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Journaling in IB Theatre

Help and Advice for Maintaining a Journal in IB


Theatre Part 1
By: Tom Clark

2016-2017

Help and Advice for keeping a journal in IB


Theatre Part 1

As part of your coursework in IB Theatre you are required to keep a journal. This isnt just a
requirement from me, but it is also a requirement from IB.
There are 2 means by which you will keep your journal: Narrative entries and non-narrative
entries. The purpose of this resource packet is to outline and review narrative entries only. A
follow-up packet will deal with non-narrative entries.
This packet will help explain some effective ways to record journal entries and offer a template
for your journal presentation.

I. What is a journal? An Overview


Journal writing introduces students to writing as a tool for learning. It is a place for students to
practice thinking. As students write, they formulate ideas, analyze observations, respond to
events, pose questions, discover implications and consequences and to see relationships.
The act of writing allows students to manipulate thought in unique ways because writing makes
thoughts visible and concrete and allows students to interact with and modify them.
Toby Fulwiler describes a journal as part diary and part class notebook. While diaries record the
private thoughts and experiences of the writer and class notebooks record the public thoughts
and presentation of the teacher, a journal is somewhere between the two. Like a diary, the
journal is written in the first person about ideas and experiences important to the writer: like a
class notebook, the journal may also focus on detailed course areas the writer wishes to
examine.
Journals may focus narrowly on the subject matter of the content area or broadly on the whole
range of a persons personal theatre experiences. Each journal entry is a deliberate exercise in
expansion: How far can I take this idea? How accurately can I describe or explain it? How can
I make it make sense to me?
The journal encourages students to become conscious, through language, of what is happening
to them, both personally, academically and developmentally.

What are journal entries for IB Theatre?


Your journal will be the largest open book test for IB Theatre in the sense that you can use your
recorded experiences to make notes and outlines for your final TPPP. As such, it is important
that it be complete and comprehensive. It is your record, charting your development,
challenges and achievement. The aim of the journal is to nurture and support development and
reflection. Entries can deal with classroom and afterschool activities and experiences and plays
you experience outside of school. Your journal should be an objective and a justified subjective
review of your work done during the course and a reflection of your progress.
Narrative journal entries should focus on

Learning experiences that reflect and illustrate personal


growth and development
Your extent and direction of your journey throughout the course
Challenges, obstacles and steps forward
Your experiences and various stages of development and your
reflection and analysis at those stages.
New understandings and new questions following theatrical experiences or events.
Critical responses to external productions should also be included.

Before adding anything to your journal, you need to ask yourself Why am I including this? and
How is this entry a reflection of my experience of theatre, my discoveries in theatre, and a
development of my knowledge, understanding and skills?
Holistic Aspect
This means that you become aware of the inter-connectedness of theatreof how one area
feeds into another. You must write entries attempting to link all of your experiences with
others. Can you compare and contrast masks in Noh theatre with masks in Commedia Dell
Arte? How do Turkish Shadow Puppet stories mimic Taiwanese glove puppetry? Does an
element of symbolism you see in a professional production directly feed into a creative choice
you make in directing a scene from a play? Does your definition of theatre change or get
challenged through practical experience in the rehearsal process?
Holistic assessment asks you to consider the internal (subjective) and the external (objective).
What you think and feel is as important as what you learn and apply and testthis inner/outer
aspect of the theatre students means that you are fulfilling a major component of IB Theatre.
Your journal will be holistic in nature by considering three important components:

Synthesis
Analysis
Reflection

II. Synthesis/Analysis/Reflection
You can make sure you include these three areas in journal entries by
striving to answer these questions:
SYNTHESIS=CREATE
*To form a single unified thought or observation by combining parts or elements.
What alternative would you suggest for__________?
What changes would you make to revise_____________?
How would you explain the reason____________________?
How would you generate a plan to_____________________?
What could you invent_________?
What facts can you gather_______?
Predict the outcome if_____________?
What would happen if_____________?
How would you portray_______?
Devise a way to_______?
How would you compile the facts for_________?
How would you elaborate on the reason_________?
How would you improve______________?

Synthesis power words: adopt, arrange, assemble, blend, build, connect, combine,
compile, compose, concoct, connect, construct, coordinate, create, cultivate, design, detect,
develop, devise, dictate, elaborate, establish, explain, form, format, formulate, frame, gather,
generate, glean, graph, hypothesis, imagine, incorporate, integrate, interact, invent, judge,
make, model, monitor, organize, participate, plan, portray, produce, publish, rearrange, refine,
reorganize, revise, rewrite, summarize, synthesize, test, write.

Analysis= Analyze
*To break down in order to bring out the essential elements; structure; any underlying
assumptions and any interrelationships involved.
How can you classify _______________ according to _______________?
How can you compare the different parts _______________?
What explanation can you have for _______________?
How is _______________ connected to __________________?
Discuss the pros and cons of ________________?
How can you sort the parts ________________?
What is your analysis of _________________?
What can you infer _________________?
What ideas validate ________________?
How would you explain ________________?
What can you point out about __________________?
What is the problem with __________________?
Why do you think _________________?

Analysis power words: analyze, ask, catalog, categorize, chart, classify, compare, contrast,
correlate, decode, deduce, diagram, differentiate, dissect, distinguish, divide, document, edit,
examine, explain, focus, group, identify, infer, inquire, inspect, inventory, monitor, observe,
order, outline, parse, point out, proofread, reason, review, segment, select, sequence, sort,
survey, transform.

Reflection = Evaluate
*Make an appraisal by weighing up the strengths and limitations of different evidence and
arguments. Concerned with meditation and deliberation.
What criteria would you use to assess ___________?
What data was used to evaluate ______________?
What choice would you have made _____________?
How would you determine the facts _____________?
What is the most important ______________?
What would you suggest ______________?
How would you grade _____________?
What is your opinion of _______________?
How could you verify _______________?
What information would you use to prioritize _____________?
Rate the ______________.
Determine the value of _______________.

Reflection power words: agree, appraise, appreciate, assess, choose, compare, conclude,
consider, construct, contrast, criticize, critique, debate, decide, defend, design, determine,
discriminate, dispute, editorialize, estimate, evaluate, explain, grade, hypothesize, influence,
interpret, judge, justify, measure, perceive, prioritize, prove, rate, recommend, relate, select,
summarize, support, test, value, verify.

III. Format and Examples


Follow this basic outline for narrative journal entries, weaving synthesis, analysis and
reflection throughout:

1. What we did today. (activity)


2. How I felt about what we did today. (reflection)
3. What I learned that was new to me today. (Perception)
4. What did I see that I already knew about theatre today and how was it confirmed
to me?
(Confirmation)
5. What is (are) my major area(s) of strength and weaknesses that I need to work on to
become a better theatre person? (self evaluation)
6. Finally think about the IB learner profile and consider what trait or characteristic you
practiced throughout the activity described in your journal. Briefly summarize what it
was and how/why/what you applied it.

Here are two journal entries that follow this basic format. Read
them and use them as examples for your own entries. Next, you
will find a blank template for your own entries. A digital copy of
the template is uploaded on our class website for you to use
when you write.

Journal Entry 1
Weve been talking about Architecture as it relates to Ann Bogart, with relationship (between
actor and set,) As well as how using this idea; the set can be changed quickly and effectively, by simply

Activity

moving a few chairs, or even just changing your relationship to them.


We did something like this in class: we were assigned two places A library and a restaurant.
We had to act out the library and then seamlessly change the set to the restaurant. One thing that I did
was that I had a chair on my lap and was typing on the seat, so it was a laptop computer. Then, I
picked it up and set it right in front of me and it became a part of the booth at the restaurant. John-john,
who had been pushing a chair as a book cart and putting books back on the shelves, picked his chair up
and it became that platter to carry our drinks. Another group did this very well: they had Vicky standing
on chair one, diving in and Rachel standing on chair two, life guarding. Chairs three, four and five were
lined up on the side of the pool, and Megan was lying across them, tanning. The other person in the
group was swimming; back and forth from chair one to the end. Their other location was a hospital. To
transition, Rachel stepped down off chair two and sat on it, becoming a telephone operator. Megan sat
up and started saying, Guys, Im so burned! Look its blistering! I need a doctor. Rachel put her finger
to her ear as if using a hands free device and said, Yes, may I help you? Just a moment, Ill put you
through to the doctors office. Vicky sat in chair three and started complaining about symptoms as well.
The transition was pretty much perfect.
The way their transition flowed made me think of the music video from All American Rejects,
where the entire video is looking at the singer, straight on and staring at the singing. But everything
keeps changing around him: where he is, what hes doing, who hes with.
Reflection

In The Incarcerated, the set is just ten chairs which become other things, based on how the actor relates
to them A few years ago, I saw the play The Interview, which Mountain View put on. They used very
minimal set, and used chairs for a lot of different things there was a subway scene where they just
Perception
picked up the chairs, and they became sliding doors. This technique changed from the set from
somewhere very different, to the subway, and they didnt have to change much at all.

I am in Tech Theater and we are building the set for the play Godspell. One of the things we made were
saw horses for the police barricade. However, during the play, they are placed side by side and
Confirmation
a table top is set on them, transforming them into a picnic table. Obviously everything is still
exactly what it was before but its relationship with the actors has changed, so what it is supposed to be
changes.

Self-Evaluation
I have always seen one thing/object being used symbolically in theatre presentations, but
always thought of these moments as static. Today I experienced what I always suspectedthat
these moments can be active and dynamic as well as static and help tell the story just as much as any
realistic set depiction.

Inquirers-They develop their natural curiosity.


They acquire the skills necessary to conduct
inquiry and research and show the independence
of learning. They actively enjoy learning and this
love of learning will be sustained throughout their
lives.
Knowledgeable-They explore concepts, ideas and
issues that have local and global significance. In so
doing they acquire in depth knowledge and
develop understanding across a broad and
balanced range of disciplines.
Thinkers-They exercise initiative in applying
thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize
and approach complex problems and make
reasoned, ethical decisions.
Communicators-They understand and express
ideas and information confidently and creatively in
more than one language and in a variety of modes
of communication. They work effectively and
willingly in collaboration with others.
Principled-They act with integrity and honesty,
with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect
for the dignity of the individual, groups and
communities.
Open- minded-They understand and appreciate
their own cultures and personal histories, and are
open to the perspectives, values and traditions of
other individuals and communities. They are
accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of
points of view, and are willing to grow from the
experience.
Caring-They show empathy, compassion and
respect toward the needs and feelings of others.
They have a personal commitment to service, and
act to make a positive difference to the lives of
others and the environment.
Risk takers- they approach unfamiliar situations
and uncertainty with courage and forethought
and have independence of spirit to explore new
roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and
articulate in defending their beliefs.
Balanced-They understand the importance of
intellectual, physical and emotional balance to
achieve personal well-being for themselves and
others.
Reflective-They give thoughtful consideration to
their own learning and experience. They are able
to assess and understand their strengths and
limitations in order to support their learning and
personal development.

Learning Summary
To the left are the 10 learning characteristics identified in the IB
learner profile. Circle or highlight the characteristic you think
you demonstrated most in the activities described in your
journal entry. Below, write a short summary justifying why and
how you think you demonstrated this characteristic.

I was definitely a thinker in todays activity. The use of the


chairs as an exercise in documentary theatre staging
caused me to think of other ways and applications I have
seen objects being used in plays. I guess I realized I knew
about these techniques before and really discovered I
knew what I already knewif that makes sense.
But I suppose also that this learner characteristic is to
recognize patterns.which I did when I saw how chairs
were used in The Interview, how we were using saw
horses in Godspell and even the changes in the music
video.

Journal Entry 2
Today in theatre arts, Elena did her Meisner presentation. Through the word repetition game, I realized
Meisners desired goals. He wanted self-consciousness with in and actor to be abolished while emotions
present. We tried to illustrate his intentions through this word repetition game. First we paired up
Activity
and began to repeat back sentences without partner about a trivial observation one partner made
about another. For example my partner said Youre wearing jeans, and I repeated it back word for
word. This repetition back and forth continued for a while until my mind went blank, void of any
thought. I just waited until my partner finished repeating and then I spoke, but blankly. It became a
matter of waiting for someones cue. Then, we continued this repetition game but with responses in
first person.
This was relatively void of any emotion because what was being repeated was so frivolous anyway. Im
wearing black shoes Who cares! I dont care, I just stared at the wall absent-mindedly waiting for my
cue. Then when it seemed like a monotonous tone had fallen upon the class things took an
Perception
interesting turn. We were asked to ask our partner a provocative question and they were obligated
to repeat it back the same exact way. In two words this exercise generated emotion. When I asked
my partner a question she threw it back with an offended tone in voice and exasperated expression.
Unlike the other exercises, emotion had been triggered here. I found this to be quite interesting and
funny because of the questions that people thought of. Additionally, each question yielded a different
response (eg: Ben laughed when asked Do you like porn?)
Its curious how Meisner thought up these exercises but either way they work well for what he expects
from an actor. In the first two exercises not much emotion was yielded but the mind was cleared of all
thoughts as Meisner wanted. The actor was no longer self-conscious as they made an observation about
someone else and repeated it back and forth. It was preparation for the emotion that would
Confirmation
come about in the third exercise. This emotion was raw and unrehearsed; exactly what Meisner
wanted. This is so because the first exercise is based on instinctive reactions. Not like in a soap
opera where the emotion is rehearsed and over-dramatic. This is what Meisner called the living
truthfully part of acting, for obvious reasons. It is truthful because the reactions of emotions are real,
extemporaneous and solely based on natural impulses. I dont know how he flowed the emotions into
acting because we didnt manage to get that far in our limited amount of time.
However I do know how I felt in the exercises we did today. I felt like a robot without a brain that is
Reflection
usually teeming with random thoughts or worried. This was a good thing. It was nice to forget all
these things and end up focusing on your cue to repeat some dumb meaningless observation about
someone elses appearance or my own! This was what I felt for the first two exercises. For the third
exercise I was sitting there anticipating a question that I hoped would trigger laughter. I found it
amusing. However sometimes the question actually provoked personal emotion because it would
remind me of a past experience. I didnt mind this much because my feelings only lasted for a second
Self
I dont dwell on past events but I can if I want to but I dont so I forgot it in a second. Through these
Evaluation
exercises I realized that I was bad at asking a provocative question. This is because I dont know many
people.

Inquirers-They develop their natural curiosity.


They acquire the skills necessary to conduct
inquiry and research and show the independence
of learning. They actively enjoy learning and this
love of learning will be sustained throughout their
lives.
Knowledgeable-They explore concepts, ideas and
issues that have local and global significance. In so
doing they acquire in depth knowledge and
develop understanding across a broad and
balanced range of disciplines.
Thinkers-They exercise initiative in applying
thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize
and approach complex problems and make
reasoned, ethical decisions.
Communicators-They understand and express
ideas and information confidently and creatively in
more than one language and in a variety of modes
of communication. They work effectively and
willingly in collaboration with others.
Principled-They act with integrity and honesty,
with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect
for the dignity of the individual, groups and
communities.
Open- minded-They understand and appreciate
their own cultures and personal histories, and are
open to the perspectives, values and traditions of
other individuals and communities. They are
accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of
points of view, and are willing to grow from the
experience.
Caring-They show empathy, compassion and
respect toward the needs and feelings of others.
They have a personal commitment to service, and
act to make a positive difference to the lives of
others and the environment.
Risk takers- they approach unfamiliar situations
and uncertainty with courage and forethought
and have independence of spirit to explore new
roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and
articulate in defending their beliefs.
Balanced-They understand the importance of
intellectual, physical and emotional balance to
achieve personal well-being for themselves and
others.
Reflective-They give thoughtful consideration to
their own learning and experience. They are able
to assess and understand their strengths and
limitations in order to support their learning and
personal development.

Learning Summary
To the left are the 10 learning characteristics identified in the IB
learner profile. Circle or highlight the characteristic you think
you demonstrated most in the activities described in your
journal entry. Below, write a short summary justifying why and
how you think you demonstrated this characteristic.

I felt I was an inquirer in this lesson. I was open to the learning


experience as well as non-judgmental about the Meisner
technique. Because of this I was able to respond on a personal
level to what was happening and also able to reflect upon what
was happening with my partner.
Inquiry helped me to connect the dots about the Meisner
system because the lesson involved more than one exercise.
The exercises built upon each other and because of this I could
see the connection between Meisner, myself, acting and
truth in theatre.

Journal Entry
Name:

Title:

Date:

Activity:
What we
did today.

Reflection:
How I feel
about what
we did.

Perception: What I
learned that was
new to me today.

Confirmation: What
did I see or
experience that I
already knew about
theatre?

Self Evaluation-What

did I see that I


already knew about
theatre today and
how was it
confirmed to me?

Inquirers-They develop their natural curiosity.


They acquire the skills necessary to conduct
inquiry and research and show the independence
of learning. They actively enjoy learning and this
love of learning will be sustained throughout their
lives.
Knowledgeable-They explore concepts, ideas and
issues that have local and global significance. In so
doing they acquire in depth knowledge and
develop understanding across a broad and
balanced range of disciplines.
Thinkers-They exercise initiative in applying
thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize
and approach complex problems and make
reasoned, ethical decisions.
Communicators-They understand and express
ideas and information confidently and creatively in
more than one language and in a variety of modes
of communication. They work effectively and
willingly in collaboration with others.
Principled-They act with integrity and honesty,
with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect
for the dignity of the individual, groups and
communities.
Open- minded-They understand and appreciate
their own cultures and personal histories, and are
open to the perspectives, values and traditions of
other individuals and communities. They are
accustomed to seeking and evaluating a range of
points of view, and are willing to grow from the
experience.
Caring-They show empathy, compassion and
respect toward the needs and feelings of others.
They have a personal commitment to service, and
act to make a positive difference to the lives of
others and the environment.
Risk takers- they approach unfamiliar situations
and uncertainty with courage and forethought
and have independence of spirit to explore new
roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and
articulate in defending their beliefs.
Balanced-They understand the importance of
intellectual, physical and emotional balance to
achieve personal well-being for themselves and
others.
Reflective-They give thoughtful consideration to
their own learning and experience. They are able
to assess and understand their strengths and
limitations in order to support their learning and
personal development.

Learning Summary
To the left are the 10 learning characteristics identified in the
IB learner profile. Circle or highlight the characteristic you
think you demonstrated most in the activities described in
your journal entry. Below, write a short summary justifying
why and how you think you demonstrated this characteristic.

IV. Journal Procedures and Guidelines


Deadlines

Journal entries are due every Friday to me, already printed at the beginning of class.
They are to be given to me physically or placed in my received tray on my desk.
They are to be turned in whether I have given a journal prompt or not. Sometimes you
are given prompts and sometimes you are on your own to write about experiences you
decide on. I have found that over time, some students become over-reliant on prompts
and want them instead of having to use their own initiative.
Do not email me your entry. They are due on Friday whether or not we have had class
that day. You must constantly check the IB webpage under school fusion for notes and
prompts from me.
If you are absent on a given Friday, your journal is due Monday when you return,
whether we meet for class that day or not.
I prefer you to follow the prescribed template until we decide, on a case by case basis, a
more open and freestyle form for you. The template is meant to help you stay focused
and learn the basics.

The entries are to be typed and an electronic back up copy kept. After your entry is returned it
is to be pasted into your proper journal.which is actually an art sketchbook. Over time you
will collect all journal entries, as well as important images, pictures, programs from plays,
posters, play analysis and reviews, etc
All entries must have

Your name clearly written


The date
The subject or title at the top of the page (this is important when you go through
previous entries to find out what you have written about)
And they must be complete.not shortsighted, or have unreflective, unformed thoughts
without examples. It is easy to tell who put thought into an entry and who did one 5
minutes before class.
Journal templates are provided as examples in this packet and narrative journal
templates have been uploaded on our class website for you to use.

Tips
Appropriate times for journaling are

At the beginning of class


When a new topic, subject or unit is being introduced
During instruction to focus attention and to raise questions
At the end of class
At the end of a unit of study, performance or theatre
experience

Some strategies:
Use color coding throughout your journal. I and my students
have found this to be extremely useful Use these colors to
highlight passages that illustrate the following:

Yellowchallenges and obstacles


Pinkconnections between areas of theatre
BlueMoments of discovery, inspiration or understanding
Redsignificant questions raised
OrangeOvercoming problems or solutions arrived at.

V. Conclusion
I want you to have fun writing your journal entries. Hopefully this booklet has provided some
minimal guidance for you. Students have benefited enormously from journaling their theatre
learning. Your journal will help you focus your attention on the subject matter, engage actively
with your learning, arouse curiosity, discover disparate elements in theatre, make connections
between theatre and your life, make your own meaning, identify what you know and dont
know, diagnose learning success and problems and prepare you for a successful TPPP exam!

Narrative Journal Rubric


Level of Achievement

90-100

80-89

70-79

60-69

0-59
Teacher notes:

Descriptor

Student includes name, date, and title of entry


Student uses a combination of synthesis, analysis and
reflection throughout entry with alacrity, flair and
imagination in a way that challenges and expands their
understanding.
Student follows narrative format: activity, reflection,
perception, confirmation, self-evaluation in a highly
effective, cohesive manner.
Student makes incisive and definitive observations about
what type of learner characteristic he/she displayed.
Student includes name, date, and title of entry.
Student uses some combination of synthesis, analysis
and reflection throughout entry with considerable depth
of understanding.
Student follows narrative format: activity, reflection,
perception, confirmation, self-evaluation in a manner
that flows and makes understanding clear.
Student makes excellent, thoughtful observations about
what type of learner characteristic he/she displayed.
Student includes name, date, and title of entry.
Student uses some combination of synthesis, analysis
and reflection throughout entry in a minimally
competent way.
Student follows narrative format: activity, reflection,
perception, confirmation, self-evaluation with basic and
rudimentary skill.
Student makes credible observations about what type of
learner characteristic he/she displayed.
Student includes name, date, and title of entry.
Student uses little synthesis, analysis and reflection in
the entry and does so in a superficial, obvious manner.
Student follows narrative format: activity, reflection,
perception, confirmation, self-evaluation but it is
perfunctory.
Student makes predictable observations about what
type of learner characteristic he/she displayed.
The student does not meet any of the standards listed above
consistently. The entry makes only a passing reference to the
activity with little narrative format and with little or no effort to
utilize any synthesis, analysis or reflection. The IB learner profile
is not identified or is only discussed in a superficial manner.