Mirror mimes and silent movie adverbs

I really enjoy this simple sequence of drama based activities to practise action verbs and commands with children and also as a staff CPD activity.

In their simplest form they are activities,which allow you to work through a sequence of language skills with the children:

  • to listen and respond, 
  • to repeat after you and perform   
  • to speak independently and practise with a partner.

The activity add a purposeful twist to the simple language practise.It's all about mirrors.Moving in time with someone , remember the rules of a reflection and focusing on a target language utterance all at the same time is more challenging than you may think!Especially if you ask the children to be as accurate as possible i everything they say and do.

You may want to link the activities below to the ideas in this blog post

five little commands


Listen and respond

:with a partner perform what you hear - but remember one partner takes the lead and the other partner must follow exactly the action of the lead partner but as if s/he is a mirror reflection. 

Repeat and perform

:copy exactly the way the teacher says the commands e.g slowly , quickly,timidly,courageously etc and make the mirror mime activity reflect the sound they hear and then reproduce of the command and the style in which it is uttered.

Speak independently and practise with a partner

:children can select the commands they want to say and perform as a mirror mime or can be prompted by a picture card.

Now let's take this further..................

A command performance!

This involves the children looking with the teacher at the pattern thye can see that is being repeated in the formation of the imperative( commands). For example in French with "er" verbs can they see that we use "ez" when we want everyone to do something. Ask the children to find three new verbs in a bilingual dictionary and to create their own "command performances" ,where they take a second pair through the three stages detailed above with three new verbs and the commands they have constructed using the pattern they have identified.As a teacher you could make sure that the children select verbs with the "er" ending b writing a suggested list of 10 verbs on the white board so that the children are guided to look for correct types of infinitives to which to apply the pattern.    

Silent movie adverbs

Adding adverbs increases the ways you can use the commands to create performances.Once again take the children through the three stages above,introducing adverbs this time too e.g bougez lentement/ move slowly/ grimpez vite /climb quickly etc. 

Now give groups of four children written target language instructions for commands and adverbs that describe the movements in more detail. Can the children in their groups create the silent movie performance of their list of target language instructions.They must perform them as they are described and in the order they are described.

Why not create simple clips of the silent movie adverbs and add sub titles in the target language and a music as a background?