Home > Uncategorized > Vocabulary Parade and Staged Reading

Vocabulary Parade and Staged Reading

Wow! what creativity! The class showed up with amazing representations of vocabulary words.

Vocabulary Parade

I have to admit I struggled with mine quite a bit, trying to think of what word I could “be” considering time and cost limits. In the end, I picked an “easy” word, given what I could gather in the house.


This is a very fun and creative activity! I think it would be great to introduce around Halloween time as well, when students are already thinking about costumes. One problem that automatically springs to mind, however, is time and possibly cost. On one hand, we want students to have creative freedom with their costume, but we also don’t want their ideas to be costly in terms of materials, or end up being time-consuming for parents to gather or prepare. One way to avoid it, I suppose, is to have students prepare costumes at school, but that might take the surprise element out of the activity. Also, it can seem a bit random- all these different words. To make it more meaningful, it might be better to have vocabulary words selected from the class reading material or a curricular topic. However, even if we were to choose related topic words (e.g. words that are all related to weather for a science unit), singular words don’t demonstrate understanding on a very deep level. Maybe students could be grouped together to show a concept rather than just one word individually.

I liked the examples from this site too:


Staged Reading

To me, this was very much like Readers’ Theatre (RT) except some of the groups did more action than I normally have students do with RT. Usually, the focus is on expression and fluency rather than movement. If they do movement, it’s on the spot, like walking in place or actions only with their upper body.  The benefits of staged reading/RT are probably well known; its helps with fluency because of the repeated readings and practice, and RT scripts often have repetitive lines. It helps with expression, character building, and comprehension as students have to make the story come alive with mainly their voices.

Some limitations with staged reading/RT is that struggling readers will need a lot of support at the beginning until they know their lines. It helps to give these students the shorter or more repetitive parts. Although lines aren’t suppose to be memorized, some children find it hard to read their lines without having their heads buried in the script in fear that they will miss a line. Also, even with limited movement, some students have difficulty doing movement and lines at the same time. It’s therefore best if students learn their lines well enough that they can look up from the script during their speaking parts. I have had to modify scripts or give students cue cards with their lines because small print on typical letter-size paper is too hard for struggling readers to follow. Many beginning readers still need to track text with their fingers.

Warm up Strategy

Just a last note since we presented our strategies today.It was nice to get our strategy done and out of the way. It’s funny how we get up and speak in front of children all the time, but getting in front of peers and your colleagues can still be a little scary- especially when you don’t know them very well! I am looking forward to having this “toolbox” of drama activity ideas.  (Please check out the “Warm up Strategies” Page).

Collective Drawing Activity

Here’s my reflection on leading the day’s strategies presentation:

Warm up strategies Reflection

When researching for drama warm up games, I found there were so many good ideas out there, it was hard to choose just a couple. I thought the three we chose were a good variety. Look up Dude! proved to be simple, fun, and easy to explain and do. I think it’s a great ice-breaker for new classes as it gets everyone feeling comfortable right away; making eye contact and sharing a smile/laugh when saying “Dude!” seems to have that effect on people. I think it would be better to do as a whole class, especially if the idea is  to use it as an ice-breaker. There was a concern that too big of a circle would make it difficult to tell whether someone was making eye contact with you or the person(s) next to you, but I actually think it’s pretty obvious if someone is looking at you or not. My only concern with elimination-type games is that when the group is too large (30+) or if goes on too long, the people who are sitting down have little to do while they wait for the round to end. I liked Paula’s idea to add movement to the game by having people switch spots rather than sit down as this keeps everyone involved.

For the collective drawing activity, I thought another extension might be to use the drawings to create image theatre. They can either re-create the scene/drawing with a tableau or take the words they had chosen to describe their drawing and create an image of their words. It was interesting to see that most people seemed to continue with the theme/idea of the first artist. There wasn’t an instance where someone completely branched off and drew a different idea altogether, although that would have been acceptable too. Perhaps that says something about our inclination to conform or not want to offend? Someone had mentioned the marker colours influenced what they decided to draw, so maybe we should make it all pencil, or have lots of colours available.

Translator (Gibberish) probably works better with classes where students know each other and are comfortable. For time’s sake and because we wanted more people to be involved, we chose multiple people to replace the actors in the scene. Participation was great today from the class, but there were some people who understandably were reluctant to go up, and you never want anyone to feel uncomfortable and put on the spot because that doesn’t create a very safe space for them to learn. I think if we had allowed the scene to unfold on its own, there might not have been anyone to call freeze, so this activity probably works best when people are already comfortable with improvisation. I also noticed how hard it can be to remember to let the translator speak, because communication is so natural to us, that we immediately want to respond even when we’re only guessing what the other person has said. I think to improve the “flow” of the scene, it might actually be better to allow several utterances in gibberish before the translators speak. That does mean, however, that translators have to really pay attention and keep track of how many lines they need to “translate”. Even though this activity seemed a bit complicated, I think it’s great for ESL students and a great improv game.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Amanda
    August 3, 2011 at 5:34 AM

    What great ideas and reflections. I really like your adaptations to the Vocabulary Parade. I was also worried about it becoming a parent’s project. I think having the students create their costumes in school is a great way to solve this problem. It would also help the students remember the words more since they saw the costumes being made.

    Your reflection on your classroom activity is very insightful. Explaining your adaptations and how you might change the activities in the future will hopefully be very helpful for you. I think one thing that might help for “Translator” is to call it “baby talk” instead of gibberish. I think kids might understand that more.

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