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A Celtic Folk Tale - The Field of Boliauns

Hanna Wrzesieñ teaches British Studies at Kolegium Karkonoskie at Jelenia Góra. Here she explains how she uses traditional Celtic stories.

“My current British Studies course exploits and builds on Celtic tales as a way of familiarising my students with some aspects of Celtic culture.

  1. First of all we close-read selected Cornish, Gaelic, Irish, Scottish and Welsh folk tales.
  2. Then the students work in groups and transform the stories into tongue-in-cheek playlets that are presented to the whole class.
  3. Next we use a variety of ways to practise, process, and activate the newly encountered vocabulary to make it part of the student’s own vocabulary store.
We do this through devising such things as quizzes and crossword puzzles.”

The Field of Boliauns


The following students were involved in the preparation: Marta Kunysz, Karolina Stasiewicz, Monika Andrzejewska, Jaros³aw Nahorski, Krzysztof Bogacki and the group’s supporting visual artist, Jacek Godlewski.

 

The activities are designed to address and integrate the four skills within a single-lesson, are at a pre-intermediate level and would be good for younger learners

 

Little Tom is going across a field when he suddenly hears a strange noise. The noise comes from the nearby bushes where a little dwarf is sitting on a chair and drinking beer from a glass. Little Tom thinks that the dwarf has got a great treasure. Tom gets quite close to him to catch him because he wants the gold, grabs the dwarf’s hand and breaks his glass. He says: ‘If you don’t show me where the money is, I will kill you.’ ‘OK, don’t kill me,’ says the dwarf, ‘I will show you where the treasure is.’

 

They go through the forest to a field where very big trees grow. ‘Here,’ says the dwarf, ‘here it is.’ Tom ties a red ribbon round one very big tree and says to the dwarf: ‘Don’t take the ribbon away.’ The dwarf swears not to touch it. Tom goes home, gets a spade and comes back to the field where the hidden treasure is. He is surprised because there are red ribbons on many trees and he can’t find his ribbon. Tom is disappointed because he has been cheated by the dwarf, can’t find the treasure and angrily goes back home.

 

Activity one - writing

Material preparation

Handouts with the unfinished story (below) for the students

 

Procedure

Each student is given the handout and the task is to finish the story

 

Student preparation time

Up to five minutes (to read the story)

 

Activity time

Fifteen minutes (or as a homework with reading assigned during the preceding lesson)

 

The Field of Boliauns

Little Tom is going across a field when he suddenly hears a strange noise. The noise comes from the nearby bushes where a little dwarf is sitting on a chair and drinking beer from a glass. Little Tom thinks that the dwarf has got a great treasure. Tom gets quite close to him to catch him because he wants the gold, grabs the dwarf’s hand and breaks his glass. He says: ‘If you don’t show me where the money is, I will kill you.’ ‘OK, don’t kill me,’ says the dwarf, ‘I will show you where the treasure is.’ They go through the forest …

 

Click for downloadable text

 

Activity two - reading

Material preparation

Handouts with the story and handouts with the crossword puzzle (for each student)

 

Procedure

Individual reading of the text and filling in the crossword puzzle

 

Student preparation time

Ten minutes (to read the story)

 

Activity time

Up to five minutes

 

The Field of Boliauns crossword - click for blank downloadable crossword with answers for use in class

 

Activity three - speaking

 

Material preparation

Five pictures that show some episodes from the story - click for downloadable pictures for use in class

 

Procedure

Students in pairs/groups are given a set of pictures to arrange according to the sequence of events in the story, filling in the table

 

 

Event

 

1

2

3

4

5

 

Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, each pair/ group has to retell the story (some modifications of the plot should be allowed)

 

Student preparation time

None needed

 

Activity time

Ten minutes or more depending on class size or could be used as a written homework.



Teachers Notes

Hanna’s idea uses the full range of skills and develops vocabulary and grammar:
  • Students have a real purpose for their initial reading of the story as they know they will be adapting it later.
  • Creating the script for the short play is a focused and authentic writing task.
  • The short drama sketches ensure that speaking and listening will be developed as the focus is on communicating the essence of a story to the rest of the class.
  • The investment of time and thought that the students make in devising the materials for practising vocabulary will be highly beneficial. The process is as important as the product.
The teaching idea above could be adapted for use with different kinds of stories.

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