Our project day on „fables“ took place the 23rd of June 2014. On this day two students of the Goethe University of Frankfurt visited a sixth grade in Offenbach.
Choosing the Topic
The topic was chosen because according to the teacher it was part of the lesson plan at that moment.
Choosing the Method
We decided on the task of producing a role play for the pupils as we thought it would be an interesting way of working with the topic, thus keeping the pupils motivated for the six hours of the project day. While we wanted each pupil to give their best and work in a way comfortable to them, we also wanted to come up with a outcome which represented the group as a whole.
Due to the many different positions to be filled in a role play production we felt as if many different learning styles could be addressed.
Choosing the Fables
We picked the fables based on their lengths and their descriptive settings, as we thought, that it would be helpful for the pupils to have some information on how to perform and design their plays. In the end we came up with The Ant and the Grasshopper as well as The Fox and the Goat by Aesop and also with The Raven and the Fox by La Fontaine.
We shortened and rewrote the fables in order for the pupils to easier understand them.
Agenda of the Project Day
At the beginning of the lesson we divided the pupils into subgroups, which consisted of two make up artists, two stage designers, two actors and one to two presenters. This was achieved through a matching- game, where every pupil received a piece of paper with a short sentence describing either a goat, a raven or a grasshopper. They than had to talk to each other to find out which group they belong to.
Afterwards the actual work on the play began. Each subgroup started to work on their part of the play. The teachers offered help, when needed. Regular breaks were given to allow the pupils total to their mates.
Right before the fifth period everyone went into the Aula to prepare the performances of the plays. For this the three groups had two run-throughs and one final rehearsal in front of their classmates. At the beginning of the sixth period a group of tenth graders joined the group as an audience. The groups were presented with tons of applause and left with pride in their faces.
After the performances, we wanted the pupils to line up in front of the stage for the evaluation of the Project-Day. They should line up on a “smiley-bar”; on the left, from very good to good and on the right from bad to very bad. Each pupil should decide on its own and give a feedback by positioning oneself.
When we asked them, "How did you like the project day?”, he majority has set up on the left side in the very good to good area.
However, there were some problems in the English-understandings of pupils among themselves. That’s why many have set up on the right.
Suggestions for improvement from the pupils were to get more time and that the pupils speak more clearly.
On the whole, the project day is still very well received by the students, such as student A. finally asked the English teacher: "Can’t we do something like that more often?"
For us it was a very successful project day with excellent results. Every single student has made a contribution, and thus brought the group project to success.
Unfortunately, there were problems with the premises, since we did not have enough rooms. But even here, the students have helped themselves and found solutions.
What would we do different next time: We would plan to do the performance the next day and finish the project day with the final rehearsal, in order to counteract the stress.