Since publishing my article Teaching Kids Online – ESL Games and Activities for Virtual Classes with Young Children a lot of people have contacted me to let me know how much it helped them, and I thought it might be really useful to show you some of those ideas in action! So I'll be creating a series of posts in which I share some snippets of the video classes I made for my own students during lockdown. Sending pre-recorded videos was the best solution for my kids, so they could watch them in their own time as many times as they liked.
For my preschoolers, I divided my weekly online video classes into short segments including 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
In this post, I'll be showing you how I introduce and review vocabulary with my preschoolers. In subsequent posts, I'll show you examples of the other components of my classes, as well as snippets of my lessons for early primary age kids.
In this first video I introduce a new theme and some new vocabulary. I had already taught them the word "fish" from our previous unit on pets, so I built on that previous knowledge here.
When teaching 3-4 year olds, I start any new vocabulary theme with 4 words only. Here, I also bring in some actions to help children make a physical association with the new vocabulary. In subsequent videos I continue to reinforce the action-word association to play games and gradually introduce new words.
This was actually my third lesson on the sea animals theme. In this video I review the vocabulary taught in the previous lessons using the "Flying Flashcard" game, to add variety. I repeat the actions for each animal and add a new word, "whale".
My students' first language is Spanish, so you'll see that I switch between Spanish and English to help them understand - especially when giving instructions for games. One thing I do often is to say something in English, repeat it in Spanish, and then say it again in English to help reinforce. I also start each video with "How are you?" "I'm fine!" It seems repetitive, but that's the point! Bear in mind there is a week's gap between classes, so that consolidation is important.
I hope this will be useful if you are currently teaching preschoolers online, to give you some ideas for how to introduce and review vocabulary and show you some simple little games you can play to make learning English fun for little ones!