Banana Peels singing (well, lip-syncing!) “Everyone Wins” in an Earth Day performance of The Environmental Show in Monterrey, Mexico.
By Sylvia Valle
As coordinator of the English department in a Montessori School in Monterrey, Mexico, I am in charge of creating a nurturing environment in which students can learn a second language naturally. My job is to choose programs and materials that will make this process as fun and rewarding as possible.
I have found that drama is one of the most effective ways to get students excited about learning English. Students love the experience of playing a role, and the catchy lines and repetitive choruses in the Bad Wolf plays are just perfect for second language learners. I want to make the experience as fun for them as possible, so when it’s almost time to perform, I record the cast singing the songs. We use these recordings during the actual performances, so the actors just have to move their lips on stage. They feel like movie stars!
The students are highly motivated to practice and do well. They come to rehearsal during recess or after school. They work with me on their intonation and pronunciation; they even help each other and give tips to those who struggle more. “Acting out” their language skills really helps with their comprehension and fluency.
As my students learn English, they also learn about American culture. I like to do that by tying our programs in with American holidays not typically celebrated in Mexico, such as Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Valentine's Day, and Earth Day.
One of our huge successes was The Environmental Show for Earth Day. The kids were eager to demonstrate their English to their parents—and the parents got quite involved too! Some helped with the costumes, while others printed out invitations and worked on the background scenery. The parents of the "shy" children loved to see their kids participating in front of large audiences. And everyone got to learn about Earth Day along with some practical ways to help the environment. The students, parents, and administrators were absolutely thrilled with the experience—and the younger kids couldn’t wait to get to the higher grades so they could be in a play too!
Do you have an inspiring, cool, unusual, useful, or otherwise awesome story about your experience with a Bad Wolf play? Please share it with us so we can feature it in our next issue of the Big Bad Wolf newsletter!