• Speech, Debate, and Drama are integral parts of the curriculum for performing arts in Gainesville, FL, for all 1st through 8th-grade students. The 1st through 5th grade are given thirty minutes of instruction each week, while middle school students receive an hour of instruction each week.

    Speech & Public Speaking are taught to ease the students into speaking in front of groups. In 1st through 3rd grades, they learn delivery techniques by reading from their journals and presenting poems or stories. The 4th and 5th graders begin to write speeches and deliver them. In the 6th through 8th grades, the students at Millhopper Montessori School learn to write various speeches and deliver them in multiple styles. By 8th grade, the students give their speeches extemporaneously using a keyword outline and also deliver a five-minute impromptu speech. Lessons of voice projection, varying tones, and proper body language, as well as not fidgeting and being prepared, begin in the 1st grade and continue through 8th grade.

    Debate teaches formal discussion of various opinions. The 1st through 3rd graders learn to make informed opinions by discussing the differences between gathering information before the opinion is formed and making an opinion without knowing all the facts. 4th and 5th graders, in opposing teams, research a simple issue, formulate an opinion, and write an introduction, talking points with backing research and a conclusion before presenting a debate. The middle school students spend weeks researching a current event, environmental issue, or historical issue and present a formal debate to the 1st through 5th-grade students every other year.

    Drama teaches students the creative process of acting, auditioning, script-writing, and presenting a show. Every other year the performing arts students in 1st through 5th grades learn and recite Shakespeare using the “Shakespeare Can Be Fun” series that retells the stories in rhyme. The middle school creates a theatrical portfolio that includes: a re-written scene, cultural overview, props, characterization, and costumes. Their hard work and re-written scenes are presented at the Shakespeare Festival. Every other year the students perform an End of the Year Show presented at a community theater, such as Eastside High School’s Theater.




Degrees and Certifications:

Ms. Sylvia Aslanian, SPEECH/DRAMA/DEBATE

  • A.S., Technology, Visual Communications
  • B.S. Information Technology, Member of Epsilon Pi Tau (The International Honor Society for Professions in Technology)
  • National Certificate for STEM Teaching by the National Institute for STEM Education (NISE)
  • Director of
    • Biennial Shakespeare Festival
    • Biennial Festival of Dionysus
    • Biennial Year End Show
    • MMS Spotlight Kids Performing Arts Troupe
  • Developer
    • MMS Technology & Computer Science Curriculum (based on National Technology Education Standards
    • MMS Speech and Debate Curriculum (based on National Middle School Public Debate Program)
    • MMS Drama Curriculum (based on Montessori Curriculum and National Standards)
  • Theater Memberships
    • Educational Theater Association
    • Alliance for Theatre and Education
    • Theater Communications Group
    • FATE (Florida Association for Theatre Education)
  • Parent of two Millhopper Montessori alumni
  • MMS Affiliation since 1994


  • DEBATE 1

    All students in 1st-8th grades learn how to formally present an argument that includes research and persuasive writing.  Every other year, Middle School students prepare a formal debate and present the debate to family, friends and the 1st-5th grades.


  • Every other year students in 1st - 8th grades perfrom a year end show. Past shows have been: "Mulan Jr," "Homeroom the Musical," "Lion King Kids," and more.   




  • Every other year, Millhopper Montessori School's middle school students "Rocks The Bard" with their Shakespeare Unit in Literature. They read several of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets, study cultural aspects of the time, and learn about the life of William Shakespeare.

    Creating a Theatrical Portfolio, the students rewrite their own scene from one the playwright's tales. This portfolio includes a cultural overview of the scene and play, a re-written script, character analysis and description, a props list, and a costume sketch. In Drama class, they bring their scripts to life and prepare to perform their scenes in a Shakespeare Festival at the Thomas Center, Spanish Court. The festival is performed for elementary students and is designed to teach the younger students all about The Bard.