The twelve months continued
May 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’ve been very busy over the last few days and was too tired to write anything in the evening, so this update took a while.
Anyway, Wednesday I was teaching my younger group again and recycled the fairy tale ‘The twelve months’ (see post ‘The twelve months’). After saying ‘hello’ to everyone I started with drawing four trees on the board, showing the four seasons. I wanted to see if they could remember the names for the season. Amazingly the word they remembered best was ‘autumn’. For the others I had to write the first letter on the board, but then they remembered. Then we sang the season song again.
As I had had only time to tell the fairy tale in the previous lesson, I now wanted to actually act the story out with them. So first I had to remind them of the story. I put the pictures they had drawn in the previous lesson on the floor and they shouted out some of the words they had learned and some of them recalled the story in Czech. So I started to tell the story again in English and they held up the pictures and actually joined in in some parts. It was great to see how much they actually remembered. Then I told them that I would like to play the story with them, so we decided on the roles and who would take which part. Three children were at the end left over. So I decided to include more roles. Two boys were the storm and also made funny noises and gestured wildly when the magic parts happened. They really loved it and all the other children thought it really funny. We set up the classroom, decided where the house was, where the mountain, and all of them took their places. And then I suddenly had a problem with one girl who wanted to play Mary as well (like several of the children). She was so grumpy that she refused to take any other role. I tried to invent several roles for her, but she just shouted out ‘I want to be Mary.’ What to do? In the end I decided to be strict, especially as the other children were waiting to begin with the story. So I told her that she couldn’t take part at all and had to sit at the side and just watch. (I watched her throughout the ‘play’ and could see how she started rethinking, she joined in straight after we finished and tried to make up.)
Anyway, it was great fun. They got really into it, especially the two children (a girl and a boy) who played two Helenas. They shouted at poor Mary and screamed for their flowers, strawberries and apples. I took the role of the narrator but tried to give them as much space to speak in their roles as possible. It took about 20 min and I could see, that they really enjoyed it.
For me this was again one of the moments where I could see how important stories and drama are in the YL classroom, as they provide an active involvement, the need to use English to take part, and the the most important factor for learning a language (especially at that age): the FUN element.
So go and try it if you haven’t done so already.
The lesson finished with drawing the story, with each child choosing which part he/she wanted to draw.