Making a drama out of grammar (4)

The split personality of a sentence production!

This is a great activity using familiar language, drama and grammar for children who are “moving on” in their language learning. It reinforces the literacy work that schools are engaging their children with to understand the grammar of a sentence and the construction of a sentences  . It’s an activity that demands correct pronunciation and intonation of the target language and asks the children to not just decode but also understand the message they read and to demonstrate this through performance! It’s also great fun!

Your class can explore the punctuation,the pronunciation,the meaning, relaying the meaning and the grammatical structures of a sentence through drama and language learning.

This works well with lots of contexts and content. We will be using this on Tuesday with teachers to practise language around likes and dislikes of fruits and vegetable and the use of colour as an adjective. 

We will also use this in the Summer final half term to practise ice creams(Year 4) we like to eat and to explain activities we can do at the beach (Year 5), using more complex sentences.

You will need to prepare the written sentences that the children will read and with which they will create their split personality of a sentence productions. Make sure the sentences are made up of familiar language that the children have both spoken and read before.

The sequence of activities!

Take a simple sentence and see how much  we can reinforce and learn with this!

Je n’aime pas les pommes vertes!

Let’s look at the split personality of a sentence!

  • This sentence has a punctuation personality
  • This sentence has a pronunciation and intonation personality.
  • This sentence has a performance personality (the message and meaning of the words)
  • This sentence has key characteristics

 Punctuation Personalities

  1. Discuss with the children the personality of punctuation in a sentence.This could be an activity that you have already tried with the children in literacy.
  2. Discuss the role of punctuation in a sentence. 
  3. Ask the children to discuss the role of the punctuation in the sentence with you. 
  4. Describe the characters of the punctuation (use the middle column in the table below to help with this).
  5. Can they guess which part of punctuation is being described? Now practise the poses for the punctuation?

Play a game of simple “Simon says “ or “Do what I say not what you see”(where you may not take the pose of the punctuation you say- children need to concentrate here!)

Capital letter
This character is proud and stands tall and knows it’s the beginning of a sentence!
Stand tall.
Hands on hips
Look important
Question mark
This character is in inquisitive ,listening and always wants to know more
Hunch or bend over
One pointed and outstretched index finger and the other index finger is on the cheek of the character’s face.
 Inquisitive face
Full stop
This character puts an end to all the speaking. It won’t move and stands firm!
Standing firm
Legs placed slightly apart.
Hand out like a policeman asking someone to stop
This character wants to take a breather, collect thoughts and carry on.
Looks a bit out of breath
Waving /flapping hands in front of face as if wanting to catch their breath
Exclamation mark
This character is “striking” , wants to make its’ mark in the proceedings and thinks it’s important
This character is standing upright
This character has an arm stretched out in the air!
The look on the face of the character is startled
Mouth wide open!
Speech marks
These characters just natter on and on and are twins together.
Two characters, a slight  distance apart , looking at each other.
Hands are chest height and fingers are wiggling like they are typing a message.
These characters whisper and gossip together and look on as the other characters wrestle of position and importance.
 Two characters, a slight  distance apart , looking at each other.
The two characters have a hand to their own mouths as if they are whispering something to someone else.

Characteristics of the sentence

  1. Ask the children to think about the role of specific structures in the sentence. 
  2. Ask the children to help you brain storm the names and roles of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and prepositions in a sentence.  Again this may be something you have already used as an activity in Literacy

Nouns name items and objects. They look proud and important
Adjectives describe items and objects. They look creative and artistic.
Verbs are the machine of the sentence. They stand on the spot, pump their arms and look fit and active!
Adverbs add description to the verbs. They stand near the verb and support the verb with looking fit and active.

Prepositions add a position and a place. They point and show direction.

Pronunciation personality

The pronunciation ( and intonation) of the target language sentence helps the correct meaning to be conveyed.Discuss with the children how important this is and practise some of the key words that you know will be in the sentences they will read and with which they will create their split  personality productions.

Performance personality

Each sentence has a personality created by the meaning of the sentences. Each word plays a role in this personality.
  1. Practise with the children ways to act out some of the key language they will be reading in the sentences you have prepared. 
  2. Discuss with the children whether the key language is a noun, a verb, an adjective etcetra too!

Split personality of a sentence production

  1. Now divide your class into four groups. 
  2. Give each group a specific role so you have a group investigating the punctuation personalities , another investigating the pronunciation personalities , another investigating the characteristics, and finally a group investing the performance personality.
  3. Show the first sentence. Can each group create the performance that demonstrates the personality they are investigating? 
  4. Watch each performance separately.
  5. Now run the performances together so you have four different performances at the same time all about the same sentence.
  6.  The children must listen carefully to the group  performing the "pronunciation personality" part of the production. All the performances need to be in synch!

Change the sentence, swap round the groups and start the “Split personality of a sentence production” again!