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This teaching guide helps instructors use a specific primary source set, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, in the classroom.​ It offers discussion questions, classroom activities, and primary source analysis tools.​ Please feel free to share, reuse, and adapt the resources in this.
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They expand the lines, create melodies, and rehearse their act for presentation to the class. Students will: Identify and practice ways to show emotions on stage Define the vocabulary words Read the melodrama described in Little Women Retell the story in a story circle Identify elements needed to write a play In groups, write expanded dialog and action for an act in the melodrama In groups, rehearse the act using the melodramatic acting style Perform the act as a play.

Teachers should have read Little Women and should familiarize themselves with the genre of melodrama using the following sources:. Students should be familiar with the story of Little Women. It is not necessary for students to have seen examples of melodrama prior to the lesson. Tell students that they will be writing and acting in a melodrama. Explain that in the novel Little Women , the March sisters love this type of theatre. The novel contains a description of a melodrama written by the character Jo. Tell the students that they will be creating a script for this play.

Explain that all of these above are examples of melodrama. The plays explain tales of good vs. The hero and heroine are very good and pure of intent.

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The villains are bad, merciless, and evil. The style of acting typically used in melodrama is very exaggerated and showy. The melodramatic style of acting and storytelling may look strange--or even silly—today, but it was very entertaining to people years ago. The audiences could easily understand these movements; even if they did not understand the verbal language, they could interpret the body language.


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Model a few of the movements described below and have the students copy them. Have them guess what emotion is being expressed.

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After practicing the movements above, see if the students have any other ideas for emotions and the appropriate body language to convey it. Have the students stretch out after all of the movement and emotional work and relax for a few minutes. They learned how to speak, walk, dress, use certain facial expressions, and behave as this character type. This was helpful for the actors, who often had little rehearsal for new plays or were playing several parts a week or even within the same play.

Meg plays Zara, the heroine, and Hagar, an old witch.


  1. Seducción en las dunas (Deseo) (Spanish Edition).
  2. ala homepage quick links;
  3. Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women?
  4. Louisa May Alcott | TheHomeSchoolMom.
  5. After the students have read the excerpt once or twice, have them sit in a circle and retell the story of Roderigo and Zara in Operatic Tragedy. Note: you may wish to distribute the ' Plot Summary Handout ' located within the Resource Carousel for the students' reference. The first student should begin the story and talk for a few sentences. Then, he or she should look at the person to the left, cueing them to continue the story.

    Teaching Little Women

    If errors happen in the retelling, the class should stop and see if anyone can fix the mistake. Then, an individual student should pick up the story with the correct information. The round robin should continue until the tale has ended. Ask the students to identify things that the March girls do to make the play interesting for the audience.

    They had homemade props, sets, costumes, and added music. The acts broke up the action and to give the girls time to change costumes and sets. Even though minor mishaps occur, the play goes off well. Ask students to think about the elements that are needed to write a play. Examples include an idea for a plot, a title, a setting, characters, and dialogue. Explain that a play also has to contain a conflict that may or may not be resolved.

    Each scene contains events and dialogue to move the story along. Explain that dialogue is written differently than narrative text. Write an example on the board, such as:. Break the class into five groups and assign each group an act of Operatic Tragedy to write out in play form. The scenes do not need to be particularly long, and the students may use the lines that appear in Little Women if they wish.

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    Some acts require music or sound effects; students should include these elements. Explain that they need not include the accident with the set falling. Instead, they should try to write the play as they think Jo intended it to be. Any other group members are actors; if necessary, the students who are filling the roles described above can also be actors. Give each group a Playwriting Outline worksheet located within the Resource Carousel.

    Little Women Chapter 5 Being Neighborly

    The groups should reread their assigned act and complete the worksheet. Local resource listings are for information purposes only and do not imply endorsement. Always use due diligence when choosing resources, and please verify location and time with the organizer if applicable. Suggestions and advice on TheHomeSchoolMom. Blog posts represent the views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of other contributors or the publisher. Full terms of use and disclosure.

    Classic Literature: Little Women

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