“As I pronounced it to you.”
“Suit the action to the word.”
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet we find excellent advice on how to communicate effectively in the speech Hamlet makes to a troupe of actors. “Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you trippingly on the tongue.” “Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.”
We use both pieces of advice in two language exercises that enhance our listening skills, break down inhibitions and involve four of our five senses.
We call these exercises Parrot Tag (named by Michiyo) and Act it Out.
PARROT TAG: “As I pronounced it to you”
MODEL: SPEAK. LISTEN. Teacher looks directly at one student and speaks a complete sentence using one of the new vocabulary words. The student must repeat the sentence word for word. Members of the class raise their hands if they hear any difference in the way the student spoke the sentence compared to the teacher.
PRACTICE: SPEAK. LISTEN. Student looks directly at fellow classmate and speaks a complete sentence using one of the new vocabulary words. It must be different from one used by the teacher. The classmate must repeat the sentence word for word. Members of the class raise their hands if they hear any difference in the way the classmate spoke the sentence compared to the student.
ENRICH: SPEAK. LISTEN. Repeat the process described in MODEL, PRACTICE. Add additional vocabulary words to make the sentences more complex. Practice speech dynamics of loudness, pacing and emphasis.
ACT IT OUT: “Suit the action to the word.”
MODEL: SPEAK. ACT IT OUT. Teacher and students identify verbs that are unfamiliar from class reading or outside reading assignments. Students define the verb and its present, past and future forms. Teacher asks students to invent an action that shows the verb’s meaning without speaking (sign language)
PRACTICE: SPEAK. ACT IT OUT. Students practice different actions for their new verb-vocabulary. Examples: The colonists landed in Virginia in 1607. Landed can be acted out as a plane landing, but it means the same thing as the sentence implies.
ENRICH: ACT IT OUT. SPEAK. To review new verbs learned, students act out each verb at the beginning of the next class. Classmates guess which verb they are acting out. This can become an ongoing competition or a “Charade” like game.