Teach English in Chahe Zhen - Huai'an Shi

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Flashcards have a very important place in the classroom. Not only are there many different games that can be played but when using flashcards as a learning tool, the children will be exposed to all four modalities of learning: kinaesthetic, visual, auditory and tactile. Children love playing games, and flashcards are a good way of involving all of the students, of repeating content that is being learnt and motivating the children to learn using movement and games. The children will not even realise that they are learning and practicing their language. There are many uses for flashcards in the classroom. They can be used to practice anything from vocabulary to grammar and tenses. Flashcards can be connected to a theme, using pictures and words, or they could just be high-frequency words needed for a specific lesson. Prior preparation is key when using flashcards. The teacher would need to make the cards before the lesson. The flashcards should be printed on cardboard. Both sides can be used. One side can have the picture and word and the other side can have just the picture. They should be laminated so that they can be used repeatedly. When playing games using flashcards the vocabulary must have been taught in previous lessons. Before playing the game, the teacher would revise the words and explain to the children how the game is played. “I am going…” game Cards with pictures and words for a specific theme, such as shopping, the beach, school, holiday, etc., are needed. Deal out all the cards to the children ensuring they have at least three each. One child will start and say, “I am going to the beach and I am going to take a spade.” The child would then place the picture of the spade at the top of the table for the whole group to see. The next child says, “I am going to the beach and I am going to take a spade and a bucket.” And places the picture of the bucket next to the spade. Continue around the group until all the cards have been used. This activity will allow the child to practice saying the vocabulary learnt for various objects. This game could be to practice tenses. The child could be asked to say, “Yesterday I went to the beach and I took…” or “Tomorrow I will go to the beach and I will take…” Musical flashcards This activity can be used to teach the alphabet using individual letters or vocabulary using words and pictures for any theme. The cards are placed in a circle on the floor. The children will walk around the circle whilst music is playing. They stop at a card when the music stops. The teacher can ask a few children what the letter is. She could also ask them to name an object that starts with that letter. To help children who may struggle she could say it needs to be something you find in the classroom or kitchen or their bedroom. It would need to be objects that they are familiar with. Once a few children have been asked, continue playing music and moving around the circle. Repeat the action until all the children have had a turn. If using pictures related to a specific theme such as farm animals, or objects found at home, the children would say what the object is and where you would find it. Twenty questions This activity could be used with children with elementary or low/pre-intermediate language level. One child would choose a card and the other children would ask questions to determine what the card is. To begin with, the children could start with cards relating to a specific topic. As they become more fluent, they could use a mixture of cards. The children would ask questions that would elicit yes/no answers from the child with the card. Questions such as, “Is it an animal?” “Is it a pet?” “Is it big/small?” “Would you find it outside?”, can be asked. When the children think they know what it is they can guess the object. The child who gets it right will be the one to choose the next card. They are only allowed to ask 20 questions. Thereafter they either have to guess the object or the child with the card can name the object and another child can pick a card. Preposition game There are many fun ways of teaching prepositions which are an important part of sentence construction. The teacher holds cards with pictures of various actions using prepositions, such as under, on top of, next to, through, between, against and with. The children stand in an open space and the teacher holds up a card for them all to see. The children do the action, for example, stand next to the table, lean against the wall, crawl under the table. The teacher can ask an individual child to name the action before moving on to the next card. The children would need prior knowledge of objects in the classroom and verbs in order to play the game. I have…. Who has…..? Cards have words and pictures on them relating to a topic. Hand out all the cards ensuring all the children have at least three or more cards. One child starts and says, “I have a banana, who has an apple?” The child with apple says, “I have an apple, who has a pear?” The game continues until all the cards have been used. The last card could say, “Now we can make a fruit salad.” There are many topics that can be used to practice vocabulary with this game. Teachers should be encouraged to use flashcards regularly in their teaching as they are versatile, fun and the games are easy to implement. Flashcards are a fun and engaging way to practice English and to get children enthusiastic and motivated to learn.