Wednesday, August 1, 2018

English Camp: Reading and Speaking with Picture Books

Lesson Plan
I've been interested in improving my English pronunciation and intonation by reading stories out loud and using my voice to bring the characters alive. Also, by helping students with their English speech contests and readers theater competitions, I developed some techniques to enhance their performance. Therefore, for this year's English camp, why not incorporate picture books into voice training and reading?

I selected three stories, 50 Below Zero, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and The Giving Tree, for students to practice how to act out a story and also appreciate the beauty of picture books. Students working in groups of 4 picked up a part of the lines from 50 Below Zero and practiced in expert groups. I then was busy walking among them and providing some tips by modeling.

There were some common patterns that Taiwanese students would usually demonstrate. For example, some students had difficulty making snoring sounds, some tended to just read the words in a monotone, and more had trouble projecting proper emotions to match the tone of the story. We worked on those areas for a while and then proceeded to rehearse in home groups before putting on a show.

Frankly, they did a better job during rehearsal. Compared with the selected few who get to represent the school and compete with other elites in the readers' theater competition, there is a lot of room for improvement. However, apart from improving their English speaking skills, I would really hope that they can learn to read for fun, too. If I want to do this again for the English camp, I need to figure out how to handle a big group of students and provide guidance at the same time more effectively.

I don't know why, but I've become really interested in voiceover and podcasting a lot recently. I've even watched dozens of YouTube videos about microphones, audio interfaces, and how to edit vocals on Audacity, imagining myself delivering quality posts in an audio format. Now that my summer vacation finally arrived, I would spend plenty of time experimenting with my newly purchased entry-level microphone to equip myself with another professional set of skills.

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