Each week, GeoVisions will post an actual email from a Conversation Corps tutor, a Conversation Partner or a full time teacher abroad on a GeoVisions program. We are going to call the series, Help Me Teach Abroad.
Our Help Me Teach desk is manned by Betsy Bruneau, a full time ESL teacher here. She gives teaching assistance to GeoVisions' participants by phone, email and Skype. It is a FREE service that GeoVisions provides to all of our participants and they can have access to Betsy before they depart and during the program. If we can help you be an amazing teacher or tutor, you will be happy, your students or host family will be happy, you will tell people they should try this out and we will have a repeat family and school. And that's how we want to roll.
You can find a lot of these posts by clicking on the Help Me Teach tag. You can find that over on the right side of this screen. The tag box looks like this one. We will put all of our Help Me Teach posts right there. And who knows...one of these days we'll have enough to make up our own E-Book, which of course we'll give away for FREE.
I am in the Walk and Talk Spain program for GeoVisions and I will be giving English lessons to a 2, 6, and 8 year old. The parents said they would like me to do a lot with arts and crafts. I have some ideas but I am not sure how to plan these lessons if I don't know what level these children are at. Do you have any suggestions or ideas?
I think your host parents are right on target in terms of learning English. The good thing about your program is that it is not formal English and, as a result, allows you to have much more flexibility. I would always stress less formal plans and lessons. The children and you will enjoy it more, you will be more relaxed, and the kids won't even know that they are becoming more familiar with English. And although the children are different ages much of what you do can be modified for their age and ability.
Start by coloring and drawing. Draw your favorite animal and ask them to do the same. Share the word in English and in their native language. Do the same thing with flowers, family members, toys, etc. Ask them to draw and name their family members,their neighborhood, anything that is relevant to them. Take walks together and ask them to go home and draw what they saw after you point it out to them. Use a sandbox or dirt box. Trace letters in the sand with their fingers. Build bird nests, crochet bracelets, try using beads with the oldest girl and teach her the different colors in English and different types of jewelry.
Another idea is to do some simple cooking. This can be modified to any level from decorating cookies with the youngest to following some really simple recipes with the older two. Popcorn is always good and may not be eaten very often in your new country. You can also make necklaces with it and add dried berries for more color. You can plan on cooking once a week. You can really make anything you want. Bring a child's cookbook from your home country with you and have the kids pick out what they would like to make. You can also reverse this and have the kids show you what their favorite foods are and how to prepare them. Surprise the parents with a meal or snack that is prepared by you and the kids. Remember anytime you are conversing with them you are using English and reinforcing its proper usage.
I would also bring with you one or two children's books. I recommend Richard Scarry's Word Book or Eric Carles, Brown Bear, Brown Bear. There books have captivating illustrations. My own children used to spend hours poring over these books long after the recommended age. Brown Bear can really give the kids a sense of accomplishment. The Word Books are very detailed. I know that luggage weight is an issue but these three books: the cook book, the Word Book, and Brown Bear, I think, are well worth it.
Play games with the kids and don't forget to really introduce yourself to them. Bring pictures of your family and some pictures of children from your hometown who are the same ages. Let the kids see what children their age do in other parts of the world. Even though they are young they are still interested in this new person living in their home.
I hope that these ideas help you get started. I can't wait to hear more.
If you have comments for this tutor on Walk and Talk, feel free to use the Comments section below. This is an open community and we're all eager to learn.