To the initial dismay of some of my students, I love doing role play with them. I say, “initial” dismay because a few of them do voice out their objection when I tell them what we’re going to do. But once they learn the stories and roles are chosen, they get really into it. For Class B, I decided to break the group into two and have two stories – Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Rabbit and The Turtle. I changed the name of the latter because children are more familiar with these terms for the animals, rather than the hare and the tortoise.
To start, I always introduce the story with the stories. I’ve read them the stories before but this time, I decided to let YouTube do the work for me. I found some good videos online, a few with songs, to introduce the stories to the children, afterwards I ask them comprehension questions and also introduce new vocabulary to them. Then, we get down to the business of distribution of the scripts and roles. I separated the groups with their English levels in mind. I placed one of my higher level third graders as the leader in the bigger group to do Goldilocks and the Three Bears. While my CT did sit in on their initial reading, the students in this group were able to facilitate their readings and practice themselves. There’s great leadership and peer-to-peer help in this group.
With my second Class B group, I gave the shorter and easier story of The Rabbit and The Turtle. I focused on one of the third grade students who have almost no English ability at all. I’ve been having trouble all week with just having her talk to me but I think we made a lot of progress this camp day. I realized right away that she can’t read and we worked on a lot of pronunciation, reading, and repeating for her three small lines. I took out my limited Korean vocabulary (which I try to never reveal to the younger ones) to help her understand what the English words she was saying meant. And after I was sure that she could practice on her own, I enlisted her team members to be the ones to help her, give her signals, and work together with her during their performance.
The final performances were better than anything I had ever gotten from my students – whether from regular classes or summer camp. This time, I wasn’t rushed (by the students or my CTs). I was adamant about how much time the students should be given to practice their lines, prepare their props, and dress rehearsal. I challenged the students to memorize their lines and most of them “half-memorized” as I suggested. (They were allowed their scripts as long as they weren’t just reading off of it.) I’m quite proud of these little ones.
With Class A, I generally have less to worry about in terms of their English speaking ability. It’s usually their motivation and enthusiasm that I need to focus on. Luckily, this winter’s batch of older students include one charismatic sixth grader who is my second-in-command with the group (she was the group’s Little Gingerbread Man and my appointed Director for the play) and one fifth grader whose voice changes for his role motivates everyone else to give their all into the performances (he was the Old Woman – my brilliant idea). This group performed as one to remake the Little Gingerbread Man. One of the regrets I do have with this story choice is that half of the students had only one or two lines throughout the script.
With this group, I had some resistance to the idea of making props for the performance. And I had pretty much given up on that idea when my fourth grader who had the role of the pig agreed to the nose that I had made for her. Soon, all my animal roles were asking me to make them their ears and tails. My Old Woman and Old Man started making their own costumes and were quite creative with them.
Another performance, success!