One of my favorite shows to watch growing up was called The Secret City staring Commander Mark, basically a Bob Ross for children with a sci-fi theme. Every week I would tune into PBS, which we were fortunate enough to pick up in Canada, and learn how to draw shapes, spaceships, and cityscapes in 3D. The show starred Mark Kistler, an American artist whom I was aghast to learn was not a real commander, but who was awarded a well-deserved Emmy in 2010 for his work teaching children to draw better.
Then along comes Super Simple TV last year with this amazing new series that also teaches children to draw. They’re all things kids are likely to draw: animals, flowered, trains, and of course dinosaurs. What I really like about these videos for the purposes of teaching English is that they use a wide variety of language as they describe how to do the actual drawing. It’s super listening practice and I’ve got my students doing this whenever they have a few spare minutes.
The animation is beautiful and the pacing is perfect, although some of my students took issue with the T-Rex episode, insisting that it looked more like a dragon or Godzilla. I’m no Alan Grant but I found myself convinced by their somewhat emotional arguments.
“It’s definitely Godzilla.”
Here are a few lessons to see for yourself:
The best part about the series is (and I imagine the powers that be in Seattle have already considered this) but there really is no reason they have to end it. There is an endless number of things to teach children how to draw which could potentially make this the premier art channel for young children, if it isn’t already.
Good stuff, keep it up.
Who would have thought that a children’s novel could generate such controversy as Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, but the world is what it is. I’ve read the comments of some teachers who insist that Junie B. (NEVER forget the B!) is a poor role model for children, what with her penchant for casual violence and all, and should thus be banished from the classroom. Her adventures would, I admit, inspire horror in the hearts of the average primary school teacher – but is that any reason to write her off completely?
I don’t think so. You see I enjoy using the book as a cautionary tale. Most of the children I teach all know somebody like Junie B. whom they avoid as much as possible; we have quite active discussions actually.
So, if you’re like me and enjoy a little rough housing in your children’s literature then please check out one of the novel studies below at my TpT store. They’ve been designed for teaching to EFL students who share the same mother tongue: Korean, Japanese, or Spanish (other languages are in the works).
Just click on one of the images below:
At a private English school I once worked at years ago in South Korea I was so desperately hungry that I quickly popped into the teachers room, grabbed my third rate sandwich from the nearby 7-11, and while carefully hiding it between pages 22 and 23 of SuperKids 1, I slipped back into the classroom. After telling the children to do some pair work I carefully munched away…
It was definitely a low point in my years of teaching but it taught me the importance of proper planning. It also taught me to hate all these people who say they can go all day without eating.
Without naming names, the trouble with ELT game sites is that they often feel like ELT game sites. Too much focus is placed on reviewing a certain grammatical concept and too little on making the activity fun for children. It may be just my own personal hang-up, but I think a classroom game needs to be really fun or what’s the point?
The Game Gal is just the opposite of ‘those’ kinds of sites by the virtue of the fact that it really isn’t intended for teaching English at all. Just a steady stream of wholesome family fun with tons of crossover appeal in the ELT world. I’m constantly mining its archives for new gems.
Here are a few examples:
- Pictionary – There are almost a dozen free word lists organized by theme that you can download for free. You don’t even need a board to play, just check out one of my older posts.
- Charades – Instructions and word lists of various difficulty levels of this classic game are available for free. Check out Picturades while you’re at it.
- Speed Scrabble – Try this new take on my favorite board game.
- Categories – A classic game I’ve been playing for years with my youngest learners but which I’ve sadly neglected with my older kids. Check out the list of categories. It’s good stuff!
- This or That – A quick and easy ice breaker that will get your kids talking.
There’s so much else to sort through. Do yourself a favor and just check it out.