Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to young children can be a stressful, pulsating nightmare of runny noses, drool and hysterical crying (and then there are the kids).
So it’s important to have a repertoire of simple, easy -to-play games up your sleeve for those days when your usual teaching ideas and practices , don’t work.
The games and activities below are FUN, old time favourites for me!
The fashion show
To practise the order of adjectives, the students become …models !!
They take turns and walk like fashion models on the catwalk!
The other students use opinion, colour, material etc adjectives, to describe what the model is wearing and make comments on his/her clothes!
Example: She’s wearing a cute, pink, woollen sweater! It suits her!
He is wearing smart, dark blue,denim jeans! They match his t-shirt!
Each player has a sheet of paper and begins by drawing the head of a person as far as the neck.
All the players, fold the top of the sheet over to hide the head , leaving just the neck showing. They then, passes his sheet on to the next person who draws the body including the arms but not the hands!The paper is folded again with just the waist and wrists left showing and the papers are passed on..This time the player draws the legs down to the knee and the hands. Finally, the player draws the lower legs and feet!
The papers are passed on for the last time and the players unfold their pictures for everyone to enjoy!
We compare and contrast out pictures, we describe them in detail and have loads of laugh!
Each player writes the opening line of a story at the top of his sheet of paper. I give them instructions about what to write each time.
First they have to write ” the name and surname of a man we all know, and some characteristics of him” He can be a famous athlete an artist or even a teacher or a classmate!
All the players, fold the top of the sheet over to hide what’s written and pass their sheet on to the next person.
The second sentence is about ” a woman we all know and some characteristics of her”
They fold again and pass it on.
The third sentence is about ” where they first met and how”
The fourth one is about ” HIS first words to her ”
The fifth sentence , about” HER reply or reaction ”
The next one about ” what happened next”
On the last round each player must write a sentence to end the story! The final sentence is about ” what happened in the end”…was it a happy ending or not?
It’s pure fun when we read our stories aloud!
It’s also a way for me to spot weaknesses in their writing…To find out what grammatical/vocabulary mistakes students are making in general! I usually ask them to do this activity during the first week at school, especially with a new class..!
The writing half hour
Once a month, I introduce a writing half hour when students -6th graders- aren’t allowed to talk and can communicate only in writing!
I explain that:
for the next 30 minutes, students can communicate with everyone in the classroom and communicate about anything but, are not allowed to talk, only write.The things that they write will not be individually corrected!
The purpose of this activity is to give students confidence and practice in writing.
I answer any questions that students may have .
I carry around paper myself and write notes and questions to my students!
It is a good chance to ask individual questions that they might not feel safe talking about at other times!
“Hi, Maria. I noticed that you look a bit tired today.Are you feeling o.k?”
” Paul, you looked confused when we studied the simple past last week. Do you need more help with this?’
Don’t be surprised if students are a little bewildered at first.
In later weeks, I give them tasks to perform during the half hour.For example, I ask the girls to find out if boys in class enjoy a particular sport/activity more than them!
At the end of each activity, I collect all the papers and find out what grammatical mistakes students are making in general.But, I make sure I don’t tell an individual student what mistakes he or she has made , as this may inhibit, his desire to communicate.
It can make a welcome break in noisy classes!
To be continued….