Post Office Play Centre (Part 3)
It’s possible my learners would have “played” in this zone prior to the following lesson, but it is okay either way. I still need to be intentional about teaching and providing practice with the purchase exchange. I like to use this lesson at a transition point. We will review the verb « acheter » and pretend we want to purchase one envelope and one stamp. At first, I would be working the cash register (but this lesson could also happen at the carpet instead of in the play zone itself). All I need to play is an envelope, a stamp, and 2 dollars of play money.
We will rehearse the play script for a purchase:
« Bonjour! »
« Bonjour, je veux acheter une enveloppe et un timbre s’il te plaît. »
« D’accords, ça c’est 2 dollars s’il te plaît »
(Hands the 2 dollars in exchange for the envelope and the stamp)
« Merci. »
« De rien. Bonne journée! »
This whole exchange is very quick. It is important for everyone to have a turn to practice the exchange, not just my most keen volunteers. When the children have had their turn to practice the exchange, they will move to an independent task (snack, reading books, etc.)
Later, I will choose some kids to play while the rest of us watch and help. Please note this will be a brief play (i.e. less than 3 minutes) where the learners who are playing have a chance to practice all of their rehearsed sentences without direct help from me. Now the children become the helpers and it is their job to fill in any missing words. Of course, when the learners are formulating their sentences spontaneously, they will likely be far removed from the script. That is to be expected and it is completely ok. I will offer very minimal interactional feedback because we have shifted the language use from practice towards a communicative purpose.
When the brief exchange is over, I offer compliments to everyone who volunteered for the play time. I am sincere in my feedback and make notice of their careful listening, their excellent counting work, their kind smiles towards the friends they were playing with during the exchange, etc. This is where I am reinforcing all of the positive social elements of the interactions as well as their use of the language.
Now it is playtime for everyone! Many learners will not yet be interested in playing in the French-full zone. That is okay! It reminds me why the all together playtimes are so valuable.