When teaching younger students it can be a refreshing change of pace, for them and you, to get out of the classroom every once in awhile – if the weather cooperates.
Younger students tend to like to get out to a park and play games – and don’t worry, they know a number of activities that everybody will enjoy – even you. It will be a good learning experience for them, as they will have to explain the game to you, and their classmates, in English. If your class is large it is advisable to bring a teacher’s aide along. This will take a lot of pressure off of you, and help you foster a relationship with your TA.
Field trips to nearby establishments where there is an English speaker on duty can be a lot of fun as well. Check out the neighborhood around your school and see if there is someone who would be amenable to having your class drop by. Fire and police stations may have an English speaker on staff but may not appreciate the disruption. Ice cream stands are always a big hit. Your school may even have provision in their budget for such activities. No English speakers in your neighborhood? Then a walking tour of the neighborhood is in order – speaking English only of course. After returning to class have them talk about where they went and what they saw – directions, descriptions, people – everything is up for discussion.
One warning – make sure you discuss all this with your school’s director before you start planning to take students out of the building – you will more than likely not meet with any resistance, and may even be applauded for your innovation, but… schools may have liability issues to be considered, and in some cases they may have to secure permission from parents.
Should a field trip not be possible, you can still provide your hardworking students with respite by scheduling a classroom fun day. Play games they like, bring board games into the class – most schools have a selection of board games. Boggle is a wonderful game for learners of English but don’t schedule it, or any game for that matter, for an extended period of time. Students tend to get very competitive and that can make for a very trying time.
Movies are popular and require little in the way of preparation – you can attempt to have a light discussion on the movie after viewing it, but keep the conversation simple – concentrate on subjects such as – did you like it, what did you like, what didn’t you like, who was your favorite character, favorite part of the movie – simple is key here. If it gets too analytical you start to run into vocabulary issues, which will result in your class reverting to their native language.
These are just a few ideas – put yourself in the place of your students, use your imagination, and think about what you would like to do if you were a student.