Describe the Scene – School and Classroom

We’re starting a new school year. I’m starting off with all the vocabulary associated with schools. The nouns: pencil, desk, teacher. The verbs: stand up, raise your hand, read and write. For grammar, I’m starting at the beginning, which for me is Present Continuous. Here are some Describe the Scenes for school and the classroom.

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05Classroom

streetscene

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copy-of-pre-school-classroom-scene-pre-schoolyoung-children

For vocabulary, English Worksheets does it the best:

Places at School

Classroom Objects

Classroom Language

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Rhythm Sticks

Again, the Jbary ladies have another great song using Rhythm Sticks. Here they use the same song from This is the way… except using different action verbs with the sticks. Easy to learn, fun to do, and even the children can come up with their own verses.

Their ideas came from Kendra at: http://klmpeace.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/toddler-storytime-rhythm-sticks/

This blog entry is worth a read. She explains very well the different activities and songs that can combined with rhythm sticks. Being in Russia, I often have to make do with out many things. We take for granted how easy it is to buy supplies in America.So for these songs I am using pencils. They aren’t as long, as thick or have that great wood sound like these sticks. But, they are still fun to beat on things.

Faster, slower, louder, quieter…

These girls have a great collection of videos online. Just like the Baby Brain Play videos, these are excellent chants / songs to do with small children. They have repetitive action that engages all of the child. The chants are easy to learn so parents can learn them too and repeat at home.

Once we’ve learned our Opposites, we then can move to these comparative words. Basically adding (-er) to the ending of adjectives we already know:

  • bigger
  • smaller
  • faster
  • slower
  • louder
  • quieter

I use these throughout the lesson. No matter what we are doing, the student can repeat a word back to me, and then I say, Say it LOUDER! When we are building something, I say Build it BIGGER!

It’s very easy then to show using just my hands and voice:

  • taller
  • shorter
  • higher
  • lower
  • happier
  • sadder

And we can add sticks (or in my case, pencils) for more hands-on fun.

Don’t Say Yes or No – Game

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I have played a lot of games in my life. It’s been a vital part of my work and play for a very long time. There are few games that have had the replay-ablility like this game. The concept of the game is simple. You read questions off a card in the hopes of making your opponent say YES or NO. If they say one these forbidden words you hit the bell and laugh at them.

Example Card:

  1. Can I start now?
  2. Did you say Yes?
  3. Do you like apples?
  4. Do you like any other fruit?
  5. Name a red fruit.
  6. Do they serve strawberries at Wimbleton?
  7. With cream?
  8. Do YOU like cream?
  9. On strawberries?
  10. You just said yes, didn’t you?

I played this game with one of my students for years. There aren’t that many cards in the box and we memorized them all, and we lost the bell a long time ago. But we kept playing. We made up our own questions, trickier than the ones above. We’d do anything to trip each other up.  The trick, by the way, is to answer a question with another question. To this day, she still won’t answer me directly because she rightfully assumes we are still playing.

This is a great ESL game / conversation for intermediate levels or higher. It takes a wide vocabulary to circumvent the words Yes and No.

Key phrases

There are three key phrases I teach all my beginning students, regardless of age.

I don’t know!

Shrug

Number 1 on my list. I want my students to speak English as much as they can. I would rather them say I don’t know over and over again, then for them to answer me in their native language. I teach them in the very first lesson how to throw up a shrug, stick on the bottom lip and mumble IdunnOh. I want to teach them it’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to not know. That’s why we have lessons.

What’s this? It’s a…

WhatsThis

 

The most basic sentence structure is noun + verb. I like my students to ask questions, to explore the language in their own way. This is true of children or adult of any age. Like I don’t know I want them to use English as often as I can. Teaching this phrase early on allows them to stay in English even when they don’t know what something is called. I teach this phrase through ad-nauseam, like most of my phrases. I also use the exact same intonation every time.  I also do not worry about plurals or singulars (What’s this?  vs. What are these?). Even toddlers learn to mimic this question.

After they have learned this, then I add the correct demonstrative adjectives (this, that, these, those).

What are you doing? I’m —ing.

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We need some verbs to go with our nouns. The most commonly used verb tense, although not the easiest, is Present Continuous. This is what we use to say what we are doing right now. Action verbs are the most relatable, easiest to show, and the most fun to do.

Once we’ve learned this form, we can begin to build our vocabulary with different verbs.

That’s it!

Now we know how to make a basic noun + verb sentence and I don’t know how to fill in the gaps. We build from there.

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