From TPRS in a Year! –
Skill #43: The Whacky Transportation Scene
Whenever an actor needs to go to another location in a story, the potential for a humorous mode of travel exists. The conveyance can be merely described in words, or it can actually be put into action, which the kids love, because they get to act as one of these vehicles.
Thus, if a motorized spoon is the chosen method of travel, two or three students can become the spoon and the actor just sits or stands on the spoon as it scoots across the room to its destination.
Safety is an issue, and the instructor must not let things get out of hand. Generally a few minutes suffice for these scenes, but they sometimes can be expanded into entire mini- stories themselves. Just remember to synchronize their actions with your words, as described in skill 19 above.
Examples of such conveyances besides the common car, boat, etc. are: by motorized utensil (spoon, knife, fork, plate, glass, or cup), by cow, camel, toad, monster, heffalump, or other bizarre creatures, by magic carpet, auto-toilette, etc.
The students never fail to make this an amusing and sometimes hilarious part of class, and often come up with amazing conveyances of their own. Mining what t hey say for increasingly bizarre details can provide excellent repetition of important benchmark vocabulary words like knife, fork and spoon. When the words mean something to the kids they learn them.
One means of transport I use at least once every year because it works so well (in French only) is the toad (crapaud). I always have a character go to Crapo, Maryland (real town!) by crapaud:
Class, where does the girl go to find her boyfriend? No, class, she doesn’t go to Colorado Springs, she goes to Crapo, Maryland! (Ohh!) Class, how does the girl go to Crapo, Maryland? No, class, the girl doesn’t go to Crapo by car! That is ridiculous! She goes to Crapo by crapaud! (Ohh!) Class, does the girl go to Crapo by slow crapaud or by fast crapaud? (fast) No, class, that is absurd! The girl goes to Crapo by slow crapaud! It is obvious!
The kids learn the word toad because it is presented to them in a humorous, meaningful way. When words have meaning to kids they learn them.
The list below suggests just some of the transportation options available for any story. District mandated benchmark vocabulary should be used frequently:
à pied – by foot en voiture, en auto – by car à cheval – by horse en train – by train en avion – by plane en autobus – by bus en autocar – by tour bus en bateau – by boat dans le métro – in the metro en taxi – by taxi en camion – by truck à bicylette, à vélo – by bicycle en missile de croisière – by cruise missile en vaisseau spatiale – by space ship à navette – by space shuttle à canard – by duck à vache–bycow à chameau – by camel à crapaud – by toad à grenouille – by frog à couteau – by knife à fourchette – by fork en cuillère – by spoon en assiette – by plate en verre – by glass en tasse – by cup en auto-cuillère – by auto-spoon à cuvette mobile – by mobile toilet en auto-crapaud – by auto-toad à tapis magique – by magic carpet