Posted in Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Voice Production

Voice Production Activities

Vocal Production

The following three core elements of vocal production need to be understood for anyone wishing to become an effective speaker:

  • Volume – to be heard.
  • Clarity –  to be understood.
  • Variety –  to add interest.

Volume:

This is not a question of treating the voice like the volume control on the TV remote.  Some people have naturally soft voices and physically cannot bellow.  Additionally, if the voice is raised too much, tonal quality is lost.  Instead of raising the voice it should be ‘projected out‘.  Support the voice with lots of breath – the further you want to project the voice out, the more breath you need.

When talking to a group or meeting, it is important to never aim your talk to the front row or just to the people nearest you, but to consciously project what you have to say to those furthest away.  By developing a strong voice, as opposed to a loud voice, you will be seen as someone positive.

Clarity:

Some people tend to speak through clenched teeth and with little movement of their lips.  It is this inability to open mouths and failure to make speech sounds with precision that is the root cause of inaudibility.  The sound is locked into the mouth and not let out.  To have good articulation it is important to unclench the jaw, open the mouth and give full benefit to each sound you make, paying attention to the ends of words.  This will also help your audience as a certain amount of lip-reading will be possible.

Variety:

To make speech effective and interesting, certain techniques can be applied.  However, it is important not to sound false or as if you are giving a performance.  Whilst words convey meaning, how they are said reflects feelings and emotions.  Vocal variety can be achieved by variations in:

  • Pace: This is the speed at which you talk.  If speech is too fast, then the listeners will not have time to assimilate what is being said.  Nevertheless, it is a clever idea to vary the pace – quickening up at times and then slowing down – this will help to maintain interest.
  • Volume:  By raising or lowering volume occasionally, you can create emphasis.  If you drop your voice to almost a whisper (if it is projected) for a sentence or two, it will make your audience suddenly alert, be careful not to overuse this technique.
  • Pitch – Inflection – Emphasis:  When speaking in public, try to convey the information with as much vocal energy and enthusiasm as possible.  This does not mean your voice has to swoop and dive all over the place in an uncontrolled manner.  Try to make the talk interesting and remember that when you are nervous or even excited, vocal chords tense and shorten causing the voice to get higher.  Emphasize certain words and phrases within the talk to convey their importance and help to add variety.
  • Pause: Pauses are powerful.  They can be used for effect to highlight the preceding statement or to gain attention before an important message.  Pauses mean silence for a few seconds.  Listeners interpret meaning during pauses so have the courage to stay silent for up to five seconds – dramatic pauses like this convey authority and confidence.

The following activities will help to improve the children’s fluency with language. They also help to improve clarity of speech sounds and assist with vocal projection.

Game: Voice coach

Difficulty rating: **

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space, index cards with emotions written on them

Instructions: Choose a simple sentence, e.g. “I want a can of Coke.” Write one of the feelings listed below on each index card. Have one child choose a card and then say the simple sentence in the emotion written on it. The rest of the class must guess which emotion the child is trying to portray.

Examples of emotions which can be used:

Calm

Happy

Sad

Stubborn

Surprised

Excited

Angry

Worried

Brave

Lonely

At the end, have the children repeat the sentence together, as they all use the emotion they have chosen from the card.

Game: Tongue-twisters

Difficulty rating: * to *****

Minimum number of participants: 1

Resources needed: Handouts with tongue twisters on them

Instructions: The children must start slowly and articulate each word clearly. They can go faster and faster as they feel more confident with the tongue twisters. If you have a large class, divide them into groups of four or five.

Some sample tongue-twisters to help you get started:

A skunk sat on a stump. The stump thought the skunk stunk. The skunk thought the stump stunk. What stunk? The skunk or the stump?

A tutor who tooted the flute, tried to tutor two tooters to toot; said the two tooters to the tutor: “Is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot?”

If Freaky Fred found fifty feet of fruit and fed forty feet to his friend Frank, how many feet of fruit did Freaky Fred find?

Pepperoni pizza on a pink-patterned plate with parsley on the side to your pleasure.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers; where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

Red Leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow Leather…

She shut the shop shutters, so the shopping shoppers can’t shop.

Unique New York; Unique New York; Unique New York …

Which wristwatch is a Swiss wristwatch?

I like New York, unique New York, I like unique New York.

Peggy Babcock loves Tubby Gig whip.

Two toads totally tired, tried to trot to Tewkesbury.

She stood upon the balcony, inimitably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in.

The sixth sick Sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.

Betty Botter bought some butter

But she said, “This butter’s bitter.

But a bit of better butter’s

Better than the bitter butter,

That would make my batter better.”

So she bought some better butter

Better than the bitter butter

And it made her batter better.

So ’twas better Betty Botter,

Bought a bit of better butter.

 

In groups, write your own tongue twister.

Game: Broken telephone

Difficulty rating: **

Minimum number of participants: 5

Resources needed: Clear space, chairs/mats

Instructions: This is a classic game. With the class sitting in a circle, the leader whispers a simple message to one of the children. They must pass the message on to the child next to them, but they must follow a few rules. They must whisper but still speak clearly. They can say the message only once. When everyone in the circle has passed the message to the child next to them, the last child stands up and repeats the message they heard. The message has usually changed along the way, so the leader then tries to find out which children are ‘broken telephones’ as the ‘telephone’ may be broken in more than one place!

Tongues-twisters can be very effective messages to use here as they help children to be careful with their articulation.

Some examples to help you get started:

She sells sea shells at the seashore.

Four fat frogs fanning fainting flies.

Round the rock the ragged rascal ran.

 

Game: Stand back – the bridge is breaking

Difficulty rating: *

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Handouts of the poem

Instructions: The children each receive a copy of the poem below. They must read it out, making sure they recite it quietly when the writing is very small. Then they get louder and louder as the writing gets bigger and bigger, until finally they are projecting their voices as loudly as they can.

Pitter-patter, drops of rain

Tapping on the window pane

Now the rain is coming down

On all the houses in the town

Beating, battering shops and shutters

Hurling leavesf into the gutters.

Wildly lashing streets and fields,

Pelting rain and stormy seas

The river roars, the bridge is shaking,

Stand back, stand back, the bridge is BREAKING.

Game: Gibberish

Difficulty rating: ****

Minimum number of participants: 4

Resources needed: Clear space, index cards listing different situations

Instructions: Divide the group into pairs. Each pair chooses an index card that gives them a context for their conversation, see examples below. They then must act out the situation, but they can’t use actual words, instead they replace the words with letters of the alphabet. To get their situation across, they must focus on their tone, pitch, inflection, projection and pace to communicate their situation. The rest of the group must guess the context of the pair’s conversation and what is happening.

Some examples of different situations:

In a restaurant (waiter and customer) – customer complaining about the food.

At a hairdresser (hairdresser and customer) – customer trying to hide her disappointment about her haircut.

Under the moonlight (boyfriend and girlfriend) – he tells her he loves her.

Game: Sound spy

Difficulty rating: *

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space

Instructions: This is based on the traditional game of ‘I Spy’ but in this version, the children must look for something that has a sound. For example: I sound spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound ‘D’. It could be several things like a desk, a door or a dress. To make things more difficult, the children could say I spy with my little eye something that finishes with the sound ‘S’. It could be a variety of things like keys, pens or windows.

 

Game: Big balloon

Difficulty rating: **

Minimum number of participants: 1 (and the Leader)

Resources needed: Clear space.

Instructions: Each child must imagine that they have a balloon. They must blow it up and hold it at the end. Tell them that every time they breathe, they are pushing the balloon farther and farther away, until finally it glides into the sky.

Game: Secret voices

Difficulty rating: ***

Minimum number of participants: 4

Resources needed: Clear space, blindfold

Instructions: One of the children volunteers to be blindfolded. Everyone else is given 15 seconds to find a place in the room where they must all stand still. The leader points to one of the children, who are all standing still, and that child disguises his/her voice by changing pitch and tone and asks: “Do you know who I am?” If the blindfolded volunteer guesses correctly, s/he gets to choose the next child to be blindfolded. If s/he guesses incorrectly, the leader keeps picking children until the blindfolded child guesses correctly.

 

Game: Vocal projection

Difficulty rating: ****

Minimum number of participants: 2

Resources needed: Clear space

Instructions: Divide the group into pairs. One child in the pair talks about a topic such as holidays, sports, TV, school, and so on; the other child listens and after a few seconds says “louder.” Eventually the child talking will be shouting. After three or four times of saying “louder,” the listener can start saying “softer”. The listener can also go back and forth between “louder” and “softer” as s/he wants. This fun game leads to lots of laughs.

 

Divide the class into pairs. Divide the pairs into A and B. A read “The Hare and the Tortoise” B reads “The Three Little Pigs”. You must try to read the story with clarity, volume and expression.

 

The Hare and the Tortoise

Student A: Once upon a time there was a very boastful hare that lived in the woods with lots of other animals. He was always boasting about how fast he could run. He boasted, “I’m the fastest animal in the woods. No one can run as fast as me.” The other animals were tired of listening to him. One day the tortoise said to the hare,Hare you are so boastful. I challenge you to a race.” Hare laughed and said, “Tortoise, you will never beat me. You are too slow and steady.” They decided whoever got to the other side of the woods the fastest was the winner. All the other animals in the woods came to watch the race. The hare ran as fast as he could through the woods. After a while he thought to himself, “I’m so fast that slow tortoise will never beat me. I think I will take a quick nap.” Soon he fell asleep. The tortoise walked slowly through the woods. He passed the sleeping hare. The animals watched the tortoise near the finishing line. The animals cheered loudly. The hare woke up and ran as fast as he could through the woods to the finishing line, but it was too late. The slow tortoise had won the race. All the animals in the woods congratulated the tortoise. The hare had to remind himself that he shouldn’t boast about his fast pace because slow and steady won the race.

 

 

The Three Little Pigs

Student B: Once upon a time there was a mother pig that lived with her three little pigs. One day she said “Little pigs, I think it is time for you to leave and make your own way in this big world. You each need to build your own house.” The little pigs were very excited about their new, big adventure. Mother pig gave each of her little pigs a hug, but she warned them “Remember to watch out for the big bad wolf.” The little pigs waved goodbye to their mother and they trotted into the woods. They were laughing and smiling and soon they came across a man who was carrying some straw. The first little pig said, “may I have some straw to build my house.” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the first little pig some straw to build his house. Just before they left the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The first little pig built his house of straw. The two other pigs trotted on down the road. They were laughing and smiling and soon they came across a man who was carrying some sticks. The second little pig said, “May I have some sticks to build my house.” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the second little pig some sticks to build his house. Just before they left the man warned them, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.” The second little pig built his house of sticks. The third little pig trotted on down the road. He was laughing and smiling and soon he came across a man who was carrying some bricks. The third little pig said, “May I have some bricks to build my house.” The man said kindly, “Of course, you may.” The man gave the third little pig some bricks to build his house. Just before they left the man warned him, “Watch out for the big bad wolf.”

The third little pig built his house of bricks. The first little pig had just finished building his house of straw when the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” The first little pig replied, “Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Then the wolf said, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down. The first little pig trotted very quickly to his brother’s house made of sticks. The second little pig had just finished building his house of sticks when he heard a knock on the door and to his surprise it was his brother. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” The second little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Then the wolf said, “I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew the house down. The two little pigs trotted very quickly to their brother’s house made of bricks.

The third little pig had just finished building his house of bricks when he heard a knock on the door and to his surprise it was his two brothers. Suddenly, the big bad wolf appeared. He said, “Little pig, little pig, let me come in.” The third little pig replied, “Not by hair of my chinny, chin, chin.” Then the wolf said, “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I will blow the house down.” The wolf huffed, and he puffed. He huffed, and he puffed but he couldn’t blow the house down. He heard the three little pigs inside the house. They were laughing. This made the wolf very angry indeed. He decided he would climb to the top of the roof and come down the chimney. The third little pig heard him on the roof and he came up with a clever plan. He put a big pot of boiling water on the fire which was just underneath the chimney. The wolf came tumbling down the chimney and landed into the big pot of boiling water and “SPLASH!” That was the end of the big bad wolf. The three little pigs lived happily ever after.

 

 

 

Posted in Drama for children, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, Plays for Children, Role playing stories, Storytelling, Voice Production

Some Improvisation Activities for ESL Students.

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Improvisation is an effective way for ESL students to develop language skills that they can use outside of the classroom. Improvisation develops skills such as confidence and empathy. The following activities give students an outlet to express a range of emotions. A variety of tenses, vocabulary, question forms, idioms and proverbs are the focus of this section.

Game: Forwards/Backwards
Level: Elementary+
Other benefits: The main language is to practice target language and the present tense.
Minimum number of participants: 2
Resources needed: Clear space and copies of simple dialogues; see below for examples. Any of the dialogues from the teaching language books can be used.
Instructions: Divide the group into pairs and give each pair a copy of a simple dialogue. Give each pair time to practice their dialogues. When they have memorised the dialogues, get them to perform them in front of the class. Get the group to repeat it in slow motion, fast forwards, hopping on one leg, replacing the words with numbers or the alphabet, backwards, or jumping up and down.

Dialogue 1: Introductions
Adam: Good morning. What’s your name? Where are you from?
Anna: My name is Anna. I’m from America.
Adam: My name is Adam and I’m from Alaska.
Anna: Pleased to meet you. (They shake hands.)
Anna: Goodbye. (Waves and walks off.)
Adam: See you soon.

Dialogue 2: Giving directions
Betty: Hello, you look lost. Can I help you?
Brian: Yes, please. I’m looking for the football stadium. Do you know where it is?
Betty: Of course. Go straight (points straight), turn left and it is next to the big shopping centre.
Brian: Thank you very much.
Betty: You are welcome.
Brain: Goodbye. (They wave goodbye.)

Dialogue 3: Greetings
Carl: Hello, how are you?
Cathy: Not so good.
Carl: What’s the matter?
Cathy: I’ve a headache.
Carl: I hope you feel better soon.
Cathy: Thank you.

Extension: If the students are comfortable, get them to continue the dialogue until it comes to a natural conclusion. This is a good introduction to improvised work.

Game: TV Channels
Level: Elementary+
Other benefits: The focus is to listen and be observant as well as to react quickly.
Minimum number of participants: 4
Resources needed: Clear space.
Instructions: A volunteer sits in the centre of the circle. The rest of the students are the TV channels. The student in the centre of the circle is watching the television. He/she is channel surfing. When they point to someone in the circle, they have turned on the channel. The person must speak; they can be a news channel, weather, sports, documentary comedy, drama, or a soap opera.
The channel surfer stays on the channel for about 30 seconds and then moves on. They can always come back to the same channel. Everyone should have a chance at being a TV station.

Click here for more ESL drama activities

Posted in Animal Stories, Christmas plays, Drama, Drama Activities for children, Drama for children, drama for kids, Drama games for 3 year olds, Drama games for 4 year olds, Drama strategies, Drama workshop for childre, Elements of Drama, Endings, English as a second language, English teaching games, Esl, Esl Drama, fables, Fairy Tales, Hot seating, Mime for children, Role playing stories, Story sacks, Storytelling, Storytelling in the Early years, Storytelling techniques, teacher in role, The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo drama workshop, Voice Production

The Gruffalo – Drama Workshop

Posted in Voice Production

Tongue Twisters Part 2

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Tongue Twisters

  • I like New York, unique New York, I like unique New York
  • Peggy Babcock loves Tubby Gigwhip.
  • Two toads totally tired, tried to trot to Tewkesbury
  • She stood upon the balcony, inimitably mimicking him hiccupping and amicably welcoming him in.
  • The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick

But she said, “This butter’s bitter.

But a bit of better butter

Better than the bitter butter,

That would make my batter better.”

So she bought some better butter

Better than the bitter butter

And it made her batter better.

So ’twas better Betty Botter

Bought a bit of better butter.

  • The skunk sat on the stump. The stump thunk the skunk stunk. The skunk thunk the stump stunk. What stunk – the skunk or the stump?
Posted in Voice Production

Tongue Twisters

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Tongue Twisters

  1. A skunk sat on a stump. The stump thought the skunk stunk. the skunk thought the stump stunk . What stunk the skunk or the stump?
  2. A tutor who tooted the flute, tried to tutor two tooters to toot. Said the two to the tutor, ‘Is it harder to toot or to tutor two tooters to toot?’
  3. If Freaky Fred Found Fifty Feet of Fruit and Fed Forty Feet to his Friend Frank how many Feet of Fruit did Freaky Fred Find?
  4. Pepperoni pizza on a pink pattern plate with parley on the side to your pleasure.
  5. 5. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    if Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    wheres the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
  6. Red Leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow Leather Red Leather Yellow Leather….
  7. She shuts the Shop Shutters So the Shopping Shoppers can’t Shop.
  8. Unique New York….Unique New York…..Unique New York…..
  9. Which wrist watch is a swiss wrist watch?