Yesterday I was wrapping up the last chapter of the novel my German I class has been going though and we had a big goodbye scene at the airport where the exchange student says goodbye to his girlfriend. I wanted to send this book out with a bang, and as we rolled, a couple ideas came to mind.
Tweak one: After we read the final scene, we went back to read it dramatically (with hand out–palm upturned–shaking it with a flourish as we spoke). That worked great to get another rep out of that section. It worked even better when a student protested that the girlfriend wasn’t as dramatic, so we came up with a high voice to read her part in.
Tweak two: As I looked at the text detailing the final goodbye, complete with exchange of gifts and kisses I knew there was absolutely no way I was going to get any actors to go near this scene. So I remembered what I learned in my puppetry class in college that people will do things with puppets that they would never do themselves. So I grabbed Knut, our stuffed polar bear class mascot to play the role of the boy, and evil pony (who takes care of English blurters for me) to play the girl. At it worked! I got serious drama as the stuffed bear threw his arms around and enfolded the pony in his embrace. The class hung on every move. I even stole a few more reps by coaching the bear to play to the back row by exaggerating the gestures (simple because I was coaching the bear, not the student; a puppet works as an ego shield). Great day.