The Tower Game: A Fun Simple Game for Young Learners

Games are a great way to use vocabulary with students in a fun way. Children naturally love playing games, and it can be fun for the teacher, too! I used to think you need to have new games all of the time. Now I realize that a few great games can be played over and over in class. Simply switch out the vocabulary when you are teaching a new topic.

towergame-exapmple

The Tower Game is one of my favorite games to use in small and big classes. I recommend this one from ages four and up. Here is how to play:

This is a really simple game that you can use with any flash card set. You do need a set of paper cups to play this. After teaching a set of flash card vocabulary, simply use the flash cards and cups to build a tower with the students.

You will need to use laminated flash cards for this to work. Place a cup on the table and ask the student’s a question, “What’s this?” When they answer correctly, they can place the flash card on the cup. Put another cup on top of that flash card, and repeat with the next student until you run out of flash cards, or the tower falls over.

You can use a lot of good phrases here like, “be careful” and “Oh, no!”.

What’s your favorite game to play with students? Check out my Dream English Tips Podcast to learn about some more games!

New Podcast: Top 5 Classroom Games for Young Learners

Hi! In this episode I talk about my Top 5 Classroom Games for teaching English to young learners. You only need a few good games that you can use over and over again with differnet vocabulary. Have a listen for some of my students favorites. Visit the Kids Games Page for more fun game ideas!

Click to Listen on PodBean.

Click to Listen on iTunes.

 

 

New Animal Names Song and Matt Show # 1 Learn English Kids

Hi! I’m super excited about the new Animal Names call and response song. This song works really well with young learners of English. It is simple, and also a lot of fun! I’m also excited to introduce the new Matt Show! Have a look and more below the video:

Animal Names Song

The idea of this song is simple. Let’s say some animal names, and repeat. This song can be a lot of fun with young students in small, and large class sizes. I would recommend this song from 3 years and up. It can be a bit of a challenge to say, “L, L, L, L, L, L, Lion!”

The Matt Show

The idea of the Matt show is simple, to reinforce the vocabulary and concepts in the song at the beginning of each video. After all, in a class we wouldn’t just sing a song, and then that is the end of the class. We would play games, and practice the vocabulary in different ways.

Different Ways to Learn

In the first episode of the Matt Show we have the following segments:

  1. Spelling Game: Let’s learn how to spell Lion. If you make a mistake, watch out for the dinosaur!
  2. Ask Tunes: Let’s ask Tunes a question. In this episode I ask Tunes, “What’s your favorite animal?”
  3. Quiz Time: What animals do you see?
  4. What did we learn today? A review of the things we learned in the song and video.

I hope you and your students find the new song and show ideas fun and helpful. Remember, teaching English is easy, if you make sure to be clear with what you are presenting, kids will just get it! Happy Teaching!

Food! Top 10 Teaching Food Vocabulary Ideas to Young Learners of English

Food, Glorious, Food! A line from the great musical Oliver. Teaching young ESL and EFL learners about Food is a fun topic. We all have our favorite food, for me it is pizza, not to mention favorite fruit, and ice cream flavors. In the new Food Family Finger video, we learn the names of five popular food items, and how to ask for them in English. More below the video:

Top 10 Teaching Food Vocabulary Ideas

  1. Use flash cards, toy food, or draw pictures to teach children food names in English. MES English has some great flash cards here.
  2. Personalize the class! Ask the students, “What is your favorite food?” Beginners can answer with just the name of the food, and more advanced students can answer in a sentence like, “ I like pizza.”
  3. Use flash cards, or food props, and have a “restaurant”. Lay out the food on a table, and have the students take turns asking for food by using phrases like, “I want a salad.” Make sure they say “Thank you” after the teacher gives the student the pretend food. Watch the video above to practice this vocabulary.
  4. Craft Time: Have students draw pictures of their favorite meal! Including dessert and drink. If the students do not know the name in English, be sure to teach them. Have the students share in English about their meal to the class.
  5. Watch a Dream English Kids Video about Food, here are a few popular ones: Food Song Learn 15 Food Items Fruit Song Learn 12 Fruit
  6. Play a Shopping game. Similar to the Restaurant game (see # 3), but this time students gather, or ask for items, and use pretend money to buy the items. A teacher can be the cashier and say things like, “That will be three dollars.” Or have the students take turns. You can easily make pretend money and food for the game out of paper. Put the food items around the room like a real supermarket.
  7. Read books about food. Some of my favorites are: The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, and I Like Apples from my other site KidsEnglishBooks.com
  8. Ask students what they ate for lunch. Again, if they do not know the vocabulary in English be sure to teach them. Use the phrase, “What did you eat for lunch today?” You could also ask about breakfast if your class is in the morning.
  9. Sing a song about Food! Check out I Like Apples, it is a free download here.
  10. If you are a teacher that eats lunch or snacks with your students, be sure to talk about and ask questions about the food they are eating. For example, “What are you eating? Is it yummy? What color is your apple?”

I hope these ideas help you get off to a great start teaching about Food to young learners of English. I am sure you have many ideas of your own that are great as well. Happy teaching!

Learn Rooms of the House with a New Song!

Students can learn the rooms of the house pretty easily. With that in mind, I made a Rooms of the House Song with some actions, like cooking, and reading. This combination of themes makes for a lot of fun in the classroom! How to teach and more below the video:

UPDATE: Download a FREE MP3 of this song, click here!

How To Teach:

Before showing a video I like to introduce the vocabulary with flashcards. MES English has some great Rooms of the House flashcards that contain all of the vocabulary in this song. Get them here at MES-English.com

You could also have some fun with your students and draw the rooms on a white board. Ask the students to draw objects that they might see in the room.

Next, pre-teach the actions: cooking, reading, playing guitar, eating, brushing teeth. Your students might already be familiar with a lot of this vocabulary. Then, watch the video, and have the students try to do the actions and sing-along. Here are the lyrics just in case you want to pre-teach those as well:

Rooms of the House Song Lyrics:

I’m cooking some food in the kitchen. 
I’m reading a book in the living room.
I’m playing my guitar in the bedroom.

Please be quiet! I’m trying to sleep.
Ok! After my guitar solo!

I’m eating dinner in the dining room.
I’m brushing my teeth in the bathroom.
I’m playing my guitar in the bedroom.

Please be quiet! I’m trying to sleep.
Ok! After my guitar solo!

Game idea: Ask your students to take turns acting out the gestures of cooking, or reading, and have the students take turns guessing. For an extra challenge, ask your students to choose a room flashcard where they are doing the action, and have the students answer like this, ” You are reading a book in the living room.”

I hope this helps you with some ideas to get started with your own awesome Rooms of the House lesson! Happy Teaching!

Teaching “I’m not….” to Young Learners with a Fun Action Song

In my new video and song, one of the lyrics is “I’m not scared.” This is a great phrase for kids to learn for their confidence, but it can also be easily changed to “I’m not hungry,” or “I’m not sad.” Very useful phrases in English! Have a look at the video, and read more below.

Teaching “I am” Phrases

So, how do we get students to use “not” effectively? First, we have to teach phrases with “I am.” For example, “I’m hungry, I’m happy, I’m sleepy.” If your students are not familiar with these phrases, check out the Feelings Song Here. 

Once your students are comfortable with the “I am” phrases, you could teach them the “I’m not scared” vocabulary from the above video. Then, show them the video. One effective way to show the difference is to say, “I’m scared” and act scared. Then, say “I’m  not scared, ” and act like that. Again, have a look at the video for how I act when I sing, “I’m not scared.”

Put it Together

Now that your students know the “I am” and the “I’m not….” ask them questions like, “Are you hungry?” The student should either answer, “I’m hungry,” or “I’m not hungry.” Go through the other feelings in the same way: happy, sad, sleepy, scared. You may have to do some modeling as a teacher to make sure your students understand the meaning.

Great job! You made it to the end of this blog post. Have a great day teaching!

 

Wild Animal Finger Family Song for Teaching English to Young Learners

I love songs that combine many different elements. The Finger Family song has vocabulary (animal names), question words (where?), and in my version it has actions!  More below the video:

How to teach the song

Start by introducing the animal names using flashcards, or other pictures. In this song we have a cheetah, a dolphin, a lion, a rabbit, and a crocodile. Next, teach the actions of the song : run, swim, roar, hop, and chomp (like  bite).

Next, put your hand to your eyes like you are looking for something and say, “Where?” You can use your students names, if you like. For example, ” Bob, where are you?” Now you have introduced all of the vocabulary in the video. Give the song a try and encourage your students to sing along. It might take a few tries before the students can sing, so be patient and sing along as well so the students can model after you.

Why singing is so important in English Class

Singing is a great way to practice pronunciation, rhythm, and sentence structure in English. Also, the repetitive nature of songs helps the students internalize the language of the song. Internalizing language leads to automatic use, or fluency. This is the goal! Let’s get our kids singing fluently in English. We can do it!

What’s In Your Bag? Classroom Items Song, Video and Game

School supplies are very important vocabulary for young learners of English (ESL, EFL).  It makes it much easier for a student to get a pencil from their bag, if they know what it is! So I have made a new, and a bit silly, video to introduce the vocabulary:

The video introduces the question, “What’s in your bag?” and an answer, “It’s my pencil, ” and other items like notebook, ruler, and eraser.

Tips for watching a video with students

This might go without saying, but I always watch the video with my students, do all of the actions and sing all the way through. Students will model after you, so even if you are putting on a video, it is not a time to sit and relax in class. (sorry!) These videos are designed with a second half that increases the speed of the song. This is great for fluency practice, and really getting your students to internalize the vocabulary!

What’s in your bag? Game

Materials: Bags (either students, or supply some kind of paper, or cloth bag). Students school supplies (pencil, eraser, ruler, etc.)

Ask the students to put one item in their bag, and make a partner. The students take turns asking and answering, like this:

Student 1: What’s in your bag?

Student 2: It’s my pencil. What’s in your bag?

Student 1: It’s my eraser.

Then, the students can play Rock, Scissors, Paper and move onto a new pair. Simple, but fun.

These are just a few ideas of my own.  I encourage you to be a creative teacher, and try out new game and classroom ideas to get the best out of your students!

Recycling Classroom Games for Quick Lesson Prep Time

When teaching young learners English, it is always a good idea to be prepared. Having an easy to follow lesson plan is really important in having a great class. I love to say to myself, “stick to the plan!” when in doubt of what to do next. With this in mind, having some fun and simple games you can use with a variety of topics is really important for a great class.

Example of a Favorite Game

One of our classroom favorite games is the Tower Game. For this game all that you need are some flashcards and paper cups. The children build up a tower with the cups and flashcards as they identify the object on the flashcard. You can read more about the Tower Game and how to play here. Or watch a video at the end of this post.

Recycling Games

One reason I love the Tower Game is because you can use it with any topic that you have flashcards for. Numbers, ABCs, animals, weather, really anything. You can also use question and answer phrases. For example, hold up a flashcard of a dog and say, “What do you see?” and the student has to answer in a full sentence, “I see a dog.” before they put the card on the cup to make the tower.

Having games like the Tower Game, or memory, or other fun games that you do not have to explain the rules every time you play is not only a time saver, but students will have immediate fun as they are comfortable with the rules of play after a few plays. Check out more fun Classroom Games at www.dreamenglish.com/kidsgames and Happy Teaching!

And here is a video I made many years ago demonstrating the Tower Game. Watch it for fun : )