Skits are a great way to encourage students to be creative while using the language. But sometimes they fall flat. I talked to Letitia Usher, our Theater Arts teacher, and she gave me 4 great tips to amp up the skits.
1) Set the scene. Where are they?
2) Introduce the characters. Who are they?
3) Begin the plot. What’s the problem?
4) Add an emotion or personality trait. How do they act?
Emotion is what I was missing! I figured out that I can assign the same emotion for the entire class, or let them each draw a different emotion so each skit is different. Then, the students try to guess what emotions they see while watching. Adding this twist made them pay attention more.
Now I want a skit for every unit! I created this generic storyboard slide so I can easily prepare for a new one. Eventually I’ll give it to them to create their own. Maybe that’s a homework? And they take their own pictures to set it up?
What are some of your favorite types skits to use in class?
This blank storyboard is available in el Mercado.
What a great idea! I found a similar story board set up to talk about going out to dinner and the movies, sans the emotions…we’re doing this next week, I think I’ll add the emotions part as well! Thanks for sharing!
Hello. Flu in Spanish is feminine. La Gripe. I love this post thanks so much for the great tips. Will definitely be using them to spice up buying clothes, food and asking for directions.
Yes! Another thing you could try is to require all groups to work in the same 3 elements:
1. A character — for example, “Marcos Valdez – policÍa” or “Nuria Sanchez – doctora” — you could pick a random name/occupation or have the class come up with it.
2. A line of dialogue — for example, “No me gustan las manzanas” or “¡Esa bufanda se quema!” — again, they could come up with a random line, or you, but every group must use the same 3 elements.
3. A prop — a shoelace, a jar of pickles, etc.
The more random, the better! The kids will have fun seeing how the elements get worked into everyone’s skits, how the required prop gets used, how the dialogue is incorporated, etc.
This idea came out of a 48 hour film festival I was a part of, but it applied perfectly to my middle school classroom skits!!
I love these ideas! I always try to put too many rules on them for skits and they fall flat – it’s my Type A showing haha. Next chapter is the house chapter. I’m going to have them do a skit that takes place in various rooms throughout the house and use your rules above. I also really like AML’s idea of putting in a prop or a line that they have to use.
I sometimes make the skits a competition. The kids do their personal listening evaluation where at the end of each skit, they evaluate the percentage they heard and the percentage they understood and write their favorite part about the skit. Then, after every group has gone, they vote for their favorite group (they can’t vote for their own, obviously) and that group get a prize, usually a homework pass or a bonus point on their score.
I take these ballots at the end and write the average percentage they were heard/understood in their “teacher evaluation” section on the grading rubric (I include a box on the rubric for self evaluation, group member evaluation, and teacher evaluation. Self evaluation they do after they get their grade back so they can reflect on what they thought they were going to get vs what they actually got, the group member evaluation lets them anonymously complain that their group mates did not work, etc, and the teach evaluation is where I put any of my comments). I’ve found that writing the percentages they were heard and understood lights a fire under their butts because many of my students are highly motivated to communicate effectively in Spanish.
I think this is a great idea. I was looking for ways to get them speaking more. I am doing a unit on future tense. I think I will use this with either fortune telling or speed dating, could turn out pretty humorous. Where can I find the evaluation rubrics you are talking about. I think those would work great also! Thank you so much for your great ideas!
Love your ideas! Will definitely use when planning skits!
Solo una cosita es “la gripe” 🙂
Thank you! I’ll get it fixed!
Do you think you could post a link to your generic storyboard? Thanks!
I can, I just need a little time. I think my “la gripe” mistake is punishing me! I’ve been really sick for the last 4 days. :/
I’ve uploaded the KEYNOTE version: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Skit-Storyboard-in-Spanish-blank-KEYNOTE-1103429
Hope you enjoy!
Thank you so much for the board. I am definitely going to try it, I have done some skits such as visiting Spanish countries and ordering food at restaurants, clothing at clothing stores, and asking for directions. The board will make it easier and will help place the emotions into the skits…so thank you again.
I would like to use something like this with the rooms in the house. Do you give each group a “problema” and have them write the script?
I was going to let them come up with everything based on our unit.
This is a great idea for skits and a great website. I am wondering if any of you out there are teaching elementary Spanish? It is harder to find activities that are geared to K – 5 level, though I have been adapting some of what I find to work better with younger kids.
Awesome idea!! I really think this will help get my kids not acting so annoyingly “flat” during these (when I know they are normally hilarious)!
I also throw different funny props in-one or a bagful for each group, which can be fun, and other times I give each group a verb card (or a few) with a verb they’ll have to include in their dialogue. These are a combo of ones we’ve learned and can review, and ones they haven’t seen but are (usually goofy) cognates-the reigning favorite is “vomitar” 🙂
You guys are awesome!
Props are great!
I had a colleague that used to do bag skits – the kids could use any dialogue they wanted, but they had to incorporate all the objects in their individual bags. It works best with Spanish 2 or higher (I tried it with my 7th graders in Spanish 1A and they had a really hard time with it).
Orlando Kelm (University of Texas Austin) says that emotion is often a challenge when communicating in a second language. His examples included saying “I love you” in a different language doesn’t feel as sincere as in your first language. Or imagine someone saying “Graaaa cias” in the same sing-song intonation as English speakers use to say “Thannnnk youuuu”. Thanks for sharing a great twist on a classic activity.
Love this website!!!!
Kathryn, I teach fifth grade in a dual language program. I am using a lot of the ideas in this website with the second language learners. I have to adjust some videos because they are geared more for older kids. I use the homework idea and i am trying to use the assessment ideas as well.
I did MTV cribs for the house chapter and because it’s coupled with chore vocabulary, I had them say who does what chore and how often in each room.