Reader's Theater is a great way to get in more repetitions. To be more successful, I recommend making sure the text you choose is both funny and compelling. It is also a good idea to do this with a text this students already learned. Below are some of my favorite ways to do Reader's Theater with students.
All The World's A Stage-
Karen Rowan did a wonderful presentation about this at IFLT last year. I am looking forward to trying this with my students. While I have done variations on this, Karen's presentation helped me see ways to make it more successful. In this version the teacher breaks students into groups. Each person in the group has a part (even if it is just a windmill or a door....my students always love being the door in stories). The teacher reads the script aloud, everyone acts at the same time. The teacher can rewind, pause, or fast forward, while reading. If you "pause" the action, you an also freeze one group and have everyone else listen and watch as you "circle the group in a picture talk." Taking pictures of groups when paused are great for putting up online. You can take pictures of different groups at different parts in the story to picture talk, and/or have a caption contest in the TL. You could also just give students copies of the pictures and allow them to put them in the correct order and add text.
Master Puppet Theater
Have students use dolls, stuffed animals, or puppets to re-enact a scene. A small table can be set up as a stage. Flashlights can be used for spot lights.
I learned about this variation (and the next) at a training with Craig Sheehy. In it, the teacher has the whole class stand up and act out a known text with their eyes shut. For example if the character in the text is walking along, the students walk along too. This is a great way to check for understanding. With the right class you could also videotape and re-watch. This would both be funny, but also a chance for more repetitions. Very confident students sometimes even want to try this in front of the group.
Theater with Style
I also learned this at a Craig Sheehy training, and watching others try it was hilarious. To add a little variety, have students act out the text in a different style (i.e. cowboy style, fairy style, etc). I will list my student's current favorites below, but we are always adding to this list as they come up with new ideas. They find this hilarious.
Ensemble Production (aka Rocky Horror Style)
Although I have only done this once, it was a favorite of my students. I will try to find other videos to do this with as well this year. To do this one you take a video that everyone can have a part in (even if it's just throwing snowballs or wind). The video I used for it was an older version of Jack Frost. We started this process by learning a lot of high frequency words. When we were ready, we movie talked the below video. Then students picked their parts (we "auditioned" for the part of Old Man Winter with evil laughs). On the day we 're-enacted' it, we all sat in a semi-circle. We'd watch a part and narrate it, and then we would act it out. Students would say things like "oh no" and "behind you" and "run" or "fast" at the appropriate parts. We also threw a lot of snowballs. I even borrowed a scooter with wheels on it from the gym for the sled ride at the end of the clip. You will see where that comes in if you watch the below video. I'll post videos of myself with my class if I get permission!
A Tufts University study shows that the brain (auditory cortex) responds differently to different types of sounds. Sounds that carry more intense emotions (which vary based on culture, personal experience, and many other factors) create greater neural response.
The last version I am excited to share with my students is "Sound Stage". I learned this technique in a wonderful session with Kristy Placido. You take a text, and add sound effects. In a younger class the teacher reads it, in a more advanced class students could read it. Students provide the sound effects for the text (walking feet, birds or insects, rushing water, the rustling of a bush, etc). The sound effects give us a more vivid mental image of what is happening, which in turn, should help us acquire more quickly. We did this as a competition at IFLT in Kristy's session, and even though everyone had the same text, it was still a lot of fun to do listen to all the groups.
I can't wait to try this with my students. I may encourage groups that are listening to close their eyes (and turn the lights off) for ambience. Check out the first few minutes of the two side by side videos of sharks below. See how different the sound from each video makes you feel about the sharks! Think of what infusing sound and music into your classroom can do for how your students can connect to the emotion!
Entering my 13th year in the classroom; I am a TPRS/CI Elementary Spanish Teacher. Passionate about TPRS/CI, Brain based learning, and using technology to bring the world to our students, and our students to the world.