Saturday, 6 April 2013

How to Use Children's Own Curiosity to Spice up Mundane Classroom Activities

Let's face it: school work can be boring. Poorly planned lessons or little in the way of fun or interesting content can be a significant factor in reduced concentration and all round poor learning experiences. We need to spice things up a little and create an enjoyable and motivational learning experience for all students and invite the whole class to learn together through teamwork and a beneficial approach. Here are just a few ideas to help classroom activities particularly if the course is learning French. Here's some food for thought...

Learning French or studying French people and their customs will at some stage point to food and French eating habits. Who hasn't heard of French Fries? Even if you are only learning French as a foreign language, it is always useful to quickly learn the unfamiliar names of food and dishes and maybe how they are prepared.

Classroom activities can involve splitting the class in half for competitions. How about getting the teacher to act as hangman (or maybe guillotine as we are learning French) on the board and suggest a food related word (such as croissant) by underscoring the number of letters. At random, a student is pointed to and offers a letter. the letter is added to the word if correct or added to the hangman's scaffold. Alternating the teams a letter is suggested until one team  guesses the word correctly or both teams fail and get hung by the teacher.

The classroom can be made into small groups and be supplied with a stack of alphabet cards and have the desks arranged into longer tables. Once again a word is suggested by the teacher and should be of a level to challenge the students. This is one of the noisy classroom activities. The teacher shouts out the chosen word, and the teams race to arrange their alphabet cards on their table and first team to spell correctly wins a point. How about continuing up to ten words or until the noise is high enough?

A quieter alternative for learning French names, especially for the younger students involves picture cards of food items held by the teacher and are one at a time revealed. The teams can be split into four, and the first team to spell the name of the picture correctly sends one member to the front of the class where they get one go at spelling to the teacher the name of the shop, such as boulangerie (bakery), to win the game. If they are incorrect, they stay at the front and another card is revealed to repeat the process. The difficulty increases for the dwindling teams to spell the card in time, but they have more chance of spelling the shop as more team members come forward. These types of classroom activities also have uses for team bonding and helping draw certain students closer together.

Spelling contests are always fun and need not be limited to learning French. There are numerous spelling games that are a perfect way to build teamwork and promote competitive excitement and friendship. The teacher is always at liberty to choose the teams to split close friends, etc. to create balanced classroom activities. If you have picture cards or pretend money, mystery games with shopkeepers can be fun especially if you have spare hats, for instance, to dress up the little ones!




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