Every teacher knows the importance of drama in the classroom, especially since it takes into account the student as a whole; not just their bodies but their minds as well. Thanks to this play, the body becomes a vehicle for learning a language and developing important life skills. Drama is an excellent means of socialising for students; it can be used to learn other subjects, while developing concentration and the ability to work independently - both of which are applicable to any school activity. Let’s see how!
Learn how to:
- use family lexis;
- use personality lexis;
- understand a written and oral text;
- work cooperatively with other students to perform a story;
- make puppets.
Language level: A1 + CEFR level
Time: 2 two-hour lessons plus extra lessons
Materials: For the puppets: card, string, gloves, socks, wool, scraps of material, tennis balls
First lesson (2 hours)
Warmer: the teacher arouses the pupils’ interest by showing them pictures (worksheet 1), and outlining the educational aim of the activity i.e., an end of year play of a fairy tale. This task encompasses knowledge, skills and interpersonal skills.
Students are asked to sit around the teacher in a reading corner to listen to the story of Cinderella. The teacher can chose any version of the story as long as it is suitable for the pupils’ age group. (worksheet 2)
The teacher tells or reads the story using the pictures to help students understand the new lexis - teachers should adopt a discovery method here (worksheet 3).
Once the story has been read, students are asked to work in groups to complete a worksheet to check their understanding. To help pupils, teachers can write some personality adjectives on the board (worksheet 4). During the plenary, each group chooses one member to give their answers.
Second Lesson (2 hours)
Following the initial preparative stage, the teacher asks the class to think about what preparations will be needed for the end of year play. While pupils assign the different jobs and roles for the production, the teacher writes them on the board.(worksheet 5)
A number of rehearsals will be necessary to help with pronunciation and diction. The staging of this fairy tale allows the whole class to participate because there is a choir in some scenes. To encourage the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs, mime can also be used. These children or those who are very shy can mime the household chores which Cinderella has to carry out (worksheet 6)
All pupils will be asked to make a mask because everyone will be in the scene of the prince’s ball (worksheet 7). It would be a good idea if all the class’ subject teachers participated in the end of year play.
With the help of the art teacher, pupils make drawings for the set design and the carriage. If teachers decide not to adopt costumes, wigs can be used, so that the audience can distinguish the different characters in the play. As for the music for the ball, pupils can choose any type of music they want, even modern music.
Pupils work together to write the script, or they can use the script from the book (worksheet 8). The teacher can ask the students to come up with a new moral for the fairy tale which the narrator can tell the audience at the end of the play.
In order to get more pupils involved , a modern character from the 21st century could appear on stage in the middle of this fairy tale world and can , for example, offer to take Cinderella to the ball in a Ferrari.
Here are some more idea that can be used to bring this fairy tale to the theatre.
The puppet theatre
This type of activity helps some children who suffer from stage fright to overcome their shyness.
The teacher makes some enlarged photocopies of the drawings of the characters. Pupils are asked to cut them out and to stick them on cardboard or plywood. Each puppet should have strings and thin sticks which will be used to move it. (worksheet 9)
However, if making string paper puppets seems too difficult, sock puppets can be made instead (worksheet 10).
For the stage, black strips of fabric of different sizes and lengths can be used. These can be moved by the pupils in the choir. There should not be too much light because, as we know, in the puppet theatre darkness is paramount. This activity allows pupils to become narrators and to enjoy themselves making up different voices.