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Pictures speak louder than words

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During my work in a primary school in China I invented a relaxing way of teaching simple vocabulary to younger kids. It serves to teach not only pronunciation but also spelling by means of drawing. It’s best for the names of objects like fruits or household utensils, animals etc. All you need is a blackboard and colourful chalk.

First, you have to draw, say, a cat. It should be a funny picture so that children laugh at it. Then practise the pronunciation of the name with the kids and once they get it, write it clearly below the picture, underlining each letter separately. Next, draw and name other animals, but no more than five or six at a time (it can also be the number of the rows, if you wish to hold a competition at the end of the lesson). After practising the names, wipe the letters off and ask your pupils to write them again on the blackboard (the underlining will now prove helpful). When all the names are back on the blackboard, wipe the pictures off this time. The kids will vie with each other to come to the blackboard if only they have a chance to “take the stage”.

At the end you can hold a competition. Leave either the names or the pictures and ask one person from every row to write or draw correct names or animals. You can also ask them first and then say what animal they have to draw. There’ll be a lot of fun for you and the kids, on one condition though – they must be young teenagers at the most. It doesn’t work with high school students very well. Thankfully, neither you nor the kids need to be gifted draughtsmen;-)

Dawid Juraszek
(now back in Poland)
beriskorf@interia.pl

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