Friday, March 16, 2012

Colorful Chairs

Today I made up a new game on the fly and it actually worked! Well it's most likely a game already out there, but it's new to me. :)   I'm a little surprised, because every day in teaching ESL so far is experimentation in what works and what doesn't work. Even the time-tested and approved methods and lessons don't always work every single day. This is my first time teaching 3 and 6 year olds, and first time teaching in China of course. And it also seems that what may work on Monday, doesn't necessarily work on Friday. Each day is a lesson in reading their little moods the moment I enter the classroom, and then tailoring a lesson plan on the fly to suit the general mood of the class. I feel like I'm improving, slowly but surely.

So today, since it is Friday, and since today was the first sunny day in over a week, and the kids have been cooped up inside for an entire week with no exercise or outdoor play time due to the rain, they were a bit wild to say the least. So for the last 15 minutes of my older class, the 6 year olds, we played a game I named Colorful Chairs. It's basically musical chairs, and it uses some of the flashcards we've been using in their lessons on teaching colors. I put a color flashcard on each chair, and we set out only 6 chairs since we didn't have a lot of room, and then selected 7 students to start. We had the rest of the class sing a song they like (instead of playing music on a CD) and when I yelled out a color, whichever student sat on the color got a point for their team, and the other kids then had to scramble for a remaining chair. So we used both traditional musical chairs along with the words they've been learning and points for competition. They loved it. And the singing kept the rest of the class involved. We had to have a practice round first so they could grasp the objective, and the Chinese teacher helped translate since there was a bit of confusion at first. But it worked! I was surprised it worked so well and that everyone had such a great time. Definitely keeping this one in my "it's Friday and the kids are done learning for the week" bag of tricks.

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