That’s not my dinosaur – English for kids.

Usborne has published a series of books called That’s not my … My daughter won That’s not my dinosaur and I have used it for our one-to-one English classes time. There is a lot we can do with it as teachers of English or simply as parents exposing English to kids through reading. I came up with some of the ideas below and tested with my three-year-old girl. She loves it.

That’s not my dinosaur!

Usborne has published a series of books called That’s not my … My daughter won That’s not my dinosaur and I have used it for our one-to-one English classes time. There is a lot we can do with it as teachers of English or simply as parents exposing English to kids through reading. I came up with some of the ideas below and tested with my three-year-old girl. She loves it.

If you are in France, you can buy it here.

There they go, the ideas. I adapted my one-to-one moments to possible groups (which I don’t have now, but I followed my previous experiences with kids groups). Hope it works for you. Have fun!

Age : 3 to 6 (select according to your group’s age and pace)

Theme: dinosaurs

Book: That’s not my dinosaur, Usborne edition (or any other book of dinosaur which language you may explore and adapt to class. Just use my ideas as guide)

SWBEST: students will be exposed to new vocabulary (adjectives and nouns) to make description and stimulated to use them in speaking, colouring, sorting activities and in games.

Target vocabulary: dinosaurs’s names; parts of dino’s body – tail, head, teeth, flippers, horns, spines; description adjectives – big, small, soft, rough, slippery, bumpy, and fuzzy.

Recycled vocabulary: big , small, number 1 to 10 and colors.

Time: meetings of one hour.

The Plan

Material: book, colouring papers, crayons, glue, modelling clay, music, some dinosaurs (of any kind and different sizes and material), smart board and internet connection in case you chose the connected activities.

Meeting 1 – name the dinosaurs

I’ll post the others in the following days. They are 6 in total.

Pre-reading: Put the dinosaurs in a  soft bag before coming in. Organize kids in a circle sitting on the floor (if possible). Ask [them to touch your bag and say what you have there. They may not put their hands inside. Let them guess. React to their guesses! After that, you let them put their hands in the bag and guess again. While they touch (one kid after another) ask them if the thing they touch is nice to touch or not. Ask students to close their eyes. Take the Dino out of the bag and put in the middle of the circle. Learners open their eyes. What was in the bag? – you ask. Learners say: a dinosaur. Then you praise those who first guessed, if any. 

Reading: Get the book and bring learners close to you. Tell them they are going to read the book with you. Read the book. Let them follow your fingers while listening to you. Let them touch the book to feel it (it is a touchy-feely book). Then, when you finish it, open the pages and ask them to answer some question about the book.

Post-reading: these questions are supposed to be asked and answered by the teacher together with learners. It is just perfect if any learner is able to answer without any help. But they are being asked to recycle language they already know (like colors, big, small) and to be exposed to language they may not know yet (the target language). So, there is no big problem if they do not say much at this point. Learners answer by pointing or touching or speaking. It is time for teacher to call attention to all details concerning the target language. It’s input time.

We just have to keep in mind that kids do not keep long in the same activity. 5 minutes is already too much.

Example of questions:

  1. Wow. Look at this dinosaur. Is it big? This dinosaur is really big. What color is it? Where is the tail of the dinosaur? 
  2. What color Is this dinosaur? Where’s its mouth? Where are tits teeth?
  3. What color is this dinosaur? Does it have legs? How many?
  4. What color is this dinosaur? Where is its head? What is on its head? 
  5. Does it have horns? How many?
  6. What color is this dinosaur? Does it have spines? What color are the spines? 

Follow-up ( FU)

The follow up activities may vary according to groups pace and age. And it is not a good idea to choose more than one target language group per meeting.

FU 1 – name the dinosaur (names are big and difficult even to us but it is fun having kids trying to say them. I use the first part of their names only to begin. Brachio, Ptero, Stego…

  • PPT to be used/adapted in smartboard: dinosaurs (send me an email and you will get it)
  • Puzzle : dinosaur (get a dino printed image. Cut it and give to kids so they can make the puzzle)
  • Sorting: circle the T-rex dinosaurs only

FU 2

Dancing chairs 

  • 1 – Put the picture of a dinosaur under each chair. Play the song. Stop the song. Kids sit down. Kids get the dino under the desk. They have to say the name of the dino. If they do not know the dino’s name they ask for help and the others try to help. When they have all finally said it the dance continues. The challenge is not the chair, it is to say the names with no help.
  • 2 – Put the dinos under their desk. Play the song. They walk and dance around the chairs. Stop the song. Kids sit. You call a dinosaur. They get the dino under their desk. The one who got the dino you called gets a stick to show he is a dinosaur expert. 

Dancing corners

Put one item related to the target language that was previously taught in different places at your teaching space (classroom, garden, hall, playroom). Put a song. Kids dance. Stop the song. You say: I see a T-rex somewhere. Kids run to the corner where there is a T-rex and they say ‘T-rex’. You praise and play the song again. Stop the song and keep it going on and on and stop the game when you notice they are getting too much of it.


 *I don’ use SWBAT because my experience says that teachers expose learners to new items and give them opportunities to use them in different situations. Learners do not usually leave our time together being able to do what we expected them to (despite our efforts). However, having been exposed and given the practice opportunities will give them some input to the target language to the point when – maybe some days after exposure – they will be able to use them naturally.  This is why I prefer to say that they ‘will be exposed and stimulated’ instead of ‘will be able to’. 

 **Sometimes mixing L1 (language 1) and L2 (language 2) is not a big problem as long as you keep it mostly in L2 and if L1 is used to make things quickly clear when trouble is big. This helps learners build confidence with the new language.

PS. Found grammar mistakes or typos? Please let me know. Thank you!

11 steps to teach English to kids with the books they have

Um livro de criança é sempre um mundo a explorar. A melhor forma de faze-lo é ter como objetivo simplesmente engajar as crianças em leituras ou contação de histórias que envolvam os livros que elas tem ao alcance de suas mãos, em casa ou na escola.

Dê uma volta na estante de livros com sua criança. Deixe-a escolher um livro.  Mesmo que não seja na língua alvo, a segunda língua que você quer ajudá-la a aprender. Lembre-se de que ela ainda não sabe ler. Explore, leia as figuras e conte você a história na língua que quer que ela aprenda.

Pre-reading

Um livro de criança é sempre um mundo a explorar. A melhor forma de faze-lo é ter como objetivo simplesmente engajar as crianças em leituras ou contação de histórias que envolvam os livros que elas tem ao alcance de suas mãos, em casa ou na escola.

Dê uma volta na estante de livros com sua criança. Deixe-a escolher um livro.  Mesmo que não seja na língua alvo, a segunda língua que você quer ajudá-la a aprender. Lembre-se de que ela ainda não sabe ler. Explore, leia as figuras e conte você a história na língua que quer que ela aprenda.

Pre-reading

  1. Choose the book WITH the children or just show up with a book in hands and say ‘Look! I have a book!’.
  2. Call the children’s attention to the picture on the cover of the book.
  3. Say the title aloud and let the children imagine what is coming.
  4. Give the book to the children. Let them touch it.
  5. Invite them to listen to the story. Make it a play time.
  6. If you feel they are ready. Tell the story, or read it aloud letting them see all the pictures in it.

While-Reading

  1. Find a comfortable position and place.
  2. Involve the children in each part of the story.
  3. Let them turn the pages (if one kid. If more put them in circle and turn it yourself).
  4. Play with the story as you tell or read.
  5. Ask questions to the children (even if they do not speak yet).
  6. Answer the questions yourself if they can’t.
  7. Read creatively.

After-reading

Give the children some of these opportunities to play and learn with the target language.

  1. Sound and image input
  2. Reality approximation
  3. Cognitive questions
  4. Recognition vocabulary
  5. Coloring
  6. Numbers
  7. Montessori activities (gross and fine motor skills)
  8. Letters
  9. Drawing (or drawing observation)
  10. Craft
  11. Screen time

Books about a dog (any kids’ book you like)

I suggest “Deixei o pum escapar, by Blandina Franco” in Portuguese. In English I suggest Clifford field’s day and Where’s Spot?, which are lovely books for kids. In French I used “Monsieur Maigre” , which is not about a dog, but mentions and pictures the BIG dog of Monsieur Maigre.

  • age 1 to 4
  • Click to enlarge the pictures. They are ready to save and print.
  • or download the presentation here

Sound and image input

Reality approximation

Cognitive questions

Recognition vocabulary

 

Coloring

Numbers

Montessori activities (gross and fine motor skills)

Letters

Drawing(or drawing observation)

Craft

Screen time

Além de tudo isso, que são atividades super rápidas, há também um mini book prontinho pra criança brincar aqui no @quemvailerpramim. clica aqui Ou vá até nossa página de downloads e veja outros.

 

 

 

This is it. Please let me know what you think.

Fable: The Tortoise and The Hare to young learners

Most of us once in life read or been told a fable. When I was a child I heard some and then when I could finally read I read others. Fables are fabulous! They have  this power to draw pictures in our minds and feed our imaginary world. Have you ever considered using fables to invite your kids to learn much more than the moral of the story? Much more than simply the language you want them to speak? I have here some suggestions that may help you think about it and possibly put it in your next meeting with you little ones.

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.”

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.

After that, Hare always reminded himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”

from storyarts.com

Ideas and suggestions

The ideas and suggestions below can be adapted to any target language. The goal is always to make reading something that connects significantly with the world of the children; with the things they can see, hear and touch. For a Portuguese language version click here.

Age: 3 to 6 years old. (Read and find out which applies better to your kid’s age)

Appeal: It’s a fable. There are animals as characters. It’s short. There’s humor. There is a twist.

Indoor activities

Vocabulary

  • Hangman: animals (tortoise and hare). Before telling or reading the fable with them, let them try to find out what two animals are in the fable by playing a hangman with the words tortoise and hare. This is not supposed to lead to competition.
  • Balloons on the floor: cut the letters of the word tortoise and hare and put them in a balloon. Tell the kids they will have to blow the balloon up and write the names of the animals in the fable by gathering the letters. To be done after reading.
  • Foam and fun: fill in a container with foam and put the letters of the alphabet inside it (letters in plastic, rubber or foam paper). Then let your kids play and find out the letters of the words tortoise and hare. Give them the time of a song or two to complete the task. OR You can also put the animals inside the foam. They first find the animal and then find the letters to make the name of the animal.
  • Shout the adjective: use the main adjectives used in the fable and their opposite (FASTxSLOW, SLEEPYxAWAKEN, NEARxFAR) to play games with the kids. Shout one adjective and let them run to the picture of a tortoise or a hare respectively (the pictures can be fixed on the floor or on the wall). OR  make 2 circles on the floor, put the picture of a tortoise in one and a hare in another and shout one adjective and let the kids run to the circle where they will find the animal with the opposite quality. They will have to shout it back when they arrive there (the opposite adjective).
  • Action verbs: explore the verbs run and walk. ALSO the modal CAN. Ask your kids: can you can fast? Let them ask others around.

Letters and sounds: the alphabet

  • Consonants T and H – use modeling clay to let your kids play of making letters. Give them a stick and the clay and a print with the letter you want them to make. They can also ‘sculpt’ the letter and put beside the picture of the animal (you should provide the picture).

Vowel O and E – give modeling clay to the kids and sing the letter you want them to build, sculpt, and write it slowly on the board or show it in a card. Let them take their time to do it. OR just follow the example in the picture.

Numbers

  • 1 to 4: print the picture of the animals and make a poster with them distributed in quantities of 1 to 4. Example: put 2 hares, 3 tortoises, 1 tortoise, 4 hares… Give sticks to the kids and let them place the right amount of sticks accordingly to how many animals they see.
  • legs: ask them how many animals with 2 legs they know. How many animals with 4 legs? They will have fun trying to figure it out. Give them some rubber animals, those usually found in department store and help them count their legs. Make sure you have at least a rooster or a bird among them.

Colors

  • warm colors and cold colors: which animal in the illustration has a cold color? Which has a warm one? Let your kids know about the color wheel. Put a cold picture and a hot picture on the floor and invite them to place their crayons in the right picture according to their colors. OR give them a colored picture of the animals and a version to be colored. Let them color the animals.
  • Color and cut: just give them the chance to color and cut the activity in the picture taken from here.

Drawings and shapes

  • Guess the drawing: surprise your kids with your drawing talent. Let them do the same. Click here to follow a model. Or here. It’s great to be done as a pre-reading or listening to the story.

Curiosities

  • animal vs animal: are rabbits and hare the same thing? (click here to find it out). What about turtle and tortoise? Find it here. Let your kids guess and help them find out the answer. They will be surprised.

Biology

  • mammals vs reptiles: what are tortoise and hare? Ask them if they know the difference between mammals and reptiles. Give modeling clay to your kids so they can ‘sculpt’ their favorite mammals and reptiles. OR put as many rubber animals on the floor as you can, put the kids in a circle around it and ask them to pick the mammals and the reptiles. After that they play with the modeling clay to make their favorite animals.

Geography

  • home sweet home: where do hares live? and tortoises and turtles? What other animals can you find there where they live? Let your kids tell you what they know.

Outdoors

  • My reality: get your kids to visit the zoo and find other slow and fast animals.
  • Tell me who? : invite your kids to ask relatives at home or people at school if they have already touched, seen or even eaten a tortoise or a hare. OR ask them to question friends “can you run faster than me? Prove it!” . You know what they’re going to do to find it out ????

On the big screen

  • After telling the story (you can learn how to tell it here) and do some while and post activities with your kids, you can always ask them if they want to see a video of it. There is a good one here. Ask them what other animals they could see.

Beyond the walls

  • It came true: take your kids to the zoo and ask them to find other animal that are slow or fast like the hare and the tortoise.
  • craft: you can also use the outside of the school to make the craft in the pictures with the kids. You can find the steps here.

 From old times: to run and laugh

  • *The blind hare (or cabra cega in Brazil): a group of kids (minimum 4) gives hands and forms a circle.The blind hare (any of the kids) is chosen and will be in the center of the circle. The one chosen to be the blind hare is blindfolded and one person will turn him or her 25 times. Yes he/she will be a bit dizzy. The function of the blind hare is to get a person from the circle, that will be always in movement, and say his or her name. Remember that at no time can the circle kids drop their hands. The person touched by the blind hare has to let the blind hare touch his/her face, arms and legs. If the blind hare misses the name of the person, the game continues with the same person as the hare. Whoever is caught and told the name is the new blind hare.
*Adapted from Brazilian circle time games in the blog jogos e brincadeiras

Fables…

Anytime you tell or read a story to the kids, remember you should have some pre, while and post-steps. Things to do or say before telling the story so they get motivated to listen or read it; things to do or say while telling the story so they can show they are connecting to it; and things to do or say after telling the story, so they can have some fun. I will talk more about this in a next post.

Incredible sites and works that will help you use FABLES to teach young learners.

This is it! Read to and with your kids.

The Elephant in the Classroom

Público alvo: 6-8 anos | simulacão | story buildingHey!

Forget about the legendary elephant in the classroom. Aquele que não servia para nada a não ser ocupar espaço e atrapalhar a gente. Já pensou em trazer um convidado inusitado e imaginário para a sala e se divertir com seus pequenos? Se não, vale a pena arriscar. Eu levei um pink elephant. Deixa eu contar.

Público alvo: 6-8 anos | simulacão | story building

Hey!

Forget about the legendary elephant in the classroom. Aquele que não servia para nada a não ser ocupar espaço e atrapalhar a gente. Já pensou em trazer um convidado inusitado e imaginário para a sala e se divertir com seus pequenos? Se não, vale a pena arriscar. Eu levei um pink elephant. Deixa eu contar.

Meu primeiro contato com storytelling, nesse caso mais uma story building, para pequenos em sala de aula foi com uma turma de alunos de 7 a 8 anos de idade – enquanto trabalhava na cultura Inglesa em Manaus. Eu havia começado a trabalhar. Era na verdade meu primeiro emprego formal como professora de língua inglesa. Eu tinha quase 19 anos. Foi totalmente inusitado e improvisado.

A turma era pequena. Nesse dia foram apenas 5 alunos. Era um dia de muita chuva. Eu havia feito um plano de aula normal que deveria ser apresentado à coordenadora antes de entrar em aula, mesmo que não fosse dia de observação. Era só um jeito de nos ajudar a melhorar nosso plano. Tudo corria bem até que após o listening uma das atividades foi um fracasso total. Pequenos brilhantes de 7 e 8 anos desinteressados, bagunçando geral e sem ânimo para colaborar com meus planos. Desespero! Ainda bem que não era dia de observação!  O que fazer? Tive na hora um insight. Eram crianças, gostavam de brincar (apesar de eu já ter tentado as brincadeiras do meu plano). O que me restava fazer? Brincar ainda mais! Mas de quê? Com o quê? Foi então que eu decidi trazer um elefante para sala de aula. Sim! Um elefante.

Na atividade de listening que havíamos feito havia os sons de alguns animais, mas não havia o de um elefante. Além disso o que os alunos deveriam aprender nesse dia era ‘would you like to’ com a lição ‘would you like to come to the zoo with me?’. Acho que era isso. Foi por meio disso que o elefante me veio à mente assim tão repentinamente. Eu disse aos pequenos que tinha um elefante lá fora “There’s an elephant outside. Can you hear it?” e então abri a porta e fingi colocar um elefante para dentro com todas as dificuldades reais. Eles ficaram parados e com olhos sorridentes. Lembro-me como se fosse hoje. Não acreditavam que eu estava fazendo aquela besteira, imagino.

How was it? Let me tell!

Foi algo parecido com isso que a minha memória me permelephant-1427044143fsgitiu guardar e descrever aqui.

“Come in! Come in! Hey everyone, do you like my elephant? It is big and beautiful. Isn’t it? What color is it?”, this I asked and they started saying colors. “It is not white, nor black or green. It is pink”. They all exclaimed ‘pink, teacher!’ and laughed. “Yes! Pink! I have a pink elephant”. They laughed again. “Would you like to come and ride my elephant?” They did not understand. Then I pretended that I was riding a big fat elephant and they soon started saying “Me, teacher! Me!” I was shocked. They were finally paying attention to what I was saying and more, they were willing to participate. It was this way that I got them to come ride my elephant and invite others to come with them by saying “would you like to ride my elephant?” While others would say “yes, I would” and come also pretending they were riding a big fat elephant. It was funny and remarkable. I never forgot their enthusiasm and how naturally they were saying “would you like to ride my elephant? Yes, I would!”

Simulating technique – the pink elephant

O que tudo isso me ensinou? Acima de tudo esta experiência me ensinou a simular. Simular algo em sala de aula para ilustrar  uma história que se constrói no ato da fala. É criativo, é despojado, é imprevisível e acima de tudo significante na medida em que vira memória compartilhada. É uma técnica que vale a pena ser aprendida e usada por pais e professores. Não se trata de mentir e inventar história para os pequenos. Nossos pequenos sabem que se trata de algo imaginário e por isso mesmo entram na brincadeira.

O que eu faria se fosse hoje?

Well, faria tudo de novo (já fiz). Não o plano A, exatamente, a improvisação que deu certo. Dessa vez, porém, com preparo especial. E certamente torcendo para dar certo novamente. Como saber sem experimentar, não é? Incluiria pequenas atividades de follow-up mantendo o elephant e tudo que a imaginação deles (os pequenos) permitisse. E mais importante, lembrando sempre de que o principal sucesso dessa ideia foi o quebra-gelo e o envolvimento da turma – o que fez todo o resto fluir. Você pode fazer o download do plano aqui.

Atividades possíveis:

  • color the elephant your favorite color.
  • name your elephant. Share with classmates (mingle). Find similar names.
  • which other animal do you see in the classroom?
  • where is this [animal]?
  • there is a… on my desk.
  • would you like to bring another animal to class? Draw it and find a similar one in class.
  • draw and share where you see the elephant now.
  • what’s the elephant doing now? Tell your friend.
  • and so on depending o the lesson target.

E então? Quer trazer um convidado para sua próxima aula? Ou para seu próximo encontro com seus pequenos em casa? Por que não, né?

P.s: dedico este post especialmente a querida Kesa Leth (em memória) que durante um peer-observation nessa mesma turma ensinou-me a melhorar minhas instruções para os pequenos, coisa que nunca mais esqueci; e à Rina Barreiro que ao receber meus planos de aula sempre sabia como ativar meu pensamento crítico e senso de planejamento. Obrigada!