Teaching Transportation: A Cool Craft Idea

I was teaching transportation to my students recently and I thought to myself: “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could incorporate some sort of craft into my regular, everyday lessons?” Through some consultation with my coworkers and by adapting a few other crafts I’ve seen done, I was able to come up with the following idea: students use their hands and stamp pads to create different methods of transportation.

Before trying this lesson though, there are a few things you, as the teacher, need to make sure of. The first is whether or not your students are familiar with a handful of methods of transportation (like bike, bus, and rocket). If you need an idea as to how to teach them this, feel free to have a look at this lesson plan idea I made a while ago. Second, you need to have some craft supplies hanging around. You’ll need: blank papers students can use for their craft, newspaper to cover/protect tables (if you’re using tables), stamp pads of different colors, markers/crayons (usually the students have these, but it never hurts to have extras), aprons or garbage bags students can use to protect their clothes, and wet cloths or water stations where students can wash their hands. Third, there will be some preparation necessary to pull this off; it’s not a last-minute lesson plan. So ensure you have the materials and time necessary for it all.

OK. Now that we have gone through the necessary preamble, let’s dive into this activity! Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. If you’ve already taught transportation, do a short review with flashcards. Ask students to make sentence patterns, such as “I ride on/in a____” or “I go by____.”
  2. Play a game to reinforce the vocabulary. You can choose any of the games I’ve posted to do this. I particularly enjoy the hula hoop game with transportation, as it allows for kinesthetic learning. (You can skip this step if you only have a short lesson, as the craft will take a while to do.)
  3. Now, have students sit down at their desks (or on the floor if you prefer). It’s time to demonstrate what they will be doing. Show them a blank paper, then hold up the stamp pads you’ve brought along. Go through the colors as a review. Then go through these 3 methods of transportation: bike, bus, and rocket. Once this is done, follow these steps.
    1. Put on your apron.
    2. Name a color, and put that stamp color on your index finger. Place it on the paper once horizontally and once vertically to make a bike shape. Then, place your 2 fingertips on the stamp pad and add wheel shapes to make a bike on the paper. Name the method of transportation and have students repeat it.
    3. Wipe off your hands with the damp cloth. Then select a different stamp pad color. Put the palm of your hand on it and place it on the paper. It should make a square-ish shape. Then, place your 2 fingertips on the stamp pad and add wheel shapes to make a bus on the paper. Name the method of transportation and have students repeat it.
    4. Wipe off your hands again and select a new stamp pad. Put the side of your hand on it and stick it to the paper. It should make a vertical line of sorts. This will be your rocket. Name the method of transportation and have students repeat it.
    5. Quickly add some details to your image (with crayons/markers) and say: “Now we color.” Students will get the idea. ***For a picture of what the finished product could look like, see the pictures below.***
  4. Now that you have demonstrated the activity, have the students put on their aprons and distribute stamp pads, crayons/markers, and papers. Help them make their stamp shapes and remind them to wipe their hands (or wash them) in between stamp sets. Once they finish, encourage them to draw on their papers. They can even write their names (and/or the methods of transportation) if they’re capable of doing so. Basically, monitor the activity to make sure students are doing well. Get them to speak English too by asking questions, such as: “What’s this?” (while pointing to a method of transportation), “What color do you want?” and “What do you ride?” They’ll surprise you with what they know.
  5. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO CLEAN UP!!! I can not emphasize this enough. I’ve learned this from experience: clean up time should be factored into the lesson or else you get stuck with it all. Or worse, the homeroom teacher has to do it, which is very unfair to them. To cut down on clean up time, have the students help with this step. They can wash their own hands, put lids on stamp pads (then give them to you), clean up markers/crayons, put dirty newspaper from the tables in a garbage bag, take each others’ aprons off and hand them to you, and wipe tables if necessary.

Once the clean up is finished, your lesson time should be up. If not, throw in a fun song or a review game to finish the lesson on a positive note. Also, allow your kids to take their papers home so that their parents can see what they made in English class!

 

 

Teaching Daily Routines: “I ____ in the morning/afternoon/evening.”

What do you do in the morning? Think about it. I mean reaaaaally think about it. You probably wake up, brush your teeth, maybe even wash your face? If you’re like me, you skip breakfast and opt for a cup of coffee instead. But for most people, eating breakfast is part of a healthy morning routine too.

Ok. So I’ve got you in the right mood now. You’re thinking about morning activities and daily routines. It’s the perfect time for me to throw this lesson idea at you. Let’s do this!

For this lesson, you’ll need flashcards of daily routine activities. You can get a set of those from this amazing website. It’s important to note that I prefer not to use ALL of these flashcards for the first lesson. I opt for a handful that I find the most useful: wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, brush my hair, eat breakfast, and get dressed.

Let’s assume you have those flashcards then. The first thing you want to do is teach this new vocabulary to your students. I usually show them one by one and have students repeat the words as we go. When I feel that they’ve had enough repetition to know at least some of them, I do a quick game of karuta (the slap game) or I’ll get students to pass a flashcard around. When I say stop, they must name it. Really, the review game you use is up to you, as long as the students are getting to practice the new vocabulary on those flashcards.

Once this first part is done, it’s time to teach them a useful sentence pattern. I usually opt for: “What do you do in the morning/afternoon/evening?” –> “I ______ in the morning.”; “I ______ in the afternoon.”; and “I _____ in the evening.” To explain the concept of morning, afternoon and night, I’ll draw pictures of where the sun is during each word (for “morning,” it’s high in the sky; for “afternoon,” it’s in the middle of the sky; and for “evening,” it’s setting on the horizon). I then have them practice substituting different vocabulary into the sentence patterns I just taught. For example, I’ll show “brush my teeth” and point to evening on the board. Together, we’ll say “I brush my teeth in the evening.” This step is super important, so make sure students are at least starting to get it before you move onto the next part.

Let’s assume that students can now make a few simple sentences with the new vocabulary words and the sentence patterns we provided them. Have them put their chairs in a circle and remove one chair. One students should be in the middle. Hold up a flashcard and ask him/her: “What do you do in the morning/afternoon/evening?” Have them respond with what’s on the flashcard. The students then need to switch chairs. The student left without a chair is the next person to answer the “What do you do in the morning/afternoon/evening?” question. Continue to play the game until everyone has had a turn. Once they’ve had a turn, take away the flashcard element. Have them answer from their own memory. You’ll see if they’ve retained the vocabulary (and if they’re able to use it properly) that way!

If you have some time left at the end of class, you can always do a miming game where one person goes in the middle of the circle you’ve made and mimes an action from the flashcards. The other students have to guess what the action is by using it in a sentence pattern. For example, I could mime brushing my teeth. I would choose a student with their hand up and they would need to say: “Brush my teeth. I brush my teeth in the morning.” or simply: “I brush my teeth in the morning.”

In subsequent classes, if you still have time to teach daily routines, try introducing new vocabulary and teach them the sentence pattern: “Do you _________ in the morning/afternoon/evening?” –> “Yes, I do.” “No, I don’t.”

 

 

 

“I Want to Go Faster!”: Teaching Transportation to Young Children

I recently found myself at a loss while teaching methods of transportation to my students. I wanted to make the whole experience fun and kinesthetic, but I wasn’t sure how to do that.

So I did a little research online and ended up stumbling on this gem of a song: “I Want to Go Faster.” I decided that it was too awesome to not incorporate into my lesson, so I did!

To make this lesson work, you’ll need flashcards of the following methods of transportation: bike, bus, car, train, plane and rocket (you can get those flashcards and more here – unfortunately rocket isn’t included in that set, but you can get it here). You’ll also need a way of playing video/audio (personal computer or TV screen), and obviously, students.

Start by showing the students the different methods of transportation flashcards. Have them repeat the words several times so that they can begin to associate them to their pictures. Once they seem to know most of the words you’ve presented them, have them do gestures for each flashcard as they yell out the words. For example, yell out “car!” and have them mime driving while they say “car” over and over. The gestures your students use are up to you!

The next step is very important: Students must learn to say “I ride on a bike.”; “I ride in a car/bus.”; “I ride on a train.”; “I fly in a plane/rocket.” Don’t worry too much if the students mix up on and in. That part’s not super important at this point. What you really want to focus on are the action words ride and fly. Once you feel that students are able to use these sentence patterns well enough, move onto the song!

First, show the video for “I Want to Go Faster” to the students (reminder: you can find that YouTube video here). Have them listen and get a sense of the rhythm. Next, try teaching them the segments of the song one by one. If you need the lyrics to the song, they’re below:

I ride on a bike,

I ride on a bike,

But I want to go faster,

Faster (x3)

I ride on a bus,

I ride on a bus,

But I want to go faster,

Faster (x3)

I ride in a car,

I ride in a car,

But I want to go faster,

Faster (x3)

Bike (x2)

Bus (x2)

Car (x2)

Train (x2)

Plane (x2)

Rocket (x2)

I ride on a train,

I ride on a train

But I want to go faster,

Faster (x3)

I fly in a plane,

I fly in a plane,

But I want to go faster,

Faster (x3)

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

GO!!!!

I fly in a rocket,

I fly into space,

In a rocket.

I fly in a rocket,

I fly into space,

In a rocket…

Once students are able to sing well enough, introduce the gestures they learned earlier into the song. Finally, have them sing it with the gestures, as the video plays.

You’ll see how much fun they have! The song is seriously catchy! And, as a bonus, your students will not only have learned methods of transportation, but also a new sentence pattern: “I ride/fly in/on…”

Teaching Body Parts: A Cool Idea

Imagine this scenario: you’ve been asked to teach body parts to little children, but, after a few lessons, you’re not quite sure how to test their understanding. They aren’t really reading yet, they can’t write, and their understanding of English is certainly limited. Well, here’s an idea: have them draw body parts as you say them!

First, give each of them this handout: blank-body-parts. Make sure they have color crayons or pencils to work with as well. Then, simply say: “Draw 2 arms.” At this point, it may be a good idea to hang a larger version of the attached handout in front of the class, and draw 2 arms so that they know what you are asking of them. In my experience, when you model the expected behavior, they understand rather quickly and can continue with the activity.

Continue to name body parts, with the expectation that they will draw them. Give them at least 3-5 minutes to finish drawing what you are asking of them and make sure to walk around and check on student progress. That way, you can give them hints (for example: “2 arms” and then flap your arms) and assess whether or not they are really understanding the activity.

This activity probably shouldn’t last longer than 10 to 15 minutes, as the faster students will get restless. Once everyone is done, have them write their names on the back of the paper (if they can) or do it for them. Then, pick up their papers so that you can have an idea of whether or not they fully grasp the concept of English body parts.

***If you want to add a level of difficulty, and if students already know colors, ask them to draw their body parts in certain colors (for example: “Draw 2 green arms.”). This reminds students of their colors, while still teaching them body parts.***