Using Circle Time in ESL Classrooms
Sep 4, 2008 English as a Second Language (ESL) 5937 Views
Many ESL teachers may not be familiar with the idea of circle time. It is a part of lesson, usually the first thing that you do, where the concepts are repeated on a daily (or weekly) basis. It's generally used in preschool or early elementary school classes, but it can be quite effective for use in the ESL classroom.
Having a daily (or weekly) circle time can help build confidence in new ESL speakers. Since the concepts are repeated frequently, the students quickly learn the correct answers. When used at the beginning of the lesson, it helps the students feel more comfortable getting into "English speaking mode" and ready to move on to more unfamiliar topics.
Circle time activities should be short and easy. There should be a few different concepts that you cover and the entire time should take no more than 15 minutes. Circle Time Ideas for ESL Students
1. Short Conversation. Short conversation entails asking students a few quick, easy questions. Some examples are:
* What's your name?
* How are you?
* How old are you?
* What food do you like? (animal, fruit, color, etc.)
By providing a couple of possible answers, the students can easily pick up on what they are being asked. For example, I might say, "What animal do you like? Dog? Cat? Snake?" Make sure that students are answering in full sentences. As students get older, they may be able to ask questions of other students.
2. ABCs. This is also a good time to review ABCs. You can sing the ABC song, or focus on one letter. If you focus on one letter, make sure that they understand the sound that it makes. See how many words they can think of that start with that letter. An easy way to do this is to have them look around the classroom. They'll notice many words that they know just by looking around.
3. Days of the Week. Review the days of the week. You can sing a song that does this. Then ask them, "What day is today?", "What day was yesterday?" and "What day will tomorrow be?"
4. Months of the Year. Review the months of the year. You also can sing a song for this. You can ask them what month it is now. Kids also like to know what month their birthday is in.
5. Counting. Counting can sometimes be time consuming, but it's worth it to go over it every now and then.
6. Weather. Go over the different types of weather (sunny, cloudy, rainy, snowy, etc.). Ask the students what the weather is like today.
Obviously, you probably don't have enough time to go over each of these ideas during every circle time, but you can easily pick two or three to do in every lesson.