Sunday, March 10, 2019

Scene Charades

Warning: some prep (though not a huge amount) involved.

I love charades. It's great for discrete vocab rehearsal, it's funny, and it gets people involved.

But it's really only good for discrete vocab rehearsal. Sometimes you get to a point, especially at the upper levels, where vocab is great, but sometimes it's odd, or you've got it in a chunk and you'd like kids to be able to use it outside that chunk. So try this:

Write one or two sentence scenes that are funny, divorced from the text you're having the kids read, and involve the vocabulary you want them to practice.

[Here were some of mine:
Scaena: femina diem nubendi petit, sed vir territus est. (a woman is looking for a wedding day, but the man is terrified)

Scaena: Vir it cibum petitum, sed subito homine pulchro obstiupit. E rupe cadit. (a man goes looking for food, but he is suddenly stupefied by a beautiful person. he falls off a cliff.)

Scaena: Puero ire ad scholas non licet nisi scutum suum inveniat. (a boy is not allowed to go to school unless he finds his shield.)

Scaena: Femina rem magni ponderis tollere conatur, sed braccia ei desunt. (a woman tries to lift a heavy thing, but her arms are missing.)

I'm rehearsing the vocab I bolded for you (which isn't bolded on the work I gave the kids), and I'm also getting in repetitions of certain grammatical structures I want them to hear more of (e.g. diem nubendi, nisi inveniat, it petitum).]

Cut the scenes you've typed up into strips and put them in a bowl/hat/cauldron/whatever.

Put your class in groups of three or four (I find more than four is just too many, and pairs isn't going to be enough for this activity). Instead of calling a single person up for this charades game, you're going to call the whole group. They'll draw one of the scenes out of the bowl/hat/cauldron/whatever. I gave them eleven seconds to figure out how they were going to act out the scene. They were allowed to make noise but not say words.

While they were doing the scene (which they had to do three times), the rest of the groups were busily conversing, trying to decide what the scene was. They knew they got
-1 point for describing the scene correctly
-2 points for using recent vocab
-3 points for hitting on the vocab I was targeting
-4 points for making me happy in some way with their descriptions (I like rewarding them for things I maybe couldn't have predicted they'd do)

After the third iteration of the scene, each group got to describe what they felt the scene was. Points are awarded after all descriptions have been said.

Then I read the actual scene to them, and we circled and asked some questions and made sure everyone understood.

Notate bene:
-I called on a different speaker from each group to tell me their group's description each round. That way, it wasn't always "Oh Grace does better than all of us," and it ensured that each of them had to be invested in the discussion.

Some scaffolds:
-you could have them write down their descriptions and read them out instead of discussing them
-you could choose not to put them in groups but have each kid write a description, and then call up 3-4 individual kids for each acting scene.
-you could give every group all the scenes typed out, and their job will be to find the correct one instead of devising a descriptions

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