Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Using drama within MFL

I am constantly looking for cross curricular links in MFL yet usually failing to exploit them quite to their full advantage. Today, with a top set year 7 dual linguist class and a bit of time towards the end of term, I decided to dedicate a whole hour to acting and performing (and a little bit of German too).

I certainly can't take credit for the lesson plan, as that comes from our amazing Greg, but I'm sure he wouldn't mind me passing on my reflections. We teach a fairytale unit with our year 7 classes in the Summer term and as well as making big pointy flashing sparkly links to literacy, in exploring replacing nouns, adjectives and verbs to rewrite their own version of the story, we have been looking at intonation too. Today's lesson was devoted to Rotk├Ąppchen (Little Red Riding Hood) and creating freeze frames of some key moments of the story.

We started by discussing how we might find an important part of the story - particularly if it was in a foreign language. Pupils know their fairytales well enough from their nursery days in order to remember the key parts - so it was just a case of matching vocabulary in both languages and getting the highlighters out. I then gave pupils 20 minutes in groups of 3 - 4 to come up with 3 freeze frames from crucial moments of the story - they had to find a line in the text to narrate the scene too.

I was initially sceptical that I may have given them too much time but they seemed to use every minute to practise and refine what their initial ideas were. When they presented their mini sketches and poses, they found they had all used similar moments from the story and text but presented them slightly differently. More able and talented pupils could manipulate the German, adding bits in such as "Ich bin..." to say who they were in the story if it wasn't obvious from their poses. I found that devoting time to skimming and scanning the text to find a piece they really wanted or needed helped them to focus on their reading skills yet for another, more realistic purpose than just answering a question. They were able to bring some creativity and flair to their language lessons and those pupils with a real talent for drama could show it off proudly to their classmates and the quieter ones could find a role for themselves too. Most of all, we had a real giggle during the lesson and I have learned that letting go and having a little more time can really allow pupils to get their heads round something of their own accord without the pressure to 'achieve' in a particular way.

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