It’s called Goldilocks and the three answers and it’s over on the OUP English Language Teaching Global Blog. The post is about the challenge of finding a balance between natural and productive language when teaching young learners.
If you have a chance, please drop by and let me know what you think…
Ask any Filipinos about Pukpuk Palayok or Hampas Palayok, and chances are they played it or saw it played at least once during their childhoods. The game is so immensely popular that any celebration or town fiesta is not complete without children (oh yes, sometimes adults) playing it. Having been colonized by the Spaniards for three hundred and thirty three years, Pukpuk Palayok is the Filipino version of Piñata, and just like the fiesta, Spaniards used the game to attract natives to their ceremonies and convert them to their religion. The Filipinos, known for reinventing things to suit their needs out of limited resources, adapted it by using a clay pot instead of the Mexican painted paper Piñata. In those times paper and paints were scarce and expensive, whereas clay pots were plentiful and cheap.
In the Philippines, pupok means to hit, and palayok is a clay pot, so the game literally means to hit a pot. Traditionally, the game is played with the decorated clay pot filled with goodies (candies, sweets, coins, and sometimes peso bills), suspended by string in the air, high enough for players to reach it. A long bamboo stick is used to hit and break the pot, so that players as well as by-standers can grab as many goodies as they can. The player who breaks the pot wins a prize, usually in currency.
Pukpok Palayok: Reinvented for EFL classrooms
For EFL classrooms, Pukpok Palayokuses no clay pot, nor a bamboo stick. Instead, the game makes use of the white board, picture cards (with magnets attached at the back), and an oversize hat (my children hate to be blindfolded with a handkerchief). In this adaptation, hitting is not permitted; children make use of their sense of directions, understanding of the commands given, and using their hands to feel for the targets. In my experience, the game works wonderfully for preschoolers, for teaching the alphabet, colors, shapes, fruits and vegetables. While, for elementary graders, it works very well for foods, practicing specific target language (“I’m hungry! What do you want? I want a hamburger. Go find it!” or “Where are you going? I’m going to the supermarket. Go find it”). In addition to the target language, this is a great way to reinforce language for giving directions like; go straight, to your left, to your right, stop, that’s it, etc.
Target Language Examples
S1: I’m hungry!
Class : What do you want?
S1 : I want (hamburgers).
Class: Go find it!
Class: What’s for (lunch)?
S2: (Spaghetti) is for lunch.
Class : Where are you going?
S3 : I’m going to the (park).
Class: How are you going there?
S3 : I’m (riding a bicycle).
Class: Have fun!
Two (2) or more (the more the merrier!)
a party hat (oversize) or blindfold
How to play
Determine the order of play.
In random, attach all the picture cards on the board.
Instruct the players to remember the placement of each card.
The first player takes his turn. He stands 12 steps (more is better) away from the board. The other players ask the question; for example, “What do you want? The first player answers “I want (a hamburger).” The other players answer back “Go, find it!”
The first player puts on the over size hat (covering his or her face), and turns around three times.
The other players give directions, starting with “Go straight!” “To your right!” “To your left!” etc. The aim is for the player to find the target by following directions given by other players.
Note : For large number of players, for example twenty (20) , it is best to group them into four (4) teams of five members each. One player will have to be blindfolded, while the other four members give the directions to find the target picture card.
Marco Brazil has been training teachers and teaching children English for over fifteen years. He maintains strong a strong commitment to making English fun and easy for both teachers and learners. He occasionally writes articles and gives teaching presentations for Oxford Kid’s Club Teaching Tour mostly, on games (You can see handouts from his workshops here and here). Marco is the director/owner of SmartKids Circle. You can find Marco on Facebook or follow him on his blog, Mabuhay Classroom.
Last November, Carolyn Graham did a workshop at the JALT National Conference in Shizuoka, Japan, on how to make a Jazz Chant. I taped her workshop, and with her permission am sharing the part of it where she demonstrates her technique.
One of the many things I love about Carolyn is that she spends most of her time giving away her secrets. In this short video, Carolyn shows teachers how easy it is for them to create their own chants to reinforce vocabulary or grammar. (more…)
Matt Richelson makes some excellent points about the power of music in the EFL classroom in his recent article, “Teaching Young Learners With Songs.” I use music and movement daily with young learners in the English classroom. Let me add a few more suggestions that can assist you in using these powerful tools to teach English to your students.
In February, I talked with approximately 1000 teachers in Fukuoka, Okayama, Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo as part of the OUP Teaching Workshop Series. Workshop titles were assigned to fit an acronym. I was the “I” in K.I.D.S.—Interactive Ideas for Keeping your English Classes Relevant for the 21st century. The challenge for me was how to make technology tools relevant for teachers who don’t have computers in their classrooms. (more…)
My students love parties. I’m always looking for excuses to have a party, so it’s a good fit. It’s also fortunate if you happen to teach English in Japan, where end-of-year parties are already built into cultural expectations for groups.
I have a confession to make. As I get older, my learning style more and more resembles an eight-year old boy’s. You know, push buttons until something works. That, coupled with my determination to maintain a beginner mentality by trying new things, keeps me solidly on a learning curve for something or other.