This week I have been teaching the little kids with Beth. There are 24 children aged 4-12. Yeah, a bit on the crazy side. How do you teach 24 kids of varying levels of English and varying age levels? Good question. I don’t know how other people would do it, but this is how Beth and I have managed for the last three days:
Day 1: We had no idea what we were up against. We were under the impression that the students were of a really low level and didn’t know much English—including the alphabet. So, the alphabet is an essential part of any language, so that is where we began. Oh was that totally wrong. The children knew their ABCs backwards and forwards. They were completely bored with our lessons pertaining to the alphabet. They had fun with a couple of the songs and games we incorporated into our lesson (namely musical chairs with the alphabet). But we soon found out that most of the students were at a much higher level than we anticipated, so it was back to the drawing board for the two foreign teachers.
Day 2: Day 2 was much better than Day 1. The kids were engaged and, better yet, learning. We continued with the idea of the alphabet, but took it a step higher and had them thinking of words that started with each letter of the alphabet. They had a lot of fun thinking of as many English words as they could for each letter of the alphabet. We also started on numbers. One activity they really loved was a math competition. I had two students come up to the board, and I said two numbers to add together, and whoever added them the fastest and wrote the number on the board got to stay up while the other person sat down. This was a good test of their listening skills, since I was orally saying the English numbers. Their math skills are certainly quite high; they were much faster at adding than I am AND the numbers were in their second language!
Day 3: Day 3 also went really well. We continued our lesson on numbers. We played Bingo, which they loved! It was so cute to see them get really excited whenever a number they had was called. What was also really funny to see was how quiet the students got when I started to say “And…the next number is…” There was so much tense anticipation for the next number. I gave them all stickers when they got Bingo. At the end of class I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I don’t know whether they understood everything that was going on in the story, but they were really engaged with it.
Everyday we start class by singing a days of the week song set to the Adam’s family theme song “There’s Sunday, then there’s Monday. There’s Tuesday, then there’s Wednesday, there’s Thursday, then there’s Friday, and then there’s Saturday. Days of the week (snap snap), days of the week (snap snap), days of the week days of the week days of the week (snap snap). Next we sing an alphabet sound song “Who let the A out?” Instead of singing the letters, the kids are singing the sounds the letters make (this is hard to replicate on the computer, but you can figure it out). The last song is there favorite: Head, shoulders, knees, and toes. They love when we get faster and faster.
We also sing “5 Little Monkeys” but a bit different, and it has hand motions, which they like. It’s “5 little monkeys swinging in the tree, teasing Mr. Alligator ‘you can’t catch me,’ along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be, and…SNAP goes Mr. Alligator under that tree. 4 little monkeys…” Also whenever the SNAP part comes up I get up close to two of the kids and clap my hands really loud near them. They think this is so funny.
Thursday we are going to discuss shapes/colors and Friday the months of the year/holidays. Friday is the last day of Model School, so we are also going to invite their parents to come the last 30 minutes for a party/presentation of the songs they learned during the week.
Overall it has been a good experience, but really tiring.