Saturday, 28 June 2014

Let's get physical - the alphabet coming to life

Alphabet 03
Alphabet 03 (Photo credit: Leo Reynolds)
As we all know, the alphabet is an integral part for anybody learning English. I mean how else will they learn to read and write otherwise. Of course communication is just as, if not more in my opinion, important and should never be neglected as it seems to be in many Japanese school classrooms. Now it's no short and easy task teaching your students to become proficient readers, else I would probably be out of a job! But building a strong foundation and getting to grips with the alphabet at an early age will hugely benefit your students' ability to recognise and read letter combinations and eventually words and sentences in the future.

There are a plethora of activities, exercises and tools for learning the alphabet and it can at times be difficult in choosing what's best for your students. As I teacher I endeavour to have as much variety during lessons as possible so that the classroom is an exciting and fun learning environment. Recently I have added another activity to my arsenal of tools to teach the alphabet; using our whole bodies to recreate letters of the alphabet. I know that this may not be the most original activity but I regret not trying it sooner once I realized how enthralled my
students became with the activity.

Some teachers like to do this activity by marking out letters on the floor using tape as guidelines, but unfortunately we don't have the luxury of spacious classroom at "new Luna". However this is not necessarily a bad thing is it allows more scope for ingenuity and creativity amongst the students.

I have found that some students tend to take a much more active role than others, essentially becoming group leader and making sure the others stay in place and are not rolling around on the floor in a fit of giggles. Takasumi is the biggest culprit of either lapsing into fits of laughter or doing his best whale impression and proving immovable, whilst on the other Rin and Ruka are struggling to put him into place! This activity allows the students to learn the importance of teamwork as well giving them a chance to get out of their seats and get physical.

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