Thursday, 23 October 2008

Jigsaw learning

At first glance, you might think trying to do a jigsaw puzzle in class is a bit of a lazy cop out!

If you just sit there & don't make any English happen, then you'd be entitled to ask for your money back, that's for sure. However, I'm allergic to refunds!

Aim of this class was some very early prep for the YLE Starters speaking test - these lads are too inexperienced to have a bash at that just yet - and to develop some co-operation/reduce snatching.

Method? Well, kind of made up as we went, because it was pretty tough to predict how the boys would respond to this fairly free activity. They actually surprised me in that they found it very hard at first to "see" the picture. So they started asking me simple questions - pointing at the blank next space in the carpet & asking me "What's this?" !

Once we had the frame sorted out, they were off to the races & needed calming down a bit - time for instructions like "Don't walk on it" and "Let him put it there" etc. I like this puzzle because the bonus baggy has mini cards of all the main vocabulary. First we matched, then some dictation (no writing) - "Put the duck on the tent" and so on.

Do they know all the words? No way. I haven't taught them prepositions either...all about context and experimentation. Trying is not the same as being wrong a lot! They were checking their ideas with each other a lot as we got on with it, and quickly coming to conclusions about meanings & teaching themselves - much better way to learn than being 'told' by me!

As we went, other questions were obvious - asking about colours, shapes, number; "Have you got a ...?" or "Do you like ...?" We had a ball, and truly milked this excellent resource for all it was worth. Only problem is, I have only got the one puzzle!