Warm Up-The Drill Sergeant
Key Point Introduction-Animals
Key Point Reinforcement-Animals picture book
Key Point Activity-Find It! game (animals)
Review Activity-Hide the Card game (colors and numbers)
Warm Up-The Drill Sergeant
The most important thing about a warm-up exercise is that it signals to the children that it is “English” time. With “English” time the student should understand that there is a certain way to behave, there is a certain way to do things and there is a certain structure to the class. Also, the students need to recognize that you, their English teacher, is in control of the class and if they do not follow the rules then they cannot partake in any of the games or activities.
This is why I think that the “Drill Sergeant game” is great as a warm-up. It has a teacher giving commands and the students must follow them. That is part of the game. If they don’t follow them then they are “out”. The basic idea of the Drill Sergeant is that the teacher speaks commands and the students have to obey them. If the teacher says “sit down” then the students have to sit down. The students that do not follow the commands are “out” and they must sit in a designated “out” area. You continue to do this until one student is left over.
Talk time is basically when you have all the children sit in front of you and you call an individual child to come up in front of the class and you ask that child a few simple English questions. If the child cannot respond correctly then you help them. After asking them two or three questions, you have them sit down and you choose another child. Usually I will try to call four to five children.
For most of my kindergarten classes I will always do “The Drill Sergeant” and “Talk Time” and finish it off with “The Color Game”. These are my mainstays. After the three activities, I will go into different activities and games depending on what I’m trying to teach.
The color game is very simple. The teacher will choose a color, then they will say the color out loud, the students have to find an object in the classroom that is the color the teacher said. So if the teacher says “pink” then the students must find an object that is pink. The students must continue touching the object until the teacher says the next color. This is a fun game because the children get to run around looking for different things.
Key Point Introduction-Animals
After the previous three activities I feel like my class is sufficiently “warmed up” and I’m going to start introducing that lesson’s “Key Point”. In my articles I define “The Key Point” to mean the primary objective or aim of your class. In other words, it’s the new thing that you’re trying to teach the children. After the color game I will tell all the children to “sit down” , and then after they have sat down I will tell them to “wait” usually accompanied by the gesture of putting both hands out almost to say “stop”. Then I will grab that lesson’s Key Point vocabulary cards. Now all I want to do for this part of the lesson is simply introduce the Key Point to the students. Usually for English kindergarten classes it will be some simple vocabulary or short phrases. Today we’re going to introduce them to 10 different animals. I have 10 different cards, each card has a picture of the animal and also written at the bottom the card is the word for each animal.
I hold up the first card so that they can see it, and I say the animal name, “dog”, then I will say the name again, “dog”, then I will have the class repeat, “dog”. Then I will go on to the next card and repeat all the steps. Once I have done all of the cards. I like to very quickly go to through them all once more. This time much faster. Simply show the card and say the word. Now with kindergarten classes the children are generally not going to be able to remember something that they just learned three minutes ago but if you are reviewing something, which you will be doing a lot of, then you can choose individual students and ask them “what is this?” If they can answer, good, if they can’t answer, then help them. Then choose another card and another student to do the same. You can do this with phrases as well. Let’s say that in March you taught the children animals. And in April you decided to teach them the phrase “I like …….” During that lesson when you are teaching them “I like” you can also review the previous month’s vocabulary words. So maybe you hold up the “dog” card and have the student say, “I like dogs”. Then after going through all the cards you can choose an individual student, show them a card and have them make a sentence.
Key Point Reinforcement-Animals Picture Book
The next thing we want to do after introducing our lesson’s Key Point to the students is some kind of activity or game that will help reinforce what the children just learned. Here we can do a card game, we can watch a video, we could sing a song or in this case we are going to read a picture book. The picture book that we’re going to use has many different animal characters in the story. It is a perfect way to review the previous “animal” vocabulary we just learned.
We are going to use a mystery picture book about a policeman trying to figure out who ate the brownie. The setting is based on a dark night where a brownie has been eaten and the police come to investigate. While investigating they go through various suspects. Each suspect is a different animal. So some of the dialogue in the book goes something like this
“Ah hah! Maybe it was the duck.”
“The duck? No, the duck was in the library.”
Key Point Activity-Find It! game (animals)
After the reinforcement activity we have two choices. We can do another game that reinforces that class’s Key Point or we can use this time to review a previous classes Key Point. In our example today we’re going to go ahead and do one more reinforcement activity for the Key Point, animals. To do this we are going to use the card game “pick it up”. We’re going to take the previous A4 sized vocabulary cards that we used to introduce the animal words. First, we’re going to get the students to make a line. Then we’re going to separate the students into four teams. Then we’re going to put a picture book (or a white piece of paper, a newspaper, really anything) in front of the team and have the team make a line behind that. We are going to do this for each team. Then we’re going to take the A4 sized vocabulary cards and spread them around the classroom. After that we’re going to call out “next!” and the first student in line for each team is going to stand in front of the picture book. Next, you are going to call out one of the animal vocabulary cards. The children have to quickly find the card and pick it up. The first student that picks it up gets a point. That student has to show the rest of the class the card and say what’s on the card. Very often the students won’t be able to verbalize what’s on the card so it’s more than okay to help them, especially in the beginning. Then, the student will put the card on top of their team’s picture book. The students who just attempted to pick up the cards will all go to the back of their team’s lines. Then the teacher will yell out “next!” And the next students will step in front of the picture book. You continue to do this until all of the cards have been picked up.
Review Activity-Hide the card game (colors and numbers)
The last activity we’re going to do is a review activity. Here we want to review previously learned words or phrases. In this case, we’re going to review colors and numbers. Before we start the game you can show the children various cards with different colors on them and have the children say what color each card is. Then you can have the children count to 10 or 20. If they make any mistakes correct them. Then you’re going to take out some small cards, these can be about the size of a business card or maybe half the size of a postcard. The cards have numbers and different colors on them. If you don’t have these cards then go to a toy store and buy a pack of “UNO” cards and use these. Have the students make a line. Divide the students into two teams. Have one team wait outside; the other team is going to hide the cards. I like to give each student two or three cards to hide. Then, after the students have finished hiding all the cards you have them sit down in a designated area. Then, you call in the team that was waiting outside. Those students have to find the cards. Each student can only find one card at a time. If they find a card they bring it to the teacher, and say the color and number. If they can do this they can go and look for another card. It’s important that the students only get one card at a time. If you don’t make this rule some kids are going to find all of the cards and the children that don’t have time to find their own cards are going to cry. After a certain amount of time (one minute or two minutes) you tell the students to stop. And in front of the class, together with the students you count all of the cards. Then you have the previous team who hid the cards go outside and wait in the hallway. The other team is now going to hide the cards.
If you have read our previous articles about teaching English to kindergarten students then you know that we have constantly been saying that structure is very important towards these classes. So the beginning of the class must be very structured and the end of the class must be structured as well. So I like to do the same thing at the end of each class. After the last activity I will tell the children to sit down and wait. Then I’ll gather all my things and get ready to leave the classroom. Once I have gotten ready I’ll tell the students to stand up and I will say “thank you very much!” Then the students will repeat that to me. After that, I will leave the classroom while saying “Goodbye”, “See you later”.
I like to mix up the way I say “thank you very much” to make it a little more fun for the kids. Usually this means doing some kind of strange gesture or physical comedy. For example, often when I say “thank you, very much” I will “come to attention” like a soldier in the military and when I say “much” I will salute. Of course, afterwards I am smiling and joking and usually the children will copy me. It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you mix it up a little bit and make it fun for the kids. The idea is that the kids know that this is the “end” of the class.
That’s it. Short, simple and fun. If you want good lessons keep you’re your energy high, control the student’s energy so it doesn’t get out of hand and have a good structured lesson plan to follow. Good luck.