Great way to use skits with middle school kids
An English teacher in France wrote to me with news of how she used my plays and skits book with her class of middle school kids (aged 11). She just chucked them at the kids and said "Get on with it". And yet, it worked amazingly. This works with larger groups and classes too. Here's the teacher's lesson plan...
Hello! Thank you so much for your skits! They're just fantastic! I teach in middle school and due to a change in timetable for various activities, I had to find something to do for 3 hours with a class of first years I did not know at all. I selected 4 of the skits, and on Monday morning I met up with the class for 2 hours. My idea was to make them work cooperatively. So I split the class into teams of 5-6 and gave them 3 scripts per team. I asked them to read the texts, think of a title for each one and identify the type of text they were confronted with (i.e. short dialogues and plays or roleplays). I allowed 10 minutes for that. Then the whole class shared their ideas in French and quite logically they understood that I was expecting them to act the skits. We used five skits from your book and these were some of their titles: An impatient bus driver - A terrible restaurant - The bad magician - A greedy doctor.
I gave them a sheet of paper so that they could think of a possible setting and accessories they could bring to the next class. I also asked them to imagine stage directions and facial expressions. French pupils have got a rather low level at English when they enter middle school - which is a shame I think because I'm sure if they were taught (in a fun way of course!) more foreign languages as kids, they would be more at ease with it. So, they did not understand the stage directions in your skits. But turning problems into opportunities is a great way to work, so they imagined their own. Then they decided on the roles and since we had 30 minutes left on that day, they started acting their skit.
We met again on Tuesday. They came in with lots of accessories and props. In the meantime, I had mailed some colleagues to tell them they would be a quick performance. Since there is no appropriate room, assembly room, or stage, we ended up in the playground. With the twittering of the birds, strong wind and even a lawn mower, we put on our little show. The colleagues who came to watch, said it was just amazing to see the pleasure and enthusiasm the kids displayed while acting in English having had such a short time lapse to rehearse. I cannot thank you enough. I feel like having a little treasure in my teacher's bag.
I love this approach for several reasons.
- It puts the responsibility on the kids for their own learning.
- It gives kids a great opportunity to use their imaginations and be creative.
- It bonds pupils beautifully as they work collectively in groups
- It gives scope for more advanced students to be challenged with bigger roles while letting more timid or lower levels participate fully in the activity.
- It allows kids to show off what they have learned through performance, and receive recognition for their efforts
- ...and probably lots more if I keep thinking about it, but that's enough for today!
I can't encourage you enough to try this method with your pupils. If you are teaching kids between 6 and 12, then try my plays and skits, or others you may find, and give your pupils the chance to learn English creatively and work on their confidence and fluency with speaking skills.
All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon, Teaching English Games
PS I have also written a book of skits for teens. Both my books of skits are available from me in instant PDF format, and I think this is the best format for this resource, since it's easy for you to print off what you need. BUT, if you prefer, both books are also in paperback on Amazon, (on lots of Amazon sites) and in Kindle.