In this post-series I try to give some guidance on how to prepare for lessons with tired and often hyperactive kids. I have described my way of planning a lesson for them and gave some hints on general lessons rules. In this post, I’d like to move on to the list of games I have found really useful and enjoyable.
You might not have the possibility to do all the activities below, considering that normal lessons are usually done in poorly equipped classrooms. However, I’d suggest that you insert some of the games into your traditional lesson and let’s see if you see any difference. You will need just a little investment to have your magic bag ready for any YL class. It’s very often difficult to maintain young learners’ attention during a lesson, but in most cases this problem can be handled with clear rules (ours are always on the wall), routines and lots of movement. Competition is the cherry on the cake.
Let’s see the list:
• Flyswatters: I found them in a 1€ shop and bought three straight away. I use them in different ways, but the main movement is mostly hitting something with it. It can be something stuck onto the wall or put onto the puzzle carpet. It’s not a big deal if it makes noise, important that nobody gets hurt. Let’s see two concrete examples:
– I wrote a and an onto two sticky notes and put them onto the carpet in front of the boys, but not too close to them. I called out nouns and the boys had to decide if these stood with a or an.
– In another exercise, I picked a red chair for false and a yellow one for true. I gave simple sentences to the boys, like This is an elephant, while I showed a picture of an animal on a flashcard and they had to hit onto the correct chair. I usually ask the boys to play in pairs, then the winners compete and the final winner gets a point on the reward chart.
• Hit (not kick) the bucket: This is the boys’ favorite game, so I try to insert it into every lesson, however, always as an end game, since it gets them very excited and it also gives them the final opportunity to release some steam. We choose two containers (small buckets, chests or boxes) and balls (small rubber balls or textile tomatoes, which don’t bounce easily and cannot hurt anybody). Then I assign a role to the containers, similarly to the flyswatter exercise, like true and false or a and an or even prepositions (with more than two buckets even more interesting). My role is to call out nouns, sentences, verbs and wait for the result. The boys need to be the same distance from the containers, throw at the same time and the winner needs to pick the correct answer AND hit the bucket, otherwise no point. I usually reward the final winner at the end of the game with one point.
• Pull down your socks: You might not want to do this exercise in a big class, and on a hot day, but it’s great fun. In our home-school, everybody takes their shoes off when entering the apartment since we have toddlers in the morning all over the floor. So the boys are usually in their socks in our room. I made them practise a and an by asking them to take their socks off, roll them up in a ball and use these as little balls. I gave them once again nouns and they had to hit the correct indefinite article. Don’t try it with shoes, your employer might call you the next day.
(to be continued)