More Than Five Things to do with LEGO® in the EFL Classroom Part 1 (by Emma Herrod)

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23 Responses

  1. Barbara Barbara says:

    Thank you, Emma! These are great ideas and I’m ready to head to the toy store tomorrow before class (or soon, anyway!). These are very clever ways to use something that’s easy for all teachers to find.

    The ideas in tomorrow’s part two are just as great, and I think other teachers will enjoy them just as much as I do!

    • Emma Herrod Emma Herrod says:

      aww well bless you lovely lady 🙂

      Thank-you so much for giving me the opportunity to write for your blog – ‘honoured’ is an understatement.

      I hope too that teachers will experiment and NOT stick to the rules! That’s the fun and nature behind LEGO – it’s all up to your imagination.

      Also, as people will see tomorrow, no need to spend lots of money on bricks – some credit-crunch-friendly LEGO solutions and a competition 🙂 wooo-hooo 🙂

      Emma x

  2. Emma,

    I love this post! What a great job and what great activities! When I did the curriculum for museum education classes I used to invite my friend Brandon as a regular guest speaker for the children. They loved him, because he was our Lego expert. He would bring in these enormous Lego creations that he created. He had an amusement park, rollercoaster, and more that were like 5 ft by 5 ft. They had lights and moved as well! After he would show his structures he would help the students build their own Lego creations. The theme was usually pulleys, gears, and other simple machines! Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

    • Emma Herrod Emma Herrod says:

      Thank-you Shelly – as ever, you’re feedback is much appreciated.

      There really are some crazy enthusiasts out there who do weird and wonderful things with small bits of plastic. Check out these guys – they rock!

      Be sure to check by tomorrow and see the other ideas – there’s one there in particular that you might like 😉

      Emma x

  3. I just want to say that this is the most exciting and inspiring blog post I have read in a very long time. I have a 4-year old who is starting to go beserk with LEGO, and I’ve been planning a blog post to explore the issues with creativity and language development.

    LEGO Bricktation – Oh my goodness, the most exciting concept I’ve heard for TEYL in a VERY long time!

    I have to stop now, before the positive superlatives start sounding farcical. I’m just so terribly impressed and inspired!!!

    I’ll be back tomorrow. Reserve me a seat near the front, please. I am willing to pay, and also willing to outbid other applicants.


    Thanks Emma!

    – Jason

    • Emma Herrod Emma Herrod says:

      Jason – woah!

      Thank-you for a wonderful (and superlative-filled) response. I’m new to the writing blog thing but it’s sure good to know even if just one or two people find what you have to say useful. Your kind words are very encouraging.

      I’m a firm believer in the correlation between creativity and language development. I’m also sure than when our students have the opportunity to become immersed in a cognitive and creative task, that the language will fall out of their mouths – I’ve seen it 🙂

      Thanks again for your kind words and I’d be happy to explore some of this in more detail with you if you’re ever inclined to do so.

      All the best from the UK

  4. Nergiz Kern says:

    I totally agree with Jason! Your ideas are great and I’m very curious about part 2 🙂

    I love the LEGO Bricktation idea (and word creation) but I was thinking of my monolingual class and thought it might not work. I’ve tried using computer games with them but instead of reading the instructions, they simply go with the visuals and help each other in Turkish (low Elementary). I need to find strategies to avoid that.

    The writing activity is also really fantastic especially for those students (and teachers) who are tired of the “usual stuff” or the more “hands-on types” don’t like writing tasks.



    • Emma Herrod Emma Herrod says:

      Hi Negiz,

      Thank-you for taking the time to respond to the post and I’m glad you found the ‘Bricktation’ idea interesting – I think the word came to me in the middle of the night – it was too terrible to let it go!

      Your point about monolingual classes is a good one and when the students are excited and competing in teams, the L1 seems to come out in all the enthusiasm does it? What about doing the activities on a points system? For example with the model building activity, add points for the teams who complete the task just using English, and deduct points from the teams who you hear using L1. Might just mean you having to be a wandering language moderator for the duration of the task.

      Do let me know how it goes!

      All the best,

    • For problems with L1 invasion of the activity, I have a sure fire way of dealing with that… Every time I hear the L1 instead of English, I confiscate a brick.


      Doesn’t mean you have to be nasty or anything, just make rules and uphold them, and to maintain the target language, the best way is to make it impossible to complete the exercise to perfection without sticking to it.

      Might want to take it a little easier on the lower/younger levels, though – at least to start out with.


      – Jason

      • Ceri says:

        adding to Jason’s comment – and make sure they have a (language)model to follow – do it yourself first – set up and play with any useful chunks – award extra bricks for groups doing really well – maybe a colour they’re not using in the model so it stands out? maybe give groups a chance to earn/win some more at the end by shouting out stuff they were saying in English?

        btw love the post and all the ideas – thanks!

  5. Hi Emma

    Thank you for these lovely ideas! I have a small box of LEGO in my classroom but I haven’t been as creative as you!

    I use it with children to practise prepositions of place and giving instructions. Each child builds a simple model out of a few bricks (my set isn’t very big!) and then explains how to build it e.g. Put the red brick under the yellow brick etc. They then compare.

    I have also used the bricks to teach adjectives of size: big, small, long, short, thin, fat. Also to internalise vocab such as animals where the children try to build an animal of their choice, or a robot where we discuss different parts of the body.

    Once I tried to use them to make sentences as a replacement for cuisenaire rods, with a group of adults, but if I remember rightly it didn’t go down so well!

    Looking forward to your other ideas tomorrow.


  6. Ann Foreman says:

    Just posted a link to this on the TeachingEnglish facebook page if you’d like to check for comments.

    Please feel free to post there when you have anything you’d like to share.



  7. Janet Taylor says:

    This is a great idea! I also teach in Adult Education and this would be great team building exercise. I love the visual and written instructions because you KNOW one person will be building just by looking at the picture and another person will want to read the directions step by step.

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