I direct the musicals and dramas at my school. After my student cast has rehearsed a scene, I often have them make a small change and re-act the scene “one more time” As soon as I finish the phrase “one more time” my cast immediately laughs. They know the phrase “one more time” is just a nice way of saying – do it again. The cast also know that repetition is key to learning to speak and understand their lines. They have a laugh (at me) and jump right back in the work.
My classroom students are different. When I ask my classroom students to read a story or article again, they groan. They don’t want to read again. Many feel as if they have gotten everything they need from the first read and don’t see the value of doing it again.
So I have been making a change in what we read. I have started to use more short plays or movie scripts to help develop student reading and speaking skills. Sometimes we write a play/script together as a class. Sometimes I write it before class. Regardless of how I get the play/script, I follow some basic rules.
– Keep the characters lines to one or two sentences each time they speak.
-Use idiomatic expressions.
-Keep sentences are simple as possible.
1- Read script/play as a class. I help with meaning and accent.
2. Divide students into groups. The size of the group is the same size as the amount of characters in the play/script.
3. Students choose a role. Read through the play/script reading the lines for your character.
4. Students change roles. Read through the play/script again, but this time students are standing as they read
5. Student change roles again. Read through the play/script again. This time students need to move when they talk.
I don’t have everyone perform in front of the class. But, I do have ways of evaluating student work. Here are just a few:
(It is nice to add costumes or props if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t)
1. I choose the strongest actors from each group and we make a class movie. That just means we tape the performance.
2. Divide the groups in half. One half of the groups performs and the other half are the audience. I place the performing groups around the classroom. I give each audience group a performing group to watch. The audience group rotates every few minutes. After two or three performances, we switch performing and audience groups. The audience groups become performing groups. The performing groups become audience groups. I place the new performing groups around the class. I give each performing group and audience. We start again.
3. Have all performing groups stand in separate spots around the room. They keep performing-over and over again. As soon as they finish the play, they start again. I wander around, listening to snippets of dialog from each group. It is amazing how much you can hear when multiple groups are performing at the same time. It is also amazing how easily you know if they stop using Spanish or stop working. I tell the students that if they stop performing, then they will have to perform in front of the class.
This is a lot of fun. I hope you give it a try.