Little kids… My nightmare… Don’t get me wrong! I love them. They are really cute. Usually they listen! Especially if you pretend to be strict! They usually follow orders when you make the lesson seem interesting. Motivation is the key.
Why is it my nightmare? Well, to tell you the truth, I believe that keeping young and exuberant kids motivated, seems to be the most difficult and demanding task for a teacher. They get bored easily. Their attention span decreases so rapidly that you can’t predict the outcome of your planned activities. This age group needs the most preparation. You need to spend a lot of time creating new activities. You need to be very energetic and enthusiastic about what you do. Make it sound like you really mean it. You have to be a good actor. Sorry, I meant a great and persuasive actor!
Sometimes I don’t think that I have the energy for that. Improvisation gets kicked out when it comes to little kids. It is imperative to have your lessons carefully planned. You need to drag and carry around a heavy-loaded bag full of realia and have some extra games in case an emergency arise.
I am not complaining. Spending time with those happy faces compensates for what I have mentioned above. Kids show you their feelings so easily, their love, their anger, their disappointment.
Teaching young children gives you the chance to shape characters, to show them so much more of the world than just teach English. My helper this time is my dear Teddy…
Your teddy bear is your friend that always comes with you. He only understands English. Have the children ask him questions and he will whisper the answer to you. Remember: Teddy doesn’t understand other languages!
You can teach prepositions using Teddy. Just move around the classroom placing him wherever you want.
‘Teddy is ON the table’
‘Teddy is IN the cupboard’
After teaching them the words, you can have the pupils practise with the teddy themselves moving around the room, placing him anywhere they want and asking their fellow classmates about where Teddy is. (it can be noisy, but fun)
Where is Teddy?
Play ‘Hot and Cold’ with your young students. Hide the teddy bear and have them ask where it is. If they are close pretend that it is hot, if they are far pretend it is cold! Again students move around and look for the toy. It can be pretty noisy, but, definitely can keep your little monsters alert and on their feet.
Get Teddy the Storyteller to tell a story. It can be from a book or the teacher can make up one of his / her own according to the vocabulary that is being taught. Ask questions during the story and have the children mime some of the verbs and actions that are being presented in the story. Teddy cheers them up!
Dress up Teddy and teach / practise clothes vocabulary.
Get a bag full with Teddy clothes and have children to form a line. Each student gets to pick one item from the bag with their eyes closed. If they say the word correctly, they get to dress the teddy.
Picture source: https://pixabay.com/en/bears-art-stone-cute-993221/
Ideas: Theodora Papapanagiotou
Editing- corrections – suggestions: Theodore Lalos