Copyright SPA (Portugal)
A role-play to foster vocabulary
learning through the use of dictionaries and bande-dessinée.
The Martians have made contact with Earth but they seem to speak with very unusual words. But why does this strange language sounds so familiar to me? Oh, that's it, those are uncommon and difficult words! Imperceptive, lapidarian, demise, stalwart, dexterous... These are some of the terms and expressions our Martians use, leaving us completely confused! What should the Earthlings do to understand such creatures? How can we establish communication? The solution is a magical book in library that would save humanity from any misunderstanding: the dictionary!
Fist, the monitor explains the rules and divides the group into two teams, Martians and earthlings, each on a different location in the library. The Martian team starts the game by sending messages in “difficult Armenian” with the help of a dictionary to the terrestrial team. Their are sent in a A4 sheet, with a drawing of an alien with a speech balloon, in which the message should written. Then, the Martian team deciphers the message with the help of their dictionary, and gives a response, in “Martian”, in a similar way: A4 sheet, with a drawing of a kid with a speech balloon. Thus, a systematic communication, mediated trough polished and advanced vocabulary, is established between the two groups.
In a bustle, the kids question themselves and the dictionary on the cryptic messages they receive, and elaborate their own cryptic answers. Examples: I am overwhelmed by you lividness (You look very pale to me); I have you on the highest notes of endearment (I like you very much). Finally, Martians land and meet the earthlings, and all the sheets are collected and arranged sequentially, showing a story of first contact through bande-dessinée.
This activity allows for a fun and creative way to introduce different and unusual manners to write and speak, by letting the children explore by themselves the language lexical spectrum, in order to teach them new words and expressions.