Teaching possessive pronouns can be direct, simple, and fun. A teacher in China asked me how to understand the possessive pronouns MINE and YOURS? First,the kids need to understand the basics thoroughly. Otherwise, they will still be making the same mistakes when they are thirty-eight! His class size varies from 6 to 18 kids, and there is always a Chinese teaching assistant present.
How to teach possessive pronouns and make it fun!
Talk about my toys
The specifics of the lesson are “Talk about my toys.” The main phrases are “Which toy is yours?” with the reply, “This toy is/are mine.”
Coincidentally I have a skit for precisely that topic in my book of ESL role-plays for children. But before doing the skit, the kids have to master possessive pronouns.
Logistics of toys in class
Will the kids be able to bring in a toy? (Take care with personal possessions. It is distressing if a favourite toy gets damaged or lost at school). In an ideal world, kids bring in one small toy. Have some spares for those who forget. Collect all the toys and put them out of sight in a box.
Present possessive pronouns with clothes
Present the concept of possessive pronouns with clothes that you are wearing. Point to all sorts of things that you own, saying, “This is mine.” (Your trousers, your pen, your bag…) Don’t point to something the school owns because that could be confusing.
Since this teacher has a Chinese assistant, use them. If not, use a student. The assistant takes a doll and says, “This doll is mine.” You take a car and say, “This car is mine.” Now have a mock argument, with the assistant trying to take your car, saying it’s hers, but you say, “No, it’s mine.” Keep passing the doll and the car about, arguing and repeating, “This doll is yours. This car is mine.” The assistant keeps taking your car. You keep taking it back. Then you take her doll, etc. Finally, you refuse to give it back and stomp off into a corner!
Eventually, you both get back your items, and each of you says, “This is mine.” Now reach for a pen, but the assistant says, “Wait! That pen is mine;” And off you go again, but with different items.
Draw toys out of a bag
Now you’ve demonstrated the idea. Have the kids repeat together several times, “It’s mine.” Draw a toy out of the bag and ask, “Whose toy is this? Ask a child specifically, “Is this your toy?” Ask around until you find whose it is. Elicit “Yes, it’s mine.” Only then, give it to the child. Do this for all the toys in the bag. If you have 18 kids, go as fast as you can, or they will get bored. The assistant can ask and give toys too at the same time as you.
Now everyone has their toy. Take a toy from a child and say, “This toy is mine.” If you get no reaction, ask, “Is this toy mine?” Someone should hopefully say “No.” If no child reacts, the assistant can take it from you, saying No! It’s hers/his”. Elicit “No! It’s mine.” Try to get an argument going with the kids and the assistant, taking each other’s toys.
Game for teaching possessive pronouns
Then you can do a memory game where kids remember which toy belongs to who. Kids are in a circle with six toys in the middle. First, ask all students to touch a toy, for example, “Touch Su’s toy, touch Li’s toy.” Drill those six toys. Then kids close their eyes, and you take one away. Ask “Whose toy has gone?” Answer; “Mine.” Next, each student chooses one toy and gives it to the person it belongs to, saying, “This toy is yours.” The teacher can kick this off by choosing a toy and giving it to the assistant, saying, “This toy is yours.” The assistant says, “No! This toy is yours,” as she gives it to the correct child.
In the next lesson, repeat the whole thing but with photos. Each child could bring a picture of a pet or a family member. Then play the memory game with those.
Let me know how it goes in the comments box. Feel free to ask me any questions; I’m here to help!
All the best, Shelley Ann Vernon
P.S. If you teach small groups, you’ll like my role-plays for children, containing the skit for teaching possessive pronouns mine and yours.
Please visit this post for fun games for teaching possessive adjectives and pronouns.