Thursday, 12 June 2014

Parts of the body puppets and puppeteers

As I am off and about at the moment supporting schools to find creative ways to deliver simple and primary focused language learning lessons, I am finding that schools want lessons where the children can explore language linked to their primary curriculum. 

Below are a sequence of activities I love.As a Primary Languages and Drama AST I often used these activities as a puppet workshop.Children really engage with the activities.

The core activities are to allow you to :
learn parts of the body and see how we can make a very primary lesson out of some straightforward language.On the way we will introduce to the children or reinforce for them the use of nouns, adverbs and a command or two .

The language you will need:

  • parts of the body with their definite articles (le/la/les in French/ el/la/los/las in Spanish etc)
  • two commands "move" and "touch" ( touchez/bougez in French and tocad/ moved in Spanish)
  • two adverbs for fast and slow ( rapide/lentement in French and rapido / lentamente in Spanish)

You are going to need space for this activity. and this would work really well in the hall or on the field.

Step One 
Introduce Parts of the body as spoken language
Introduce maximum 8 parts of the body which the children will find easy to move or touch etc (so for example you will find it easer to touch rather than move your nose)

You can introduce these words by pointing,saying clearly with the definite article , asking the children to then point and repeat for themselves." 

Step Two 

  • Reinforce the nouns and see the words

You can reinforce the key nouns using a song such as "Heads, Shoulders , Knees and Toes or in French "Jean petit danse" and in Spanish " Juan Dedo baila"
Draw a simple human outline on a large piece of paper and ask the children to help you to label the human outline with word cards of the nouns.
You could create the skeleton people  have described before in the blog post about the skeleton here.

Step Three

  • Listening and responding to the nouns 

A great game for listening and responding is "Last Doctor Standing" . It's Stand Up Bingo to you and me. All the children must touch a part of their body for which you have learned the noun in the target language. Call a body part and any child touching that part must sr down. Start the activity again. Who will be left at the end of the game? 

Step Four.
Introduce the two commands - move and touch 
Ask the children to be an exact mirror copy of you as touch or move the body parts you have introduced. Add exaggerated movements. They  must mirror you exactly . Remember in a mirror everything must be in reverse.

Step Five

  • Whole class challenges for individuals and for pairs

Hold mirror challenges "Mirror Mirror on the Wall who is the best of them all". Challenge children to come to the front and mirror your actions exactly. Score the children for their accuracy in what they say and do . who is "the best of them all"?
Set them a task  to challenge as many children in the class as they can in 5 minutes ,using the commands and parts of the body in a "Mirror Mirror  on the Wall , who is the best of them all" mini- competition. They have to complete two challenges per child before they move on to the next person and must speak only on the target language. 

Step Six

  • Creative spoken language

Organise your class in pairs.In each pair there needs to be a puppet and a puppeteer. Their  bodies become the puppets and their words the strings that move the puppets.
Try the activity with commands and body parts.
The puppeteer needs to stand behind the puppet and pretend to pull strings this will allow children to know whether it's the left or right leg/arm etc that they should move, unless you feel that you can add left and right to the body part information (if the children are moving on in  their target language learning from beginners' stage) .
Can the puppeteers make their puppets move with their spoken "string" commands .
Swap roles and try the activity again.

Step Seven 

  • Add adverbs !Make it more dynamic! 

Introduce the two adverbs for fast and slow . Add them to the commands the children can already say.
Have a trial and see if it works - so ask the children to do what you say e.g move the arm quickly / move the eyes slowly etc
Now send your pairs back to try out adding this new dynamic to the activity.

Adding Challenge
Additional challenges for more able language learners ....with your moving on and advanced learners add extra adverbs and look at how you say "your arm/your leg/ your eyes...) Can the children try to remember to use these new adverbs and to use "your" accurately with the body parts.?

Sometimes we should also think out of the box - so maybe when you feel confident with the steps below you could add an extra dimension by asking the puppets and their puppeteers to move like footballers/dancers etcetra  

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