The benefits of using drama, in the EFL- YL class

William Shakespeare claimed that

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143

We all realize that,teaching in the primary classroom, is very different from teaching teens or adults, because of the amount of energy children have! Knowing how to channel this energy, will help us achieve balanced lessons without children becoming over-excited on the one hand or bored on the other.

One tool to manage this is, Drama/acting out.

As an English teacher, I have often been amazed at how effective drama is to capture the attention of the students in the EFL classroom.   We cannot only teach grammar and phonetics with drama ,but also it has the power to transform the student-actors ,as well as the audience.  Therefore, we shouldn’t underestimate this powerful teaching tool, to reach our students.

I personally love the use of masks and puppets, in my YL classes!
Puppets or masks can really bring alive a dialogue, role-play or story.

My suggestions?

Make simple masks out of paper plates for main characters. Bring in realia and props for children to use for acting out e.g. some real money and a bag for shopping. Have a dressing up box of simple props such as hats, glasses etc. Puppets or finger puppets can be used to liven up even the most boring dialogue, especially when accompanied by funny voices!

 

In my classes, puppetry works like this: using various odds and ends (paper, glue, cotton, wool etc), each child makes a simple puppet and describes its character to the rest of the class. When several puppets have been described in this way, the children work together in groups to produce a scene using the characters. They could alternatively make puppets of characters in their (course book) -one word-and enact dialogues from the book. (Hand puppets can be made using old socks, stick puppets with ice-cream  sticks.)

 

Generally taking, I firmly believe that, we need to use drama more in the schools.   The language can be used in context and makes it come to life.  Drama has the potential of making the learning experience fun for the students and even memorable because it is interactive and visual.

The personal nature of improvisation, provides many outlets for self-expression. We all know that, children need to play as an important developmental process.

What is more, drama puts the teacher in the role of supporter in the learning process and the students can take more responsibility for their own learning.

The play acting can help to relieve the tension of learning in a second language.

The shyness and fear of using English, very often blocks learning. When the students are having fun, they tend to relax and stop blocking out the new language.

Role-playing is a powerful tool,too.  It teaches cooperation, empathy for others, decision making skills and encourages an exchange of knowledge between the students.  These aspects alone make role-playing beneficial because the students are learning from each other.   Apart from the obvious development of communication skills, it encourages leadership, team work, compromise, authentic listening skills .

The benefits of drama to develop the imagination should not be undervalued.  In our rote school routines of memorization and compulsory subject matter, we sometimes do not spend enough time on encouraging our students to use their imagination.

We need imagination to make a better world. In order to accomplish anything worthwhile, we first need to imagine and dream it.  I always emphasize my students that fact!

I also tell them that, in life, we are all playing many roles, therefore, we are wearing many masks.Older students,easily  understand this.

Few tested methods for incorporating Drama in the EFL class , summarised

Act out the Dialogue

One of the easiest ways to incorporate drama in the classroom is to have students act out the dialogue from their textbooks. Simply pair them up, have them choose roles, then work together to act out the dialogue, figuring out for themselves the “blocking,” or stage movements.

Perform Reader’s Theater

Another good beginning exercise is to do Reader’s Theater. Hand out copies of a short or one-act play, have students choose roles, and then read the play from their seats without acting it out. However, do encourage them to read dramatically, modeling as necessary.It’s an alternative and fun way of practicing reading aloud, as well!

Act out the Story

This is particularly effective with “short-shorts”: brief, one-scene stories with limited characters.

Write the Dialogue for a Scene

Watch a brief clip of a cartoon movie without the sound on. Have older students write a simple dialogue for it and act it out.

Act out and Put Words to an Emotion

Give students an emotion, such as “anger” or “fear”. Have students, either singly or in groups, first act out that emotion then put words to the emotion.

Give “Voice” to an Inanimate Object

 

What would a stapler say if it could talk? Or an apple? Have students write monologues with inanimate objects as the character. Hamlet’s “To Be or Not to Be” soliloquy might also be termed a monologue, for example.

After writing them, students can read the monologues aloud.

Create a Character

Have students develop a character, writing a one-page profile on the character’s background, appearance, personality, etc. Have them introduce the character to the class, explaining what interests them about their character.

Write a Monologue

Using the character they’ve already developed, have students write a monologue for that character then perform it.

Mime 

Have students act out short scenes without dialogue. The rest of the class then supplies the dialogue, developing the “script.”

In role playing, the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

Improvise

Put students in groups of two or three, and assign the characters and the situation to the groups.Students create the dialogue and movement themselves.

With careful planning, use of drama enhances our English classroom curriculum and adds fun in our teaching!

Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence .

“The Wizard of Oz”:School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

” Alice in Wonderland”:School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

” Interviewing….Barbie”: ‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’seducation.
When they dress up as a princess,they become a princess.

I always encourage my students to use short plays, skits or other drama activities to present their projects in class.  Here,….. Hurem, Sultan Suleiman’s wife is being interviewed about her life in the harem !! Improvisation works miracles! Kids, decide about their costumes and they write their own lines…..

Note:Ideas, first found and later tried out in class, on  https://busyteacher.org 

Teachers4Europe:”Mini Europe in a box” project (Greek version)

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Η φετινή μας απόπειρα, να εργαστούμε πάνω σε ένα νέο έργο στα πλαίσια του Teachers4Europe project,  συνάντησε πολλά προβλήματα!…Το βασικότερο όλων, ήταν πως, δεν είχα ώρες, εκτός των ωρών της Αγγλικής Γλώσσας, για να εργαστώ! Σημειώστε εδώ πως, στα πλαίσια του μαθήματός μου, εργαζόμαστε ήδη σε άλλα δύο προγράμματα etwinning και ένα του Βρετανικού Συμβουλίου !
Πίεσα πάρα πολύ να μου δωθεί ΜΙΑ ώρα Ευέλικτης Ζώνης, ή άλλη, για να καταφέρω να ξεκινήσω, και αυτό κατέστη δυνατό, μόλις …πριν ένα μήνα!!
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Τέλος καλό, όλα καλά λοιπόν, κι εδώ μπορώ σήμερα, να μοιραστώ το μεγαλύτερο μέρος της δουλειάς μας έως τώρα, η οποία δεν έχει ολοκληρωθεί ακόμη, αλλά θα ολοκληρωθεί, στο τέλος Μαίου!
Σκέφτηκα πολύ πάνω στην επιλογή θέματος , φέτος…
Τα πράγματα, στη χώρα, είναι κρίσιμα…οικονομική ανέχεια, κρίση αξιών, προσφυγικό και τόσα άλλα……Πολλοί κατηγορούν την Ευρώπη για όλα και δεν βλέπουν προοπτική πουθενά…
Σκέφτηκα λοιπόν πως, θα ήθελα να επιστρέψω στα βασικά…τις Ευρωπαικές αξίες και τον Ευρωπαικό πολιτισμό! Τα παιδια αυτά, οι σημερινοί μαθητές μου, θα είναι το μέλλον αυτής της Ευρώπης!
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Χρειάζεται, να γνωρίσουν όλα τα θετικά της στοιχεία, όλα όσα μας κάνουν υπερήφανους και να την αγαπήσουν , να επιτρέψουν ως νέοι Ευρωπαίοι αργότερα στην πηγή του Ευρωπαικού πολιτισμού, κι από εκεί να δροσιστούν . Να εγκαταλείψουν ιδέες ξενοφοβίας και ρατσισμού και να ανακαλύψουν πως, αυτά που μας ενώνουν , είναι περισσότερα από αυτά που μας χωρίζουν!
Να δημιουργήσουν τέλος, την Ευρώπη των λαών και των πολιτισμών, αυτή την Ευρώπη που όλοι οραματιζόμαστε!
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Το μύνημά μας στην Ευρώπη του σήμερα, αποφασίσαμε να είναι αυτό:
( “Ευρώπη, ν’ αγαπάς τους ανθρώπους” ) 
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 A “Teachers4Europe” project, 2015-16
Ε Τάξη, 30 Δημοτικό Σχολείο Λάρισας
Υπεύθυνη εκπαιδευτικός: Αφροδίτη Γκιούρη ( ΠΕ 06)
Σχεδιασμός Εργασίας
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H ιδέα του συγκεκριμένου  project, δημιουργήθηκε μετά το ταξίδι μου στις Βρυξέλλες πέρσυ, όταν επισκέφτηκα την υπαίθρια έκθεση Mini Europe δίπλα στο Atomium!
Σκέφτηκα τότε πως, σε δύσκολα χρόνια οικονομικής κρίσης για την πατρίδα μας και τις οικογένειες των μαθητών μου, σχεδόν κανένας τους δεν είναι πια δυνατό να ταξιδέψει στην Ευρώπη, ή τον κόσμο!
Αποφάσισα  λοιπόν ,να…κλείσουμε όλη την Ευρώπη σε μικρά κουτιά , να τοποθετήσουμε σε αυτά όσους μικρούς “θησαυρούς” σχετικά με κάθε χώρα ανακαλύπταμε στα νοερά μας ταξίδια μέσα στην τάξη και να έχουμε έτσι τη δυνατότητα, να επισκεφτούμε με τη φαντασία μας, όσες φορές θέλουμε, την…μικρή-μεγάλη μας Ήπειρο!
Οι μικροί μας αυτοί “θησαυροί”, μπορούσαν  να είναι: γνώσεις, εικόνες, κάρτες, βιβλία, μουσικές, συνταγές, ταξιδιωτικά ενθύμια-souvenirs, χρήματα, μνημεία, λέξεις, κι οτιδήποτε άλλο ένας αληθινός ταξιδιώτης έχει στις αποσκευές του και τις αναμνήσεις του μετά από ένα ταξίδι!
Τρόπος προσέγγισης στις αξίες και τους στόχους της ΕΕ
Ο βασικός σκοπός του project ήταν να βοηθήσει τους μαθητές να εμπλουτίσουν τις γνώσεις τους σχετικά με την Ευρώπη γενικά και ειδικότερα, σχετικά με τον σπουδαίο  πολιτισμό της.
Κυρίως δε, με όσα στοιχεία αυτού του πολιτισμού , την καθιστούν μία Ήπειρο με κορμό της ύπαρξής της αξίες, δίχως τις οποίες η Ευρώπη δεν μπορεί να υφίσταται. Αυτές οι βασικές αξίες είναι : σεβασμός της ανθρώπινης αξιοπρέπειας, ισότητα και σεβασμός των ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων, δημοκρατία, ελευθερία.
Άλλος ένας στόχος, ήταν να ευαισθητοποιήσει τους μικρούς μαθητές , σε θέματα συνεργασίας  και αλληλουποστήριξης, στα πλαίσια των ομαδικών δραστηριοτήτων, καθώς αυτές οι δύο έννοιες ,αποτελούν τον κορμό των Ευρωπαικών ιδεωδών .
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Διδακτικές προσεγγίσεις που υιοθετήθηκαν
Η μεθοδολογία του project βασίστηκε σε προσεγγίσεις διαθεματικές , βιωματικές συνεργατικές, επικοινωνιακές καθώς και μάθησης με μέσο το παιχνίδι.
Με την ολοκλήρωση του project, ευελπιστώ πως οι μαθητές μου,  έχουν γνωρίσει καλύτερα την  Ευρώπη γεωγραφικά και κυρίως πολιτιστικά.
Κυρίως όμως , έχουν κατανοήσει τις βασικές αξίες που κρατούν τις Ευρωπαικές χώρες ενωμένες και το σημαντικό ρόλο που αυτές παίζουν στην καθημερινότητά μας. Έχουν  επίσης κατανοήσει  σε σημαντικό βαθμό, την σπουδαιότητα των εννοιών “ αποδοχή”, “ συνεργασία”,  “σεβασμός”.
Εμπλοκή των μαθητών στη δράση
Οι μαθητές μου, επέδειξαν ζωηρό ενδιαφέρον για το project!
Ήταν μία τάξη που ποτέ πριν δεν είχε την ευκαιρία να λάβει μέρος σε παρόμοια δράση και είχε δυσκολίες ,εξ αρχής ,σε θέματα ομαδικής συνεργασίας .
Η δράση, ενίσχυσε το κομμάτι της ομαδικότητας και της αλληλουποστήριξης , καθώς και την δημιουργικότητα και την πρωτοβουλία των μαθητών.

Επίσης, τους δόθηκε η δυνατότητα να έχουν την εμπειρία της βιωματικής διδασκαλίας και διασκέδασαν εξαιρετικά ,με όσες δραστηριότητες είχανε σχέση με παιχνίδι και κίνηση!

Τέλος, είχανε μια μοναδική ευκαιρία να διευρύνουν τους ορίζοντές τους στον κόσμο και να γνωρίσουν την Ήπειρό μας, το Ευρωπαικό μας σπίτι, γεωγραφικά αλλά και πολιτιστικά.

Ήταν μία πολύτιμη εμπειρία για όλους !
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Οι δραστηριότητες, σε σύντομη παρουσίαση
Δραστηριότητες warming-up
Γνωριμία με το βιβλίο “ Πάμε να εξερευνήσουμε την Ευρώπη”
Ξεφυλλίζουμε το βιβλίο και εργαζόμαστε σε ομάδες πάνω στο Quiz της σελίδας — και στο χάρτη της σελίδας —

Ενεργοποίηση «Το Τρένο της Ε.Ε.»
Ασκήσεις ενεργοποίησης και ισορροπίας των μελών του σώματος ατομικά. Καθένας είναι μια χώρα της Ε.Ε. Στη συνέχεια κινούνται ομαδικά σαν «Τρένο».
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 «Το Όχι αποκοιμήθηκε στην αγκαλιά του Ναι!»
Ζευγάρια. Ο ένας είναι το Όχι και ο άλλος το Ναι. Ξεκινούν με λεκτική επικοινωνία ο ένας λέει μόνο «Ναι» και ο άλλος μόνο «Όχι» και εξερευνούν διαφορετικούς τρόπους πχ ένταση, ταχύτητα κτλ. Στη συνέχεια οι λέξεις αποκτούν κίνηση και γίνονται χορός.
«Δράση- Αντίδραση. Λεκτικοί Ισχυρισμοί»
Σε τριάδες. Ένας είναι Παρατηρητής. Οι άλλοι δύο είναι απέναντι με απόσταση μεταξύ τους και με τον δικό του τρόπο ο καθένας, εκφράζουν εναλλάξ τις Αντίθετες Έννοιες πχ. Το έκανες!# Δεν το έκανα!, Το είπες!# Δεν το είπα! Κτλ. Συνεχίζεται μέχρι την κλιμάκωση της έντασης. Συζήτηση και καταγραφή των συναισθημάτων και των ρόλων που ανακύπτουν.
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«Ευρωπαϊκό Ταγκό»
Ζευγάρια. Καθένας είναι μια χώρα της Ε.Ε. Ο ένας κλείνει τα μάτια του (τυφλός) κι ακολουθεί τις οδηγίες του ζευγαριού του. Όταν ο οδηγός- χορευτής τον ακουμπάει με την παλάμη του στον θώρακα τότε ο «τυφλός» χορευτής πηγαίνει μπροστά, όταν τον ακουμπάει στην πλάτη, πηγαίνει πίσω και ανάλογα όταν τον ακουμπάει στον δεξί ώμο πηγαίνει δεξιά κι αντίστοιχα στον αριστερό ώμο, αριστερά. Αλλάζουν ρόλους.
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«Ε.Ε.: Η ισχύς εν τη ενώσει…» 
Ομαδικό παιχνίδι. Όλοι πιάνονται από την μέση. Ο πρώτος έχει δαγκάνες και προσπαθεί/ διεκδικεί να πιάσει την ουρά, τον τελευταίο. Δεν πρέπει να σπάσει ο κορμός αλλά να παραμείνουν όλοι ισχυρά ενωμένοι μέχρι το τέλος!!!!
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Βασικές δραστηριότητες
 ACTIVITY 1
ΠΑΙΖΩ ΚΑΙ ΓΝΩΡΙΖΩ ΤΗΝ ΕΥΡΩΠΗ
Παίζουμε δύο παιχνίδια γνώσεων που αφορούν το χάρτη της Ευρώπης και τα μεγαλύτερα μνημεία της τα οποία δανειζόμαστε από το βιβλίο “Πάμε να εξερευνήσουμε την Ευρώπη” το οποίο υπάρχει από πέρυσι, στη βιβλιοθήκη του σχολείου.
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ACTIVITY 2
ΣΚΥΤΑΛΟΔΡΟΜΙΑ ΣΤΟΝ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΟ ΧΑΡΤΗ
Αναρτούμε έναν χάρτη της Ευρώπης στον τοίχο.
Χωριζόμαστε σε 4 ομάδες. Ένας παίκτης από κάθε ομάδα, 4 παίχτες κάθε φορά, τρέχουν  απο τον απέναντι τοίχο προς τον χάρτη, με σκοπό πρώτοι ν’ αγγίξουν τη χώρα το όνομα της οποίας , κάθε φορά ακούει να φωνάζει η εκπαιδευτικός, κερδίζοντας ένα βαθμό για την ομάδα του.
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ACTIVITY 3
ΤΟ ΕΥΡΩΠΑΙΚΟ ΜΑΣ ΔΙΑΒΑΤΗΡΙΟ
Γνωριμία με το Βιβλιαράκι μας: Το “Ευρωπαικό μας Διαβατήριο” !
Είναι για μας ένα πολύ σημαντικό εργαλείο, καθώς, δεν υπάρχει εργαστήριο πληροφορικής και καθηγητής πληροφορικής στο σχολείο μας!
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Χωριζόμαστε σε 4 ομάδες.
Σε κάθε ομάδα μαθητών , αντιστοιχεί μία ομάδα 7 χωρών, έπειτα από κλήρωση.
Διαδικασία
α) Οι ομάδες, συνεργάζονται για να κατασκευάσουν τις 7 σημαίες τους. Πίσω από κάθε σημαία, αναγράφονται 2 ερωτήσεις σχετικές με αυτή τη χώρα, τις οποίες οι μαθητές επιλέγουν.Οι σημαίες αυτές, χρησιμοποιούνται για να στολίσουν τα κουτιά κάθε χώρας και σε επόμενο μάθημα , στο “ Euro-καπελοπαιχνίδι” γνώσεων!
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β) Στις ομάδες, δίνεται ο χάρτης της Ευρωπαικής Ένωσης σε κομμάτια παζλ. Καλούνται να συνεργαστούν, για να τον ανακατασκευάσουν  σωστά , με πρότυπο τον χάρτη του Ευρωπαικού τους Διαβατηρίου, όσο πιο γρήγορα γίνεται! Η καλή συνεργασία, φέρνει και το καλύτερο δυνατό αποτέλεσμα!
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γ) Κατασκευάζουνε, συνεργαζόμενοι, το βασικό αξιοθέατο της κάθε χώρας που έχουν αναλάβει ως ομάδα, σε χαρτί και χαρτόνι. Διαβάζουνε σχετικά με αυτό στο Ευρωπαικό μας διαβατήριο και γράφουμε βασικές πληροφορίες από πίσω από κάθε αξιοθέατο.
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δ) Οι ομάδες, συνεργαζόμενες δημιουργούν σε χαρτί και χαρτόνι, κατασκευές που αναπαριστούν, στοιχεία σημαντικά από κάθε χωρα: το νόμισμα, κάποιες φράσεις στην γλώσσα της χώρας αυτής, συνταγές που έχουνε βρεί στο Διαβατήριο ή στο διαδίκτυο στο σπίτι τους  κτλ
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ε) Τους ζητείται, να φέρουν σε επόμενο μάθημα από το σπίτι τους, αφού ψάξουν και  ρωτήσουν στο φιλικό κι οικογενειακό τους περιβάλλον, τυχόν αντικείμενα, που προέρχονται από αυτή τη χώρα : souvenirs, μία κάρτα, ένα γραμματόσημο, νομίσματα, εικόνες διάσημων ανθρώπων από κάθε χώρα αλλά και  Cds μουσικής  γνωστών μουσικών , ταινίες , βιβλία, φωτογραφίες, δώρα, περιοδικά με σχετικές δημοσιεύσεις, ακόμη και είδη διατροφής, εάν υπάρξουν…οτιδήποτε θελήσουν να φέρουν στη τάξη!
Επίσης, τους ζητείται να φέρουν ένα κουτί παπουτσιών για κάθε μία από τις 7 χώρες της ομάδας τους.
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ζ) Τέλος, εργαζόμενοι σε ζευγάρια, μέσα σε κάθε ομάδα, στολίζουν με τις σημαίες των χωρών, κάθε κουτί παπουτσιών που έχουν φέρει από το σπίτι, και τοποθετούν μέσα σε αυτό, όσους μικρούς “ θησαυρούς”, έχουν καταφέρει να συγκεντρώσουν και να κατασκευάσουν στην τάξη!
Συζητούν σχετικά με τον τρόπο που επιθυμούν να παρουσιάσουν το υλικό τους και όλα όσα θα ήθελαν να μοιραστούν με τις άλλες ομάδες σχετικά με την κάθε χώρα!
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ACTIVITY 4
ΠΑΡΟΥΣΙΑΣΗ ΧΩΡΩΝ :EUROPE IN A BOX
Οι κάθε ομάδα, χωρίζεται σε  ζευγάρια, τα  οποία παρουσιάζουν το περιέχόμενο των κουτιών τους στους συμμαθητές τους, με τον τρόπο που επιθυμούν! Ακολουθούν διευκρινιστικές ερωτήσεις από την τάξη, σε κάθε ομάδα.
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ACTIVITY 5
ΑΝΑΤΡΟΦΟΔΟΤΗΣΗ-ΣΥΖΗΤΗΣΗ-ΕΝΤΥΠΩΣΕΙΣ
Ακολουθεί συζήτηση, σχολιασμός της όλης εμπειρίας, μοίρασμα συναισθημάτων και σκέψεων, γνώμες και εντυπώσεις.

ACTIVITY 6
ΠΑΙΧΝΙΔΙΑ ΕΜΠΕΔΩΣΗΣ 

α)TIC-TAK BOOM
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Χρησιμοποιούμε ως βάση το γνωστό παιχνίδι Tic-tak boom!
Ένας παίκτης από κάθε ομάδα, έρχεται στον πίνακα ,φορά ένα καπέλο με το όνομα μίας από τις Ευρωπαικές χώρες  και οι συμπαίκτες του στην ομάδα, του δίνουν όσες περισσότερες πληροφορίες μπορούν γι’ αυτή τη χώρα, μέσα σε ορισμένο χρόνο -ώσπου να..σκασει η  “ βομβα” του χρονόμετρου!
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Χρησιμοποιούν το Ευρωπαικό μας  Διαβατήριο για πληροφορίες .
Εάν ο παίκτης, καταφέρει πριν τη λήξη του χρόνου, να βρει το όνομα της χώρας που υπάρχει στο καπέλλο του, κερδίζει ένα βαθμό για την ομάδα του!
Το παιχνίδι ολοκληρώνεται, όταν παίξουν όλα τα μέλη και των 4 ομάδων.
Οι νικητές , παίρνουν μικρά αυτοκόλλητα με ευρωπαικές σημαίες!
β) TWISTER
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Βάση μας, το γνωστό παιχνίδι Twister.
Ένας παίκτης από κάθε μία από τις 4 ομάδες μας, εκπροσωπεί την ομάδα του σε κάθε γύρο του παιχνιδιού.
Σε κάθε έναν από τους χρωματιστούς κύκλους της βάσης του παιχνιδιού, τοποθετείται μία πλαστικοποιημένη Ευρωπαική σημαία.
Η εκπαιδευτικός, γυρνά το spinner και οι 4 μαθητές , πρέπει να τοποθετούν τα χέρια ή τα πόδια τους κάθε φορά στο σωστό κύκλο.
‘Οποιος κάνει λαθος, βγαίνει απο το παιχνίδι και νικητής σε κάθε γύρο είναι αυτος που μένει τελευταίος, κερδίζοντας ένα βαθμό για την ομάδα του.
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Το παιχνίδι ολοκληρώνεται, όταν παίξουν όλα τα μέλη και των 4 ομάδων.
Οι νικητές , παίρνουν μικρά αυτοκόλλητα με ευρωπαικές σημαίες!
γ) Το Euro-καπελοπαιχνίδι
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Ένας παίκτης από κάθε ομάδα, έρχεται κάθε φορα στον πίνακα, κρατώντας από μία σημαία από αυτές που είχανε κατασκευάσει οι ομάδες σε προηγούμενο στάδιο, πίσω από τις οποίες , αναγράφονται δύο ερωτήσεις σχετικές με την χώρα.
Ο παίκτης, διαβάζει δυνατά, μία απο τις ερωτήσεις πάνω στη σημαία του, και οι άλλες ομάδες ΠΛΗΝ της δικής του, προσπαθούν συνεργαζόμενες κι ανατρέχοντας στο μικρο Ευρωπαικό μας Διαβατήριο, να βρούνε την απάντηση πρώτες, πριν τις υπόλοιπες ομάδες.
Το παιχνίδι ολοκληρώνεται, όταν παίξουν όλα τα μέλη και των 4 ομάδων
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Η πρώτη ομάδα, σε ταχύτητα και αποτελεσματική συνεργασία , μετά την ολοκλήρωση του παιχνιδιού, κερδίζει πάλι, σημαίες σε αυτοκόλλητα!
δ) MEMORY GAME
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Πρώτο Στάδιο:
‘Ολες οι σημαίες των χωρών, όλων των ομάδων , τοποθετούνται στο πάτωμα . Επίσης, στο πάτωμα τοποθετούνται χαρτάκια στο μέγεθος των σημαιών, με τα ονόματα των Ευρωπαικών χωρών.
Ένας παίκτης κάθε φορά, εκπροσωπώντας την ομάδα του, πρέπει να ταιριάξει ένα όνομα και την αντίστοιχη σημαία με επιτυχία! Εάν τα καταφέρει, κερδίζει τη σημαία. Εάν όχι, την αφήνει στο ίδιο σημείο και επόμενος παίκτης, επόμενης ομάδας ακολουθεί.
Η ομάδα με τις περισσότερες σημαίες στην κατοχή της, είναι η νικήτρια ομάδα!
Παραλαγή -Αντί για σημαίες, μπορούμε να εργαστούμε με χαρτάκια πάνω στα οποία υπάρχουν οι λέξεις-χαιρετσμοί σε κάθε γλώσσα, τις οποίες πρέπει να τις ταιριάξουν με τα ονόματα των χωρών με τον ίδιο τρόπο.
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Δεύτερο Στάδιο:
Διαφορετικοί Χαιρετισμοί
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Εξηγούμε στα παιδιά ότι συχνά οι άνθρωποι χαιρετιούνται από τόπο σε τόπο με διαφορετικό τρόπο στην Ευρώπη. Έτσι, τους προτείνουμε να χωριστούν σε ζευγάρια και να δικομάσουμε διαφορετικούς τρόπους χαιρετισμού: π.χ. Ελλάδα, Αλβανία, Ιταλία, Σουηδία, Γερμανία, Γαλλία, Ισπανία.
Όσο διαρκεί η μουσική χορεύουν , όταν σταματά πρέπει να βρουν κάποιον και να τον χαιρετίσουν ανάλογα με την εντολή μας.
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ACTIVITY 7
H ΣΗΜΑΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΑΣΤΕΡΙΩΝ
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α)Διαβάζουμε το βιβλίο “ Τα Αστέρια της Ευρώπης”.
Στη διάρκεια της ανάγνωσης, οι ομάδες κρατάνε σημειώσεις και γράφουν ιδέες οι οποίες τους άρεσαν στην ιστορία.
Κατόπι, συζητάμε όλοι μαζί στην τάξη, για όλα όσα κατέγραψαν.
Τονίζονται οι ιδέες που αφορούν τις θεμελιώδεις Ευρωπαικές αξίες όπως η Αλληλεγγύη και η Ειρήνη!
Καταγράφουμε τις σημαντικότερες ιδέες,  στον πίνακα .
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Δίνεται σε κάθε ομάδα, ένα χαρτί Α3 στο οποίο καλούνται όλοι να αντιγράψουν  τις 12 σημαντικότερες -κατά την ομάδα τους – Ευρωπαικές αξίες, σε κάθε ένα από τα 12 αστέρια της Ευρωπαικής Σημαίας.
Στο τελευταίο στάδιο, οι ομάδες, πάλι συνεργαζόμενες, χρωματίζουν τη σημαία τους!
Όλες οι Σημαίες των Αστεριών, στολίζουν τους τοίχους της τάξης!
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β) Ετοιμάζουμε το δικό μας μικρό θεατρικό, βασιζόμενο στην ιστορία.
Οι μαθητές, εργαζόμενοι σε ομάδες των 5-6 ατόμων, γράφουν το δικό τους μικρό θεατρικό δρώμενο με ηρωίδα  την Ευρώπη,  και το παρουσιάζουν στην τάξη αργότερα, για τους συμμαθητές τους.
Χρησιμοποιούν τη φαντασία τους δημιουργικά, στη διάρκεια της συγγραφής και ενθαρρύνονται να αυτοσχεδιάσουν στη διάρκεια της μικρής τους παράστασης.
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FINAL -OPTIONAL-ACTIVITY
Με το τέλος της σχολικής χρονιάς και την ολοκλήρωση του project, στόχος μας είναι να μπορέσουμε σε συνεργασία με το Σύλλογο γονέων, είτε να αγοράσουμε permanent markers και να ζωγραφίσουμε σε λευκά μπλουζάκια την Ευρωπαικη σημαία, είτε να παραγγείλουμε σε κατάστημα την εκτύπωση των Σημαιών των Αστεριών μας, σε μπλουζάκια μέσω επεξεργασίας σε υπολογιστή.
(An English version, will follow soon…Stay tuned!)

 Mini Europe in a box: Teachers4Europe 30 State Primary School of Larissa 2015-16 on PhotoPeach

http://photopeach.com/embed/18ny1lj

Our slideshow on Smilebox

End-of-the-school-year fun activities!

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Some people might think that, an “End-of-the-Year event” may seem unimportant, however it is  VERY IMPORTANT cause,…it’s the end of the school year! The positive memories have an effect on the children’s attitude and last forever!…

This is a time to look back and reflect –as well as a time to think ahead. Additionally, we should be sure to recognize our  graduating students ,in some way!

The ideas below,come from many different sources ! One I can recall   is  http://www.kidactivities.net/

I have tried too many such activities in my teaching career, so far! The ones I am sharing here, are the ones I used  last school year, with huge success! And as I often say, ” It has worked in my class; it might work in your class, too”!

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END OF THE YEAR FUN IDEA for the little ones...

Two nice ideas for younger children

  1.  Hand each student a sheet of paper
  2.  Then have the children draw pictures and write words  of the things they would like to say “goodbye to” in your classroom.
  3.  It’s good “therapy” because we know how hard it can be to say goodbye to our familiar room and friends. When complete… bind it into a program book titled ‘GOODBYE ROOM’.

Grade —– (Or__________ ) HAS BEEN A BALL!

This is a fun and different way to have an autograph party as a remembrance of the time spent in class.

Beach balls are fairly inexpensive–order some from a novelty company-have children blow them up and then get autographs from each other on the balls!

For older students….

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BALLOON TOSS: GOALS FOR THE FUTURE

At your end-of-year lesson, give each child a slip of paper and invite him or her to write one goal for the future.

Have students slip the notes inside balloons and then inflate them. Later, have kids toss balloons (like graduation caps), keeping one to pop and share its (anonymously) written message aloud –with the rest of the group.

(Actually, work the last part out in a way that the majority of the group likes—read one message, several messages, or all or no messages)

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THANKS FOR THE COMPLIMENT (A nice way to end the school year!)

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Need: Paper, markers, tape

  1.  Everyone gets a piece of paper taped to their back. (Make sure their name is at the top of the paper.)
  2.  Each person is given a marker.
  3.  Each person in the group must walk around the room and write a compliment or positive remark about that person on their back….. NO PEEKING!
  4.  When everyone has written something positive on each others back, they return to their seat and read what was written.
  5.  With a smaller group, everyone exchanges papers without looking at their own. Each participant can take a turn at reading aloud from person’s list they have. . (Adjust for a larger group)

This is a great self-esteem booster! If some children still don’t know each other very well…they can write such things as: You have a great smile; You’re hair always looks nice; Great blue eyes; etc.

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AUTOGRAPH BOOK

At the end of the year have each child make an autograph book. They pass around their books and get everyone’s signatures and friendly notes for a summer keepsake.

Variation:You can ask them to decorate  their own summer postcards and ask all their classmates to write a personal comment and sign on them.

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One very favourite activity, I always do:

 TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS DURING THE YEAR and put together a slide show.

  1.   I  show this as PART OF A YEAR-END SCHOOL EVENT—but it would also be a wonderful “WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION to the new children we will have the next school year.
  2.  You could use it to show children and families some of the things you do-how they’re done–and what to expect! If you haven’t started, get your slides, videos, and activity scrapbooks going now!

Here’s the link to our last year’s slide show I have already posted about.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vr9-iFULcMo[/embed]

 

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WRITE YOURSELF A LETTER

At the end of the school year, have students write themselves a letter. Tell them that no one but they will read this letter so they can say anything they want in it. However, part of that letter might include who their friends are, their current height and weight, favorite movies and music, and special things both good and bad that occurred during the year, summer plans…

Variation: Every year, i have  them write me letters, as well!

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On another sheet of paper or the back of that sheet ask students to write ten goals they would like to accomplish by this time next year (or sooner). Students seal this letter in an envelope, self-address it, and give it to you. In a year (or sooner) mail (or return in person) the letters  to the students.

I loved this idea the very moment my NLP mentor Bonnie Tsai, asked us to do something similar in the end of our summer course at Pilgrim’s, Canterbury,  Kent, three years ago!

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A LETTER TO PARENTS AT THE END OF THE YEAR…

I always send letters to the parents in the end of each school year, both in Greek and in English.

This is the letter in English I sent them last school year.

“Dear Parents,

I give you back your child ~ the same child you confidently entrusted to my care last fall. I give him/her back pounds heavier, inches taller, months wiser, more responsible, and more mature then he was then.

Although he would have attained his growth in spite of me, it has been my pleasure and privilege to watch his personality unfold day by day and marvel at this splendid miracle of development.

Ten years from now if we met on the street, we’ll feel the bond of understanding once more, this bond we feel today.

We have lived, laughed, played, studied, learned, and enriched our lives together this year. I wish it could go on indefinitely, but give him/back I must. Take care of him, (or her) for he (she) is precious. I’ll always be interested in your child and his destiny, wherever he goes, whatever he does, whoever he becomes.”

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MURAL OF MEMORIES

On a nice day–take this activity outside!

Use paints, markers or colored chalk and invite children to create a mural illustrating the many wonderful things your group did, saw, and learned this year. It will be a great “advertisement” for next year’s program or class. (Don’t forget to hang it up when the new school year starts!) I personally, decided to do something alternative with it last school year: I used it to wrap up our class post box!!

As an extension, you can have your group write about the favorite memories they drew.

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END OF THE YEAR BULLETIN BOARD AUTOGRAPHS

BONUS! The board is up and ready to go during the first week of school!

  • Remove what is currently on your Board such as art projects, etc. LEAVE UP Bulletin Board Backgrounds and Borders.
  • During the week BEFORE the last week of school, ask a talented student artist (or do this yourself!) to block letter the words: “HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!” on your bulletin board background paper.
  • Have several children color in the letters…
  • As the days get closer to the end, have youth autograph and write messages on the bulletin board paper.
  • With younger students, ask them to write words and draw pictures of what they have enjoyed the most during the school year!
  • Leave their NAMES AND MESSAGES up for everyone to appreciate.
  • When you return for the new school year you’ll be starting off with one area already decorated with POSSITIVE MESSAGES!
  • No bulletin board area? Get a long piece of butcher roll-paper and do the same…(Actually, this is what I did..)
  • The kids will like reading what they and others left a couple months back!

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This activity is similar to this one…

I REMEMBER WHEN…

Put up the caption in big letters on your bulletin board or butcher paper taped to the wall— and then have children “decorate” it by writing things that they enjoyed doing in your program the past year!

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A SUMMER LAPBOOK

I just love lapbooks! You can read about my first lapbooks in this previous post:

https://aphrogranger.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/our-first-lapbook/

Lapbooks are made of file folders that are folded into a shutter flap so it opens up. Inside you have mini booklets that have a question or theme and the answers are inside. There are a variety of ways a booklet can be folded to demonstrate a topic.

They are really fun and my visual learners love lapbooks since we were introduced to them last year.

There are loads of topics that you can cover in your summer lapbook. I find that because I want to cover a broad topic, it’s nice to take bits and pieces from different lapbooks or it may be easier to create your own.

If you have never completed a lapbook, I suggest doing a free one yourself , to see how you like it.

Make a list of what you would like to cover and teach. Ask your children what they would like to learn. This will get them more involved and excited about their project as well.

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Last but not least: THE-END-OF-THE-SCHOOL-YEAR (graduating students) SHOW

I love staging mini-musicals at the end of each school year!

School Musicals

Enthusiastic audience!!

Enthusiastic audience!!

School musicals and music TV show parodies, offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions. It has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more. School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

Taking part in a school musical or Tv parody  production, has many benefits for children – increased self-esteem, the development of their dramatic and musical talents, and the opportunity to learn about working together as part of a team.

I find ideas in our library English Readers or in different  books or sites such as

http://www.childrenstheatreplays.com/schoolplays.htm

Here are some examples of what we have staged during the last few years!

Starting with this year’s TV talent show parody “The Voice”!

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Our coaches and show presenters

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My students seem to remember these end-of-the-year shows, for..ever!

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Dancing, singing, improvisation ….all their talents in action!!

"The Wizard of Oz":School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

“The Wizard of Oz”:School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

" Alice in Wonderland":School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

” Alice in Wonderland”:School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

" The Wizard of Oz": A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

” The Wizard of Oz”: A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

 

"Your face sounds familiar- A concert": Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

“Your face sounds familiar- A concert”: Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

 

" Your face sounds familiar-A concert": The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

” Your face sounds familiar-A concert”: The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

 

" A Eurovision song contest parody": Here's an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in...Eurovision 2013!!

” A Eurovision song contest parody”: Here’s an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in…Eurovision 2013!!

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!

LET’S RECHARGE OUR BATTERIES AND GET READY FOR ANOTHER AMAZING SCHOOL YEAR!!

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Teachers4Europe project, 2014/2015

The books we used during the project

The books we used during the project

A few months ago, I decided to take part in an amazing European project called ” Teachers4Europe”. That project, was the best follow-up of the British Council project ” Life Skills” , which I had finished just a week before.

One of the activities , was actually about tolerance , acceptance and respect which  proved valuable when we decided to start working on this  new european project.

Τhe project idea,  presupposes the acceptance of certain values without which Europe cannot exist. These core values are Respect for Human Dignity, Equality and Respect for Human Rights, which, along with Democracy, Freedom and the Rule of Law, are the founding values of the European Union. The main goal of our  project was to help students enrich their knowledge about Europe in general and especially about the basic principles that permeate the family of countries which constitute the European Union. Another aim was to sensitize them to the notions of collaboration and supporting one another through group work, as these notions are also part of the essential European ideals that lie in the core of the Union itself. The project methodology was based on cross-curricular, experiential, cooperative, communicative and learning-through-playing approaches. By the end of the project the students had acquired a significant amount of knowledge as to how the European Union works. They developed an understanding of the basic values that bound the European countries together and the significant role they play in our lives. They understood the importance of notions such as “acceptance”, “collaboration”, “respect” and “equal opportunities for everyone”.

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For more information about Teachers4Europe:

http://www.teachers4europe.gr/newsite/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=9 )

( teachers4Europe” http://www.teachers4europe.gr/newsite/ )

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The project lasted about two months .

I decided to name it ” Our European House” . Actually, that was the name of one of the project activities, as well.

I wanted to emphasize the fact that, all Europeans live under the same ” roof” ! We are  European citizens , a characteristic which unites us all !

The class project activities ,were the following:

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Warming-up activities

 

We spent about a week, playing team games , in order to get to know Europe better! We used the books ” Let’s discover Europe” and ” The European passport” as well as a map of Europe , to find information since, we don’t have a computer lab at school!

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We played a guessing game about European monuments and  did a quiz on European flags and capital cities.

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ACTIVITY 1

 

“ The story of a 50 Euros banknote”

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Creative writing: a 50 E banknote travels from hand to hand and from country to country , around Europe

  1. Work on the myth: “ Europe’s kidnapping by Zeus”

Description of the tool

We work in 4 teams, 4-6 students each.

Two teams work on the first topic while the other two work on the second one.

The first two teams, write their own story using creative writing tools. The other two teams , receive a worksheet with the myth of  “ Europe’s kidnapping by Zeus”  and are asked to write their own short play about it!

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Alternatively,  a representative of each team, picks up a card

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with a word having to do with one form  of Art on it ( theatre, music, dancing, literature-poetry) and the team is asked to  compose a unique work of art either on the story of a 50 E note or on the myth of Europe and Zeus .

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God Eros! lol!

God Eros! lol!

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Later, they have to present their work , in class. There are four teams working on four different works of Art.

We give plenty of time both for the writing  and for the rehearsals.

A discussion follows about the whole experience, in class.

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ACTIVITY 2

What is Europe for me? Our European house.

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Getting to know one another and coming close to the topic of Europe

Description of the tool.

Preparation

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A topic is presented to the group through a question and/or a heading e.g.: “My house of Europe – what is Europe for me?”.

(Further variations: “My picture of Europe”, “I find this exciting about Europe?”, “I would like a Europe like this….” … )

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What is Europe for you? A brainstorming group activity.

Procedure

Small groups of 4-7 participants are divided between several rooms so as not to disturb each other. Each group gets a large sheet of paper and draws on it their outline of ‘A European House’ with foundations, a roof and as many rooms as there are participants in the small group. They can decide on the architecture of the house. In this way their drawing of the house (crooked or futuristic, strong etc) can also represent their ideas on Europe. Additional ‘extensions to the house’, as well as the environment the house stands in or the ‘surrounding weather conditions’ (sunny, stormy etc) can with other associations be integrated into the picture.

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In one of the rooms the participants write down their personal associations and answers to the question ‘What is Europe for me?’ and then exchange opinions on these statements. The second stage is the group filtering out things they have in common. These things form the foundations. The roof is filled with the group’s shared visions for the future of Europe. The game leaders should make it clear that the small group must reach a consensus concerning the foundations and the visions for the future (30 – 45 mins).

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Evaluation

The small groups present their ‘European House’ to the larger group and hang up their poster in the group room (30 mins). To conclude common factors and differences between the group posters should be discussed (15 mins).

The participants should recognise that the European Union grew out of a long line of ‘events’ and that this process has not finished; important events in this process should be found out and their chronological order.

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Orangito, a flat puppet ambassador from our pen pals in Spain, took part in the project, as well!

 

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We decided to build a 3D European house in class, as well!! We loved every minute doing so!

 

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ACTIVITY 3

Story on a long line.

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Description of the tool.

Preparation and procedure: select event and picture cards (possibly, look for picture cards at http://europa.eu.int/comm/mediatheque/photo). Form small groups of max. 6 people. The small groups each receive a set of event and picture cards as well as the corresponding dates, additional washing line and pegs and possibly glue.

The small groups should match the dates with the event and picture cards and then put them in the correct order attaching them to their washing line or prepared pinboards.

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The washing lines or pinboards stay in the classroom.

Evaluation: The ‘story on a long line’ (time line) is designed as an introductory unit. The correct chronology is discussed and the results of the small groups’ work then correspondingly altered. The results will then subsequently be discussed and the participants’ questions addressed

Variations: The method can serve as a targeted introduction to a specific topic. The selection of event and picture cards should correspond accordingly

Event and date cards examples :

The beginning of the strike at the Lenin docks in Danzig

Greece joins the EC

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Spain and Portugal join the EC

Turkey applies to join the EC

The fall of the Berlin Wall

The treaty of Maastricht comes into force

Austria, Sweden, and Finland join the EU

The treaty of Amsterdam comes into force

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The EU and Morocco sign an association agreement

The beginning of economic and monetary union

Turkey gains the status of a pre-accession candidate

The Charta of basic rights is accepted

The treaty of Nice is agreed

The € is introduced as cash in 12 countries

The European Convention begins with its conferences

The draft constitution is presented

 

ACTIVITY 4

Name that european tradition.

 

Exercise that allows participants to reflect on European traditions in a fun way.

Aims of the tool

Reflect on which traditions/people we identify as “European”

Description of the tool.

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The player has one minute to take a paper and explain to his partners what is on the paper without saying the word.

Participants take 3 slips of paper. On each paper they write a name of a person (historical or present) or something that they perceive as typical European. All things written down should be known by most European people.

  1. All papers are put in a hat.
  2. Participants are divided in pairs and sit in a circle whereby the members of the pair sit opposite of each other.
  3. The game has 3 rounds

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  1. FIRST ROUND: The hat starts with one person. This person has one minute to take a paper and explain to his partner what is on the paper without saying the word. If his partner finds the correct answer the first person of the pair can take a new paper. S/he can continue until the minute is over. Then the person on the left has the chance. We continue until there are no more papers. In the end of the round the points are counted (1 point per guessed answer)
The hat

The hat

  1. SECOND ROUND: same as round 1 but you cannot speak only mimic the issues. The points of this round are added to the first round
  2. THIRD ROUND: same as round 1 but you can use only 1 word to describe it. The points of this round are counted to the other rounds

 

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After the exercise the facilitators make a small debriefing:

– Why did you pick the following issues related to Europe

– What determines why something is European

– Where do you make the border of Europe

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ACTIVITY 5

THE STORYBOOK

First, we read the book " The Stars of Europe"

First, we read the book ” The Stars of Europe”

 

Description of the tool.

Creative writing: The students are given a several pictures that come from the book “ The Stars of Europe” – “Τ’ Αστέρια της Ευρώπης” .

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They first read the book story and later decide about how they can adapt it or completely change it using any of the pictures given in any order they wish, to write their own stories about Europe.

Students work in groups of 4-5 .

Highly engaged teams of students, working on their comic strips stories!

Highly engaged teams of students, working on their comic strips stories!

 

Their story pages are put together and form their own creative writing storybook. They decide about the cover and about how to colour or decorate it inside.

Finally, all the storybooks are read by all different teams of students, in turns. The teams decide about which story liked best and why. A discussion about both stories and Europe follows.

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A few days later, the Eurobooks were almost ready! My students amazed me, by asking me to let them work on their stories ,during all the breaks!! They were so excited and enganged!

I am really  thankful for the chance I have been given ,  to be a “Teacher4Europe” !

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Looking forward to more such creative and engaging projects, in the near future!

 

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Carnival fun in class: when improvisation rules!

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William Shakespeare claimed that

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.
As You Like It Act 2, scene 7, 139–143
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In theory, drama puts the teacher in the role of supporter in the learning process and the students can take more responsibility for their own learning.  Ideally, the teacher will take a less dominant role in the language class and let the students explore the language activities.  In the student centered classroom, every student is a potential teacher for the group.
Drama for second language learners can provide an opportunity to develop the imagination of the students. The students can go beyond the here and now and even ‘walk in the shoes’ of another. It provides an opportunity for independent thinking.
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When the students are having fun, they let their second language guard down and become less inhibited.  The student will tend to relax and stop blocking out the new language.
In the ESL/EFL classroom, role-playing is a powerful tool.  It teaches cooperation, empathy for others, decision making skills and encourages an exchange of knowledge between the students.
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The benefits of drama to develop the imagination should not be undervalued.  In our rote school routines of memorization and compulsory subject matter, we sometimes do not spend enough time on encouraging our students to use their imagination.  It is the spark that makes the ordinary into something incredible.  Imagination is the magic force that is beyond facts, figures and techniques which can inspire new ideas.  It is with imagination that the ordinary is transformed into something significant.
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We shouldn’t underestimate this powerful teaching tool to reach our students.

Having all the above in mind, I decided to have my students use their carnival accessories and costumes, as their inspiration to create their own skits, working  in groups! It was actually the day, the school Carnival party would take place during the last two teaching hours, therefore all the kids were in the spirit of  Carnival fun and came to class wearing Carnival masks and costumes ! It was difficult to have a..proper english lesson under the circumstances, therefore, I decided to ask them to use their costumes and masks as realia and write and act out their own skits, working in groups! The outcome, was amazing! It was hilarious! I love it when my students become creative!

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Although, my students used their own scenarios , I also asked them to play one  favourite drama game  :

“Scene from real life” 

Procedure:

1.  Divide the class into groups of 3-4 students each.

2.  One member of the group must tell the others a true story about an event in his/her life.  Encourage him/her to describe it in as much detail as possible.  This person becomes the “director”.

3.  The director then chooses members of the group to play the various characters involved in the scene (including him/herself).

4.  The actors then improvise the scene in front of the director.

5.  After each run-through, the director should give notes. Then the group improvises the scene again.  The goal of the director is to make the scene as believable as possible.

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6.  Once the directors of each group are satisfied with their scenes, have the groups share in front of each other.

With my very young learners, we tried several Carnival fun games such as ” The Carnival King says…”

"The Carnival King says..."

“The Carnival King says…”

or many Carnival-themed vocabulary games such as the one shown in the photo below, called” The Carnival masks dictation”  , played in teams!

"Carival Masks Dictation"

“Carival Masks Dictation”

I also, had my afternoon students make these special LEG puppets

Leg puppets

Leg puppets

and use them to play ” Musical chairs” or ” Freeze”! I finally asked my older students to use the leg puppets in order to act their own puppet shows!

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Improvisation , was the key issue in that, too!

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Working in teams to create the story!

 

That was an alternative english lesson, which we all enjoyed , as you can see in the photos!

Highly recommended to all teachers!

Creative ways of revising vocabulary

 

4th graders project: the weather foracast for tomorrow on our class....TV! We used a huge frame ,made from a card box, as a TV ! They had to use a map of Greece and report about the weather conditions in different parts of the country....it was lots of fun!

4th graders project: the weather foracast for tomorrow on our class….TV! We used a huge frame ,made from a card box, as a TV ! They had to use a map of Greece and report about the weather conditions in different parts of the country….it was lots of fun!

Some old-time-classic  vocabulary games, I love.

They say that, to stimulate long-term memory ideally, words would be reviewed 5-10 minutes after class, 24 hours later, one week later, one month later, and finally six months later.

Unless these new language items are noticed and understood on multiple occasions, they will likely fade from memory and be forgotten.

Over the past decade, I’ve put together a variety of sure-fire and engaging vocabulary recycling activities drawn from a number of sources: resource books, teachers, trainers, and some of which are of my own invention. You could also give them a try….

Taboo-hot seat

Divide the class into teams A and B. One member from each team plays at a time. The teacher scribbles a word on the board and gives the team one minute to get their teammate to say the item. If the hot-seated player manages to say the word, the teacher quickly writes another item on the board and so on until the minute is up. The team scores a point for every item they manage to say within one minute.

Taboo!

Taboo!

Memory challenge

Put the students into pairs or small groups. Give them a time limit (e.g. 3 minutes) and ask them to write down as many words, phrases, and/or expressions as they can from the last lesson on topic X. The pair or group that can remember the most items wins.

Variation a: To add a spelling accuracy component, teams can also earn an extra point for each correctly spelt item.

Variation b: I love it when I use music to help them brainstorm vocabulary in this game! An example is when we  revise the Season’s vocabulary and I eg have them listen to Vivaldi ” Four Seasons” while writing….

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Brainstorming!...

Brainstorming!…

 

Pictionary

Divide the class into Teams A and B. Team A sits in a group on one side of the classroom, Team B sits on the other side. One member from each team goes to the board. The teacher flashes them a word, phrase, or expression written on a piece of paper. The students have one minute to get their respective team to say the item only by drawing pictorial clues on the board. Written words, verbal clues, or gestures are forbidden. The first team to say the word scores a point.

Variation: With younger students, I draw the word in three steps: First, I draw 2-3 lines. If they get the word right, they get 3 points for their team. secondly, I draw half of the word pictorial clues. If they now get it right, they get 2 points . Finally, I draw all the pictorial clues and in case they manage to get the word right, I award them 1 point or no points at all, if they aren’t able to figure it out!

Pictionary

Pictionary

Bingo

I love playing Bingo revision games with kids! There are many variations..this one, is one of my favourite ones.

The teacher writes up 20 words, phrases and/or expressions on the board. Each student chooses any 9 of the items from the board and writes them down. The teacher then selects one of the items at random (bits of paper from a hat, for example) and offers a brief definition or synonym of the item but does not say the word itself. If a student thinks they have the word the teacher described, they tick it. When a student ticks all of their words, they shout BINGO!! The first student to shout BINGO wins the round. Additional rounds can be played with different sets of words.

Playing Bingo with lists of words!

Playing Bingo with lists of words!

Scrabbled letters

Write up eight words with their letters shuffled (e.g. eicscen for science) on the board. When the teacher says ‘go’, the students, individually or in pairs, endeavor to untangle the words as quickly as they can. The first student or pair, to do so wins. The teacher can then quickly run through each of the scrambled letter groups on the board, eliciting information about each word or concept. Tip: Don’t make them too difficult.

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Categories ( Aka The alphabet game)

Divide the class into 3 or 4 teams and assign a secretary for each group. On one side of the board, write down six categories related to the current topic or syllabus of your course (e.g. countries, sports, jobs, movies, furniture, verbs, things that are round). To start the game, the teacher randomly selects a letter of the alphabet and scribbles it onto the board. Each team must then work together to quickly find a word for each of the six categories that starts with the chosen letter. The first team to complete all six categories shouts “stop!” The class then stops writing, and a member of the team goes to the board to fill in the categories. The teacher then checks each word with the class and also elicits what other teams had for each category. If the quickest team has filled in each category correctly, they earn one point for their team. The teacher then chooses a different letter and another round is played. The first team to score X number of points wins.

The Alphabet game.

The Alphabet game.Working in teams.

Vocabulary fun activities 

The Dolls’ House.

To help them revise the house rooms and furniture as well as the prepositions of place, I have them decide how to decorate a dolls’ house . They are asked to place the pieces of furniture anywhere in the house they wish, and tell the class about each change they make to the previous furniture arrangements. eg ” The sofa is in the kitchen now, next to the fridge”

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This is a handmade dolls’ house, that I made with my daughter at home , some years ago reusing some old supermarket boxes…

Feelings

Instead of asking them to write a boring dictation on  the adjectives that describe feelings, I ask them to find photos that show different feelings and moods and bring them to class.They  use them to play several guessing games with their classmates, in teams!

 

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Seasons poetry

When I want them to revise all the Seasons Vocabulary, I have them write their own poems using it, and recite them  in class where we hold a poetry competition and finally vote for our favourite poems! I often have them work in pairs: one of them is the poet while the other one is the artist who reads the poetry and creates his/her work of art, being inspired by it! The artist, has to talk to the class about his picture, using as much of the target vocabulary as possible.

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My special talents

When I want them to revise the sports and free time activities, instead of giving them a test, I have them stand up and show the class what they are good at, or what their special talent is. They are free to even teach the class about their special abilities . Such a good activity to enhance self-esteem , too!

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I am good at tae-kwon-do!

 

 

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Practicing both vocabulary and CAN/CAN’T for ability.

The Apple tree

This is basically a scoring game, and can be used in various different ways.I mainly play it to test new words and  spelling !

1. Put the kids in groups (6 is usually good as there are usually 6 rows of desks), but keep them seated at their desks.

2. Draw pictures of trees on the board, one tree for each group. Each tree has 9 “rungs” (add more or less depending on the amount of time you wish to play), and some apples  at the top. (see the picture above) This takes about 1 minute if you’re quick!

4. During the game you play some music (something fast and dancey). When the music plays the kids pass a ball around (no throwing!!).

5. You stop the music.

6. You then ask the person holding the ball a question (“What’s this? How are you? What’s your name? etc.) My variation is spelling new words!

7. If the student gets it right then their team’s animal climbs one rung up the tree!

8. Repeat from step 4 until one team reaches the top – and the apples!

This is good for a review session, or even for practicing new vocab. 9 rungs lasts about 20 minutes. After the first few tries I then ask questions that are worth 2 “rungs”, or even ask the kids if they want an easy question for 1 point or a tricky one for 2 points!!

 

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The apple tree board game-revising nationalities

The weather forecast

Instead of asking the kids to write boring weather reports, I ask them to predict about next week’s weather and report to the class on….our class TV! They talk about their predictions using their  weather map and we can  even adjust the…volume holding imaginary remote controls !It’s loads of fun!

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My favourite sports board game

To revise the sports vocabulary, I usually have them play a vocabulary board game, in pairs! They have to say the name of the sport in the picture they land on , to be able to move on to the next level. I ask older students to use the sport word in a sentence instead.

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This is the book page with the new words.

Dancers and poets

When I want my students to revise new words, especially adjectives, I usually ask them to work in pairs. One of them is the poet, the other one is the dancer. The poet, writes a poem using as much  of the target vocabulary as possible. The dancer is dancing while the poet is reciting his poem …according to the verse content, trying to express his/her feelings listening to it!It can become, hilarious! Students, love both to watch and participate in  these …performances in which, improvisation rules !!

 

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My friend is….

I love working with adjectives! To revise them, one of the things I do is to ask my students to write their names on a sheet of paper, then put all  those sheets  up on the classroom walls and finally ask the students to  walk around the classroom and write adjectives next to each name which they think characterize their friends! I always ask them to focus on the positive characteristics of their classmates! It’s a nice way to boost self-esteem too….We later, collect the sheets of paper and comment on them. Fun!

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School objects hidden

Instead of giving my 3rd graders boring dictation on school objects, I prefer playing fun vocabulary games with them. One old-time-classic game  is the following : I hide different school objects under a piece of cloth and have them touch the object without looking to guess what they are ! They work in teams and for each correct guess they make , they get one point for their team!

 

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Look, taste, smell….

To practice grammar, I also play games..

One example is the way I ask them to practice and revise the Sense Verbs . I ask a student to…take off his/her shoe and ask another student to….. smell it and tell us how it…smells! ! It’s hilarious…! Then I ask a student to keep  his/her mouth wide open and ask the student sitting next to him/her to say how it looks!! I might also ask them to smell his/her breath and comment on it!! Sounds disgusting , ha? But, the children love it! I might also ask a male student to kiss a girl’s hand a tell us the taste or smell of it…! Touch her hair and produce sentences like: ” It feels soft”!The list of the fun things I ask them to do is endless! They just don’t want us to stop! The more I ask them to do, the more they practice using the Sense Verbs !

 

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Learning grammar, the fun way!

 

Another example is, the activity we do to practice the  Order of Adjectives ,when the students become …models !!

They take turns and walk like fashion models on the catwalk!

The other students use opinion, colour, material etc adjectives, to describe what the model is wearing and make comments on his/her clothes!

Example: She’s wearing a cute, pink, woolen sweater! It suits her!

He is wearing  smart, dark blue,denim jeans! They match his t-shirt!

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A top model, in our English class!

The cute Monsters Posters

To have my students practice the words that describe  People and Physical Characteristics I ask them to use them to describe an imaginary creature on a poster!

They have to think about the following before they create their monster:

  • What colour is he?
  • What colour arms and legs does he have?
  • What does he look like? (Tell us about his eyes, his ears and his mouth.)
  • What can he do?

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Then, they write up a profile for their monster including his/her appearance, personality, traits, skills/powers, monster friends, enemies, hobbies and where it lives – or if they are a bad guy monster you can replace the hobbies bit with ‘Strategy’ and put ‘Weakness’ at the bottom and write down what their weaknesses are.

Finally, I ask them to draw their monster!

The only limit is their imagination….

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Drama activities to have them speak 

I rarely have my students read the text or dialogues from our book aloud…I prefer to have them act the story out in groups- from a very early age.

Sketses promote active learning, enriching and reinforcing their more traditional school experiences. In addition most children are excited by the prospect of performing in front of others as a chance to be the center of attention.  So, when it comes to teaching English as a second language, no matter the age of the student, drama and children are a winning combination.

Children love being part of something.  Preparing an ESL skit together is a bonding experience for the group.  All children are involved, from the shyest to the most outspoken and all contribute to the final outcome. Children want to belong and being part of a play allows that to happen.

You don’t have time NOT to use ESL plays.  Drama is not an addition to my 26 units, but a method of teaching them more effectively.  It does not matter if you can’t act – the children will be doing the acting and they are the experts!

The conversational use of language in an ESL play script promotes fluency. While learning a play, children listen to and repeat their lines over a period of time. By repeating the words and phrases they become familiar with them and are able to say them with increasing fluency.

The mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

The mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

The teacher’s own enthusiasm also goes a long way towards motivating a child. Anyone who has taught a classroom of children knows how quickly they pick up and reflect your moods. If you think your English lesson is boring, so will they!

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The plays DO GET THEM TO SPEAK. And this is a very rewarding experience for us, teachers, to hear them SPEAK, not just use the target vocabulary.

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Teaching and revising vocabulary has become easier for me  through all these fun activities ,as for the children every single new word they are learning is now more meaningful as it is connected with their real life experiences in class .

The “Ten second object” and the ” Essence machines”

I'll let you guess about this one...what do you think the object is??

I’ll let you guess about this one…what do you think the object is??

This is a very popular drama game and a useful technique which can be developed easily towards improvisation or physical theatre. It’s also highly accessible and great fun!

Divide everyone into small groups (4-6). Call out the name of an object and all the groups have to make the shape of that object out of their own bodies, joining together in different ways while you count down slowly from ten to zero. Usually every group will find a different way of forming the object. Examples could be: a car, a fried breakfast, a clock, a washing machine, a fire.

In the photos below, you can view only FEW of the objects the students were asked to make the shape of…

A tree

A tree

The Star shining

The Star shining

A hot-air balloon

A hot-air balloon

An airplane

An airplane

Full moon

Full moon

A desk and chair

A desk and chair

Books on a bookshelf

Books on a bookshelf

An umbrella

An umbrella

I often combine this drama activity with one other old-time favourite…the Essence machines!

This activity provides a useful technique for generating physical and aural ideas around a theme. Explain that the group is going to create a “machine” out of themselves. Name a topic and give the participants a few moments to think of a repeating sound and action linked to that theme. For example, if the theme was “shopping” a participant could mime taking money out of a purse to give to a shopkeeper, whilst saying “I’ll have two of those, please.”

As soon as someone has an idea, ask them to step into the centre of a circle to begin their repeating sound and movement. Ask if somebody else can think of a suitable way to add in their own idea. Gradually, more and more people join in the activity. Some may be linked to existing parts of the “machine”, whilst others may be separate. To continue the example above, someone could join the action by becoming the shopkeeper and saying “Shall I wrap them for you?”, whilst somebody else could be a cleaner in the shopping mall.

Essence machines: at the gym

Essence machines: at the gym

A bus

A bus

A fireplace

A fireplace

Another version of the airplane

Another version of the airplane

A river

A river

Another version of the Sun!

Another version of the Sun!

A new vesrion of a tree

A new vesrion of a tree

A vase full of flowers

A vase full of flowers

A bike!!

A bike!!

 

Learning english the RIGHT way, can be so much FUN!

Learning english the RIGHT way, can be so much FUN!

 

 

 

 

 

Drama improvisation ELT games

Ten second object: a bookshelf

Ten second object: a bookshelf

A quick warm up and getting to know you game. Everyone in the room must shake hands with, say “hello” and their name to everybody else within thirty seconds.

As a variation, give a signal for the class to switch between normal and slow motion movement and speech and back again.

Ten Second Object

This is a very popular drama game and a useful technique which can be developed easily towards improvisation or physical theatre. It’s also highly accessible and great fun!

Divide everyone into small groups (4-6). Call out the name of an object and all the groups have to make the shape of that object out of their own bodies, joining together in different ways while you count down slowly from ten to zero. Usually every group will find a different way of forming the object. Examples could be: a car, a fried breakfast, a clock, a washing machine, a fire.

Essence Machines

This activity provides a useful technique for generating physical and aural ideas around a theme. Explain that the group is going to create a “machine” out of themselves. Name a topic and give the participants a few moments to think of a repeating sound and action linked to that theme. For example, if the theme was “shopping” a participant could mime taking money out of a purse to give to a shopkeeper, whilst saying “I’ll have two of those, please.”

Essence machines: at the gym

Essence machines: at the gym

As soon as someone has an idea, ask them to step into the centre of a circle to begin their repeating sound and movement. Ask if somebody else can think of a suitable way to add in their own idea. Gradually, more and more people join in the activity. Some may be linked to existing parts of the “machine”, whilst others may be separate. To continue the example above, someone could join the action by becoming the shopkeeper and saying “Shall I wrap them for you?”, whilst somebody else could be a cleaner in the shopping mall.

You may find that everybody wants to join in the activity, although be careful not to let it go on for too long or get too unwieldy. Once it is set up, the machine can be frozen, then played back at twice or half the “normal” speed. Themes could include: a football match, a meal in a restaurant, folk tales, Halloween. You could have a machine that actually makes something, like chocolate biscuits, school dinners or weather conditions.

  • If using this for language teaching, encourage the use of single words or short phrases instead of a sound

Alphabet Conversation

Have a conversation where each sentence begins with the next letter of the alphabet. This may seem difficult at first, but improves with practice. If you get stuck, you can also use sounds to start a sentence, for example ‘Mmmm’ or ‘tut-tut’. Here is an example:

A: Anyone seen my cat?

B: Black one, with funny eyes?

A: Can’t say I remember.

B: Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten what it looks like?

A: Every cat looks the same to me.

B: Fortunately, I found one yesterday

A: Gee, that’s great!

  • You could also try beginning somewhere in the middle of the alphabet. Then when you reach ‘Z’, return to ‘A’ until you arrive back where you started

  • Try setting the scene or location before you start

  • It’s great for car journeys too!

Catch My Name

A fun way of learning names. The group stands in a circle and begins by throwing a beanbag or bouncing a medium-sized ball, such as a children’s football, across the circle from one person to another. Make sure people are ready to throw and ready to catch. Eye contact is important.

Now, introduce yourself as you throw or bounce the ball across the circle – ‘Hi, I’m Robert’. Once everybody has had a go at that, continue the game but this time say the name of the person that you are throwing to – ‘Jessica to Kelvin’. The group should ensure that everybody receives the ball. One way of doing this is for everybody to hold one hand up until they have caught the ball, or each person folds their arms when they have thrown it.

  • As a variation, the catcher can call out the name of the thrower

  • Ask everybody to call out the name of the thrower

  • More balls can be added in so that it develops into a Group Juggle.

  • Don’t make name games into an actual test – people are less likely to learn names if they feel pressurised. Keep it light and enjoyable

  • A useful adaptation for language learners – use word categories so that each person throwing the ball must say a word in the named category.

Two Truths, One Lie

Highly recommended for getting to know each other in a new group. Tell your partner three things about yourself – two of which are true and one of which is a lie. For example, you might tell your partner about your hobbies, your work, where you live, your family or where you have travelled. Afterwards, your partner tries to guess which was the lie. You might choose to tell three everyday facts or three more unusual things – but remember – only one of them should be a lie. Make sure each person listens carefully to what their partner says!

  • Now introduce your partner to the rest of the group and see if they can guess which was the lie.

  • Alternatively, tell your partner three true things about yourself and then swap over. Now the whole group makes a circle. Each partner introduces their friend to the group – they tell the group two of the true things and make up one lie about their partner.

There Is Only One Liar

A psychological but fun group dynamics game from Augusto Boal. There should be no talking until the exercise is over. The group sits or stands in a circle and closes their eyes. The leader tells them that one person will be selected by a tap on the shoulder. The leader walks around the whole circle, then asks the group to open their eyes. The group members must look around and try to guess who was chosen. They are asked to remember who they decided upon but not to reveal it at this point.

The game is repeated. When everybody has finished looking round, the leader asks them, on the count of three, without talking, to point at the person they thought was chosen the first time. Everybody points. Now, they do the same again for the second time.

Afterwards, members are asked what it was that led them to choose a particular person, for example, the facial expression that person had. Then, on a signal, they are asked to put up their hands if they were touched the first time. They discover that no one was touched the first time. They are asked to do the same for the second time. The group discover that they were all touched the second time. There is only one liar – the workshop leader!

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Drama in our english class

" Interviewing the ...greek Prime Minister":I use improvisation activities a lot. My role is to provide the context and the students act out their roles spontaneously without any planning.

” Interviewing the …greek Prime Minister”:I use improvisation activities a lot. My role is to provide the context and the students act out their roles spontaneously without any planning.

Language teachers have to face two difficulties in their classrooms. On the one hand they need to change the naturally exuberant imaginative energy of the children into activity which is not merely enjoyable but which also has a language pay-off. On the other, they need to develop a repertoire of concrete activities which appeal to children to do as well to avoid chaos and boredom.

" Interviewing....Virgin Mary":The classroom game of pretending to interact in English is a rehearsal for future interactions in English.

” Interviewing….Virgin Mary”:The classroom game of
pretending to interact in English is a rehearsal
for future interactions in English.

Just a few drama activities can bring an EFL/ESL classroom to life. The trends in English Language Teaching (ELT) lean heavily toward communicative and authentic language use. Drama provides lots of immediate resources and is fun for teacher and students alike.

I mainly use Drama in class Projects presentations !Also, I love staging mini-musicals at the end of each school year!

School Musicals

Enthusiastic audience!!

Enthusiastic audience!!

School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions. It has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more. School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

Taking part in a school musical production has many benefits for children – increased self-esteem, the development of their dramatic and musical talents, and the opportunity to learn about working together as part of a team.

I find ideas in our library English Readers or in different  books or sites such as

http://www.childrenstheatreplays.com/schoolplays.htm

The main points concerning drama, which  I have in mind ,when I ask my students to get involved in such  activities ,are:

"The Wizard of Oz":School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

“The Wizard of Oz”:School musicals offer a good chance to children to bring out their talent, build self confidence, and overcome all of their inhibitions

Suspension of disbelief
When we watch a film or a play on television
or in the theatre, we ignore the fact that the
actors are not actually, detectives, doctors or
murderers. We engage in the drama because
we are able to suspend our disbelief, we are
able to pretend that the actors are the
characters they portray that the locations are
not stage sets or studios and the words spoken
by the actors are a prepared script, not the
spontaneous thoughts of the characters.

" Alice in Wonderland":School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

” Alice in Wonderland”:School musicals, drama, and plays teach children to work in a team, develop organizational abilities, communication and more.

" The Wizard of Oz": A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

” The Wizard of Oz”: A School musical, has many benefits for children like development of right self-esteem, instilling interest for music and drama and more.

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

Our sixth graders musical every year, is a huge success! Both the kids and their parents are looking so much forward to it!

Students in an ELT classroom also need to
suspend disbelief, otherwise they would be
endlessly frustrated by the fact that the
teacher does not speak in the mother tongue
she shares with her students.
Drama and Games
‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’s
education. When they dress up as a princess,
they become a princess. Their toys are not
painted pieces of metal, wood or plastic, they
are cars, guns, space rockets. Their toys get
sick, recover, get angry and feel emotions.
The ELT classroom is a ‘pretend game’ in
exactly the same way.
Preparation for real life
Few of our students will become princesses
or astronauts, but all of them will become
English language users. The classroom game of
pretending to interact in English is a rehearsal
for future interactions in English.

"The Wizard of Oz": At the beginning students will be hesitant and shy to participate in the activities, but after a few sessions they will become more enthusiastic and there will be a phenomenal improvement in their confidence level.

“The Wizard of Oz”: At the beginning students will be hesitant and shy to participate in the activities, but after a few sessions they will become more enthusiastic and there will be a phenomenal improvement in their confidence level.

Most actors would agree that rehearsals are a
time for hard work, careful listening and
intense performance but they are also an
enjoyable experience. They are a time for
experimenting and having fun before the real
audience arrives.

Students and teachers need to adopt the same
attitude to their language classes.

Drama or dramatic activities I use in my classes

Mime

Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence .

Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence .

Mime helps develop students’ power of imagination and observation and can also be quite simply ” a source of great enjoyment” with students tending “to be very enthusiastic about this aspect of drama”, (Hayes, 1984)

"The Wizard of Oz": The main benefit of role play from the point of view of language teaching is that it enables a flow of language to be produced that might be otherwise difficult or impossible to create

“The Wizard of Oz”: The main benefit of role play from the point of view of language
teaching is that it enables a flow of language to be produced that might be otherwise difficult or impossible to create

Its strength lies in that although no language is used during
the mime, the mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

Role Play

In role play the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

"Your face sounds familiar- A concert": Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

“Your face sounds familiar- A concert”: Music, is an essential part in musical performances! It helps my students reveal their inner talents!

The main benefit of role play from the point of view of language
teaching is that it enables a flow of language to be produced that might be otherwise difficult or impossible to create. Role play can also help recreate the language students used in different situation, the sort of language students are likely to need outside the classroom

Simulation

" Your face sounds familiar-A concert": The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

” Your face sounds familiar-A concert”: The FUN element of ELT music shows, is is obvious in this photo!!

My students have roles, functions, duties ,
and responsibilities within a structured situation involving problem solving.
Simulations are generally held to be a structured set of circumstances’ that mirror real life and in which participants act as instructed.

A simulation activity is one where the students  discuss a problem within a defined setting, In simulation activities, the students are either playing themselves or someone else.

" A Eurovision song contest parody": Here's an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in...Eurovision 2013!!

” A Eurovision song contest parody”: Here’s an Improvisation end-of-the-school year concert which we all just LOVED! In the photo, Agathonas Iakovides and Coza Mostra in…Eurovision 2013!!

A simulation activity provides a specific situation within which students can practice various communication skills like asserting oneself, expressing opinions, convincing others, arguing eliciting opinions, group-problems-solving, analyzing situations and so on…

Improvisation

Improvisation is an excellent technique to use in the FL/L2 classroom as it motivates the learners to be active participants in authentic situations thereby reducing their self consciousness. At the beginning students will be hesitant and shy to participate in the activities, but after a few sessions they will become more enthusiastic and there will be a phenomenal improvement in their confidence level.

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

I use it a great deal in my lessons!

"Alice and Peter Pan ": Using puppets in my ELT class, has been really beneficial for my youngest students! Even the most shy ones, want to take part!

“Alice and Peter Pan “: Using puppets in my ELT class, has been really beneficial for my youngest students! Even the most shy ones, want to take part!

Improvisation exercises could involve an entire class of learners or smaller groups.
Once the context has been provided the learners will participate spontaneously in the exercise.

A whole class improvisation exercise could eg  involve the students at a market where some are the buyers and others the sellers. My role is to provide the context and the participants act out their roles spontaneously without any planning.

Puppet theatre

At the mini market: sketses can prove to be valuable in TEFL! Great fun!

At the mini market: sketses can prove to be valuable in TEFL! Great fun!

I often use finger play activities, chants and actions songs to help make transitions in the junior class more effective, settling everyone down so that I’ve got all of the children’s attention and also, help them learn in the most enjoyable way!

Puppets can be used in an English class:

  • to teach greetings
  • to teach prepositions
  • to teach comparatives and superlatives
  • to dramatize dialogues
  • in word games
  • to present facts about nutrition
  • in rhythm studies
  • in biographies
  • in sketches
In role play the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

In role play the participants are assigned roles which they act out in a given scenario.

Puppetry is of special benefit to shy and nervous children and also gives the feeling of involvement and participation to the entire class. Our puppet shows give a sense of relief from the tension of classroom teaching and add variety to the lesson.

Role play can also help recreate the language students used in different situation, the sort of language students are likely to need outside the classroom

Role play can also help recreate the language students used in different situation, the sort of language students are likely to need outside the classroom

Therefore, a puppet theatre can be an excellent piece of equipment in a second language classroom….trust me!

In general, Drama  activities facilitate the type of language behaviour that should lead to fluency, and if it is accepted that the learners want to learn a language in order to make themselves understood in the target language, then drama does indeed further this end.

” Why use drama in the EFL classroom?” We can create desirable conditions for learning and teaching in our EFL classes using drama activities and it is very enjoyable for both students and teachers!

” Why use drama in the EFL classroom?” We can create desirable conditions for learning and teaching in our EFL classes using drama activities and it is very enjoyable for both students and teachers!

" Interviewing....Barbie": ‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’seducation. When they dress up as a princess,they become a princess.

” Interviewing….Barbie”: ‘Pretend games’ are a central part of a child’seducation.
When they dress up as a princess,they become a princess.

The advantages to be gained from the use of drama is that students become more confident in their use of English by experiencing the language in operation. Drama in the English language classroom is ultimately indispensable because it gives learners the chance to use their own personalities. It draws upon students’ natural abilities to imitate and express themselves, and if well-handled should arouse interest and imagination. Drama encourages adaptability, fluency, and communicative competence . It puts language into context, and by giving learners experience of success in real-life situations it should arm them with confidence for tackling the world outside the classroom.

To summarise…

I want to stress that, children learn languages actively seeking to interpret meaning from context ,making creative use of language they know, using an instinct for talking and interacting and indirect learning e.g. through games and songs.a capacity to find fun ,an ability to use fantasy and imagination.

And also it is very important to keep in mind that learning and teaching is a very complicated process.

mosaic skets triti 2

“…we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being. It is not acquired by listening to words, but in virtue of experiences in which the child acts on his environment. The teacher’s task is not to talk, but to prepare and arrange a series of motives for cultural activity in a special environment made for the child. “ Dr. Maria Montessori

" Interviewing ....Hurem, Suleiman's Sultana": Children learn languages actively seeking to interpret meaning from context ,making creative use of language they know, using an instinct for talking and interacting and indirect learning e.g. through games and songs.a capacity to find fun ,an ability to use fantasy and imagination.

” Interviewing ….Hurem, Suleiman’s Sultana”: Children learn languages actively seeking to interpret meaning from context ,making creative use of language they know, using an instinct for talking and interacting and indirect learning e.g. through games and songs.a capacity to find fun ,an ability to use fantasy and imagination.

The mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

The mime itself can act as a catalyst to generate and elicit language before, during and after the activity.

And so: ” Why use drama in the EFL classroom?” We can create desirable conditions for learning and teaching in our EFL classes using drama activities and it is very enjoyable for both students and teachers!

Useful Bibliography

Charlyn Wessel , 1987, Drama ,Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers.

Jill Hadfield , 1992, Classroom Dynamics , Oxford; OUP Resource Books for Teachers.

Sarah Phillips, 2003,Drama with Chidren, Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers.

S. Halliwell, 1995, Teaching English in the Primary Classroom ,Oxford; OUP, Resource Books for Teachers.

mosaic skets sheak 13

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School Christmas shows and some thoughts on Drama and ELT

blogchristmas show

Just a few drama activities can bring an EFL/ESL classroom to life. The trends in English Language Teaching (ELT) lean heavily toward communicative and authentic language use. Drama provides lots of immediate resources and is fun for teacher and students alike. The fear factor for a new drama user is the hard part to overcome.

Some traditional style teachers are afraid they will appear unprofessional and even risk being fired if they focus the lesson on ‘playing’ instead of serious study. Some language teachers feel comfortable only when using the course textbooks and feel that drama activities could take away from their position as the language “role model”. Instructors can be wary of focusing too much on “drama” and not the real subject; English. There is also the issue of control here. A class of 25 students who are working in groups on a drama activity can be a nightmare for a leader who wants to control the timing, language use and focus of the unit.

“If drama can really enrich the language class in all these ways, why are so many teachers reluctant to use it? Many still think of drama as ‘theatricals’, because this is their only experience of it. Often the fault lies not with the individual teacher, but with the training that he or she has received; a training that presents education as the one-way transmission of knowledge from the teacher to the student, rather than the creation of a learning situation in which the student is also the teacher.” (Wessels: 14)

“Drama demands enthusiasm- not only for the lesson, but also for the students. And this in turn depends on the formation of a relationship of mutual trust in which neither teacher nor student feels ‘at risk’, but they willingly change roles and status to achieve the aims of the lesson.” (Wessels: 15)

‘Drama can help the teacher to achieve ‘reality’ in several ways. It can overcome the students’ resistance to learning the new language:

  • by making the learning of the new language an enjoyable experience;
  • by setting realistic targets for the students to aim for;
  • by creative ‘slowing down’ of real experience;
  • by linking the language-learning experience with the student’s own experience of life

And drama can create in a students a need to learn the language :

  • by the use of ‘creative tension’ (situations requiring urgent solutions);
  • by putting more responsibility on the learner, as opposed to the teacher.’

(Wessel: 53-54)

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

Christmas sketses , are a good chance for my youngest learners, to use their english for the first time, in front of a real audience!

 

Being involved in a  School Christmas play is great fun, whether the play is religious or secular, a variety show, drama or pantomime. It is also good experience for children as it develops confidence and communication skills.

I have been staging Christmas plays from many years now…And  I just love it!!

There are so many recources out there for all teachers but, I personally believe that, the teacher could better use the students’ own talents in organising an original dramatic production or variety style show. The children could be involved in designing scripts and mimes, thus enhancing their creative literacy.

The creative teacher or community group leader has a number of choices when organising their end of year or Christmas play. Traditionally certain types of plays have been popular during the Christmas season. These are the types , I choose from:

1. The variety show

  • This simply showcases the children’s talents in the best way possible. To be successful, a variety show should contain some instrumental performances, jokes, comedy skits, simple dance routines, group and solo singing.Not really easy when it comes to my school which lacks all the basics! It’s my DREAM, to stage such a  school show one day soon, though….
  • Novelty acts such as magic tricks, juggling, gymnastics and puppet performances may also be included.
  • This type of concert is ideal for introducing a multi-cultural element allowing students to share and experience music and dance from different countries.
  • 2.The Pantomime

  • They have been traditional Christmas fare fro many centuries. They feature comic characters and are really easy to stage with almost all classes and under all circumstances!
  • Pantomimes are comical and rely heavily on masks (or face painting) and costuming for their effect.
  • Plot wise pantomimes are very simple. Easy to use even with students whose english is limited!I also like them , because they depend on improvisation!
  • 3. The Traditional Nativity Play

blogchristmas show2

  • Browse the Net on your own,  to find out more…I do so, every single year!
  • After all, drama, is crucial when it comes to foreign language teaching, isn’t it?Image