How To Make Your Sixth Graders Lose Their Shit Over How Awesome Recitation Is

As a disclaimer, this is an idea I used from someone at my monthly Regional Professional Development Program meetings – but as one of the lecturers at Orientation said, teaching is the one profession where you should steal shamelessly. You can get away with this because the enjoyment of the students is far greater than the butthurt of plagiarism.

Such was exactly the payoff of today.

Mondays are hard no matter what country you’re in. And even if you’re in a decent mood, you have to make sure the students are all in good moods too. And they were not in a good mood today.

It was a fairly straightforward lesson today – introduce new lesson, vocab, expressions, move into listening comprehension, and finally listen and repeat. By the time we got to the latter, several kids had their faces plastered to their hands – or worse, the desks. I needed something to wake them up and start getting excited. It’s been a while since anything exciting has happened in English class.

After a really boring and long “Look and Say” from the textbook, I turned to HM, my co-teacher, and said, “I want to try something.”

I wrote 1-6 on the board. “Pick some funny voices you could speak in,” I told them.

They had lots of answers – my 6.1 class especially was creative…


I think my favourite was Gollum just because they knew Gollum and Smeagol (they had me write the latter on too).

So once we had the numbers, I got out a magical plush die: we would throw it to the students, they would throw it back, and whatever number side faced the class was the voice they had to use.


Once we started it was near chaos for 6.1; shouting, screaming, and at one point the die even got tossed accidentally from our second floor window. But I’ll say one thing that never have my students laughed so hard in class or enjoyed a repetition activity so much.

In fact my 6.2 class – who HM and I were most worried about – actually enjoyed it more than 6.1. They were slightly less chaotic, but their seemingly simple list of voices was a big hit.


They had so much fun that when we finished the “Look and Say”, they asked to do it again. Note: this is a class who I usually can only get a mumble from doing these activities (from the ones who even participate at all). So we did the script from the first video and they lost their shit all over again.

This is an activity that needs to have you as teacher act out the voices shamelessly. Luckily I’m already shameless. “Angry” ended up being 6.2’s favourite voice and I definitely busted a vocal chord puting on a roaring rage voice every time.

But it was entirely worth it. If not for the kids, then for the mid-class confession from HM that my rage voice nearly made her pee – we were having just as much if not more fun than the kids by the time things got rolling. It was so nice to end the day on such a high.

The only problem now is that they’ll be expecting this every class and how can we live up to it…? Here’s hoping we don’t have an enthusiasm crash tomorrow! But I feel I can go to bed satisfied tonight.

7 thoughts on “How To Make Your Sixth Graders Lose Their Shit Over How Awesome Recitation Is

  1. This totally cracked me up…especially when the die went out the window. I can just imagine someone overhearing your angry roar reporting you!!! So glad you are shameless about acting out with kids…that has always been key for me with them. Kids BLOOM when adults put aside the “proper” behavior and give full effort to having the best possible time at the risk of looking foolish. To a child you are then never the fool…you are a hero and awesome! You are learning how to be THE teacher they will look forward to spending class time with…THE teacher they will remember and talk about. Carry on!!!!!!!!


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