Oral Language Odyssey
Follow these steps –
1. Check your State or territory’s current outcome statements to find out what needs to be covered for Speaking/Talking and Listening; e.g. ‘Giving and following instructions’.
2. Decide on a journey that suits your class. It might fit a current classroom theme. How about a sea journey, a space journey or time travel? Reserve a special corner in the classroom that can be used for the oral language activities and decorate it to suit the type of journey; e.g. a ship’s sails attached to the wall and blue material on the floor to represent waves.
3. Divide the story of the journey into parts. A sea journey is used for the example below. This has been divided into five parts, but could be adapted to include more.
- Planning for the journey
- Setting sail
- The pirates
4. Using the outcome statements as a guide, plan your oral language activities for each story part.
A Sea Journey – example
Planning for the journey
- Share poems and rhymes about the sea.
- In pairs, look at teacher-made maps of mythical islands or countries and discuss possible itineraries.
- Have the students describe objects they would like to take on a long sea journey.
- As a class, decide what kinds of people might be needed as crew. Interview a partner to find out what he/she has to offer the ship. This exercise could also help the students to practise greetings.
- In small groups, use words or groups of words, together with appropriate actions, to describe different shipboard activities; e.g. ‘Scrub, scrub, scrub’. An appropriate volume should be chosen; e.g. ‘Haul away! haul away!’ should be spoken loudly. Once the groups have practised, the teacher can orchestrate them to create a simple choral speaking piece.
- Ask the students to demonstrate the use of polite language as they mime shipboard activities.
- Have the students tell ‘Today’s shipboard news’ in place of normal news-telling. They can talk about the weather, happenings on board, sightings through telescopes etc.
- Role-play various scenarios; e.g. sighting a whale, feeling seasick.
- Read stories about pirates and ask the students to draw an object or person from a story.
- Have the students use body language and facial expressions to show how they feel about pirates storming their ship. They can then add voices.
- Play language games like ‘word tennis’ to replace a pirate sword fight. In this game, the students are given a simple topic; e.g. ‘colours’. The students then face partners and take it in turns to name a colour. If a student repeats a colour or can’t think of one, he/she is out—or ‘injured’ by the other’s sword!
- Play storm sound effects and have the students improvise what they would say and do.
- Have the students pretend they have ended up on a deserted island, where they find a treasure map. Read them instructions for finding the treasure.
- Have small groups of students discuss the problem of finding food and fresh water and make some decisions.
- Have half the students act as the rescuers and the other half as the castaways. In pairs, the castaway students can explain to their rescuers what happened to them and the ship. The pairs can then swap roles.
- Have the students draw a simple map of what they feel the island they landed on looked like and explain it to a small group or the class.
- Collect some toys or other objects that represent life on a ship; e.g. a telescope, ropes, sails. Ask the students to imagine that these objects were found after the wreck of their ship. Each student should choose an object and explain what the object makes them remember about the trip.