When I first began teaching very young English language learners in Germany, I went a bit insane! Kids climbed the walls literally and flew the paper airplanes I had actually thought would be a creative lesson plan. With 14 children running around and yelling, “Shelly Belly” I nearly quit. At least they were using English, right? My extensive years of teaching had been to English speaking children who were much older and to English language learners who were in their teenage or college years. I did a lot of research, because I love a challenge. The tips I learned are included in the Glogster below, which you can click and explore!
- You should have fun! Along these lines, wear a smile!
- Have the ability to act silly – I often dress-up when reading books, play charades, make silly voices and faces, and sing and dance!
- Have lively music that is easy for the children to understand and that you will enjoy singing very loudly to!
- TPR- Total physical response is a must for every lesson. Find out more by reading this post.
- Board games- We play Twister, bingo, and more!
- Include stories from great children’s authors and make the reading time fun. Check out my class wiki for various books and the themes they support.
- Use colorful flashcards and play games with the flash cards.
- Color with a purpose! Give children a task to see if they can follow directions, such as telling a child to draw a circle and color it yellow. Without direction, I’ve had children color on the wall and on me!
- Puppets are great for children, especially when you incorporate the puppet in every lesson.
- Felt boards are great for having children piece together what happened in a story or to learn new vocabulary.
- Include hands-on activities. We use recycled materials and children create things for the theme.
- Use realia- My students play Bingo with pennies from the USA. Introduce real world objects to students from an English speaking culture.
- Trust kids with technology! My five year-old students complete online activities each week which I put in a wiki. Kids love technology and will repeat what they learn.
- Finger plays like the Itsy Bitsy Spider work wonders.
- When all else fails, try channeling the inner kid within yourself!
Shelly Sanchez Terrell began teaching inner city children in 1994 in Texas as part of a Christian pantomime and puppetry troop. She later managed hands-on science museum programs for children. In 2000, her nonprofit organization, ETHOS, won the SAMMinistries Volunteer Group of the Year award for their creation of a homeless children’s art and music program, which involved slam poets, artists, and musicians. For the past two years she has taught English to children, teenagers, and adults in Germany.
Thank you Barb for giving me the opportunity to write about teaching children!