Teach English in Baitabu Zhen - Lianyungang Shi

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Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, English language teachers have access to practically unlimited teaching resources. Simple web search can provide us with useful websites containing lesson plans, teaching ideas and materials. Every day we get more and more teachers sharing their ideas, which can be very important especially for kindergarten teachers. Their students in particular need classes to be active and interesting. Their attention span is shorter and they get bored easily. This problem can be solved by introducing different games and activities. After finishing this course I think that the most useful teaching aid to use by any English language teacher when trying to make classes interesting would be flashcards. I will try to prove how beneficial flashcards-based games are for kindergarten students using as an example 5 different games. I will present what can be improved using them, potential problems that may occur during teaching and solutions to those problems. First game that I would like to use as an example is “Which one is missing?”. After finishing this activity we want the students to be able to name typical animals living in the jungle. Rules are very simple. We display flashcards with animals on it on the board or put them on the floor and then ask the students to close their eyes. We turn one card face down and tell the students to open their eyes. Their task it to tell the teacher which animal is missing. By the end of this activity we can use flashcards again to review the material. Potential problems that may occur can be difficulty with remembering all of the words. In order to prevent that we should use smaller amount of flashcards from the start and then think about adding more. This game presents many benefits for our young learners. It can help them practice pronunciation by constantly repeating the name of one of the animals and improve their listening skills when listening to the teacher. Second game that I would like to introduce is called “Throw the ball”. We want the students to be able to name few common professions such as firefighter, policeman or doctor. For this activity we need flashcards with pictures and names of people at work on it and two balls. We need to display those flashcards on the board and then ask for two volunteers. Tell them to stand back to the board. Their goal is to throw the ball at the picture showing profession that the teacher will say. We can change position of the pictures regularly. The quicker one can win a sticker. Potential problems for this activity may be difficulty with finding proper profession. That can be solved by asking whole class to read aloud displayed words few times after every single throw. This game can greatly improve their pronunciation, reading and listening skills. Third game that is beneficial to young learners is called “ Alphabet soup”. We want the students to be able to recognize the letters of the alphabet. First we place small flashcards with letters on it in a bowl and then divide bigger flashcards by their beginning letters. Each student draws a letter from the bowl and then finds the flashcards associated with this letter. Finally, whole class says loudly the word on the flashcard. Potential problems may be related to the big number of the letters. The easiest solution to this problem is using only few first letters of the alphabet to avoid confusion. Using “Alphabet Soup” we can help our students to greatly improve reading and speaking skills. Fourth game that I would like to introduce is “Jump and say”. We want the students to be able to say the name of few different vegetables. First, we line the flashcards with pictures of the vegetables on it in a straight row with space in between on the floor. Depending on the size of the group, we place one student or one student on each side of the line. We encourage students to jump and say the word on the flashcards they land next to. If it’s going well then we can make it a race. Potential problems in this case may be related to pronunciation when jumping too fast. In order to help the students overcome this problem we can make this activity a little bit longer to ensure proper pronunciation. By introducing this game we can be sure to improve our students’ speaking and listening skills. Finally, fifth game and its beneficial effect I want to present is “Matching”. We want the students to be able to write basic words related to sports. We need flashcards with pictures related to sports on it. We hand empty flashcards to the students and ask them to write the name of the objects. We divide our class into couple groups. Their task is to match object with the most suitable sport. For example, ball - football. After finding the matching pictures the students loudly say both words. Potential problems that may occur may be writing related so we need to make sure that the words were using are not very difficult at first. This game can improve all of the productive and receptive skills. After taking a careful look at the presented games we can clearly see that flashcard based games are extremely beneficial for young learners. They can lead to improving their listening, reading, writing and speaking skills. They keep them active and interested in the topic of the lesson. Using flashcards we greatly increase the chance of all of them being active when participating in all of the mentioned activities. Thanks to them being lively, even children with shortest attention span should be able to focus and remember few words during every lesson. I think that every teacher should always consider using flashcards-based games when teaching young learners because they are perfect for every student.