Keeping Cinderella short and simple

“Cinderella” English Language Production for Children
Tom Cat in Cinderella. One of our end of year productions 2012.

We performed a very simple version of Cinderella this summer. The children ranged from ages 6-9 years and with varying abilities of English.

I recommend keeping the script very short, preferably using simple phrases and ensuring that each child has a “line” to learn and recite. If you have a very large class or very young children making it more difficult to allocate lines individually you could consider creating a “chorus” that  acts and speaks together. We accompanied Cinderella with a chorus of little helpers in the form of cats and mice. Why not also try doubling up characters. We performed our show with Cindrella  A. (in rags) and Cinderella B (in riches) AND by doing so it enabled more than one participant to play the much sought after part!

To accompany your “show” I suggest you also include some songs , rhymes or poems. Children love to sing and dance and it will make rehearsals a lot more fun and help children focus if you can break up acting scenes with some musical interlude. We even managed to perform “Dancing Queen” to the delight of the children and admittedly also myself.

Happy teaching



The Enormous Turnip – Role Play

The Enormous Turnip is a super simple story for children learning English as a second language and useful for introducing or revising family and animal vocabulary. An alternative to reading directly from a book is to use picture cards and adapt the language according to the children’s language abilities

Storytelling using theatre props and costumes add extra elements of curiosity, facilitate comprehension and encourage group participation.

To accompany  The Enormous Turnip  try making a little paper shovel, an envelope full of seeds (rice) and a paper watering can.  Include simple coloured masks and stick to plastic spoons for the children to hold for role play work.

You can create a mini role play by simply using props similar to the ones I use in the video and involve children by asking them to sow  and water the seeds.  Add to the fun by encouraging children to interpret the story characters . Give them a mask and tell them in turn to pull the “flashcard”!

show 3

http://www.teatroinglese.it  The Enormous Turnip end of year production

I also find a great exercise after I have told the story is get the children to act it out!

1. Play some relaxing instrumental music for the children to listen to

2. Encorauge the children to lie on the floor and make themselves as small as possible

3. Explain that you are the farmer and using the shovel, pretend to dig holes around the children

4. Sow the seeds (by shaking the envelope of rice over the children’s heads)

5. Water the seeds (make some whooshing water sounds over the children’s bodies)

6. Encourage the children to imagine they are the tiny turnip seeds growing slowly under the earth

7. Continue watering the “seeds” and then explain to the children that the sun is coming out and becomes warmer and slowly the seeds begin to grow, bigger and bigger and bigger until they become the most ENORMOUS TURNIPS waiting to be pulled out of the earth by the farmer (play act with the children and show examples of how they can express the growing seeds using their bodies and faces )

Great fun and a theatrical way to review key vocabulary.

Miranda Flynn Legge

5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed Song

To introduce this popular song to my class of 5-6 year olds I made a simple felt board out of an old cardboard box, covered and taped it with a black flannel blanket.

To make the monkeys, mummy and doctor I downloaded some materials  and laminated them. It is a good idea to laminate and protect the characters and  stick double sided tape to the back so they can  be attached and removed easily from the felt board.

At the end of the lesson I distribute some paper monkey finger puppets or masks which the children colour, cut out and use to sing the song again during the next lesson.

Children enjoy making their own finger puppets and it is a great way to involve and engage them in reviewing numbers and new vocabulary.

As an alternative – encourage children to interpret and re-enact the song using monkey masks and simple costumes for the Mummy and Doctor characters. Bring to class some props for example toy telephones for the children to use.


*Five little monkeys jumping on the bed (hold up 5 finger puppets)

One fell off and bumped his head (make one finger puppet roll down to the floor and tap your head with your fist)

Mummy called the doctor, (hold up finger and thumb to your mouth and ear miming a telephone)

And the doctor said

No more monkeys jumping on the bed (wag your index finger from left to write to indicate no)

Four little monkeys jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mummy called the doctor

And the doctor said,

No more monkeys jumping on the bed


Three little monkeys jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mummy called the doctor

And the doctor said,

No more monkeys jumping on the bed


Two little monkeys jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mummy called the doctor

And the doctor said,

No more monkeys jumping on the bed


One little monkey jumping on the bed

One fell off and bumped his head

Mummy called the doctor

And the doctor said,

Put those monkeys right to bed

*Sing along to 5 Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed  from Super Simple Songs


Happy teaching!




Learn colours in English with Flashcards and Wendy the Witch

Flashcards are a great resource in English Language Lessons with children when they are used creatively. It is not enough just to hold up a card, repeat the word and expect the children to remember.

Here is an example video of how I introduce simple colour flashcards (with my young Italian students ) with the help of a friendly Witch Puppet who adores munching on the colour red!

In my next post I’ll give you some more ideas on games to play with children using colours and flashcards.

Happy Teaching

Miranda Flynn Legge


Teach Emotions in English

View Miranda Legge Emotions

Ever find you have an unruly class? Your children don’t seem to be learning much? Try adding some sparkle into your ESL lessons and grab children’s attention by using total physical response activities.

By engaging children physically and emotionally they find it easier to understand language. And by associating movement, song and dance with language children are much more likely to absorb and repeat it naturally.

Try a simple game for Introducing “emotions” or as I call it “funny faces”:

Lets get those faces warmed up…

Ask the children to find a space in front of you standing or sitting and tell them to start giving their faces a good massage , cheeks, forehead, nose, mouth, chin, ears (get the children to repeat the words as you say them). Now scrunch your faces up to make them as small as possible, open wide, open your mouth, stick your tongues out, wiggle them around, pretend to chew a gum, pretend to chew 10 gums all together, pretend to chew 100 gums! Make some tongue rolling sounds with a Rrrrrrrrrr. Blow some raspberries.

Now ask the children to copy you and to make appropriate faces that describe each word for example: happy, surprised, furious, sad, angry, shocked, frightened, sleepy, cold. Ask the children to be as dramatic and exaggerated as possible.

Make up some simple flashcards and ask the children individually to mime an “emotion” flashcard while the other children guess which emotion he is trying to describe. Children love miming games as they also encourage the less extrovert children to participate.











Happy teaching



The Rainbow Song –learning colours in English


A simple activity to play in class to introduce colours

Traffic Light Game Young children love this game both being the Ferrari and the traffic Light. Aims: To introduce and practice colours red, yellow, green and Stop, Be careful, Go

    1. Cut out some squares 10x10cm of different coloured paper and use them as flashcards. Elicit the colours red, green and yellow.
    2. As you hold up each flashcard and call out the colour ask all the children to run and touch something “red”, “yellow” or green in the room it could be someone’s clothing or an object in the room. Do this a few times until the children are familiar the colours.
    3. Explain to the players that when you hold up the red flashcard and call out red the children must stop and freeze!
    4. When you hold up the yellow light and call out yellow the players must start hopping
    5. When you hold up the green flashcard and call out green the players can run (but no bumping into others!).

Alternative Game: to practice Stop, Be careful, Go

Explain to the children that they are all cars and mime a steering wheel using your hands and beep on the horn. Now hold up the red flashcard and tell the children that when you hold up read and call out stop they have to freeze! When you hold up the yellow light and call out be careful the cars must go very slowly and when you hold up the green flashcard they can drive very fast (but no bumping into others!).


Fruity Prepositions with Pippo the Puppet


Teach Prepositions with Pippo the Puppet

When introducing prepositions (in, on, under, in front of, behind)  a puppet can be a useful teacher assistant and engaging for children.

Activity Instructions

Bring to class some fruit props (orange, pear, banana, apple, kiwi, etc) children tend to become very excited about real fruit, but plastic fruit is fine and easier to store away for future exercises:-) Place the fruit on your desk or on the floor in a circle where all the children can see it. Use an empty box (puppet size) and give your puppet instructions to carry out.


“Hello Pippo, can you show the children a banana, please? Very good Pippo.” (Pippo picks out and holds up the banana for the children to see, get the children to repeat the word and use lots of applause of encouragement both for Pippo and the children)

“Where’s the pear, please Pippo?” (Pippo picks out and holds up the pear for the children to see, and again have the children to repeat the word)

When the children become familiar with the fruit have Pippo select an incorrect fruit and get the children to correct him. Then ask for a volunteer to help Pippo choose the correct fruit. Get the other children to applaud and encourage, if the child is unsure Pippo can always hint:-)

Now give Pippo preposition instructions :

“Pippo can you put the apple on the box/chair please?”

“Pippo can you put the apple in the box/chair please?”

“Pippo can you put the apple under the box/chair please?”

Again as the children become familiar with the prepositions , have Pippo make mistakes and encourage the children to correct him.

Have a competition between a child and Pippo as to who can be the quickest in putting the banana under the box/chair. The child always wins, of course!With older children this game works well with one child competing against another but be careful with younger children as they can end up in tears, especially if they don’t win. A tried and tested lesson that guarantees laughter and group participation even for the shyest of children:-)

Have Fun!


Peter, my new bilingual teaching assistant….what a squawker!!


Get children actively involved in English lessons using a little English friend. A great teaching assistant!

Greeting “Peter” and introducing him to your class:

  • Hello Peter!
  • Good morning Peter!
  • Peter, where are you?
  • Peter ? there you are!
  • How are you today?
  • (Ask the children to say hello)

Ask “Peter the Toucan” some general questions:

  • What’s this?
  • What’s that?
  • What’s your favourite food?
  • What’s the weather like?
  • Where’s your pen?
  • Where’s your red bag?
  • Which do you prefer – the red or the green?
  • Which do you want?
  • Why are you happy/sad/tired/angry?

Is make- believe with puppets more than just play?

Puppets are positive creatures that bring about positive responses. They fascinate and engage both children and adults in a special way. Children are willing to suspend belief, and react to a puppet as if it were real. They find it motivating using puppets in “pretend play”  as they stimulate creativity and help develop imagination and vocabulary, preparing them for the real-life situations they will meet later on.Today many parents and teachers also find use for puppets for educational activities to teach children about letters, numbers, people, problem solving and safety issues. As an ESL teacher I use them to enrich storytelling, elicit new vocabulary, sing songs and even introduce classroom rules!