Sunday, 11 May 2014

Making a Drama out of Grammar (3)

Personal Pronouns’ Photo Shoot

In KS2,the new DfE POS expects young learners to..... 

 "understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including(where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English."

Here we are considering physiical and expressive ways to explore and internalise the meanings and use of the personal pronouns we require when working with verbs.

Personal pronouns refer to the person or other people and things doing the action/ controlling the choice of verb ending.
Young learners need to play with these personal pronouns to understand their role in sentences and how they are the “trigger” that generally changes the ending (spelling) of the verb stem.
This is an activity for learners who have reached the stage in their use of present tense verbs in simple communication (such as questions and answers about themselves), when you think it is time to focus on the personal pronouns and how these alter the meaning of a question or answer.  

Participating in physical activities and performance has always helped my learners to internalise the key personal pronouns and to want to learn the meanings of the new words in the target language.
Below is a sequence of activities that lead to a “Photo Shoot” as if the children are models posing for the camera in a real photo shoot .There is some groundwork that has to be done first …in any good photo shoot, preparation is key!

A note for the language teacher!
Personal pronoun word choices are different depending on the target language.In French the word for "they" depends on whether it’s a masculine, mixed or feminine plural personal pronoun (ils/ils/ells) and in German there are three different meanings of the same sounding personal pronoun -sie(she),sie (they) and Sie (you when you are being polite).In Spanish we do not always use specific words for the personal pronouns when we form the verb.The meaning of the verb in Spanish is contained in the ending change on the verb stem.
However all the language learners need to know that the sound of the spoken verb and spelling of the written  verb in the target language is dependent on the personal pronoun used when creating the  message in our heads.
It's good therefore to start the physical activities below in English with our own target language pronouns first.You can discuss with the children the meaning of the pronouns in English. 
Once the children are comfortable with personal pronouns in English then we develop the “Personal Pronoun Photo Shoot” in the target language.

Steps to a successful photo shoot

Revisit and recall the personal pronouns in English.

Create symbols using stick men to simply represent the personal pronouns (I,you,he,she,it, we, you plural, they).Share your flip chart stick man pose sketches with the children. 
Here are mine. I have divided them into singular personal pronouns stick men symbols :

plural personal pronouns stick men symbols:

Ask the children with a talking partner to discuss which personal pronoun each stick man pose represents?
Now reveal your personal pronoun labelling. Where they correct?

A photographic record
Ask children to come to the front and strike a pose of a target language personal pronoun . Ask the class to take imaginary photos on their heads of these poses- just like they were real photographers keeping a record.

Strike the pose
Divide your class on to groups of four – two boys and two girls. They are now a team. In a large space, in the play ground or if it’s possible in your classroom play a game of “Stop! Go! Strike the pose!”.Ask the children to walk around the classroom when they hear  “Go!” and to find their team members and stand still when they hear “Stop”” and then as a team to strike the pose of the personal pronoun they hear!Pause and hold and then start the game again.
Now add an element of competition.Last time to take the pose is out!Who will be the last team standing and the best team to strike the poses? 

Photo shoot producers
Now two groups of four children must work together. Working with the second group, can the first group become the producers of a photo shoot? Make sure the stick men symbols and labels are clearly visible at the front of the classroom for reference). Each child takes it in turns to call a pronoun and the other group must strike the pose .Swap roles so that the second group are now the producers.Share the photo shoot performances with the class-ask each group of producers to select what they think are their best two shots.

Frame the photo shoot!
Finally back in their original groups ask each group to create a sequence of “photo shoots” to depict the personal pronouns they have been practising.
Why not create a photo shoot gallery?Take real photos – one from each group of children (their best shot perhaps?) that can then be labelled with the correct personal pronoun and be in the classroom on display as part of their photo shoot for future reference!

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