Teaching how to write short stories has never been easier with these role play and creative writing activities for kids. These 11 imaginative role play situations will help encourage your elementary students to communicate more in the classroom and develop lifelong literacy skills.
The story that your students should hand in at the end of the semester will follow a conversation style format, including one line to introduce each upcoming scene followed by their version of the conversation that happened; kind of like a Hollywood script.
Here is an example:
(Paul and Carlos go to a Mexican restaurant together)
Waiter: Good evening. Table for two?
Paul: Yes. Thank you.
Carlos: The restaurant is very full tonight. Is it because it’s the weekend?
Paul: Yeah. Besides Saturdays and Sundays, other days are really quiet.
This kind of format will give your students more practice at using conversational style sentences and put less pressure on them to think about the written form of English. They don’t have to furiously scribble down everything that was said, just their version of it as they listen.
Get your young writer’s creative juices flowing right off the bat by naming the main character of the story and where the story takes place; preferably in a country where English is not their main language. The main character is a student from your country studying at an elementary school abroad. Keep the same main character throughout, but switch the “performer” assuming the part for every role play situation. For the actual role play, request volunteers or select from the class. Feel free to add more participants to each scenario if you wish to involve more students but 2 to 4 is ideal to let everyone speak. Give your young actors extra time to complete their written assignment on the day they act out the role play.
1. Picnic in the Park
Requires four students: Student A is the main character. Student B is a domestic student. Students C and D will act as two other international students from the same country as the main character. The four students are enjoying a picnic that B has prepared to welcome the three students to his or her country. The four should discuss their hobbies while enjoying the picnic, starting with student B.
Requires four students: Student A is the main character. Student B is the domestic student. Students C and D will act as the two international students from the same country as the main character. The scene begins with A, B, and C turning up late to meet with D at the school fun day. The four will then talk about some of the activities they want to do at the fun day including: playing darts, buying snacks, watching the performance, singing karaoke, and so on.
3. What’s the Tastiest?
Requires four students: As the school fun day is winding down, the four students are talking about how much fun they had. B then begins describing the cakes and the bakery stall and how that particular stall was overrun with students. At first C and D are annoyed that B just wants to eat cakes but they then describe the flavors they ate at the ice cream stand. A agrees with B about the cakes and asks all three to talk about their country’s snacks.
4. Presidential Election
Requires two students: Student A is the main character. Student B will act as A’s language exchange partner. A and B are discussing the upcoming presidential election and how it differs from the election process in B’s native country. Things to discuss can include: how presidents are elected, has the other ever helped with campaigning, who you would vote for, etc. If they get stuck on what to say then you can pause the role play to explain any political concepts to the class.
Requires three students: Student A is the main character. Student B is A’s language exchange partner. Student C will act as B’s best friend. A has come to B’s house to give his/her friend a present for his birthday. C is enthusiastic to open it and discovers it is a DVD movie based on Antarctica. C is over the moon to receive this present because he/she has just recently been learning about it at school. A and B then begin asking C about all the things he/she knows about Antarctica; the climate, the animals, the location, etc.
6. Basketball Game 1
Requires four students: Student A is the main character. Student B is the domestic student. Students C and D will act as the two international students from the same country as the main character. All four are at the school sports hall watching a basketball game. One of the basketball players on the school team is recognized as a skillful player but has a bad attitude towards authority. The four discuss the player’s situation, beginning with how he performed in the first half of the current game before explaining why his attitude could be the cause of his substitution for the second half.
7. Basketball Game 2
Requires four students: All four are still chatting at the basketball game. However, the conversation has moved onto other sports. The four students start describing the sports they love to watch and participate in and are all eager to highlight the accomplishments of their national teams.
8. Borrowing the Computer
Requires three students: Student A is the main character. Student B is the domestic student. Student C will act as B’s best friend. The scene begins with B answering the telephone at C’s house. A wants to talk to C to ask if it is ok to borrow his/her computer. C is willing to let him/her borrow and A is coming over to C’s house to use the computer. When A arrives, they discuss why he/she needs to use C’s computer and C explains why he/she doesn’t need it right now. To add to the scene, B notices something seasonal on C’s desk (a Christmas stocking, a jack-o-lantern, an Easter egg, etc.) and enquires about it.
9. Traveling to Europe
Requires three students: Student A is the main character who is still in C’s house using his/her computer. The conversation has moved onto discussing B’s plans to travel to Europe during the summer holidays. A and C have been to Europe before, visiting different countries with their families, and they offer to share their experiences and advice with B. Things to discuss can include: European countries, famous tourist spots, methods of transport, advantages and disadvantages of joining a tour group, etc.
10. Class Report
Requires two students: Student A is the main character. Student B is A’s language exchange partner. A goes to talk to B about the report he/she must recite to his/her language class as part of a course assignment. The topic should focus on a famous historical figure from B’s country. A asks B for help deciding which famous person from the past to write about and tries to find out what they did, why they were special, and other important details that will improve his/her chances of getting a good grade.
11. At the Park
Requires four students: Student A is the main character. Student B is the domestic student. Students C and D will act as the two international students from the same country as the main character. All four are at the park where they first had their picnic. A, C, and D are discussing what they plan to do when they graduate from high school. Things to discuss can include: finding a job, going traveling, studying at university, etc. After a few minutes, B comes to ask the other three students what they would like to drink and describes his plans.
The Final Activity
You may lengthen or shorten the number of role play scenarios to fit your schedule. When all scenarios are complete, ask your students to write a complete story following the exploits of the student and all the people he or she interacts with using the conversational format described earlier.