Seguimos con la vuelta al cole en inglés, pero en esta ocasión, nuestra compi Claire vuelve con un montón de consejos para enriquecer nuestra vuelta. ¿Lista? ¡Vamos!
How to linguistically enrich your classroom – Seguimos con la vuelta al cole en inglés
Wake me up when September e̶n̶d̶s̶ starts ♫
… cause I have a whole new school year to prep*!
Dear teachers, here comes another school year and we will much probably teach hybrid* once more. However, this post isn’t about that stressful teaching experience but on implementing a second language (or several foreign languages, that’s even better!) into the decoration of your classroom, so as to enrich both the learning environment and your students’ learning process.
-> If you are a parent (but not a teacher)… ? worry! (you got it? Donut worry, do not worry! Aaalright, let’s get back on track*)
As I was saying, if you are a parent, these tips can also be applied at home, yay!
We ESL teachers tend to label absolutely everything at school in Early Years and Primary education, so our kids can learn more vocabulary because of being exposed to it every single school day. Which is a great tool, don’t get me wrong*, yet limitates the language exposure to a quite reduced range of terms which, though useful in a school context, will not be that relevant when it comes to* real life communication.
That is exactly why I am certain spicing up their learning environment with other kind of content will make your children engage with this (or other) language.
I know it comes in handy* to have some vocab and grammar posters sitting around the room, don’t get rid of them*! Let’s just add some…
- inspirational quotes
- self-motivation notes
- book reviews in the reading corner
- secret messages on the board or desk for captive reading
- “Happy Birthday” in various languages
- a calendar in at least 2 languages
- the school dinner menu
As an example, let me describe what my last classroom looked like:
It was a small room (in a language school) with some desks, two white walls, another two glass walls, a whiteboard and a screen.
Those four walls were supposed to remain clear, as the room was meant to be used for students with a great age gap (4 year-olds to even senior citizens). But that did not match my way of thinking, as you can imagine now that you just read all I said above.
As back then I was going to have a bunch of diverse pupils, I took it as the perfect opportunity for letting them know they were entering a haven*, a place where they could all feel safe and heard. That is why I displayed the following sign:
(Picture taken from weareteachers.com)
I set it up the same way as suggested on that website, including the rainbow pegs for pride.
As you can see, the word “welcome” is written in tons of other languages too.
I also got some other posters printed with quotes from books, celebrities and other inspirational messages.
As Spanish is not allowed in the class, I eventually created my own magnet sign “Spanish detected!” which we shout when hear someone switching to it, in a comical tone. Should you feel like making your own magnets, check the item out here.
The environment thing was part of our classroom as well, expanding the 3R rule (reduce, reuse, recycle) to a much wider waste hierarchy over the bins in the shape of a pyramid.
For the little ones, we had some magnetic letters that would make some secret messages on the whiteboard, inspiring them to leave some for the students that were running late or for the next group to arrive, as well as a “very hungry caterpillar” week calendar.
Alright, I must confess I also displayed several grammatical/lexical posters full of colours, pictures and examples. But that’s alright! They are really useful too.
As a last piece of inspo*, check this out:
Isn’t it wonderful? 5-year-olds leaving love and care secret notes to their peers.
I would love to invite Beatriz HL to share with you, reader, her brilliant tips on captive reading at home, are you in? 🙂
Best of luck on this new school year, we’d love to see pics of your linguistically enriched classroom or home!
- Prep is short for prepare or preparation, you might have seen it on YouTube cooking videos, for example.
- Teach hybrid is the new teaching style because of the corona outbreak, mixing both online and face to face classes simultaneously.
- Back on track means to go back to where you were or what you were doing.
- Don’t get me wrong is a common way to avoid misunderstanding after having said something that might sound contradictory.
- hen it comes to is an expression preceding a mention to a topic, i.e.: “When it comes to playing board games, she’s quite competitive”.
- It comes in handy means it is useful, practical.
- To get rid of is a phrasal verb that means to dispose of something that is no longer needed or wanted.
- Haven is a place where you can feel safe, a refuge.
- Inspo is the colloquial, gen Z, instagrammy way of saying “inspiration”.