Every child is unique and approaches learning differently. You should always vary your teaching techniques to avoid alienating the students who learn differently to the way you teach. Young learners tend to respond well to actually doing rather than just hearing your voice. Some need to touch in order to reinforce the language. Try a selection of activities and see how well your students respond.

Author: 
Jo Bertrand

Aims

  • To appeal to varied learning styles
  • To vary style of teaching

Materials

  • Boxes
  • Household objects with distinctive shapes e.g. sellotape, bananas
  • Play-dough
  • Foods
  • Tea-towels
  • A tray
  • Coloured card
  • Containers
  • Rice / pasta

Touch

  • What’s in the box?
    Place a number of small objects in a box and cover with a tea-towel. In turns the children have to put their hand in the box, describe the object to the class and they have to guess what it is. Use a range of objects which are different shapes and materials.
  • Craft corners with play-dough, sand, rice, blocks
    Depending on the space you have available you can set up craft corners. They could spend five-ten minutes in each play station creating buildings, shapes, animals etc. Develop their language before and during the activities so that they can describe what they create. Use their objects to tell stories.
  • Back drawing
    In pairs they can draw simple pictures or shapes, etc on their partner’s back and their partner has to guess what they’ve drawn.

Taste

  • Tastes like…
    Bring in a selection of common and unusual foods. Check first about the possibility of doing this and be sure not to give foods that might be allergy related such as peanut butter. Give them the language they need to describe each food such as; sweet, sour, salty, fruity etc. This could be a secret tasting where they can’t see what they’re tasting. 

Sight

  • Kim’s game
    This is a classic which works on observation techniques. Have a selection of everyday objects and lay them on a tray. Show all the objects to the children. Remove one without them seeing which one and then once again show the tray. They have to find which object is missing.
  • Colours
    Some children could be colour blind so don’t assume that the difficulties they have with colours is always related to the language itself. Otherwise, once you’ve established their ability with colours, use colours to code new language. You could set up a system of introducing new language always using the same colour card depending on the type of word it is. So for example all nouns are displayed on red card, all adjectives on blue, all verbs on yellow etc. This will help you and the children when later on working at sentence level.

Hearing

  • Sounds like
    Make a series of noises, coughing, laughing, open and close the door, stamping, turn the pages of a book etc. The children all have their eyes closed while you make the noises. In pairs they discuss what noises they heard. Repeat. Then feedback as a class to how many noises they heard and with the older ones, what order. The younger ones can reproduce the noises if they don’t have the language at their disposal.
  • Visualisation
    With their eyes closed they have to listen to you while you describe a scene. When you have finished they can draw what they heard.
  • Shaking cans
    Fill a selection of containers with rice and pasta shapes. Let the children experiment with the different noises they make in the various containers. The language here could be ‘loud’, ‘quiet’, ‘full’, ‘empty’.
  • Animal noises
    Show pictures of animals to the children and ask them to make the appropriate noises. Show to one child who must make the noise and the others guess.

Smell

  • Smells like…
    In the same way as with the taste activity you could cover up a selection of objects and have the children guess what they can smell. Examples are; flowers, lemon, soap, bananas, perfume…

All five senses

  • Senses poem
    Why not create a senses poem with your class. Remember to keep them simple and have a straightforward framework that the children can work with. Once you have created a class poem they could create their own.
    For example:

Title ___________ (a feeling e.g. happiness) is ___________ (a colour)

It sounds like a ___________

It smells like a ___________

It tastes like a ___________

It looks like a ___________

It feels like a ___________

Language level
Language Level: 
Level 2