“Save ya drama for ya mama” ;)

25 Apr

Today was the first time I had a drama lesson. This doesn’t mean that I had a lesson on drama but that my student and I did a sort of theatrical performance of a book.

My student’s name is Yasya. She’s a nine-year-old beginner who’s studied English for about six months.

Recently, we read a book “Colin’s colours” by Carol Read and Ana Soberon.

It’s a funny colourful book that teaches colours and, more importantly, useful phrases to express your sympathy such as “Oh no!”, “Oh dear!” and “Poor …”.

Firstly, I used this book to teach the names of “garden gang” members (caterpillar, bee, snail, butterfly and ladybird) and the names of some natural phenomena (rain, sun and rainbow). We did some vocabulary activities such as a wordsearch, crosswords and matching games. Then we had an extensive reading practice.

Usually, I stop at this point and go on to another book. But this time I felt that what we had done was somewhat insufficient. Quite out of the blue came the idea to make a play out of the book, which I thought would be a crowning final touch to reading the book.

So, this is how I found myself making a stage scenery for our puppet theatre. Here you can see different stages of the process.


Then, I made the puppets on sticks. The tricky thing about the play was that the characters’ emotions change throughout the performance: they are happy, then they are sad, then happy again. That’s why my puppets are two-sided: if you turn them you’ll change the puppets’ facial expression. Here are the smiling and sad sides of our characters.

At the lesson today, Yasya and I elaborated the original book by extending dialogues with greeting phrases and making the dialogues more personalised, i.e. we made each character repeat the same set of phrases while in the book the phrases are pronounced only twice by pairs of characters. This alteration helped my student (who acted out three roles while I did only two) to repeat the functional phrases over and over again until she knew them by heart. This technique proves to be very beneficial! πŸ™‚

The final stage of our rehearsal was the performance itself. We invited Yasya’s mum and sister to attend our show. We arranged the chairs and distributed the tickets. We veiled the stage scenery with a curtain (which was just a piece of papar towel). And then, with the rise of the curtain and me whistling a tune, the performance started.

I was pleased that Yasya managed not only to remember her lines but to act them out very creatively. Both the spectators and the actors enjoyed the performance very much. By the end of the show the actors received almost the standing ovation! πŸ™‚

Needless to say that this was a very positive and motivating experience for both parts – my student and her family and for me as a teacher. I realized what a powerful tool drama can be. It doesn’t only help learn the language but also provides a really strong motivational boost. There’s no any doubt that I’ll be using drama in my classroom in future.

Drama. Strongly recommended! πŸ™‚


Posted by on April 25, 2012 in Kids


9 responses to ““Save ya drama for ya mama” ;)

  1. Anna Loseva (@AnnLoseva)

    April 25, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Needless to say that I’m mighty impressed. First of all, the amount of work you did cutting, designing, glueing, etc – incredible! Secondly, I would never ever get anything like this done, I think that I almost fear drama lessons=)) Your work surely deserves another round of applause! Keep up the creative spirit!


    • Alexandra

      April 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Thank you, Anna! πŸ™‚ It’s true, the preparation took me quite a long time. But luckily, I had enough free time to get all things done by the lesson. As I was enjoying the process of creating puppets, stage scenery and all this colouring, cutting, gluing and so on, I didn’t feel overloaded. It seemed more like coming back to my childhood and enying this simple crafts work I haven’t done for SO long πŸ™‚


  2. Valentina Morgana

    April 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Thanks for this inspirational post! That’s a great work. Drama is a great powerful tool I’d love to use with my younger teenage students too. I like your “theatrical performance of a book” idea. I’ll try it out πŸ™‚ and keep you posted!


    • Alexandra

      April 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

      Thank you, Valentina! πŸ™‚ I’m very pleased you’ve read my post. In fact, drama was a discovery for me. I’d always been critical about it but my first expreience convinced me that this is a multifaceted activity which develops a variety of things such as grammar awareness, accuracy, vocabulary acquisition, memory, functional language, and, of course, speaking fluency. But above all, it’s a very powerful motivational tool which brings excitement, surprise and joy into the lessons. Please, do write about your experience. I’m very interested how it will work for you. And thanks again for visiting my blog! πŸ™‚


  3. Natasha

    April 27, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Sasha, well done! I mean not only your teaching but also your writing. Good luck to you!


    • Alexandra

      April 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Natasha, thank you very much! πŸ™‚ You know I always try to do my best πŸ™‚ Good luck to you too! Don’t forget to send me the link to your blog! Please, come and read my next posts as well! I really appreciate your opinion and attention.


  4. Larisa Dubova

    January 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Amazing post, Alexandra! Thanks for sharing it with us. So interesting and creative and such an excellent and unusual activity for young students. After having read it I even not sure who was more pleased with the result: you or your young student. The girl’s eyes radiates happiness!


    • Alexandra

      January 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm

      Thank you, Larisa, for your positive comment! πŸ™‚ I’m really pleased πŸ™‚ In fact, the happiest person was neither me, nor my young student but her mother! πŸ™‚ She said that she had never seen anything like this in English lessons πŸ™‚



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