Everyone loves a good story. Adding mimes and voices to your stories can be really engaging for YLs. Here’s a quick plan for using stories with a YL class.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Choose your story. If you’re feeling inspired, then why not write one! Include your students’ names in the story to make them feel even more of a part of it. Keep it brief though – 3 minutes maximum for you to read out loud. If you’re not feeling so creative then find a short story on British Council Learn English Kids and print off the transcript. I chose Jack And The Beanstalk.
Go through the text and think about different actions you can link to the story. How would you represent… the goose that lays the golden egg? …the singing harp?… Jack climbing the beanstalk? It needs to be something simple and memorable for the students.
Tip: It helps to highlight all the words in the text that you’re going to assign movements to.
Read the story to the students. First time round, they just sit and listen while you read out loud and do the movements. I have found that using some images from the story can also be useful to make meaning clear. Here are some of the screengrabs I used for Jack And The Beanstalk…
Second time round, you read the story and this time the students do the actions. Again, use visuals if you can.
Production. Depending on the age and level of your students, you could do one of the following productive activities…
- List any new vocabulary in the story.
- Focus on past verbs in the story.
- Retell the story, taking on characters and having a narrator.
- Change the ending and retell the story.
- Make short movies in groups using either the original ending or the new version.
- Update the story (e.g. Jack sells his iPhone).
- Create dialogues between characters.
- Draw the story, accompanied by annotations.
- Give the students the same pictures you used to tell the story and see if they can remember the text.
- Give the students key words and have them reconstruct the text.
- Give the students new stories in groups and get them to take on your role, inventing movements and telling it to other groups.
Let me know what goes down well with your students and other ways you use stories in the classroom!