Learning Vocabulary

Age Range: 5 - 11
By: Eve Harrison

These activities can be used in small groups during wet playtime. They involve a bit of preparation but once made can be re-used again and again.

  • Buy a Jenga set or that straw game where you have to pick the straw out without ruining the model. Label the blocks or straws with your vocabulary for the term and play the game in the usual way. I suggest typing the words out on the PC (font 8 or 9). The children can read and repeat the words, make a word list/bank and ask you what they mean or they can use them as a revision tool of previously learned words. You can colour code the words printing them on different coloured paper so that students know which group they belong to. For example if it is a noun, adjective or verb or if it belongs to a category like objects found at home, or a foodstuff.
  • Label furniture in the classroom.
  • Make a magical mystery box with objects inside. Get the children to feel the objects and then make a guess at what it is. Have labels ready which you can stick to the object and later put on a display table. The children who guess correctly can stand at the front holding the object up or can become group leaders by asking 'Qu'est que c'est?' with other group members responding 'C'est u(e) ...'
  • Play word bingo. Get the children to make their own flashcards with pictures on to take home and learn.
  • Have a competition to make up silly mnemonics to help the class remember the order of the months or days of the week.
  • Take the register in the target language giving each child a number. Give them names in that language too!
  • Stick words to a small football and use in PE. Words belonging to a same family can be passed from child to child around/across the circle. Put a 'piggy in the middle' to add some variety.
  • Create a relay game picking up words in English or French and matching them.

Comments

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Joanna

This is all very useful indeed, but I disagree with the part about giving them foreign names. Everyone, especially young children, should be aware of the fact that they identity doesn't change along with the language used. I frequently meet university students, learning French, who introduce themselves as "Michel" instead of "Michael", and I find it ridiculous. We're exactly the same person, whether we speak English, French, Spanish etc. and a name is an important part of one's identity, especially at a particularly young age.What is more it can also cause uncomfortable situations of jealousy among kids, when you're not able to substitute their names with a foreign equivalent, without making something up. It's pretty easy to translate "Michael" into "Michel", but what about "Lee" or "Ai" or "Włodzimierz" and so on?You might let them create their own nicknames, like "Michael le conquerant" or "Caroline la petite princesse" - that should familiarise them with some vocabulary connected to their personal interests.

Rating: 
0

guest

In classes that I have been in, observed, or taught, the students picked names different from their own. Studies have shown that some students find this helpful. They can disassociate from their real identity, which would lessen their anxiety for the classroom, because we all know that foreign language classrooms have higher anxiety levels than regular classrooms. Whether or not it actually does lower the anxiety, it gets the students used to hearing and pronouncing names typical of the foreign language, and they usually find it fun to pick a different name. I have never witnessed any jealousy or discomfort from picking a new name from the target language. Maybe it's not something you would have enjoyed in class, but we have to remember that we can't teach the way we enjoy learning!

Rating: 
0

Claudia

You have a point. Lowering the anxiety is important, however there are so many activities to help the students feel comfortable. Regarding the names, it is important to expose them to common names used in the language you are teaching, and you may do so in dialogues, when you create sentences, etc.

Rating: 
0

Claudia

The Jenga idea sounds terrific; I can't wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing

Rating: 
0