I’ve always been in trouble with my memory. Since I was little, I remember myself struggling to study and remember all these grammar rules, spelling, dates, names… When I started teaching kids, I realized that drawing made the same impression to them as it did to me. So, here I am, presenting my way of teaching: PICTOGRAMS
The alphabet has 26 weird symbols that 5-6 year olds have to remember. What if the letters were characters, with a life style, habits and friends?
H is the mother and h is the daughter. They both wear hats. Soft hats. That ´s because they live in a very hot country. They never wear shoes because they hate noise. They always whisper. Hhhhhhh… They are family. They do the same things. So, they are presented together. They have a surname. Mrs Hat is short but proud of her tall and thin daughter. That ´s why she ´s so happy…
I give them names as Helen, Hope… You could add bubbles to make them say their favourite words such as Hello, Hi…
They could also be presented as father and son and represent the pronoun he: The happy, short father
and the tall son:
They are sociable, like meeting people and they have best friends. They usually go out with c which is a cat. Because of the feathers you can see attached on H’s hat, the cat sneezes.. Aaaaaaa… ch!!! .
There are always fancy stories behind each drawing. The parent or teacher uses all kind of voices, movements and talents to make them look interesting and exciting. Let me show you this serious man. Actually, he’s a dad. A great dad. Who do you think he is?
Big stomach, straight back…. Reminds you of sth?
Letter d! It’s really unbelievable when you show him to the kids, dressed up, no transparent clothes and they are sure who he is! One picture is worth a thousand words…So true!
But how does drawing help pronunciation? How do we pronounce ball, tall, fall? And how can we help kids remember?
These two l letters are presented as apple trees. One of the apples falls and says “aw !” . So, remember: whenever you see an apple under these two apple trees, it says “aw” because it’s disappointed.
So, what about –all in words? Simple!
Letter T here is a beautiful, tall woman. She likes talking, too. She always says Ttttttttttt…
My memory tricks have helped students remember the pronunciation and spelling of a word. What about its meaning?
This is a difficult word. We write many letters but don’t pronounce all of them. Read this nice story:
Here’s Anne(a), the main character.
U has no hair. He’s a baby. His eyes are closed. He’s sleeping. He’s not talking.That’s why he’s not pronounced. Silent…
G -for girl- and H –for Hatboy. Letter g and letter h like each other. They spend time together. But they do funny things such as… blowing: ffffffffffffff Look at the baby’s hair. It’s moving. Isn’t that funny? Look at Anne. She’s laughing!
In this way Ss remember meaning, spelling and pronunciation at the same time. They also have a great time. The top secret is that there are 4 stages in this procedure .
1. They listen to the story while looking at the drawing
2. They have to repeat the story. We remember more when we say it. That ´s why teaching is the best way of learning.
3. They draw the story the way I do. Same characters, tricks.
4. They write the word. Then they have to find their mistakes on their own. But I have to say that they rarely make mistakes.
What about a verb in Simple Past? An irregular one?
A is for Anne. E is for Ed. He is sleeping. He ´s not talking. That ´s why he is not pronounced.
Look at T. She ´s surprised with open arms: “Oh, you ate all the popcorn! 8 of them!”
Let me finish with a drawing of my favourite story. This story consists of more than 50 drawings that help me teach Simple Past. The main character is SUPERGIRL. She’s a normal student but she has super powers. One day something happened to her best friend, Anne. Remember her? Letter a!
A is Anne. I is a thief who wears transparent clothes. This is because he doesn ´t want to be seen, discovered, get caught. So, he doesn ´t speak. He ´s silent. He ´s not pronounced at all.In this story, letter I had caught Anne and tried to get her in letter D, which is actually an open door. At that time, Anne was afraid. She was forced by the thief to get in the grey, dark house, through that door. So, she said HELP! (But don ´t worry about Anne. She was saved by her best friend, Supergirl.)
Grammar is presented by using the same tricks: drawings through words and stories.
I also use pictures not only to present
but also to practise the formation of the tenses in sentences:
How to practise Present Continuous: This game requires 3 decks of cards: the first includes the personal pronouns. The second includes VERBS, and the third includes the symbols (.) , X, ?, which represent the affirmative, negative and interrogative form of the sentence.
The learner must form the sentence correctly, according to the tense required, the personal pronoun and whether it’s affirmative, negative or a question. If the player forms the sentence correctly, he/she can get the verb flashcard. The winner is the person who gets the most cards.
These pictures are strongly recommended for learners of English with learning difficulties. Through these cards they can remember confusing words such as:
How to teach the word “left”:
Hold up your hands and stick out thumbs and index fingers as you say:
Which is my left? Which is my right?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell.
But when I stick my thumbs out straight,
My left will make an “L”.
Confusing words such as
get clear and solve many problems by presenting the cards.
To sum up, this is the way my Ss remember not only the meaning and spelling of the new words, but their pronunciation, as well. I think they are a great tool!