An English teacher in France wrote to abouts of how she used my plays for middle school students aged 11. She just chucked them at the kids and said, “Get on with it.” And yet, it worked amazingly. Of course, this method works with larger groups and classes too.
Lesson plan using four plays for middle school kids.
Here’s how this teacher used my plays with her middle school pupils:
Hello! Thank you so much for your skits for children! They’re just fantastic!
I teach in middle school, and due to a change in the 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.
First, I selected 4 of the skits, and met up with the class for 2 hours on Monday morning.
My idea was to make students work cooperatively. So I split the class into teams of 5-6 and gave them three scripts per team. Then, I asked them to read the texts, think of a title for each, and identify the type of text they were confronted with (i.e., short dialogues and plays or role-plays). I allowed 10 minutes for that. Next, the whole class shared their ideas in French. It was clear they had 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.
Free rein to create
Next, I gave them a sheet of paper to note a possible setting and accessories they could bring to the next class. I also asked them to imagine stage directions and facial expressions. Generally, French pupils have a rather low level of English when they enter middle school – which is a shame because I’m sure if they were taught more foreign languages as kids, (in a fun way of course!) they would be more at ease with it. So, they did not understand the stage directions in your skits. However, 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 was no room, assembly hall, or stage, we ended up in the playground. With the twittering of the birds, strong wind, and even a lawnmower, we put on our little show. The colleagues who came to watch said it was amazing to see the kids’ pleasure and enthusiasm while acting in English, having had such a short time to rehearse. Therefore, I cannot thank you enough. I feel like I have a little treasure in my teacher’s bag.
What I love about this lesson plan
I love this approach for several reasons. It:
- Puts the responsibility on the kids for their own learning
- Fits trendy task-based learning strategies -but don’t click on that; finish this blog first!
- Gives kids an excellent opportunity to use their imaginations and be creative.
- Bonds pupils beautifully as they work collectively in groups
- Gives scope for more advanced students to be challenged with bigger roles while letting more timid or lower levels participate fully in the activity.
- Allows kids to show off what they have learned through performance and receive recognition for their efforts.
Of course, this way of using skits with middle school probably has lots more benefits if I keep thinking about it, but that’s enough for today!
Therefore, I can’t encourage you enough to try these plays with your middle school pupils. If you are teaching kids between 6 and 12, 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. 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. However, if you prefer, both books are also in paperback on Amazon and in Kindle.