Sunday, September 13, 2015

Class Zoo

Learner Type: Young Learners
Language Level: A2 (Starters - Movers) 
Estimated Time: 30 - 45 Minutes
Activity: Listening, imagining a zoo, matching animals with their sounds, collaborating to make a decision, listening to a song
Topic: animals, zoo, voices, 
Language: language describing animals and sound, modal verb could
Materials: Animal Sounds App, song (via SoundCloud)
Downloadable Lesson plan: Class Zoo

Part 1 Review the names of some common zoo animals. Use visual aids, such as flashcards. You can also play one of the flashcard games displayed in this video.

Part 2 Show students the following images and try to elicit where this is. Tell students we’re going to go on a safari and find some animals for our class zoo. Ask students to close their eyes and imagine they are in the African Savannah. You are on a safari and looking for animals for your new zoo.

Part 3 Tell students they have to be very quiet so as not to scare the animals away. When they hear an animal sound, they can raise their hand to guess its name. If you have a smartphone/tablet in class, you could download the free app Animal Sounds and walk around the room playing the sounds.

Part 4 Play an animal sound. When students raise their hands, call on one and ask: “What animal is it?” They can reply: “It’s a/an _____”.  

If the class is stumped, this is a good opportunity to introduce the modal verb could (i.e. Could it be a snake? It couldn’t? Why not?)

Part 5 after the class has collected 8 animals for the zoo (list them on the board), tell them: ‘We’re putting the animals safely onto our airplane. Now we’re flying back home…’ If students seem to be enjoying the eyes-closed imagining, you could elicit more details about what they see and hear throughout their safari trip.

Part 6 Students open their eyes. Tell the students you made a big mistake - we collected 8 animals, but the zoo only has enough space for 5 of them! (You can draw a simple zoo with 5 sections to clarify). That means we need to send the extra animals back.

Part 7 Pair students. If you have time, you could use animal cards to pair students. Make copies of 2 of each card and mix them up. Students pick a card from a hat. They cannot show the card to anyone or say their animal’s name. Instead they must act like that animal (sounds, body movements) in order to find their partner.

Part 8 Partners sit together and decide which 5 animals will be kept in the zoo. They can write the names in a simple zoo drawing or just list them.

You walk around, help with language, encourage, and try to elicit why they have chosen to keep some animals and why they haven’t chosen others.

Part 9 Get feedback from the class, compare the different zoos.

Part 10 Ask students, “Why do people like the zoo?” Let each pair think of an answer and then board some different suggestions. 

Part 11 Tell students you found a song that also answers the question. Play the song “We Like the Zoo (‘cause we’re animals too)” for the class. 

The lyrics can be found here.

The students can sing along, or act out the different animals with gestures during the call and response bridge (beginning with “Well I’m an antelope…”)

I hope you and your students enjoy this lesson! 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Goodnight Already!

Using a Children's Book Trailer to Spark Curiosity

I'm a big fan of many of the recent dry humoured & quirky children's picture books being published these days, so I was delighted to find this trailer while perusing the wonderful blog Children's Illustration.

The trailer introduces a simple story. Bear is extremely tired and just tucking himself in for the night. However, his neighbour Duck seems intent on keeping him awake.

The trailer (and accompanying picture book) struck me as good authentic materials for an English lesson for young learners. You can see the lesson and download it below.