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First experience with basic school children 
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Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 8:35 pm
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Location: Germany
Post First experience with basic school children
Today I've made my first experience with basic school children in English.
Normally I teach adults.

My first group were the first and second graders . With them it was still a bit difficult to apply the English and I chose to use both English and their mother tongue, which is German. I'm convinced it will get easier as soon as I will be using your flashcards and games and worksheets.
Nevertheless, they were interested and open for it.

My second group were the third and fourth graders, who have already had three or four years of very basic English.
With them it was real fun!
I talked to them nearly just in English and they were eager to say what I had told them in German. I even could use the Past Tense without them being shocked and they translated just naturally. Although they made a few mistakes, they got the overall meaning very well . I left it to this and didn't correct very much as long as they had understood in general. They were able to answer quite well in English, too. They seem to be fit for quite a lot of every day English and for some 'work' on new vocabulary and games.

I have the impression we will enjoy our lessons.

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Tue Sep 01, 2009 4:29 am
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Just one small suggestion about the very young children. You may find it useful if you use a hand puppet, a rabbit or something, and speak to them like the rabbit is teaching them. Start with easy Simon says commands like stand up, sit down…
They will find this very amusing and will accept everything more easily if it looks like a game. You can make some jokes, like for the end of class everyone should draw a carrot for you or something else, and that is how you will make them learn vocabulary, they should draw and write the word.

Hope you find this useful!


Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:07 am
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Post Re: First experience with basic school children
keepie wrote:
I have the impression we will enjoy our lessons.

That's great! One of the things I feel is really important with kids is that they enjoy the lessons. If they like it and feel good about it, they'll put effort towards learning more and doing better.

It doesn't have to be a party all of the time, though.

I also think puppets are a good addition to lower elementary school classes. What I like about puppets is they can serve as a conversational partner. When you teach alone and you want to practice a question and answer routine, the puppet can ask the questions and you answer, for example.

As far as getting the meaning back from the kids in L1, as long as they've got the general idea, I think that's fine. My kids are fluent in English and Japanese and they can't translate very accurately between the 2. They're 3, 5, and 8 years old. Until you teach them the finer points of the grammar, they're not really that concerned about exact grammatical translations in my experiences.

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Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:06 am
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Thanks a lot for your reply and your suggestions, Snowflake and mesmark!

@Snowflake: The handpuppet is a very good idea, thanks a lot. I had aready had the feeling that I could do with some 'transmission aid' and a hand puppet would serve this brilliantly. I'll try and let you know.

@ mesmark: Thanks a lot to you as well for your suggestion concerning the hand puppet.
In Germany, the basic school children aged 6-10 learn only the very basics of the English language. There isn't a strong point on grammar at all, this only starts in secondary school. The aim here is to get the children into English by the means of talking, singing, playing, artworks and a little bit of writing only. So it was surprisingly good how much they got of what I said, mostly out of what they had already learned in the 'proper lesson' and out of 'gut feeling'.
Luckily I don't have to teach accurate grammar. Though I will see to the children speaking correctly and thus somehow getting the grammar and taking it in without knowing the rules.

Again, thanks a lot, you both!

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Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:19 am
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By reading the older topics you will find a lot of other great ideas. I was about to tell you that you should bring a ball to class and practice questions and answers by tossing it to the students, but I read it already somewhere on this forum. I have to tell you this really works.

And today I was listening to the songs on www.dreamenglish.com, and I think they are wonderful for young students. Simple, and at the same time interesting.

One more suggestion. I always make sure that my students don’t always sit down on their chairs. Every class I do some kind of physical activity. One of them is for an example when I teach the colors, I place papers in different colors on the floor and I tell them to jump on them one by one, and they have to say the color they are standing on before jumping on another. I do the same with the days of the week, months, numbers, even the alphabet (but they have to say it backward, or with mixed up letters). By doing this I realized that children learn more easily when they perform some kind of action.

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Wed Sep 02, 2009 8:15 am
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Today was my second time with the basic school children.
Our lesson is in the afternoon, one from 2.30 pm to 3.15 pm and the other one from 3.15 pm to 4.00 pm.
The children were very tired today, but fidgety at the same time and couldn't concentrate at all.
It seems I can't really do anything challenging with them so late in the day.
The handpuppet was quite a success. I had the impression that they at least were less reluctant because of Daddle, the koala.
Thanks very much for the singing link, Snowflake, I think it might be better to do songs when the children are this tired.

Have you got any other ideas for children who are tired and unable to really concentrate?

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Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:35 am
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I have a DVD with the books I use, and it has cartoons connected with the units, and that works quite great with tired children, the cartoons are interesting with very simple words, and when it ends I ask them if they understood something and then play it again explaining all the new words. Surprisingly children learn very fast by watching. I don’t know if this helps you, or if you have equipment to do this, it’s something I do.

An easy board game like the ones on mes-english usually makes children forget that they are tired. You might have a look at them. They are in the vocabulary worksheets’ section.

Or you could try reading some stories to them, even if they are too difficult for them. After you read, you could translate it, and they can learn a few words and make a conclusion what the story was about. At least they will get to listen some English.

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Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:26 am
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Thanks a lot again, Snowflake!

I haven't got DVDs and even not anactual book, but I can use computers and so I can have a look on youtube where they have quite a few cartoons and clips of sesame street for instance.
Great idea!

The boardgames, of course. I had already had a look at them, they are fantastic, I will give those a try as well.

If I can make them listen :roll: reading will be good, so perhaps they can relax a bit. As they like to guess the meaning of words, it will keep them with me, I suppose.

Thanks a lot!

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Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:46 pm
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For new vocabulary you could try the videos on this site, they are interesting, besides those you thought of. At least they will get the children's attention and they can relax.

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Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:57 pm
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Thanks again Snowflake for you suggestion, I'm still finding my way around here :oops:

I have just checked the vids on this site, they are great!
I'll try them!

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Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:58 pm
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