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Ideas for Lessons
While young children may be easy to teach due to their eagerness to learn, linguistic activities that involve games are even more appealing to them. Mention a treasure hunt or a play in which they can dress up in costumes and act, and you have an eager and willing class. For the most part, a class of young children will have a least one student of another culture. That is not a difficult thing to find since the influx of immigrants in the USA has created quite a diverse scenario in schools. Use this to your advantage in planning your lessons. The following are some ideas for linguistic activities for young children.
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Choose a play that is well-known internationally such as "Little Red Riding Hood," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" or "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." Assign roles to your students. Have them rehearse over a period of about three months before actually presenting it to another class; or plan a Parents' Evening and invite their parents to see them perform. The exercise will not only encourage them to learn how to interact socially, but they will also have the advantage of learning new words and expressions. Knowing they will be presenting the play to an audience will give them added incentive.
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Classroom Sing Along
Kids love music. Play favorite children’s songs and nursery rhymes in some of your classes and have the children sing along. They will love this. You may play seasonal songs or just popular songs such as "Under the Sea" from "Little Mermaid" or "A Friend Like Me" from "Aladdin" or the traditional French song "Alouette."
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Listening to songs and singing along can lead to a talent contest. The children can learn songs of their choice, and a lesson can involve performances in a contest by some students while a small number of students can act as judges. Just make sure that the talent show remains fun and does not become a popularity contest.
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Shopping for Food and Clothes
Shopping for food and clothes is a good exercise for an English class as well as a geography class especially if there are students of diverse cultures. They can share ideas of typical foods eaten and types of clothing worn in their native countries; then role play at shopping for food and clothes while on a vacation or a business trip.
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Other Linguistic Activities
Other linguistic activities should involve listening to stories, writing poems and playing word games like Scrabble. Students should be encouraged to read good books as much as possible and to read aloud in class. Encouraging them to keep a diary is another good exercise. Children should also be taught to find words in a dictionary; this is an exercise which many young children enjoy. They can play games of who is the first to find a word that the teacher or another student calls.
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Benefits of Activities
These ideas for linguistic activities for young children can greatly enhance language learning in that the children will be able to:
- Express themselves well in both oral and written forms,
- Be able to use language to remember and think,
- Understand words and language and have well-developed vocabularies, and
- Develop cultural awareness and appreciation for other cultures.
By using these and other linguistic activities for young children, a teacher can improve linguistic abilities in any classroom.