Welcome to the third post of my special series on teaching English to preschoolers online! Here, I’ll be showing you how I use a Mystery Box in my online video classes.
I use my Mystery Box a lot in my face to face classes, and I always introduce the activity with the Mystery Box song from Super Simple Songs – so you’ll see I sing a little bit of the song at the beginning of each video so my students know what’s coming! My Mystery Box is also a feely box, and normally I would invite my students to put their hand in to feel the object and guess. For online classes this is impossible, of course, so I decided to do it for them and ham up some exaggerated acting to engage them and help them guess what’s inside!
As I already explained in my previous posts, my weekly online video classes for preschoolers are divided into the following components::
- An introduction/review of vocabulary
- A vocabulary game
- A read-aloud story or Mystery Box activity
- A guided drawing or simple craft tutorial
If you want to see some examples of how I introduce and review the vocabulary, click here. For examples of vocabulary games, click here.
The videos in this post form the third component and follow on from the vocabulary game. My previous videos focused on sea animals vocabulary, but here I’ll be using a Pets theme.
In this video I put a soft toy mouse into the Mystery Box. The mouse makes a squeaking noise when you press it, so I make it squeak a few times inside the box. I describe its ears and invite the children to guess what it might be before opening it and showing them the mouse. I really exaggerate my surprise in this one to build the suspense for them! Then I transition into a “Guess the Ears” activity, where I put on different animal ears and ask them to guess which pet I am!
In this next video, you’ll see that I have two items in the Mystery Box: a soft toy rabbit and a real carrot. First I describe the rabbit, using very exaggerated actions to show that it’s got long ears. I pretend that I don’t know what it is and ask if they can guess what it might be. Then I open the box and show the rabbit to the children. After that I shake the box and pretend to be surprised that there’s something else inside. This time I make it obvious that I know what it is, and give them some strong visual clues to help them guess that it’s a carrot.
As with my other videos, I switch between Spanish and English to help my little students understand key points.
Have you used a Mystery Box in your online classes? I’d love hear your ideas in the comments!
Check out my article Teaching Kids Online – ESL Games and Activities for Virtual Classes with Young Children for loads of ideas for 3-8 year olds!
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