feedback about their productions. In addition, they will discuss the historical and cultural significance of such radio programs.
Approximately five to six 45-minute class periods
Theater/Drama, Music, Communications, Language Arts, History
Students will be able to:
1. Utilize research skills to find answers to scavenger hunt questions and learn basic background information about Garrison Keillor and A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION.
2. Learn about the history of old-time radio and participate in class discussions related to the cultural and historical significance of these types of broadcasts.
3. Use listening and note-taking skills to record information from audio and video performances and apply what they have learned to compare and contrast old-time radio with current popular forms of entertainment.
4. Participate in performing a classic radio program script with classmates to gain a greater understanding of the challenges and skills associated with this type of entertainment.
5. Utilize group work skills and performance techniques to create an original old-time radio program and perform it for classmates.
6. Utilize peer evaluation skills to provide constructive, written feedback for classmates about their old-time radio projects.
A copy of GREAT PERFORMANCES' GARRISON KEILLOR'S NEW YEAR'S EVE SPECIAL
Access to word-processing software
Printed copies of the article "A Brief History of Radio Drama in America" (optional)
Miscellaneous items to be used for creating music and sound effects (optional)
Prep for Teachers:
Prior to teaching the lesson, record the broadcast of GARRISON KEILLOR'S NEW YEAR'S EVE SPECIAL (check local listings to determine if and when the program will air in your state), review the program for content, bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer, and download the necessary plug-ins. Select archived performance(s) of A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION to share with the students and vintage radio scripts to use as examples for the Culminating Activity. Print out and make copies of the related student handouts: Scavenger Hunt Worksheet, Viewing Guide, and Radio Program Planning Guide.
Bookmark the following sites:
GREAT PERFORMANCES: GARRISON KEILLOR'S NEW YEAR'S EVE SPECIAL
A Prairie Home Companion: About A Prairie Home Companion
Generic Radio Workshop: Vintage Radio Script Library
RadioLovers.com: Free Old Time Radio Shows
The Mercury Theatre on the Air
Grove Music Online
Understands connections among the various art forms and other disciplines.
Standard 1, Level III and IV: Understands the relationship between music and history and culture.
Standard 1, Level III and IV: Demonstrates competence in writing scripts.
Standard 2, Level III and IV: Uses acting skills.
Standard 3, Level III and IV: Designs and produces formal and informal productions.
Standard 4, Level III and IV: Directs scenes and productions.
Standard 6, Level III and IV: Understands the context in which theater, film, television, and electronic media are performed today as well as in the past.
Standard 1, Level III and IV: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
Standard 4, Level III and IV: Gathers and uses information for research purposes.
Standard 5, Level III and IV: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
Standard 6, Level III and IV: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of literary texts.
Standard 7, Level III and IV: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.
Listening and Speaking
Standard 8, Level III and IV: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
Standard 9, Level III and IV: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.
Standard 2, Level III and IV: Understands the historical perspective.
Working with Others
Standard 1, Level IV: Contributes to the overall effort of a group.
Standard 4, Level IV: Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.
Thinking and Reasoning
Standard 3, Level III and IV: Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences.
This lesson was prepared by Lisa Prososki, an independent educational consultant and instructional design specialist who taught middle school and high school social studies, English, reading, and technology courses for 12 years.
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