Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Role playing to promote oral expression

Role playing is not just for drama class!   Today in my senior French class I started my class by showing a photo on the screen of a family having a large turkey dinner.  Thanksgiving is not too far off here in Canada as we celebrate it in October and so immediately the students thought that the family was having their Thanksgiving dinner.  :)  I had each table spend five minutes brainstorming French vocabulary that they could use to describe the photo.  Afterwards, each table took turns to create a list on the whiteboard.  They were not allowed to repeat any of the words and so the last groups really had to put their thinking caps on!  We discussed the vocabulary briefly and they were very impressed with the number of words generated. (and so was I)  There were five people in the picture enjoying the meal and so I numbered off my students 1-5 at each table.  They really didn't know what kind of a "twist" I was going to put into the activity until I assigned each of them a role corresponding to a person in the photo.  All the number 1s were "le grand-père", 2s - "la mère", 3s - "le fils qui porte les lunettes", 4s - "le mari", and finally 5s - "a young girl - probably a daughter".  Their task? -   Each table of students needed to pretend that they were the family in the picture and that they were having a normal everyday conversation during the evening meal.  IF any of the vocabulary written on the board worked for the conversation then they were able to use it.  If not, then they needed to get creative with the conversation.  The conversations ranged greatly!  - Everything from "great potatoes, Mom" to an "argument at the table between two siblings" occurred.  Regular conversations occured!  "Pass the salt, please".  This was a great way to start conversation between students who might not know each other very well yet too as they were able to do the activity sitting at their tables without having to move around the classroom.  Make the students comfortable and language learning WILL OCCUR!  :)  

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