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Brainball

Teaching Inquiry Theater as a Team Sport

Mickey Kolis; Benjamin H. Kolis and Tara Lorence

Hardback
Paperback
This volume of the Brainball series gives the theater classroom teacher an intentional, sequenced process for creating inclusive theatre pedagogy that maximizes students’ learning. In addition, the Brainball technique offers concrete forms of meaningful assessment applicable to the theater classroom, and connects easily to our newly published national standards in theatre arts education.

Brainball is a purposeful and process-driven set of teaching strategies that gets students to “express their human experience through representative actions.” The book focuses on creating experiences that allow students to grapple with what is going on in their lives – and then work through the joys and pains through role-play activities. This book is also an excellent resource to help guide teachers in intentionally planning to get students to develop positive dispositions, collaborative teams and supportive communities where everyone contributes and everyone has an important role.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 180Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4758-3469-7 • Hardback • April 2017 • $50.00 • (£32.95)
978-1-4758-3470-3 • Paperback • April 2017 • $25.00 • (£15.95)
978-1-4758-3471-0 • eBook • April 2017 • $24.99 • (£15.95) (coming soon)
Mickey Kolis is the author of three books, a veteran public school science teacher, and currently a university professor. Making learning relevant is his highest professional aspiration.

Benjamin H. Kolis is an actor and theatre devisor in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His show CLOCKED recently won an Audience Pick Award at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.


Tara Lorence currently teaches middle school theater in Columbia Heights, MN. She graduated in 2012 with a double major in Theater and English Education from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Chapter 2: The Big Ideas: Product, Process, and Community aligned with Purpose
Chapter 3: Brainball (TE) Beliefs (Dispositions)
Chapter 4: Brainball (TE) Key Concepts (Knowledge)
Chapter 5: Brainball (TE) Skills
Section 2: Five Coaching Tips
Chapter 6: Tip 1: Keep the End-in-Mind
Chapter 7: Tip 2: Play the Game
Chapter 8: Tip 3: Competitions as Evaluations
Chapter 9: Tip 4: Sequences matter
Chapter 10: Tip 5: Explicit Communications
Section 3: Day-to-Day Lesson Plans: Brainball Illuminated
Lesson 1: Observations: Fitting In
Lesson 2: Observations: Learning to be more Observant
Lesson 3: Observations: Guided Theater
Lesson 4: Curiosity: I wonder statements
Lesson 5: Problem Statements
Lesson 6: Gathering Information: Voice
Lesson 7: Gathering Information: Space
Lesson 8: Gathering Information: Writing Scripts
Lesson 9: Gathering Information: Costumes
Lesson 10: Gathering Information: Set Design
Lesson 11: Gathering Information: Feedback and Feedforward
Lesson 12: Create: Pick and Plan
Lesson 13: Create: Compose
Lesson 14: Create: Compose
Lesson 15: Create: Review and Revise
Lesson 16: Create: Review
Lesson 17: Create: Revise
Lesson 18: Create: Construct
Lesson 19: Create: Test
Lesson 20: Create: Test
Lesson 21A: Perform: In-Class
Lesson 21B: Perform: External Audience
Lesson 22: Analysis of the entire Inquiry Process
Lesson 23: Conclusion: What have we learned
Conclusion
Appendices
Appendix 1: Steps of Inquiry
Appendix 2: S.C.A.M.P.E.R.
Appendix 3: Making the Most of Observations
Appendix 4: Cross the Line Prompts
Appendix 5: Circle of Power and Respect
Appendix 6: Sample Script
Appendix 7: Stage Directions
Appendix 8: Blocking
Appendix 9: Script Writing
Appendix 10: Set Rendering
Appendix 11: Scoring Guide
Appendix 12: Story Arc
Appendix 13: Script-Writing Format
Appendix 14: Feedback Form
Appendix 15: Costume Worksheet
Appendix 16: Set Design Worksheet
Appendix 17: Set and Costume Planning Worksheet
Appendix 18: Performance Review Worksheet
The Brainball technique and theater are a natural fit. As a collaborative art form, theater relies on effective group processes that value individuals’ strengths and contributions. This volume of the Brainball series gives the theater classroom teacher an intentional, sequenced process for creating inclusive theatre pedagogy that maximizes students’ learning. In addition, the Brainball technique offers concrete forms of meaningful assessment applicable to the theater classroom, and connects easily to our newly published national standards in theatre arts education.
Jennifer Chapman, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Theater Education, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


Brainball Theater Edition is one of those rare text for teachers that delivers. Not only does it give the reader a wealth of background knowledge in both theater and inquiry based education, but it also lays out lesson plans that are easy to follow. As a theater director it is refreshing to see a textbook so student focused. It brings relevance of what theater is to each student by making them an integral part of the theater process. Brainball Theater Edition can bring a strong program to any classroom that uses it. It creates an environment where students are allowed to make the personal choice to truly learn not just memorize for a test. This multitiered curriculum is not just about what students learn, it is about how they learn it.
Laurie Tangren, 6th grade Teacher/Theater Director, Centennial Middle School, Lino Lakes, MN


Brainball: Theatre Edition provides theatre educators with a brilliant opportunity to expand their capacity to help students learn. The theatre classroom can be a challenging space for students; it asks them to question their assumptions, explore who they and others are, and portray concepts and experiences they may not be familiar or comfortable with. Hand-in-hand with those challenges, performing (or, as Kolis would say, “the expression of the human experience through representative actions”) presents a world of opportunity for teachers and students to learn; that learning is often difficult for the students and even more so when the theatre educator struggles to know how to help them.

Brainball: Theatre Edition is, the book remains wickedly smart and insightful, exploring not just what or how to teach students but why that learning is valuable not just for the students but also for the educator. This is a learning opportunity for the whole class; a wise educator would pick up this book and invite students along on the journey.
Zach Schultz, Enriched English 9 and Theatre Teacher, North High School, Eau Claire, WI


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