domingo, 12 de diciembre de 2010

How to Teach English Grammar to Kids

Teaching children in a group is a balancing act between keeping everyone's attention and not letting the focus of the lesson disappear in the excitement. Teaching grammar is no different than teaching history in this aspect. The stereotype is that grammar is equally boring. However, language is interactive, so the rules of grammar can be taught in games using the spirit of competition rather than going through lists. A balance of group and individual work will give kids a better understanding of the way language works, particularly in classes with students between 6 and 10 years old. In a class, for example, you could get the children's attention right away, then move into a grammar-related game, then summarize the grammar points learned in the game and then engage the kids in written work at the end.


Things You'll Need:

  • Board
  • Markers or chalk in several colors
  • Lesson plan
  • Song or poem
  • Photocopied worksheets
  1. Plan a lesson covering one important concept in grammar instead of packing in several smaller ideas. Changing focus from one point to the next uses up a lot of time. You do not want to lose anyone or to move on to the next point before the whole class understands.
  2. Include visual stimuli in your lesson. Think about drawing on the board a verb-eating lion or a noun-hungry hippo and getting the kids to feed the animal the correct part of speech. If the students are comfortable enough, encourage them to come to the board and write the correct verbs or nouns. If you are teaching uncountable nouns, get the kids to try counting grains of sugar or kernels of corn. Then the lesson is realistic for the class, although be aware that it could get messy.
  3. Let the kids make some noise. Use a poem they can repeat after you and add new lines to, such as one that rhymes or practices the use of one simple word. For example, make a poem with animals or machines and finish with things you can and can't do. "I am a bear, and I can climb trees" or "I am an airplane and I can fly" are lines that provide practice in modal verbs like "can".
  4. Use movement in the classroom when you can. It helps in teaching verb tenses, such as comparing the progressive to the simple. "Susan is cleaning the board," as opposed to "Susan cleans the board." Playing the game "Simon Says" can get everyone involved. "Simon says, touch your toes", then ask "What are we are doing?" and the answer should be progressive: "We are touching our toes".
  5. Bring the class back to order. Calm everyone down and give them time to realize they need to sit and be still again. Then hand out a worksheet that relates to the game. Recap the important points of the exercises and rules slowly in a calm and clear voice to bring the kids' focus back to the school work.

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