In this blog I intend to share my experience of engaging my groups of Young Learners of English (YLE) into a crafting activity with a final goal of promoting their speaking interaction.

Let me start by quoting Carol Read on the definition of kinesthetic learning: “Kinesthetic learning is to do with positively harnessing bodily movement and a variety of fine-tuned physical skills in the service of learning. It is associated with a ‘hands on’, ‘doing’ approach in which children are physically involved in the process of learning through such things as manipulating objects, movement, gym, aerobics, dance, drama, mime, craft activities or making models. Kinesthetic learning activities are usually actively engaging and enjoyable. They often lead children to develop a sense of timing and improved physical coordination. The learning that results is frequently the outcome of close association and coordination between body and mind.”

Extracted from: carolread.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/k-is-for-kinesthetic-learning/ 

Currently, I have two groups of young learners of English between 5 and 7 years of age. They challenge us in many ways and it’s part of our job description to prepare classes to fit our learners’ profile. That was a typical classes for YLE where they have to learn about pets and animals. There are integrated resources to the classes, such as flashcards and CD ROM games, but I there was the feeling I had to go beyond that. The idea of a game with cards occured to me, as well as the fact that there was an available set in the teachers’ room...but apart from playing...I also wanted my students to have the chance to get to write the names of the animals they are learning, considering this is also a target age for literacy development in children. It's a known fact that time constraint is a constant challenge to battle when teaching the little ones. What if they couldn’t cope with finishing the drawings and still have enough time to play with it?

But my eyes kept looking at the outcome, students interacting with the very cards they created and the learning gain that would come from having gone through this process.

This was the idea I had: *distribute the kids into 3 teams

*make sure they have crayons, pencil, eraser and that they know how to interact in English in case they need to borrow or lend each other items

*assign each group a specific animal (every child in each group would receive a small blank card)

* google for animal for a cartoon-style picture of the animals and check if they know how to writte the names of each animal in English

* establish three rules:

time-limit of 5 minutes to draw,

colour and write the name of the animal in the card,

help each other

Ok, the first set of animals took around 7 minutes to be concluded… but once they understood what they were expected to do...it was amazing! Each piece of paper produced nine cards, so that is also a way of saving paper resources.

Time to play on the floor!

Game 1: cards facing down. get a card and speak the name of the animal

Game 2: memory game

Game 3: ask a question (What’s this animal? What’s the colour?)

Yes, there was children-like collaboration, creativity, challenge and noise...

But when everything was ready and I lined up the cards they had created on the floor …

it was lovely and very rewarding to all of us!

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