Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Activity-based, ‘whole child’ Speaking and Literacy tasks for YLE students

We all know that young learners who do not speak English as their mother tongue have some difficulties at the point of acquiring some words. They also find some book texts very boring, so the teachers must be responsible for creating so fantastic lessons in order to attract students’ attention during the teaching process. In other words, we must make students to learn certain words and expressions, especially those ones which are used in everyday English communication.
On the other side, students also have difficulties about writing certain words. As we all know that English is not like Serbian language, read as it is written or write as you speak. But I have to say that there are some exceptions in English (such as dog, pink, red, pen, and many other words) but not all.
In this post, I want to share all new knowledge I gained during the seminar of Cambridge English Days that was held in Sarajevo. In the very beginning, I have to admit that it was really, really great time during the lectures. My colleagues and I picked up a lot of rewarding things which can be used during teaching both native speakers of English and students whose English is the second language. As I mentioned above that some students have difficulties of remembering the process of writing the words, I will say that my students also have that problem. As a professor Bob Obee had so great examples, the one caught my eye. It was a word ‘because’. Some students, even the native speakers of English, could not remember how to write the word. So, some experts developed the following system. Here it is:

Big Elephants Can’t Always Understand Small Elephants.

In order to know how to spell the word correctly, one must extract the initial letter of every word and at the end you will get the correct spelling of word ‘because’. This is so great, isn’t it? I have to say that this is very appealing for students because I showed this kind of spelling the words. They were amazed. 

On the other side, I think that all teachers have to be always in touch with the latest tech which can be used during teaching and learning. One of so constructive tech tools is Youtube. At this web tool, there are many rewarding videos which can be found in order to organize the lessons better and to make them more appealing for students. For example, we can use the following:

wrap a present … learn a dance step … sing
along …how to sign … do magic … make
projected puppet shapes …. draw cartoon
characters … learn card tricks … make a
Chinese lantern that will fly

All these things are so helpful both for students and teachers. For students, it is good because you can tell them to prepare or to find an interesting video for a certain topic. This is too motivating for students. They will be so willing and eager to go back their homes and find and prepare a video for the next lesson. Try it, it works out!
On the other side, it will alleviate the teachers’ work. So for mutual pleasure, all participants in creating fantastic learning and teaching atmosphere will be very satisfied. I tried it and I have no words to say.

In early students’ writing and reading skills, we can also use many things. For example, we can use a quick quiz:

How many sounds are there in English?

How many characters are there in the English alphabet?

How many consonant clusters are there in English?

How many consonant clusters can occur both at beginning and at end
of English words ?

What is a digraph?

Cognitive abilities, participation, sharing ..    Reading and Listening quiz

1   Can camels swim?
2   How many legs has a spider got?
3   Do snakes lay eggs?
4   Can ducks fly?
5   Does a chicken foot have three or four toes?
6   Can frogs walk?
7   Can chickens say quack quack?
8   Do penguins lay eggs?
9   Name two animals we get milk from? 
10  Can cows jump ? 
11  How many legs has a frog got ?
12 Can you spell :  bee

I hope that some of these things will be rewarding and helpful for you. As soon as I find out other things, I am going to put them on my blog.

Best regards