Teach English in Linkou Zhen - Huaihua Shi

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STORIES MATTER Who doesn’t love a story? Stories are universal. Stories connect us all. Stories also transcends caste, creed, colour and age. From the beginning of time to-date the medium may have changed but stories engage us with others because it is easy to see ourselves reflected in them and understand the message conveyed easily. Teaching English using stories can be very effective in class. As an English teacher I have used stories for classroom activities from Year 1 to 6 at primary school level. The different age groups definitely need diverse styles. Below are some of the activities that have worked well for my students. USING PICTURES: Material: pictures/glue stick Every learner gets the same picture to stick in their notebooks. An ice breaker follows by asking student to give a description of what they see in the picture in a number of words. This is very useful when teaching parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, prepositions) or even tenses (future simple vs. continuous). Each student contributes a sentence about the picture and it is put on the board. The sentences are then sequenced by the class in turns to make a good story. A title for the story is democratically agreed upon. The lesson would take at least two hours. STORY CIRCLE: Material : students/tape recorder One student starts a story with a few sentences. The next learner then picks up the thread and continues. Once all the students have contributed their input to the chain the story is completed. The story is then improvised with guidance from myself. The story can be recorded, videotaped or written on a flipchart for the students to understand areas of improvement in their writing skills. STORYBOARDS: Material : pictures/notebooks/glue For the young learners, storyboarding is loved as the visualization is presented to them. A set of pictures in sequence are given to paste in each child’s notebook. They then write individual stories using their imagination and creativity. For the higher levels an aspect of grammar can be included. DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING: Material : Presentation I show a traditional tale as they are a great vehicle for discovering and comparing stories from other cultures. Through discussion students can then pick and list the similarities and differences of values and beliefs practiced. The students can develop further understanding with role play activities. GUIDED LISTENING: Material: Comprehension I read aloud a story. All students listen carefully. After the story is completed, each student should now remember at least one character from it, draw and describe using grammar concepts (adjectives). This activity allows every student to write at the level of their understanding and content. They develop listening skills which in turn support their growth of literacy skills. USING SONGS: Material: songs We all grow up on nursery rhymes. Students love rhythm. They enjoy a song and the activity keeps them in active learning mode as it is fun and enjoyable. I hand the students lyrics of a song with gaps in them. All students must try to fill in the blanks while listening to the song. There are so many activities that can be practiced using songs. Learning of vocabulary, listening skills, pronunciation and much more. I have always enjoyed teaching using stories as it has always proved to engage children because they’re naturally curious and learn actively.