Demo lesson for kindergarten kids
*Here's a teacher stuck for ideas on giving a demonstration lesson at her kindergarten.
"Thank you for the wonderful book! (preschool games book) I use these games almost every day at the kindergarten where I work.
I have been given a very unusual task... About 100 children with their parents are coming to our kindergarten to see if they want to study here next semester. I was asked to give them a half an hour class. 100 children or so! All of them are 2-3 years old and absolute beginners. We are likely to be outdoors and my coworker's first idea is just to sing and dance, but I'm afraid it'll be impossible to dance 30 minutes...
Do you have any ideas? It would be very kind of you if you could help me because I'm stuck!"
The kindergarten director is looking to convince parents to send their children to the kindergarten. Therefore I suggest getting the parents to join in, not the kids, who are bound to be excrutiatingly shy at first.
1. Get everyone's attention by banging a gong. Pause and wait for parents' attention. You cannot expect to have the attention of all the kids, so don't wait for it. As an introduction ask parents to join in with you while you show them games and activities that you use in class with the kids during their English classes. Explain to parents that as they get to know their teacher, the kids will join in gradually, but that today we can't really expect much participation from the children.
- Start on time and be sure to have everything ready in advance and move swiftly from one demonstration to another. To keep the attention of 100 people you need to be quick. Rehearse your demo several times and know exactly what you are doing, without referring to any notes.
- Should any child have a loud vocal meltdown during the half-hour ask parents to leave the room discreetly and return as soon as their child has calmed down.
2. Teach the parents how to say I'm fine thanks. Say Hello, How are you? and have them reply back to you all together with I'm fine thanks. Ask them in a normal voice, then in a whisper and have them whisper their reply. Use a very low voice, and then a very high voice, and they reply back in low and squeaky high voices. Roll a big, soft ball to a parent, saying Hello, how are you? And the parent rolls it back, answering "I'm fine thanks." If the parent hesitates or is shy, now is not the time to teach them. Move swiftly on to the next person. Three rolls of the ball are sufficient to demo this idea. You want to entertain the parents with variety. (5 minutes maximum)
3. Play games from the preschool games book, Whose Shadow Is It? This would be a great game to play with a big audience. Set up a sheet with a light behind it. Make shapes of animals with your hands while saying the words in English. Ask parents, What's this? And make a rabbit with your hands. (You can find all the shapes online.)That should intrigue most of the kids. Don't worry if some toddlers are off in their own world. (5 minutes)
4. If getting the light and sheet set up is too much work for you, try a game like Mystery Box game. Have all sorts of goodies inside a box with a hole in the top. Ask a parent and child to come out front and feel inside the box. Have the parent name the items he or she can feel. Put some things in there that are easy to identify so you have success. A banana is easy to identify since it has a unique shape. A tennis ball or pencil should be easy to guess. Then pull out the items and name them in English, and have parents repeat the words back to you. (5 minutes maximum)
5. Instead of Mystery Box above, intrigue the kids with the game What is Hiding in my Pocket? (See my preschool games book) Here you wear a big coat with lots of pockets and stuff coloured scarves or objects up your sleeves, in pockets and anywhere you can. You pull out the items, ask the parents what colour they are. Kindergarten kids find this most intriguing. (5 minutes maximum)
6. Get an umbrella and say, Oh no, it's raining. Start drumming your hands on your thighs to make a pitter-patter of rain. Drum faster saying Oh no, it's raining hard! Then slow the rain down until it's just spotting - tapping your thighs slowly, while you look hopefully up at the sky, and say Oh good, the sun is coming out. And finally, it stops raining. If you have an assistant have them mime with the umbrella, run for cover, and pretend to be in a rainstorm. Now you've done the demo, have all the parents join in with you, tapping their thighs and following your prompts or picture-prompts. It should make a wonderful sound. Start with a gentle pitter patter, quite slowly, gradually increase the speed and the intensity as the rain starts falling hard, create a tropical storm, then gradually come back down until the sun comes out. While you do that, you keep repeating "It's raining" "It's raining a lot! Oh my! It's really raining now. It's a tropical storm.....a storm. It's raining." Don't make it scary for the toddlers - keep smiling and having fun. The storm should not be a menacing one. (5 minutes)
6. You might now have some parents come out on the floor with you and give each one a homemade instrument. Tins of sand, jars of small stones, lentils or cornflakes all make different noises. Glass bottles that you hit with a spoon have different pitches. Have all parents chant something like "Fish in the sea, fish in the sea, fish in the sea". This is a rhythmic chant and it sounds pretty good. Parents can make fish motions with hands while chanting. Suddenly a shark comes along! It's a friendly shark though, and you welcome it happily, be careful not to scare the kids! On "shark" the parents play their instruments in celebration. Then stop them and start up the "fish in the sea" chant again. Repeat this a few times. You might prefer a chant with "Bumblebee fly" and "Flowers!" in celebration. Either way, have posters or giant cardboard cutouts of the vocabulary so the meaning is clear. You could do "Curl up cat, curl up cat, curl up cat" making curling up gestures, and then exclaim "wake up" with big waking up gestures. This will be harder for parents to do since they will be holding on to their kids, but anyway it might inspire you to think of some relevant ideas to your kindergarten, culture, and country.
7. You could finish by setting up a rhythm with the percussion instruments and parents clicking their fingers or clapping and count up to ten several times.
8. Finish up by telling parents how to sign up and answer any general questions that could apply to everybody.
Shelley Ann Vernon