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Young kids, mixed levels, small group ... what would you do? 
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Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 1
Post Young kids, mixed levels, small group ... what would you do?
So here's the situation. I'm helping 3 first graders (6-7 years old) with their oral English once a week. Two of them spent roughly a year in the US and have now been back in China for about a year. They're a little shy with their English now and I think have forgotten quite a bit but can still communicate pretty well in English. If it were just these two I could just play with them and speak English and I think it would be successful. But the other only knows how to answer "what's your name?" and can say his colors and numbers. I think he gets English class every day at school so he probably knows a bit more than that as well. I'm looking for activities that would keep all three kids engaged, so it either needs to be simple without being boring or else interesting even if incomprehensible. Suggestions?

Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:04 pm

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:33 am
Posts: 42
Location: Poland
I've got a similar situation in my classes and I found out that what you really need is patience and time for you and your students :))
There are plenty of activities and games on MES site, you could also listen to some podcasts: I found them very useful. Find the ones that you like or seem ok for you. If you like them your students will like them, too.
Let them sing songs, draw and colour, tell them stories!!! Give everybody plenty of time to listen first before they speak. To tell stories you can use puppets or, what is more interesting and creative for kids: Cuisenaire Rods. If you don't know them, let me know, I can post some activities on using them. It's a really great yet simple tool to teach English.
Why do you need patience? Because if you've got a mixed-ability class it's really harder. When you present target language some students may already know it and they seem bored: engage them by being a little bit like an actor or let them help you - this can be a great time for teaching them how to help each other. When they finish earlier be prepared to have something extra for them. My kids love Hidden Pictures. You'll find them here: ... rchive.asp or just go to and look for Hidden Pictures. There are plenty of them to download for free.
I am sure that after some time you will see great results, because your students will learn not only from you but also from each other.
Good luck!


Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:30 pm

Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:16 am
Posts: 26
Thanks for the websites. The Highlights will be helpful as I also teach multi-ages at different levels. It is challenging and takes patience.

Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:46 am

Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:32 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Taipei, Taiwan
Thanks akalichanka. Excellent suggestions. Planning on using the hidden pictures.

Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:21 am

Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:57 pm
Posts: 36
Thanks for the hidden picture link, i will try using then tonight.
I will get them to use the words only at first to practice reading and if they are having trouble will introduce the pictures. When they find each object they will have to describe where it is to get the finder's credit (speaking activity)

Again, thanks.

Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:30 pm

Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:57 pm
Posts: 36
You could intoduce some topics and get the Ss to come up with a vocab list. Then, use the Ss vocab list to work on some pre-determined language using games, role-plays etc. Even if kids already know something, they are likely to want to play if it is wrapped up as a game.

Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:36 pm
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