Aug 19, 2009

How to Teach Reading Games

By Kim Waits -- eHow Contributing Writer

Playing reading games that teach letter and word recognition, along with movement and art is something most young children enjoy, and therefore should be a part of your daily teaching routine. Children will be more interested in participating in reading games if the activities are set up for the child to succeed. Be sure the children in your class possess the necessary skills to successfully participate in each activity before teaching a reading game to the class.

Things You'll Need:

* Index cards
* Black marker
* Basket
* Construction paper, assorted colors
* Magazines
* Scissors
* Permanent marker
* Stapler
* Word card
* Art paper
* Finger paint
* Letter cards
* Box
* Dark blue construction paper
* White glue
* Glitter, assorted colors
* Poster board
* Safety scissors
* Glue sticks and white glue
* Sequins
* Assorted buttons
* Wallpaper samples
* Glitter


Step 1

Write an action word such as “skip” or “run” on numerous index cards with a black marker. Place the cards in a basket and have the children come up one at a time to pick a card and then perform the action.

Step 2

Play the “Which one is out?” reading game. Have the children sit in a circle on the floor. When you have everyone’s attention, recite a group of words, all but one of which begins with the same letter. See if the children can spot the word that doesn’t belong in the group.

Step 3

Create an alphabet scrapbook for each child by writing a letter at the top of each page of construction paper. Cut pictures of animals, people and everyday objects from magazines that begin with those letters and tape them on the appropriate pages. Using a permanent marker, write the names of the objects below the pictures and staple the pages together.

Step 4

Provide each child with a word card, art paper and finger paint. Ask the child to recreate the word by dipping a finger in the paint and then recreating the word on the art paper.

Step 5

Put several letter cards in a box. Have the children come to the front of the class one at a time and pick one card from the box. Ask the child to read the word on the card and find something in the room that begins with that letter.

Step 6

Have each child print a capital and a small letter on a large piece of dark blue construction paper. Instruct the children to trace over the letter with white glue, and sprinkle the glue with colored glitter. Shake off any glitter that did not stick to the glue, and hang the picture up to dry.

Step 7

Draw an outline of large letters on a pieces of poster board. Provide safety scissors for the children to cut out the letters. Give the children an assortment of confetti, sequins, large and small buttons, pieces of wallpaper and glitter to create a collage on the letters.

How to Teach English Grammar to Children

Teaching children English grammar can be a daunting task for two main reasons. First, there are so many nuances of the language for children to learn. Second, learning all of these rules can be boring. However, teaching English grammar can be done in an engaging way.

1. Step 1
Expose your students to the proper use of English grammar. Children will internally develop many grammar rules on their own through exposure to the language. It's your responsibility as the teacher to provide this exposure. First and foremost, this means always modeling proper grammar in your speech and writing. If you don't want your students to make errors in subject-verb agreement, don't make these errors yourself. Also, get your students reading as much as possible. Good writers do a lot of reading.
2. Step 2
Exposure alone won't teach all the grammar lessons children need to know. Perhaps you've heard of the whole language versus phonics debate. Most professionals agree that exemplary reading and writing instruction requires a balance of these two technique. Therefore, you'll need to systematically teach grammar rules. However, don't try to dole too much information at one time. Instead, focus on one particular skill that you want your students to learn, and provide a mini-lesson teaching this skill. Your mini-lesson should introduce the grammar rule in question and give examples of its use. Once your students master the selected skill, you can move on to other topics.
3. Step 3
Most children will need hands-on experience to master grammar rules. You must provide your students with ample opportunities to write. Then, provide grammar-based feedback. Take your students' writing level into account when providing feedback. For example, in a second grade classroom, you will see many grammar and usage errors. Don't mark up every mistake in red pen; it's too discouraging for students. Instead, focus on the grammar rules you have specifically taught.
4. Step 4
Give students opportunities to edit others' work. Often, when students look at their own writing, they miss grammatical errors because as the writer, they know what they intended to say. However, those same children can identify similar mistakes in others' writing. To this end, have students peer review each others' work. Also, editing worksheets provide opportunities for students to apply the grammar rules they have learned.
By Rebecca Kirschman
eHow Contributing Writer

Aug 14, 2009

Teaching English with Songs and Music

The how and why of teaching with songs and music.
Edutainment includes 17 song lyric work sheets with music tape, it is highly suitable for these ideas.
Here are some great teaching tips for songs. Reprinted by permission.
Some peple have asked me for some of the acivities I do with Music in class. Here are some of them:
There are many ways blanks can be used. I give students lyrics with some blanks (specially the parts that have to do wtih the subject we're covering in class). They listen to song once, at the second time they fill in the blanks - as much as possible. Finally, they listen to it another time to check if they got the balnks filled in correctly. This activity takes up to 20 mins.

Blanks can be very helpful when teaching subjects like Simple Past. Pick up a song that has may verbs in the past tense, blank them out and give in parenthesis the verbs in their base form. Have the students complete the song rewriting the past tense of each verb. This will help them memorize the past form of regular and irregular verbs. (can be used with any verb tense)
Teaching ESL in a non-English speaking country is a challenge. Even advanced students sometimes tend to go their mother-tongue in the classroom. So I found a way to keep them in touch with English even outside the classroom: I asked them to bring in a song they liked, a song of the moment. I put some blanks in the lyrics and they didn't get everything after the first time they listened to it. So I had them take the copies home and try to listen to that song anywhere possible (in the car, CDs, anywhere) and bring it in to me the in the following week with the blanks filled in. I also told them to try not to look for the lyrics anywhere else but try to listen to the song itself. It worked out pretty well
Depending on the lenght of the song, you can cut the lyrics in strips of paper and have a contest. I always divide my classes in two groups. So the group that gets the lyrics with less mistakes after the second time (even after the first time, depending on the level of the class), gets a treat, or whatever you feel like rewarding them with.
I usually bring in some celtic, classic or just instrumental music on test days and put it on very low. I noticed that when this procedure was done, students relax more and feel more comfortable during the test.
I usually do this procedure on a frist-day class, to "break the ice". Nothing personnal, but for this procedure I use ENYA (who sings a little bit of folk and celtic music). I prepare a text, very imaginative, something that can take many different points of view, and read it out loud while the song's being played. Students have their eyes closed and I ask them to imagine exactly what I'm reading and let their imagination flows along with the song. This is very relaxing!
If anyone needs some more suggestions, let me know.
Carlos Silva ( Herndon,VA
This information was provided from a workshop presented by Joan Blankmann, from Northern Virgina Community College, Annandale Campus
1. HOW DIFFICULT IS THE SONG? Some factors to note are speed (fast or slow), the clarity of the vocalization, the amount of repetition, the vocabulary and metaphors. For a cloze task:
If the song has simple, repetitive lyrics, you can blank out more words;
If the song is more difficult, you will want to blank out fewer words;
An idea to try: blank out only the beginning or only the end of a phrase.
For a cloze task:
If the song is for beginning level class, you wil want to blank out fewer words,but if it's for a more advances class you can blank out more words.
Simple, repetitive songs often contain a resurrent gramatical pattern.
More difficult songs contain interesting vocabulary and idioms.
Look for homophones, homographs and homonyms, as well as typical fast speech pronunciation.
Look for conversation and writing topics. Is there a message, theme, or story thst students can discuss, explain, debate, and write about?
** What a coincidence. I just did a similar thing with my student here in Japan recently. I was searching for a meaningful, fun lesson plan when I remembered she told me she wanted to learn English in order to understand American songs, movies, etc. I decided to bring a tape of the country singer Kenny Rogers because he usually enunciates clearly while using a good mix of American pronunciation and common speach forms. My medthod was only to play parts of the song and explain the vocabulary bit by bit until she understood the whole. Then I will give her a copy of the songs she's learned so she can continue to practice listening for familiarity. I like your extra touch. It helps me expand on what I did.
Thanks so much. Regards. Doug Premoe
Ian, Thanks for the activity. Using music in the classroom is a great way to liven up listening activities. I'd like to add a couple of steps that I've used with success to your process though to make the listening activites more effective.
1. Start with a focusing activity. A focusing activity is anything that will get students thinking about the subject of the song(listening.) As native learners, we do this naturally. We make guesses by looking at any pictures that come with it, we look at the title, we read the first(topic) sentence and make guesses about what is to come. These skills need to be learned in a new language, they don't come naturally. In addition, if the students have made guesses beforehand, it is much easier to get them involved in looking for the answers to their guesses.
Here are some examples of pre-listening focusing lessons.
A. Speculation: Put the title of the song on the board. Have students in pairs make guesses about what the song is about and write them down on a piece of paper. Then have students pass their papers a group to the left and have them read them. Students must guess if the other students guess is the same or different than theirs.
B. Pictures: Get a picture of the performers. Have students make up a story about them.(Or) get a picture that relates to the subject matter of the song. Students must guess about the song.
C. Take vocabulary from the song. Step 1:Put eight or ten words at random on your black/white board. Students get up and ask each other what the words mean. Step 2: Have students in groups of 3 or 4 write a quick story that uses the words. Step 3: Play the tape. Students must shout STOP any time they hear one of the new vocab words. First student to shout correctly gets a point for their team.
D. Cut the song into strips. Give each student one strip to memorize. Students put the strips in their pockets. Students get up and tell each other their part of the song, without looking at their part or showing their part to anyone else. Then you can do many things: you could have students listen to the tape and put down the names of their classmates in the order they hear the parts from before(pretty hard) to having the students take out their strips, listen to the song and then put them on a table in order as they hear their part of the song.
E. Write up a set of questions around the topic. Have students ask each other the questions. Or, more advanced, choose two songs of a similar theme(or first and second half of the song), split the class into two teams. Have each group listen to their part and make up questions. Trade tapes and students just listen to the other group's song. Finally pair each student with a member of the opposite team and have them take turns asking their questions.
There are tons of things you can do to get the students involved. The most important point is to provide preliminary material to the listening itself so that students have a clear, concrete reason for listening. This will work much better than the abstract "'cause it's good fer ya".
Happy teaching! Prentice Berge
After reading the book Superlearning 2000, I became a fan of using music in the classroom. At first I only used it with my adult learners, but soon realized that it works equally well with younger learners as well.
Superlearning music is the same music that is used in Suggestopedia (which is Baroque Largo selections for you classical music aficionados out there). There have been many studies done about the affects of 60-80 beat per minute music on the brain , one of the original studies was done right here in Japan by Professor Hideo Seki of Tokai University.
I have been using the music of Pachelbel, Handel, Corelli, Manfredini, Scarlatti, Locatelli, Vivaldi, Bach, Albinoni, and others, as background music. Usually its played very low and the students hardly notice it. However, I believe it is great for the calming effect it produces as well as for the improvement in concentration (for them and me).
Truly, Duane P. Flowers

You can do lots of things with the song lyrics. Fill in blanks, ask and answer questions about the lyrics or about the different situations or characters in the song, write a letter to one of them, send an answer to the person refered to in the song, rewrite it as a story, write a story which began before the story in the song and led to it, write story which will continue after the song, change words ( adjectives, adverbs, names, places, feelings, etc.), invent new lyrics for the melody, "draw" the different stanzas and of course enjoy listening to it or singing it.
--Marcela Lococo

All the songs on "Edutainment" are classics and have been at #1 on the charts. The students love these songs.
IE Hewitt