Author: Deb Avery | Uploaded on 1 June 2022
Read what a teacher says about this activity:
I often include arts and crafts in my English lessons. My learners love to make and use masks. They are not only fun to make, the learners also enjoy practising English using something they have made themselves. Being behind a mask encourages shy learners to join in as they can pretend to be somebody else.
Stage 1: Introduce
Use a short dialogue. You can write one on the board, invent a dialogue with a confident learner or use something from a coursebook, for example:
Shopkeeper: Good morning.
Mother: Good morning. I’d like some milk please.
Shopkeeper: Here you are. Would you like anything else?
Mother: Thank you. I’d like some rice please.
Little girl: I’d like some sweets please.
Shopkeeper: Here you are.
Little girl: Thank you.
You will need three masks made out of paper plates or card. These masks should represent the three characters.
Ask two learners to join you. Give one the ‘mother’ mask and the other the ‘little girl’ mask. You should wear the ‘shopkeeper’ mask.
Act out the dialogue.
Say: ‘Did you enjoy our play? We are now going to make masks and do our own plays. Our plays will be about animals.’
Stage 2: Work in pairs
Divide your class into pairs.
Say: ‘Let’s think about our plays before we make masks. What animals will you have in your play?’
Give learners a few minutes to brainstorm which animals they will make and who will make which animal.
Circulate, monitor and help.
Stage 3: Make the masks
Provide materials for making masks, for example
- a paper plate or card circle
- crayons or markers
- wool or grass
Provide pictures or examples if learners have not made masks before.
Give clear, stage-by-stage instructions in English.
Say: ‘First, draw the face on the circle. Then decorate your face with coloured crayons or markers. You can stick on hair or whiskers.’
Learners will need at least 20 minutes to complete their masks.
Stage 4: Use language
Say: ‘Let’s use the masks to practise speaking. Get back into your pairs. Decide what each animal will say.’
Help learners to think what they will say.
The play could consist of each learner introducing their character. For example:
Learner 1: ‘I am a dog. Woof-woof.’
Learner 2: ‘I am a frog. Croak-croak.’
Older learners could create a short dialogue using their masks. For example:
Learner 1: ‘Good morning! My name is Bob the dog. Who are you?’
Learner 2: ‘I am Iselesele. I’m a frog. Croak-croak.’
Learner 1: ‘I am very well. Are you well?’
Learner 2: ‘I feel great! Shall we play in the water?’
Stage 5: Share
Allow each pair to perform their play for another pair or for the class.
Say: ‘You have worked well. Use your masks to make up more stories.’
Try to make this a low-resource activity by using recycled card or paper and straw, seeds, leaves and other items easily found in your environment.
Always consider what language you would like learners to use before and during the craft activity, and after they have made the object. Don’t forget that this is an English class and not an art class.