Kids have attention span of an ant! Why wouldn’t they? They have everything they could ever want given to them in a New York second.
Your biggest competition in keeping their attention is their GAMEBOY and GAMECUBE and that is some REAL competition.
Not to worry because I got this down big time and I’m going to give it to you. The Key points I will share with you are GOLD so don’t think because it’s simple you can skip taking mental notes. This act could be fatal to your success in working with kids.
Have you ever watched Sesame Street? I grew up watching that show. I suggest you watch it again to refresh your mind. What you should be looking for is flow of how they educate you. It’s very interesting.
There is a theme for each show and all activities are wrapped around this theme.
Each show may be only thirty minutes. However, in this time they manage to get about 11 to 13 powerful activities into this short time frame!
I call this style “edutainment” - education / entertainment.
In Japan children English classes that are in top 20% are very entertaining and educational.
If you feel you can’t teach kids, don’t worry. On my first day teaching kids I came home after work and told my wife that I would never do that again! But I learned and you will, too. Remember, too, that I had no one to guide me back then but you’ve got me !
Let’s take a walk through one of my kid’s classes together.
My kiddy class has 6 kids from three to five years of age.
The class is forty minutes, once a week, four times a month.
Each child has a nametag. If your school doesn’t have them, you can make them.
Before class starts I’m playing some kid’s music in background (Ever been to Disneyland? The music you hear sets tone as you approach that awesome place.).
The kids always come a little early, so before class starts music is playing and I toss a balloon around with them. On floor or table are their nametags. Help them put them on and soon they can recognize their own name in English.
(You must, no matter what, remember all their names and use them through out class at least five times per student.)
1. As soon as it’s time I put away ball, put on my hello song and start singing and waving my hand high in air. They will follow because I have built considerable rapport with them before class started.
2. I sit on floor and pull out a card with letter I on it. I point to myself and say, “I am Michael” and pass card. Each kid will do same and if one child doesn’t, then I just move on to next child. (I do this with YOU cards, YOUR cards, HE, SHE and so on.)
3. I pull out a bag and ask what’s in it? They have no idea. I put my hands in air and say “I don’t know with a confused look on my face. They all repeat and they have just learned expression, “I don’t know.” I pass bag to all students, they feel it and try to guess what’s inside. If a child keeps it too long I say 3, 2, 1 pass!
4. I tell them to go sit down please because we are now going to play bingo. Each bingo I do has a total of six pictures with English word for picture under it. For example I have vowel bingo that has only “A” words with pictures of things like a ball, apple, ant and so on.
5. After Bingo comes story time. I read a story book to them which has an easy sentence structure and kids can repeat after second time of reading this book to them One book I use is called “I like.” I like to eat, I like to play ball, I like to read and so on. These books are a set from http://www.scholastic.com/elt/highfrequency.htm They are over-sized books and these are exactly type of books you want to be using to keep students attention. These books are by far best investment I have made in my teacher’s toolbox since I’ve been here!
5. Now I show them fish cards with many cool colors. We flip them trying to make a set. (Always team students up in pairs. If there are not enough students you will need to jump in and play.) Before you do this game you may want to drill colors for a minute and ask them what colors are. Now is a good time to teach them to raise their hand saying at same time say “I know!” If they get it right give them card but get it back quickly so you can play real game.
(While doing activities make sure you are working room. Letting your students know that they’re doing well, lots of give me fives and smiling! Encourage and support them and they will just love you and your class!!)
6. Color time! (Teaching them color time, story time and other TIMES teaches them that there is a time for everything.) With color time all students have a sketchpad they bought from dollar shop with crayons. I have them draw a big circle, triangle and square. Next I have a hand out and they say, “Give me one, please.” The handouts are letters with a matching photo they can color. But first they have to say, “Give me glue, please,” so that I can glue handout into their sketch book. I do gluing because I’m fast. The kids use too much glue and are slow and messy which is fine in art class but in a forty-minute class that only meets once a week speed is essential.