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Book reviews for Fun ESL Role-Plays and Skits for Children

kids acting zoo talk play

Hear from teachers using my plays and skits

This page has reviews reviews for Fun ESL Role-Plays and Skits for Children by Shelley Ann Vernon. You’ll see how much fun teachers and pupils have alike. Teachers save time with lesson prep and kids are motivated and enthusiastic. Parents are happy customers too!

It went brilliantly

From Alexis Hinson, at the Liaoyuan Bilingual School in Shanghai

This week we performed your skits. It went BRILLIANTLY!! I am an ESL teacher and also teaching a grade 1 and 2 drama club…I will be coming back next semester for different skits for the kids! They loved being put in small groups and rehearsing on their own…I made them take charge of what their sets were and how to set them up.  They rehearsed themselves and everything. It was much easier for me to manage as a first time drama teacher than doing one big play!


Alexis Hinson also gave me some great pictures of her pupils acting my skits – thank you!

From Inci Ozkan, in Istanbul.

MILLÎ EGITIM BAKANLIGI ISTANBUL – BAKIRKÖY – MURAT KÖLÜK ILKOKULU

“The parents were surprised and delighted.”
 
“We did our final English show of this education year and we used your short plays. Children enjoyed their roles and we had big applause from parents.  We used  ‘Story Time’, ‘Quiet Time’, ‘In the Library’ and ‘Doctor, Doctor’.  The parents were surprised and delighted by what I did.  Although they couldn’t understand us, they didn’t get bored, because plays are both short and very enjoyable.  Thanks for everything. Your ideas, ways of teaching a new language and techniques are really very helpful, thank u so much again.”
 
(The school website: http://muratkolukilkokulu.meb.k12.tr)

Inci also gave me some a-mazing photos of my skits in action. A BIG thank you Inci!

kids acting skit

Pupils absorbed vocabulary quickly

From Christel Pollock, Caen, France, www.anglotots.blogspot.fr, 2017

I am using the skits one after the other in order to make a little show for the kid’s parents later this year. My small group really enjoys working with your skits.It is real fun for me too and exciting to see how quickly they absorb the vocabulary.

Save time and use this book many times

From Kristina Kloster, Caen, France, 2020

When speaking of using your skits, do remember to stress how time saving it really is for the teacher in your book. Once you’ve got the book you can keep the class busy for a good amount of time which was very surprising to me.

I thought it would be hard to keep the students’ motivation learning each skit as we had to rehearse the skits many, many times and I insisted on everybody learning all the lines and so that they could play all the roles. (I didn’t tell them who was to perform until a few days before the show was scheduled in order to keep up their motivation.)

On the contrary, they enjoyed getting better and better and we spent two months on three skits, meaning two months without any preparation for me to do. Of course one must keep in mind the amount of time needed for learning the skits depends on the level, the number of students etc.

Benefits to teachers and pupils alike

From Marija Zivkovic

The plays are so interactive, kids really enjoy acting them.  I have already done some plays with my students and they are sooooo thrilled about them, they love them!!!

From Loreto Ibieta, at www.colegiocahuala.cl

I’m doing really well with my English workshop using your plays. Thanks again.

From Darlene Kist, Lanzarote

I am using the plays and really enjoying them. I teach from home in Lanzarote and have about 50 students.  Two of my groups (4-6kids) are 2 and 3 years old!   Some still in nappies!! The Birthday party was a huge success and we used a doll for the birthday girl. It worked really well. Love your work.

From one of my favourite teachers, Eurydice Prentoulis, in the Czech Republic

It has been three years or more since I have been using your materials. They are GREAT and have been producing FANTASTIC results with kids as young as 3 and as old as 18 – or even older!

My success as an English language drama teacher to czech children is in large part down to YOU and your wonderful plays. I have staged five performances in the past year, and the kids and their parents are ALWAYS delighted.

The parents marvel at the kids’ confidence during their performance. Not to mention the complex structures they are able to use in a foreign language! Thank you again!

Eurydice Prentoulis, Czech Republic, May 2014

Huge success and exuberant personalities under control!

From Karen Atkinson, in Nantes, France

Just a quick email of thanks to say I purchased the book of plays during the holidays and used it for the first time Thursday night with my small group of 12 year olds and it was a huge success. We started with the Easy restaurant play and they really got fully into character. Their exuberant personalities, which can be sometimes a challenge to keep under control, were perfect in this context and I received very pleasing feedback from parents too.

From Lioubov Vereshchagina, Saint Petersbourg, Russia

My 6-7 year old children were absolutely happy to play Ready Steady Go (I was amazed that they learned the script in 45 minutes) and are looking forward being robots as I promised them.

From Miranda Goodwin, in France

I did that play (Ready Steady go!) with my children’s class yesterday evening and it worked really well. They absolutely loved it and I wished I’d taken my camera as, by the end of the lesson, they were all sitting in their pretend car with a fine array of ski hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, over-sized gloves, etc. They looked like film stars! Anyway, they’ve asked to do it again next week so a sure sign that they enjoyed themselves.

Winner of the Spectators Award in Prague

From Vladimíra Kasalová, Czech Republic

We have had GREAT success at the theatre festival in Prague, the capital of the Czech republic, with some of your sketches. We were given the Spectator’s Award yesterday! Thank you very much!

From Joanna Simm, France

Since discovering your materials I enjoy the planning…and love the teaching. It uses the fun approach I believe in through the theatre work I have done, and you have given me the confidence to know it can be applied to language learning for this age group. The kids love it and so do the parents

More reviews for Fun ESL Role-Plays and Skits for Children

Reviews from Cambodia, Germany and China

The children in my beginners’ English class had such fun doing your free skit ‘Ready Steady Go!’ They were begging me for a skit. ‘The Robot’ was perfect and so simple to do. It really helped the kids build confidence in their ability to speak English. Thanks for making us look good!

Becky Good, Battambang, Cambodia

The plays were a great success and I intend to keep having fun with them. Each of my classes put the play on for the school and the parents! Thank you for your great ideas.

Michele Hain, Germany

I just wanted to let you know how I went with my 1st play “Professions”! It was great .. The 1st class was a bit nervy and it did not help with the Chinese teacher saying, ‘Are you sure that they can do this?’ With that negativity I kindly removed her from the next two classes and the kids loved it. I really got them to ham it up when they said “Hey girls” etc, and they laughed and laughed. They managed the vocab great and I knew it would work as I had taught them the vocab previously. It’s amazing to see the confidence it builds in them. At the end of one lesson I had one little girl come up to me and say, “Miss Cathy I am a dancer,” and she showed me some wonderful dance moves. The stories are great too….you are a wonder thank you so much!

Cathleen Molloy, China

Get your pupils speaking!

I did the skit about going on the bus last week and we all loved it! Never have I had so many kids speaking in English so much and so quickly!

Tim McGuire, Florence, Italy

Thank you so much for your skits! They’re just fantastic! 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.

Florence Hugounenc, France, 2019

Your skits are really helpful while engaging children to speak freely about their favourite jobs or giving orders to the robots. Children engaged themselves into the action pretending to play their favourite job. They created their own ones such as a painter, a you tuber, a builder or a rapper.

What I appreciate in your scripts is that I can engage any number of children in the play. 

Your book has given me some inspiration for creating my own drama game based on the robot skit. All in all, your skits really appeal to young children, they don’t need to learn them at home as they are short, repetitive and funny. They engage them through action and interesting plots.

What is more, they can be easily transformed for the needs of the children. The teacher on the other side, saves time by simply taking advantage of your ideas which seem to be really practical.

Beata Czubik, Kolobrzeg, Poland

Plays book full review by Terry Clayton

Terry Clayton reviews Shelley Vernon’s Fun Plays for Children Learning English and finds a feast of delights.

For most of my career I have been a teacher of one sort or another. Like any other teacher, I am constantly on the lookout for tools, tips, tricks and resources I can use to keep my classes fresh and effective. I was looking for something special when I came across Shelley Vernon’s Fun Plays for Children learning English. I had been away from the classroom for some time but I had witnessed a general decline in quality of English language teaching in Thailand and most certainly in the general standard of English and I wondered if theatre might be the remedy.
 
In Thai culture, if it’s not sanook (fun), it isn’t worth doing. Conventional classroom teaching, even communicative teaching, tends not to reach a lot of Thai kids. On top of that, they have what Stephen Krashen calls a very high affective filter. In other words, they are scared to death to speak English. I had it in mind that theatre might be the way to go, but no resources. Enter stage left Shelley Vernon.
 
A little thrashing around the Internet brought me to Fun ESL Plays for Children. Instead of the usual sales hype, Shelley’s page features a video clip of some students acting out one of the plays (Red, Yellow, Green). That’s pretty much all the convincing I needed but I downloaded the Free_ESL_Play in any case (Ready, Steady, Go). I tried it out with a mixed group of 8-12 year olds and it worked like a charm. I clicked to order as soon as I got home and literally within minutes had a copy of the plays on my drive.
 
There are 30 plays, each with a script and notes on language points and suggested props. There is a short introduction that addresses some  common concerns teachers have expressed (Is it really ‘learning’? How will I maintain control? Will there be enough time?) and a rationale for why using drama in the classroom is effective. Shelly is not alone here. In the course of my Internet searching I came across some serious academic and research support for this approach. Shelley includes a list of references in the book and I will add a few of my own at the end of this review.  Following the introduction is a short section with some tips and advice on how to use the plays and you’re off!
 
I have now tried a half a dozen of the plays. Kids in this age group (4-12) really do respond well (I thought the tea party would never end). Collecting the props presents no problem. You can find most of what you need around the house. The Robot head can be as simple as a shopping bag with holes cut for eyes. Kids this age don’t need much to kick start their imaginations. And I find these plays good for my own powers of imagination. Already I am adapting the plays and thinking of plots of my own.
 
I may not revolutionize language teaching in Thailand, but if I wanted to, this is the route I would go.
 
Not convinced yet?
Theatre pedagogy (Wikipedia)
The Theatre in Language Learning (TiLL) Model: Exploring Theatre as Pedagogy in the L2 Environment by Sean Aita
Drama and Theater as a Method for Foreign Language Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
in the United States by Astrid Ronke
 
Terry Clayton from redplough.com

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