Playing with … Goldilocks and the three Bears
Primary School of Serres
Why a Fairytale?
Stories consist a natural, authentic way of introducing and learning language, offering
increased exposure to real-life vocabulary, meaningful context, flexibility in the use of
techniques, positive, secure and enjoyable classroom environment. Children learn by
doing, playing, touching, feeling, discovering.
That’s why I created a story-based syllabus based on students’ favourite stories like
“The Princess and the Frog”, “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Farm Animals” etc.
“ Goldilocks and the three bears” was the last one we chose and it proved to be the best
way to end the school year in terms of language, creativity and fun.
Comprehension of a story. I usually change the vocabulary and phrases used in a
fairy-tale making them more or less difficult to meet my students level and
knowledge, moving some steps forward in each story
Revision of old vocabulary. A balanced co-existence of old and new vocabulary is
Recognition, identification and production of speech using the target language.
Each time I build the content of the story I first decide what the target language
is in terms of vocabulary, thematic topics and grammar and try to include all this in
the story in a natural way.
Communication with the use of simple everyday phrases. If you try to teach a
student a simple phrase like “ How do you do?” he keeps forgetting it, but if you
include it in a story-dialogue, it’s magic how quickly they use it even outside the
Target language: since this story was the last one we ‘played’ with, the width of language
amount, thematic topics and grammar use were extended
rooms, furniture, house objects, body parts, clothes, food, animals, family, numbers, pairs
of opposite adjectives referring to size, temperature, texture and feelings, imperatives,
action verbs, present continuous, verb forms like have got-There is/are
Motivation and Fun
Artistic Expression and Creation
These objectives are obvious when you build a lesson plan but when it comes to stories
they just happen naturally. Students love the stories, guess what comes next,
understanding of the English language comes naturally since they have previous knowledge
of the story. They feel secure to stand up, play with the dolls, mime their movements,
sing the songs, act out the story. They forget the classroom environment and really
have fun! Do they know that they are learning at the same time? I do. The next day
they bring dolls and objects from home to enrich the scenery and they come up with a lot
of ideas that have to do with the story. They discover talents in drawing, cutting,
painting, making clothes for the characters of the story, singing, acting directing etc.
They express themselves, they gain self-confidence, they find ways to be part of a
group and add their personal touch (how to hold a puppet, how to say “I’m daddy
Bear. I’m big and tall.’
Comparing traditions / routines
The methods used are:
• visual aids to activate sight and arouse interest,
• Pre-acting activities like sequencing the story flashcards, a lot of handicraft like
making puppets, a bear house, a forest collage, the bears’ ”washing-line’ with their
• TPR activities like “Goldilocks says...”(played like ‘Simon says’),
• body gestures and face expressions to convey the meaning(which the students later
• the use of repetitive language to help students acquire the basic phrases of the
story(“Goldilocks tastes Daddy Bear’s porridge: “Oh , my God, she says. It’s very
hot.” Goldilocks tastes Mummy Bear’s porridge: “Oh, my God, she says. It’s very
I would like to add the two things that make the procedure original.
1. First , we use already known games and songs and invent new ones adjusting
their content to the content of our story. Some examples: we sing “Daddy
Bear has got a chair and it’s very big….
Mummy chair has got a spoon and it’s big…
Baby Bear has got a bed and it’s very soft…”
to the rhythm of “Old Mc Donald had a farm”
and we play “Who ate the porridge from the bear’s bowl?” instead of “Who
took the cookie from the cookie jar” and
“Goldilocks, Goldilocks! What are you doing?”instead of
“Wolf! Wolf! What are you doing?”
2. Secondly when the students feel ready and safe to actually act the story you form
groups of 4 (the characters of the story), you narrate and each group acts in a
different way: some just mime the movements, a group plays with the dolls, another
plays the story with the puppets and the ones with more fluency can actually speak
and fill the narration with the characters’ words. The whole class participating and
So, let’s follow the procedure. Its duration is something you can choose:2 hours to 4-6 if
you follow it with every detail.
Present objects / characters and students guess the story
Narrate the story / students sequence flashcards and play with dolls
Use repetitive, set phrases/groups of students mime the movements with dolls
Make “forest” collage, bear puppets, draw and colour the bears’ clothes, draw the
Action songs with Goldilocks and the Bear family
Narrate the story and students copy the language/ act out or/and play puppet
Students invent and play games and like “Goldilocks says…”etc.
Language Extension talking about the characters’ appearance, feelings, eating
habits, what they have for breakfast, daily routine, where they live and their
problems in the forest, their neighbours, what they can or can’t do etc.
I believe all the aims have been achieved at a satisfying level. A meaningful revision in an
effective, holistic, experiential learning environment motivating for visual, auditory
and kinesthetic students took place. Some of the drawbacks could be demanding
preparation, carefully detailed lesson plan, difficult to set and carry the objects
especially if you don’t have your own language classroom. Shy students and an initial
difficulty in understanding were quickly overcome when repetition of the story made
students feel secure to open their mouth and speak. The role-play was acted for parents
as an end-of-the-year play and the feedback from students and parents was positive.
• Carkin Gary (2007): Teaching English through Drama. The State of the Art
• Bolton, Gavin M. (1984): Drama as Education.Longman.London
PEAP group for the excellent motivating and rich material,
my pupils and
Ms. Konstantia Amanatidou, School Advisor in Serres for the support and help