How do kids learn in our Language program?
Learning a new language requires an incredible amount of effort to memorize new words and sounds. How does Language Alive! make this process fun and engaging for kids and their shorter attention spans? Here are highlights of our basic strategies:
Set realistic language goals :
Each session defines a limited amount of target vocabulary and sentence structures with a theme. The goal is to build confidence to communicate with a realistic amount of vocabulary.
Develop communication within a theme:
Organizing the target language within a theme allows each session to provide more focused and consistent language support. Each day reinforces what was learned in the previous day, and the kids can build toward a culmination achievement by the end of the session.
Games for repetition:
Research indicates that a new word needs to be repeated or used around 70 times before it "sticks." It can be really boring for kids if their only opportunity for repetition is just memorizing a vocabulary list! We often play 2 or 3 different projects/activities, that require the kids to identify or say words over and over...using the same vocabulary in each project/activity.
For example, we might play these three types of games to teach facial features:
Move-to-the-word: The words or pictures of the words are placed around the classroom, and the kids have to move around and group themselves under the right word that is called out.
Hot/Cold: A word/picture is hidden in the classroom. One student is blindfolded and must find the word. The other students shout the word faster/louder as the blindfolded student gets nearer, or slower/lower as the blindfolded student gets farther away.
Pin-the-Tail: Much like Hot/Cold, kids must repeat the words to guide a student to "Pin" facial features in the right place.
Projects for usage and achievement: The purpose of learning a new language is, of course, to communicate. So Language Alive! uses appropriate projects in art, science, engineering, drama, and sports to give kids a chance to have fun communication while using their new language.
So staying with the facial features theme, a project would be to create a space alien and then talk about their alien. Making an alien allows them to be more creative and have fun with the language, after all, an alien can have multiple noses and eyes and be all kinds of colors and textures...and therefore be a lot more fun to talk about!