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Modern Languages - Direct their passion

What it's all about

The Passion play is an active way to prepare for Easter, dramatising the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, writes Catherine Paver.

At Oberammergau, in Southern Germany, it has a unique history. Bubonic plague hit the small town in 1633 and villagers vowed to stage a Passion play every 10 years if they could be spared further deaths. They were, and they have kept their promise.

You could start by showing your class a short film explaining that Passion plays are community-based and often performed outside. Illustrated accounts of the Easter story in foreign books and websites could then help them create their own play.

Divide the class into groups and allow each to perform a section. Keep it simple. For instance, the characters could all speak in unison as a chorus telling the story, so everyone has a chance to practise the target language.

Some words associated with Easter are useful only in that context, so just teach the important ones, such as "crucify" and "resurrection" - they need to know that the original meaning of "passion" was "suffering". Other words, such as "love", "death" and "father", are more general. Children could practise this vocabulary by creating simple storyboards.

The Vienna Passion starts with the fall of Lucifer and the fall of Man. Some German Passion plays include the creation of the world and of Adam. All these topics expand the vocabulary you teach.

What else?

Read the Easter story in Spanish, with cartoons. bit.lySpanishCartoons

Get pupils reading the Bible in French, Spanish, German and other languages. bit.lyBibleFrench; bit.lyBibleInSpanish; bit.lyBibleGerman. www.bibleforchildren.org.

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