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I use it for kindergarteners through 7-8 year olds. Any plastic bag will do. Collect various objects- a coin, watch, ring, scissors, a battery, medicine, etc.... I simply say "What’s in the bag?" The kids usually parrot this back to me. Take the objects out of the bag, 1 at a time, identifying each one. When the bag is empty, give the students the opportunity to identify each object. I pick a student and say " I want the (item)" You'll be surprised how enthusiastic the kids are about the game, and how willing the are to compete with each other in identifying the objects. After all the objects are identified, I say "Now, I'm going to put the (object) in the bag" and toss the object back into the bag. A simple yet effective vocabulary builder. All practical words to know. And the "What's in the bag?" provides a basic grammar exercise as well.
A 'lesson' to remember....April Fool's!
The idea began like this....A long time ago (when I was in grade 4 to be exact) I was given a 'fake' test. It was of course April Fool's Day and my teacher decided that she wanted to play a little joke on us. It was simple, the test consisted of easy to answer questions but of unusual nature. For example, one question read ' recite the alphabet out loud'(even backwards if you really want to have some fun) The more creative the better. There are two question however, that you must include. One at the beginning reading ' Read over the test first' and one at the end reading (at no surprise) 'disregard/ignore all the questions above' Be careful not to make the questions to outrageous though, or the students may become really suspicious. This test also has to be limited in time so that students will try to rush through it and skip over the first question. I suggest giving them 10-15 minutes maximum, but it really depends on the number of questions you include. Try to make it so that it would be impossible to complete that amount of questions in that amount of time. I say include a minimum of 50 questions. This test/joke will teach them three things: 1)the meaning of April Fool's Day, 2)always to follow directions and read carefully when writing a test and lastly, 3) not to mess with their teacher! :) I would suggest keeping a serious face when distributing the tests and even go as far as to assign a large portion of their grade to the test. This will really get them into panic mode and it may work better. Then all you need to do is sit back and enjoy. See how many silly things you can get them to do before someone catches on. If you happen to notice someone who has actually read the entire test, try to discretly give them the 'hush hush' signal so that they do not ruin all the fun. Well, I wish you luck and hope this works for you. After you reveal the truth, there is always lots to talk about. I hope to hear some feedback in terms of whether the test worked on your students or not and I would also like to hear your creative and brilliant question ideas. I've never tried this on adults but kids are good targets because they are so gullible and trusting. Yep, someone has to introduce them to the real world, so it might as well be me! No seriously, let me know what you think and enjoy!
A new twist on twister
You know the regular twister. The idea is the same but I substitute letters for the colors. I thought of taping sheets of paper with letters over my original game but realized that they would be ripped to bits in no time. Instead I bought some large sheets of clear plastic and taped the letters to the under-side so the letters show through the plastic. I use 4x4 to 6x6 rows depending on the size of the class. For example: aeiou aeiou aeiou aeiou aeiou
Now use a spinner or simply draw cards out of a bag with right hand, left hand, right foot, left foot on them and choose a letter name or sound to say. The rest goes like the original twister. Have the first kids out help you pull the cards out of the bag or say the letters or their sounds. I am sure you could do animals, fruit, numbers or anything else that is on a piece of paper.
ABC Bingo. This game works best at the early levels of ESL. Each student is given a game card with 16 squares. Each square with a different letter. The teacher, or a student, pulls the letters from a coffee can. The first one to fill his/her card yells out Bingo. The winner is given a small prize provided by the teacher or donated by a student. We usually play this game after our monthly, 40 question exam. After each exam they graph their progress on an EXAM chart.
Advice on Teaching Children
Most of us know trying to teach English as a second language is hard enough, but trying to teach it to 58 year old children is like a tip to the dentist. Before and during the class your stomach is in knots as you wonder what excruciating pain you will have to endure. Then after the class your body goes limp as you relax and think to yourself, "I've survived another one." So as you're wiping the runny noses and trying desperately to get through to the children, think about these words... Don't stress; do relax and enjoy - teaching young children is frustrating and stressful. Don't beat yourself up just because the children can't get a grasp of your lesson. Just relax and enjoy their spontaneity and candor. Don't get mad; do understand - instead of getting angry at a child for an inappropriate behavior, try to understand why he or she acted a certain way. It may help you find a solution to keep it from reoccurring. Don't punish; do reward - use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. If you use punishment to correct bad behavior, the child will only turn against you. Don't teach; do inspire - teach is what you do with a classroom of tired, middle-age businessmen. Be an inspiration to young children to learn and think for themselves. Who knows? You may have a future Dae Jung Kim in your class. Don't correct; encourage - if a child makes a mistake, instead of saying "that's wrong", try saying "that was good, but let's try it this way". Don't frown; do smile - frown and the world frowns at you, smile and the world smiles with you. ...and some words about children. Children tell their mother and father everything. Make sure that the children only have reasons to tell good things to their parents about you. Children imitate adults. Always show your best for them to imitate. There is no such thing as a "problem child". A child's bad behavior is almost always learned from watching an adult, especially a teacher. Children don't know any better. Don't blame or punish them for something that they probably don't know is wrong or bad. Treat every child equally. Children notice favoritism, no matter how minimal. Try to make everyone feel that they are all equally important. Treat the children as if each child was your own. You wouldn't want your child being taught by someone grumpy and indifferent. Unlike adults, young children do not want much from you. All they want is your love and attention. Give it to them unconditionally. And who knows? You may not only be making him or her a better person, but you may also be making this crazy world of ours a better place to live. (My indirect commentary on the event in Jonesboro, Arkansas) And remeber, the won/dollar exchange rate may not be so great, but there will never be a depreciation in the level of respect for the job you do
Animal Concentration Game
After making 40 wild animals concentration cards (I bought the farm animals concentration cards), I was exhausted. It took 5 hours to make them right, the copying, coloring, pasting, and lamination. Then, those cards fell apart quickly, so I had to spend another 5 hours making the cards again. If anyone is interested, I can give them the do's and don’ts of laminated concentration game art, but that's not why I'm posting now. I wanted to say that, given the work I put in them, I am trying to use these cards in every conceivable way, on my primary school and middle school kids, regardless of class size. so, I do the following: * What is this? (This is a hippo) * What are these? (These are hippos, used when they pick up two) * For when they don't match, they can say: This is a hippo and this is a lion (or "that is a lion," to refine the demonstratives) * What color is the ______ ? Is it fat or thin? Adjectives! * Is this a gorilla? No, this isn't. This is a monkey. * Difficult plurals: these are deer, these are wolves. Outside the concentration game itself, I use them to teach I am and you are. I will put a monkey card on my head and a giraffe card on the student's head, and he will say: I am a giraffe, you are a monkey. Anyway, to justify the effort I made in making those cards, I am using them in many different ways for many different classes. I use all parts of the cow.
Around the town
I used this exercise with children 3-9 years old. The lesson focused on specific buildings around the town (eg library, hospital, grocery store, bus station) I drew the buildings very colorfully on paper with large letters spelling out the words. Then for a moving experience, I taped the pictures of the buildings around the room and would tell the students to "Go to the library" They would then have to find which picture/word was the library. They enjoyed running around and it was good for them to associate the spoken word with a visual cue.
As cute as a kitten
To teach my 5th and 6th graders some adjectives and comparatives I use animals. First we brainstorm animals and their main quality: as big as a elephant. I get to explain as...as then each child chooses an animal and an adjective and we make posters they draw a picture and write their sentence: as soft as a lamb, busy as a bee..... we then take time to put them all on the walls and admire our work and say all the sentences. ( we can then get into discussions about if a spider is really ugly or a snake really long or....)Then I explain comparatives using our posters as examples an elephant is bigger than a mouse or a butterfly is more beautiful than a worm....and we play a game I chose an animal and they have to guess by just using comparatives Is it bigger than a dog? Is it as small as a mouse? then in 2 teams: one team guesses then the other.This is a very simple idea but the kids love to draw and have their pictures on the wall for all to see! By the way the posters impress the other classes and they read them all!
As Easy as ABC
The first thing you need is an ABC puzzle - I got mine at the Dollar Store. Mine is foam with pop-out letters. I used a black permanent marker to write the letters again on each letter (only because for
younger kids the outline of the letter was a little difficult & this way they definitely know which way the letters go). Next, split your class up into groups - I usually do two groups because I have no more than 7 students in each pull-out class. Then, I push all of the letters out of the puzzle and put them on the table, face-up. Next, I have one person in each group pick a number between 1 & 5 to see who goes first (you know how this works). Then, I ask Student 1 (S1) to find the letter ____. In order to get a point for his/her team, S1 has to find the letter by him/herself and then tell me the letter's sound and a word that begins with that letter & sound. So, if I say, "Find me the letter 'C'", S1 has to find it and then say, "C-ca-cat" or "C-sa-celery", but they can't get the point if they say, "C-ca-celery" because it's the wrong sound. After S1 is done in group one, I go to S1 in group two, then S2 in group one and S2 in group two, etc. I use tally marks to incorporate a different way to visualize numbers. Sometimes it's hard for K-1 students to except the fact they got one wrong, so I always butter up the situation with positive reinforcement. If I have a newcomer w/ less English, or a student who still is lacking in his/her ABCs and their sounds, then I always try to pick the easier letters for them to find, like A, B, D, etc., not C, G, H, etc. (the ones they're more apt to make a mistake on). The kids love this game and it's a good way to reinforce their ABCs and sounds to further develop their reading skills. You can give prizes to the winning team (like stickers or stamps), but sometimes this causes heartache for the kids who didn't win, so I usually just say, "Great job, everyone! Maybe next time Team Two will win!"
Balloons, balloons, balloons
This is a fun activity for little kids,about 4 and 5 yrs. You will need a large sheet or tablecloth (not heavy) and many coloured balloons. I usually blow up a number of balloons before the class, but save some to blow up in front of the students to tell them what I'm doing. "Blow up the balloon". Most little kids don't have enough power to blow them up so they watch me a blow up a few, and laugh at that. Depending on whether mothers or fathers are present, I might tell the students to give the balloon to mommy/daddy to help with blowing the balloons up. When the balloons are all blown up we identify the colours, count them and record the numbers on the board. We then place all the balloons on a sheet and each student grabs an edge of it. We start off tossing them in the air slowing and gradually get faster, but always trying to keep them on the sheet. Not everyone gets that concept at first, but there are some who will work hard to pick them up and put them back on the sheet. When we stop we count the balloons again and check the colours to see if they are all accounted for. If one is missing everyone scrambles to find it. I let the students choose one colour to take home.
breathtaking body monsters
For teaching body parts draw an ugly-looking human on the board and ask the students which animal this is...You could do it for animals in the future and teach special corresponding parts (i.e paws)too. Then have the students come up and one draw a body part at a turn and elicit the name fromt he rest of the students, student who drew must write the name (get them to help him or her spell) until you have a full body (don't forget irregular plurals such as tooth-teeth). Then hand out paper to each student (and markers) and instruct them to draw a pair of feet (you can stress what to include, toes, heels, and then fold the paper exactly where the picture ends, pass papers over and draw the next part according to teacher's instructions; try to encourage funny parts like "Marge Simpson hair". At the end student open the pictures and find weird monsters, they are usually loyal to their feet, so let them keep their respective pictures according to feet. You can top it all off with a sing-along of "Head and shoulders, knees and toes"
Colors and Numbers Listening Puzzle Excitement
I hope I can make this clear and easy to understand. This was for my 5 year old classes and kindergarten. For this activity you need to draw a bus(or other picture). For my classes I drew a bus with a big face of Doraemon(a blue cat-like robot wich is famous in Japan). Our theme for this month was "wheels on the bus." That was my only reason to use a picture of a bus. Then I cut it into four pieces(since there are four kids at one table). It will later be a puzzle for them to put together. Next, I numbered the pieces so that each number represents a color. For examople 1=red, 2=black, 3=blue. Each kid gets a corner of the picture on a B5 or A4 paper. Now, no one kid has the whole picture of the bus. If there are an odd number of kids, I just ask the teacher to sit and do the puzzle too. The teachers were happy to color with their students. Then I call out the number and the color to it. For exmaple, One is red. And all the kids color in that area with red. By now they all know that they have different pieces of paper. As I call out the numbers and they color them in. They start to relix that it's a puzzle too. They all start screaming what the puzzle is and wanted to finish to see what it will look like. At the end they all what me to see the finsihed puzzle. Also I never had to tell them it was a puzzle. That was a surprise! I want to try it again because some of the mom's told me that their kids told them about the lesson. I hope you can use this for your kids as well
Connect the conjunctions
This activity is based on a piece of literature you are studying. Glue onto a LARGE dice 6 pictures taken from the book being studied. One per face. Onto another LARGE dice glue 6 conjunctions, one per face. Example: because, and, hence, etc... To each conjunction allocate a point or points, the harder the conjunction the more the points.So that "and" might have 1 point, and "as a result of" might have 6 points. In small groups (3-4 players) each child takes it in turn to roll both dice and then make up a sentence concerning the picture using the conjunction. If the other players think the sentence makes sense then the player gets the number of points attached to that particular conjunction. The player with the most points when the game is halted is the winner.
crazy shnoodles superheoes
This is my fave activity to do with kids of all ages up to middle school(cause i always catch them with comics in class!)....first I ask the class to give me some name of some super heroes..batman, spider man, wonder women ect then I ask them, what can they do? what are thier powers?..the kids usually yell things like they can fly! they can climb walls!....then i ask them what can`t they do!? they cant die, they cant kill good people..(the kiddies usually start to tell you about their comic book heroes,which is a great way to get them talking!).... then on the board we create our own super heroe, so i ask them to give it a name.I ask is it a male or female(or something else)?,what does it look like? how many heads ,eyes, feet ect.. this bits real fun, the kids have crazy imaginations. Then I ask them what our heroe can or cant do and so on. finaly i chose one of the kids to draw the heroe on the board, which is hilarious cause they often look
more like monsters!You can then ask them to make their own heroes....i find that the kids really enjoy activities like this because they are so into their comic books and they love drawing..hope it works for some one else!
This is a good game to practice various forms of the past tense. I've used it with great success with middle school kids during private tutoring (1on1) sessions. First teach them a verb tense i.e. past simple, then get them to do some exercises so they are comfortable with it. Next you have to build up the story... Tell them they are a detective (explain it if they are unfamiliar with the vocab) and pretend to be a distressed lady who has had her purse stolen. It helps a lot if you can think up funny names for your characters (I call the lady "Mrs. Pusan Kimchi"). Have the lady describe when and where it was stolen (i.e. From Georgia and Burrard at 10pm on Thurdsday). Then inform the detective that there are 3 suspects (once again introduce vocab). Have other students act out the suspects or do it yourself (again giving clever names) and create a "bio" for each suspect that outlines what he/she does and what they were doing the night of the robbery. Now the detective has to use the correct past verb tense to question the suspects and determine which one most likely stole the purse. If they do not use the correct verb tense just say something like "I'm sorry, I may be a criminal but since I love english so much, I can only answer questions if they use proper grammer." Most students find this game fun especially if you include props (i.e a gun or a badge or something), use funny names and situations, and get them (and you) to really act out the characters.
Dog vs. Monkey
I have used this game, with great success, in Junior High classes. The boys especially enjoy it. All that you need for this is a stack of index cards, each with the name of possible combatant written on it. For example: samurai, tiger, battleship, pro-wrestler, ninja. Make at least 30 or 40 cards. Shuffle the cards and choose two, then ask your students who would win a fight between the two combatants named. The idea here is to get your students talking and, if possible, speculating. Ask them why they think this or that fighter would win. Is he / she stronger, larger, or faster, than the vanquished foe? As always, its good to add a few comedy entries in the list of fighters. How would "the smallest dog in Osaka" fare against a bull? How about Tom Cruise vs. a chicken? Godzilla vs. Madonna? Ichiro vs. an army tank? You can also add the names of students--this always gets a laugh, and can cause animated debates among your kids. The great thing about this format is that it can always be randomized, simply by re-shuffling the deck.
Little kids usually only recognize one word in a question... With kindergarteners I sometimes get "I'm 5 years old," when I ask them, "How are you today?" So, to alleviate this problem, I just pass a ball around the room. When I pass the ball to student A he has to answer a question, then he passes the ball to student B, C, D... any student. He then has to ask any question. It helps them understand the questions a little more. And, it breaks the monotony of having me only ask the questions. I'm surprised each time when I see how excited they get when I bring the ball into class. (Am I really that boring of a teacher???) I also ask students how many pieces of candy they want. If they want one, then I ask them one question and they have to ask me one question. If they want 10, then they have to answer and ask 10. If they complete the task they're awarded with one, two, ten, etc. pieces of candy. Simple stuff.
Easy as ABC with a twist
was told that the teachers would be doing a program for K1-K3. I was only prepared for youth and adult classes. I pulled "Easy as ABC" off of the web sight and thought that I was set. When I got to the event there were 2 sessions with 100 kids each, and no time or letters to break them into teams appropriate to the game. I doled out the letters to my colleagues who scattered them around the play ground. I started asking children “find me an A” usually I would look out of the corner of my eye so that the letter I found was close. We had stickers for the successful children. Soon children were just walking up with letters at random and I would ask them to identify them and pass out a sticker. Finding the game was a god send and reading through your different posting helped me alter it to fit my situation. Thanks!!!!!!!!
Excuse me sir, there's a fly in your soup.
When children forget the final "s" on a plural, eg "I have two cat", the teacher says "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!" and pretends to follow a fly around the classroom with his finger. He then claps his hands dramatically to kill it. This is to prompt the children to say "two cats". After the teacher has done this enough times, when someone forgets a plural, another child will start pretending to kill a fly, thus correcting his classmate (in a fun way!). This also works for third person singular mistakes (He live in York). I've also tried this on adults with success.
I've played this game with ages ages six through twelve and the kids love it. With construction paper make three or four sets of eyes, ears, noses, eyebrows, mouths and hair. The more colorful and crazy the better. In the noses you might include an elephant's trunk or a duck's bill, you get idea. These face parts are put on the board, sheet magnets have been fixed on the back, and each set is given a number from one to six. Divide the class into two groups and these groups take turns rolling a die. If someone rolls a one and one is the number for the nose set that child gets to choose from among the noses to start putting together a face on his side of the board. The other group puts together a face on their side of the board. The group that puts finishes making its face first wins. Once the game is well under way numbers will start to repeat. If one comes up again, well the nose is already on the board so nothing can be added to the face on that turn and one team will eventually pull ahead of the other. The kids get excited watching the die (I use a large plush toy die that's easy to see.) so they may have to be reminded to respond in English, "One, nose" or however you chose to use the cue of the die number, but I guarantee they'll love the game.
This is a good game for numbers, letters, phonics and reading the letter sounds, reading words, pictures of things etc. It goes like the regular go-fish. Make cards of anything you want to study in sets of four. Four "A"s, "B"s etc. Divide class into two teams and put up a barrier between them so they can't see each others` cards. Shuffle cards and pass out ten or so to each team. Then choose a team to be first to say a letter name etc. With phonics I have them say the letter sound, if they say the letter name they lose a turn. After they have said their letter or sound, the other team looks through their cards for that letter. If they have it they
must give all of those cards to the first team. If not they say "Go-Fish" and the teacher gives one to three cards (depending on how many cards and how much time you have) to the first team. Now the second team gets their turn and so on. Once they have four of the same card they get one point. Have them set their points aside so as to not mix them with the other cards. They can't say the name of a letter they do not have!
Happy and you Know it – refresher
I find that one of the most terrifying things is when you are completely done with the lesson and you still have 10 minutes to go, and reviewing the lesson would go over about as well as giving an inspirational talk on how marching on the Trail of Tears was great for the Native Americans quads, calves, and burning unwanted pounds... it wouldn't go well. So what I've found is, or remembered is the Happy and you Know it song... and it works great on young kids and self-conscious teen agers. You remember: If you happy and you know it clap your hands....blah blah. Well change it around. I've used: happy - pat your gut sad - cry boo hoo scared - scream in terror tired - go to sleep (they go crazy when you fall asleep in mid-sentence) angry - growl out loud hungry - eat you hand etc... you get the idea Start this off with doing variations of the happy faces on the chalk board to introduce the vocabulary and you'll find those last ten minutes flying by like a greased up monkey being shot from a cannon (don't TPR that).
This game is a wonderful warm up for practising prepositions while incorporating already learned vocabulary, though it takes some preparation, either before class or when the children are told to shut their eyes. I write on little slips of paper and hide them around the classroom. One leads to another. example: ' Look under the waste bin', where the children find a slip that says,'on the teacher's desk' where they find a slip with,' beside the restroom door' or,' in front of the computer'. Inevitably the children read these instructions outloud. If they have difficulty understanding the directions I have them ask me," How do you say ' in front of the computer' in Italian?". At the end of the hunt I write a note saying 'Congratulations, You Win!!!' They are crazy for this game.
I teach grade 1 students and they absolutely love doing this game for review at the beginning of class. It works best with classes of 20, though 30 is manageable if you have enough class space to do it in. On sheets of blank paper, write one vocabulary word per paper piece. If you have access to a laminating machine, have them laminated. If not, I've found clear packing tape works just as well. 4 wide strips of packing tape covers one side of paper on average. Packing tape costs about 2-3 yuan here in China, and you get fairly big rolls. Tape your vocabulary words into a hopscotch pattern. Example: Blue Purple Red
Pink Yellow Green Orange Triangle Circle Square Rectangle Oval Diamond Then show them how you have hop on one foot from word to word, using both feet to land on the words on the outside (in the example above, that would be pink&green and circle&rectangle) before hopping back to one foot. Before they are allowed to jump to the next word, they have to read the vocabulary word (or just say it, if you use pictures instead). Make them do all of the words. next time, scrunch up a ball of paper and let them toss it. The square that it lands closer to is the one that they have to skip entirely. Kids love trying to toss the ball so it lands on the square they're having the hardest time with. When they have the game down, divide them into two teams and have two hopscotch boards laid out. Race them two at a time to see who can say all of their vocab words the fastest as they hop through the board without falling over! The first one done gets a point for their team! This game is a favorite of my kids, and they play it during their 10 minute break between classes without any prompting from me! Try it! Let me know if it works for you as well as it does for me!
How many words do you know?
This game is good as a warm-up activity. It can help students to think back of the words they have already known. The goal for the participating students are to write and say words correctly and do it as fast as possible, so their team will have longer wordlist and better chance to win the game. You need a stack of poker cards for keeping score in this activity. Divide your students into two teams and divide your blackboard into two halves, too. The members of each team take turns to write a word on the board and say it out. Two teams can write and say a word at the wame time. Therefore, you may find a little chaos in your class. A word can only be used in each team for once, but it is Ok the same word appear on the word lists of both teams. Therefore, you have to keep an eye on you students' lists and listen to their pronunciation of the words. When a student spells a word and pronounces it correctly, s/he is allow to draw a card to score for her/his team ( Ace stands for 1 point, while J, Q, K represent for 11, 12 and 13). The activity ends when the poker cards are finished, and the two teams start to calculate total points they have scored. The team that has the higher score wins the game. If you have a lower level class, you can allow your students to have textbook/notebook with them while writing. However, if your students are at a higher level, you can adjust this activity by restricting the books for set limit on the minimum number of letters for each word. I use the activity very often and I like the effect it has on my class. Try and see if you like it or not. Welcome to discuss your opinion with me!
Hunting Animals with Dart Guns
his is a game I use while teaching animals. I have several different groups of preschool and elementary aged children, and this is particularly appealing to boys - as I believe boys learn better while being active! And believe me, my groups love it! I simply divide the children into two teams. I then draw a line on the floor (with masking tape) and instruct the children to stay BEHIND the line at all times. Then I line up various rubber animals on a table and give each team a dart gun (I have some nice ones that shoot foam darts - so it is VERY safe). Then I call out the name of one animal. The team gets 1 point if they shoot the correct animal.
INSPIRING the UNINSPIRED!!!
have been assigned some tough cases in my school: young people who are not enthusiastic about learning english. One of my students has been studying privately for six years. He's been through every teacher in the school! He is 13 years old now refuses to speak english!!!! It occurred to me that he might feel that he has absolutely no stake in learning english or participating in a lesson. So I decided to give him an opportunity to be part of the decision-making process that goes into teaching a lesson. The first day of class, i told him that we were going to write our own english textbook! We looked at several texts as models for our book. We have a list of the grammar we need to include and have chosen some illustrations for the chapters. We set goals together every week and try to stay on schedule. We are using a futuristic theme and have assigned names to our characters. We introduce grammar points and write text. There are sections on reading, writing and eventually we will record some listening exercises. My student seems to be enjoying the process. He has started to speak english without even knowing it! The cost of this project is minimal. I am learning how to be a better teacher by taking on these so-called uninspired learners.
It's not over till it's over!
I've been using this method for a couple of years and my students LOVE it. Whenever I have them compete in groups, I always give them a chance to overturn the results. That way, the game doesn't get too competitive and it helps all the groups to try their best until the end of the game. This is the method that I use: I've made a chart with 12 pockets(seal up 6 envelopes, then cut them in half) and using velcro tape, I've put an alphabet card on each pocket. I've also made 12 cards that give from 1 to 3 points. At the end of a game, I place a 'point card' in each pocket so that the students cannot see how many points it is. Then, I have each group think of a word that starts with the letter on the pocket they want to choose. When I ask for the word, all the students in the group shout it out together. That group gets whatever amount of points is written on the point card in that pocket. Say that Team A and Team B each have 8 and 7 points. But then Team A chooses a 1 point card but Team B chooses a 3 point card. The results of the game are overturned! Team B goes wild! And the students in Team A do not think this is unfair because they made the final decision in choosing the point card. I think this method works because I'm sure we'd all like a chance to come up from behind and come out the winner in any game we're playing. My students certainly seem to. Hope yours do, too. P.S. One final note. If there's too big a gap in the scores to over turn the results, just double(triple...)the points written on your point cards.(If you choose a 2 pointer, you get 4(6) more points, etc...)
Are you at a loss as to how to get your kindergardeners under control? Try this positive reinforcement system, it works! First, you need to have some toys. Legos, puppets, plastic food, whatever you can find in your school or buy cheap. You teach with a desk in front of you where the kids can see it. Say "stand up" as you stand up, "sit down" as you sit down, and finally, "Be quiet" as you put your finger to your lips in silence. Put a toy out on your desk for each kid who ceases to talk at that moment. For example, a toy on the far left corner of your desk if the kid in the far left corner is quiet. After a few days, the children know which "spot" on your
desk is theirs (or you can use name tags). Do the "stand up", "sit down" and "be quiet" routine a couple of times the first few days, putting out toys each time. All the movement of standing up and sitting down gives them a physical signal that it is almost time to be quiet. Then, teach what you need to teach while leaving the toys out on your desk. (Do not allow the children to touch the toys while you teach). Take toys away from the spot on your desk of kids who talk while you are teaching or who talk during another kid's turn or who try to touch the toys. Give them play time with the toys they earned after about 10 minutes or so of teaching. I try to announce playtime when every kid still has at least 1 or 2 toys left otherwise your biggest trouble maker will burst into very loud tears about not having any toys. Only having 1 or 2 toys while everyone else has 4 or 5 seems to get the troublemakers into line while avoiding the tears. (Once you get them used to the system, you can wait until the very end of class to have play time). You should also put toys on each child's spot on your desk for correct answers (or sometimes just for participation!). That way, your troublemakers still have a lot of toys left to lose(and thus incentive to behave) if you have to take some away for misbehavior. Having a couple minutes of play time at the end of each class will really save you precious teaching time in the long run because you will not waste time constantly asking the children to be quiet. You just say "Be quiet" once and then you take their toys away from their spot on your desk if they talk out of turn during the class. It really works. The kids learn a lot and they love English class because of the toys. I have used this system as an English teacher in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Korea. The children are very well-behaved with this system, and I never have to bother the director. I have 100% participation with my speaking lessons even with the preschoolers because the children know that not participating means no toy. Best of all, all students are in their seats participating because with this system, because you only have to put a student in time-out as a last resort. They usually get it together after losing 1 or 2 toys. With this positive system, you also avoid the low self-esteem issues of one child always being "the kid in the corner."
To teach reading skills such as colours and numbers, I make a matching game that my students request over and over. Simply write out the words for colours/letters and make a matching colour square or number. Cut them out into similar-sized squares and laminate. Laminate a large piece of colored paper and put velcro on the backs of the squares and equally spaced on the colored paper. The game can be used to match the colour name to its square or vice versa. Line the students up and hand them a colour square. (You can do this in two teams). The student gets a point for each correct placement. If they are wrong, the card goes to the next student. Students love sticking the velcro together and the competition gives them added incentive to learn their colour/number words.
Memory Game With a Treat
Here is an activity I devised and tested on my birthday...I am helping my 8 year-old neighbours Joan Marc and Xavier with their English, and we decided to have a special lesson. It worked out fine for us...See how you like it! Aims: To revise spelling and vocabulary while at the same time having some fun. Necessary materials: A few sheets of white paper or thin cardboard, a pair of scissors, pencils and markers. Preparation: Cut out 26 cards, the size of ordinary playing cards (one for each of the letters in the alphabet.) Decide on 2 small prizes (one slightly more attractive than the other) that you are ready to give the students. Your prizes WILL make the whole of a difference, just wait and see!) As the activity was almost part of my birthday party I chose a bar of chocolate for the second prize and a HUGE lollipop for the first.
What to do: Quickly check that your students know their ABC and have them write the letters onto one side of the cards. Shuffle the cards, put them on a desk with the letters facing the top of the desk and keep 2 for yourself. Make sure the kids do not see what letters there are on the other side of YOUR cards (or their cards, for that matter.) Suggest some words (nouns work best ie dog, table) for the students to draw on the blank side of the cards, or let the kids choose their own words. Students draw each item twice (on different cards every time) and write the words below their pictures, so you eventually get 12 pairs of words and pics (two dogs, two tables etc.) Check the spelling! Write "Star Prize" and "Second Prize" respectively on your own cards. Gather all the cards and shuffle them well. When you are done, put the cards on the desk (4 rows of 6 and 2 at the bottom will do) in such a way that the students can see the letters but NOT the pictures on the other side. The kids take it in turns to say two letters and then they turn the corresponding cards around to see if the pictures/words on them match. If they do, the kid who has found the pair wins 1 point. In case the cards do not match, put them back on the desk, with the pictures facing the top of the desk again. The object is to match all 12 pairs of words and pictures. When the prize cards are disclosed, you will no doubt see a big smile on your students´ faces!
A fun game for reviewing body parts and numbers! You need: two cubes of wood (1 sq inch each) markers On one cube (on each of the 6 sides) you draw eyes, ears, mouth, hair, hands, feet (or any other body parts you are working on) and on the other cube you write out the numbers - one, two, three, six, ten, twelve... (or any of the numbers that you are presently working on). The student "throws the dice" and has to draw the outcome on his paper: twelve eyes, three noses and six feet, etc... The student continues until he has filled in all six body parts and colored in his monster. For younger students, I wrote out the numbers (1,2,3...) and also draw the body parts along with the words. For more advanced students, we then write about our monsters,i.e. where are they from, what do they eat and where do they sleep.... Have fun and watch out for monsters!
These are two games which my EFL primary students like. In the first we draw a picture of a "person", usually called Mr Monster and the class decides if they want long hair or short hair, curly hair or straight and so on. They decide by a show of hands. We're very democratic here. This bit is fun which is good for teaching/reinforcing body parts and adjectives. A good follow-up and the second idea is to ask questions like, "What does Mr Monster like to eat?" Students ask a question. If the answer is "Yes" they get a point and are allowed to take a guess at the item. e.g. Question: Is it sweet? A: Yes. Guess: Is it candy? A: No. etc. Two points when they guess correctly.
My funny family
This is an idea to make studying family members interesting and relevant. I made large coloured photocopies of my own family from photos to show the students. I let them guess who they were using japanese. Once they figured that out, I told them the English word. Using these pictures we did various
activities. They loved looking at my family and asked many questions about names and ages etc. For the next lesson I asked the students to bring in photos of their own family members, and they did. They recalled the vocab quite well and were genuinely interested in looking at and talking about the photos.
My Grandmother Went on a Train Trip...
I recycled an old car-trip game to help my Korean students learn to use English articles/quantifiers. Each person recites the formula, "My grandmother went on a train trip, and in her suitcase she packed..." The first student names something that starts with A, the second says the A word then something that starts with B, etc. through the alphabet. Although this was originally a memory game, I write the items on the board with the proper articles/quantifiers (an apple, a banana, some grapes, the X-Men, etc.). I also take my turn so the kids have a chance to hear a native speaker. The kids get so engrossed in coming up with strange things for Grandmother to pack (an eye, a monster, an old man, Yoda) that they don't realize they're being drilled on articles. This also builds vocabulary as kids search their brains for odd things for Grandmother, shout out suggestions to each other, and explain what they named to kids who don't know what the word means.
Nazo's Board Pelmanism
For this game the whole class is involved. The steps of the game are as follows: 1- The teacher (T.) teaches 8 animal names, by miming, acting out and making the sounds as well. 2- The T. shows the pictures of those animals to the pupils and they repeat the animal names. 3- The T. sticks those 8 pictures on the board face down and writes numbers under them 1-8. 4- The T. shows the written cards of those animals and pupils mime the animal. 5- The T. sticks the written cards on the board face down and writes the letters a-h under the cards. 6- The class is divided into 2 groups and they play this memory game(pelmanism)by saying one numer and one letter (e.g: 3-h) 7- If the two cards (the picture and the written card) match, the group keeps the cards and may have another turn. If not, it's the other groups turn. The group with most cards is the winner.
Numbers from 1 to 10
A fun game that will help students count quickly. Standing in a circle, students count one by one around the circle clockwise. When ever someone chooses they can reverse the order of counting by saying zero. When someone takes too long to say the next number, they sit out. The goal is speed! Can play this counting just even numbers, or just odd numbers, or even multiples just to make it really hard!
Parachute Man (Hangman variation)
A variation on the traditional hangman. On the board, draw a parachute, and a little stick person underneath. Then draw lots of lines from the person to the parachute (the parachute strings). Under the person, draw a large, hungry looking shark or some other scary thing, with its mouth open ready to eat the little person. Then play hangman as usual, but if someone makes a wrong letter-guess, rub out one of the parachute strings...As the parachute strings start disappearing, you can draw a worried looking face on the person etc. The kids go NUTS over this game! One class went so far as to erase the teeth of the hungry shark below....I have found it works for all ages up to 2nd year middle school. Great fun!!! (Thanks to Ed for the original idea)
Peter's Kindy ABCs
This is a method I find extremely effective in helping kindergarten aged children get into letter forming and writing. It seems incredibly simple and yet it works beautifully. You will need: Red, Blue, Green, and Black felt tips A computer and printer Ideally you should have a kindy type font uploaded on your computer or if possible, a dot-dot font. You can get them off the net. If not, choose something you think is appropriate and print off the sheets using yellow for a b/w printer. This will produce a grey font easy enough to write over. Make up an abc sheet using two sizes of abc in lower and upper case. Make the worksheet presentable by typing 'name.....' and 'subject.....' at the top and teach the children how to write their name and 'English'. For consistency's sake they can write this in black. The abc worksheet will help them to improve their writing in time. The children are now given the other felt tips and are simply required to go over the letters each in turn to complete the sheet. I generally let them use the colours as they wish in any order. You can make the worksheet into a listening activity as well so that for example children hear, 'a big red em please' (upper case) or, 'a little blue tee please' (lower case), etc. You decide. As writing practice the children use the worksheet as a daily warmer. Why it works: Here are some reasons why this simple activity is so effective: The pens are easy for little ones to hold and are familiar for the purpose of writing; The ink is indelible, which means they will discover quickly with your support that patience and care is essential; The colour makes it fun and absorbing and you will find over time that the children make up their own patterns of sequences for colours. You should also find that they always want more sheets! The potential for cognitive and fine motor development then goes without saying and of course beautiful work requires concentration and effort.
Peter's Puppet Playmate
I taught kindergarten for a while and started using puppets during lessons. I bought a purpose-made duck but anything can be adapted to make a puppet, like an old sock with buttons for eyes or even a sponge. Don't forget to give it a name ! The puppet was introduced as being a new classmate to the children and I used it to participate in lessons when I taught new vocabulary or simple grammar. I would make the puppet give wrong answers and encourage the children to correct it by saying, "Is that right ? Is the answer ..... ?" When the children knew the target language, they desperately wanted the puppet too, as well, and would shout out the answers to help the puppet. Even though the puppet was at the end of my hand and it was obvious that I was providing the voice, the children still went along with the idea and enjoyed helping their new "classmate". The original idea came from Peter Houry at Daruna International School in Ratchaburi, Thailand. To him I send my thanks
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