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3 Tips on How to Keep Summer Lessons Fun and Engaging


As a drama teacher Paul has many tips on how to make lessons in the summer term fun and engaging for children while still being high quality lessons that require the children to think. 

‘Can’t we just watch a video?’
‘But it’s the last lesson / week / term though Sir!’
As soon as the students get a sniff of the summer hols the questions come thick and fast.
‘We’re playing games in other classes though’
‘Can’t we have a fun lesson?’
What? Our lessons are always fun…

It is a challenge in the summer term to keep momentum and morale when exams are over and option choices made. When the weather is hot and there is a patchy timetable of sports days and residentials and visits too.
Summer term should be fun, and hopefully we want to reward our students and finish the year on a high. We also have a duty to teach quality lessons to the end too, and make sure the final term is useful term and not an early holiday.

Here are some ideas of how you can say ‘Yes!’ to the old ‘Can we watch a film?’ question, but still keep curriculum clear and engagement high.

Books v Films

In English you can choose a film that began life as a book, or the other way around, and compare the two. Start off with a question ‘Which is better a book or a movie?’ Then read the first part of a novel and watch the first scene of the film; and discuss. Move onto the second part and do the same. Do they have the same scenes? Characters? Dialogue? What is different? Why would the film makers leave that bit out? Add that bit in? Why don’t we write an extra scene we think should be in our version?
Romeo and Juliet, Mice and Men, Wonder, Kes, An Inspector Calls, and many more; all have dramatized versions which differ from version to version.

Movies / Talkies

Watch a famous scene from a famous film with no volume and guess the dialogue. Can we tell what is happening in the scene? What are the characters feeling? What might they be saying? In English we can write the script, in Drama we can analyse the actors and perform our own version. In MFL we can choose a foreign language film and decipher to create subtitles. We can re-run famous scenes in different styles, as a comedy or melodrama or thriller or film noir.

Make a Film

‘You just want to watch a film? I thought we could make one!’ From writing the story to filming the scenes, to creating DVD covers and writing blurb, set your students up as film makers for a four-week project. Most schools have iPads available to use and you can set the films in school and film ‘on location’! Give the students a title and see what they come up with; ‘The corridor misunderstanding’, ‘The teacher from Hell’, or ‘The secret’ will produce some brilliant ideas. Teach your students about camera angles and shots, about design and branding, about editing and sound recording, about acting techniques and genre. Watch the films together on the last day and award Oscars and make speeches! 

So, when the children say ‘can’t we just play games’ have a play with your planning and see what you can do. Let me know how you get on!
Twitter: @wakeydramapaul

Resources and ideas here.

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