As the summer break draws to a close, it's time to welcome our students back to our classrooms with excitement and enthusiasm! Incorporating drama games and activities that relate to their summer adventures can be a fantastic way to kickstart the new academic year as well as to reconnect with students and tap into their experiences. In this article, we will explore a range of drama-based games and activities that help bring the spirit of summer into the EFL classroom, creating a fun and engaging environment!
Text by: Zoe Theodoropoulou
1. "Summer Charades"
Add a twist to the classic game of charades by incorporating summer-related vocabulary and actions. Prepare a set of cards with summer-themed words or phrases such as 'surfing,' 'sunscreen,' 'beach volleyball,' etc. Divide the class into teams and have one student from each team act out a word or phrase silently while the teammates try to guess it. This game encourages students to use gestures, facial expressions, and body language to convey meaning, reinforcing vocabulary and promoting active participation.
2. "Puppet Theatre Fun"
Immerse your classroom in the enchanting world of puppet theatre by incorporating beloved stories such as "The Rainbow Fish" or "A House for Hermit Crab." Start by dividing the class into small groups and providing them with puppets, such as stick puppets, finger puppets, sock puppets, puppets crafted from wooden spoons etc. Encourage students to personalize their puppets and retell the story in their own way, focusing on expressive voices and engaging gestures. Each group presents their unique puppet show to their classmates, creating a vibrant and collaborative atmosphere that fosters language acquisition. As children immerse themselves in the world of puppetry, they embark on a captivating journey of language and storytelling! Through these imaginative experiences, they develop deep connections with the characters and their thrilling adventures, enhancing their socioemotional skills!
3. "Talent Fest: Celebrating Summer Experiences"
Organize a summer showcase event where students can share their talents, experiences and newfound skills acquired during the summer break. Allow them to choose their preferred form of expression, whether it be singing, dancing, storytelling, poetry, or even showcasing handmade crafts. This event celebrates their summer achievements, fostering confidence, self-expression, and a vibrant and inclusive community where students can inspire and be inspired by one anothe3
4. "Summer Snapshots"
Invite students to create a snapshot of their favourite summer memory through a freeze-frame activity inspired by Image Theatre. In Image Theatre, still images are used to explore abstract concepts such as relationships, emotions, and realistic situations. This technique was developed by Augusto Boal and is described in his book 'The Rainbow of Desire.' Divide the class into small groups and encourage them to think of a summer-themed scenario to choose from (e.g., building sandcastles at the beach, hiking in the mountains, reading a book on a sunbed, etc.). Instruct each group to work together to create a still image representing their chosen scenario. Remind them to consider the emotions, relationships, and actions that can be depicted in their snapshot. Once all the groups have finished, have them present their summer snapshots to the class. Each group should explain the scene they have created and vividly describe the emotions and actions depicted. This activity fosters creativity, teamwork, and oral communication skills as students collaborate, express themselves visually, and articulate their ideas to the class.
5. "Summer Skits: Bringing Summer Stories to Life"
Engage students in creating short skits based on their summer adventures. Divide the class into small groups. Encourage children to think of specific summer scenarios or activities, such as a day at the beach, a camping trip, or a visit to a water park. Motivate them to brainstorm and create a short script that includes dialogue, actions, and gestures representing their chosen scenario, and encourage them to make it funny! Provide props and time for preparation. Finally, have each group perform their skit in front of the class, allowing students to showcase their acting skills and bring their summer experiences to life. This activity combines creativity, collaboration, communication, and presentation skills, providing an engaging and dynamic way for students to share their summer adventures and express themselves.
6. "Fake Summer News"
Incorporate the element of storytelling and character development with this activity. Take advantage of the abundance of pictures available in magazines and newspapers post-June elections in Greece. You can handpick these images, which may feature political figures or scenes from the elections, to ignite lively discussions in the classroom. Allow students to select an image that piques their interest and challenge them to craft a captivating summer backstory for the chosen character or scene, imagining their adventures, thoughts, experiences and the potential challenges they faced during the summer months. Encourage them to think creatively and share their stories with the class. This activity sparks imagination and improves students' narrative skills, public speaking, and presentation abilities.
7. "Travel Podcasts"
Do you have a favourite list of podcasts that you listen to? In recent years, podcasts have emerged as a popular medium for communication, covering a wide range of topics. Among my personal favourites are travel podcasts. Now, let's bring the magic of podcasts into the classroom and transform our students into talented podcast creators. Students will select a summer destination they have visited or researched and create short presentations in pairs or small groups, highlighting attractions, culture, and interesting facts. Using simple recording software or online tools, they will record their podcasts and export them to a digital platform. This activity promotes research skills, public speaking, and collaborative learning.
8. "Story, Story, Sleep"
This activity is a variation of the popular improvisational theatre game "Story, Story, Die!" with a modified title suitable for classroom use. It is designed to help students develop their storytelling and improvisation skills. To play the game, gather a group of students and have a designated student start the story. Then, randomly switch between participants, with each student continuing the story from where the last person left off. The goal is to create a cohesive narrative that keeps the story flowing without hesitation. The aim is to encourage creativity, collaboration, and quick thinking. It also helps develop fluency in storytelling, allowing students to share their own summer- inspired narratives.
Welcoming kids back to the classrooms after the summer break is an opportunity to tap into their summer learning experiences and infuse our schools with the spirit of adventure and exploration. As educators, you possess valuable insights and expertise within your teaching environment, and you are encouraged to adapt these drama games to best meet the needs of your students. Feel free to customize and modify them according to their age, language proficiency, and specific dynamics. Cheers to an exceptional academic year filled with creativity, collaboration, and an inspiring learning environment where students' stories come alive and their language skills flourish!