1. GENERAL HEADING: Language: Sounds, Structure, Meter
2. TITLE OF EXERCISE: "Birthday in Blank Verse"
3. GOALS: Develop students' sensitivity to rhythm (particularly iambic pentameter) and a facility and ease with the form by composing in it with irrelevant or nonsense materials
4. NUMBER OF STUDENTS: Any number
5. EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES: None
6. CLASS TIME NEEDED: Five to ten minutes, depending upon number of people.
7. STEP-BY-STEP DESCRIPTION: Each member has to compose a statement of his or her birthday in a single line of iambic pentameter. Examples: "November fourth, the day that I was born." "My birthday's on the twenty-sixth of June." "On August tenth my birthday falls each year."
8. POINTS FOR OBSERVATION, DISCUSSION: Naturalness of iambic pentameter to normal rhythms of speech in English.
9. SOURCE/REFERENCE: Phillip Joseph, from ACTER (A Center for Theater, Education and Research at UNC-Chapel Hill)
10. ADDITIONAL READING: N.A.
11. VARIATIONS: "Breakfast in Blank Verse": In pairs, one person describes his or her breakfast in a single line of iambic pentameter, and the second person responds, ending the exchange.