My Very Hungry EFL Caterpillar

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The very hungry caterpillar is a must-read book for native English speaking children. This book has also some valuable features which make it a wonderful resource that can be used in the EFL class.

There are thousands of web pages and ideas out there and as in previous posts, I like to try to find the most inspiring ideas that can be used in the EFL class. The best thing is that these activities are not solely limited to EFL, but include math activities, literacy activities and even crafts. Some of these activities can be used in exactly the same way would be done with native kids of the same age while others have been adjusted due to the different amount of input and vocabulary between native English speakers and students of EFL.

Keep in mind that this lesson plan is only a suggestion, as every group is different in size, time available each week and so on. Feel free to pick and choose activities and create your own lesson plan.

 

Age

  • Very young learners. From 3 to 7 years old.

Aims

  • Get to know a popular story.
  • Enjoy listening to a story.
  • Act out the story. Participate.
  • Learn the main vocabulary of the story.

Vocabulary

  • Food items
  • Numbers
  • Days of the week
  • Colours

Resources

  • The very hungry caterpillar book (big book version is a bonus). Worksheets below. Shaped labels.

The story

You can find some suggestions of how to use stories by clicking the tab above. Lets start by watching a nice video of the tale.

Activities

If you are using this book at the beginning of the academic year or you haven’t yet prepared a mini office for your students, you can make one while doing these activities and continue to add parts such as colours, numbers and so on. The great thing about mini offices is that you can use them while dealing with this book and then use it as a reference tool throughout the rest of the year.

Incentive chart

Before starting the activities you might want to hang an incentive chart on a bulletin board. Depending on the group you might want to focus on different aspects such as: behaviour during the activity, finishing the activity in the time given or tidyness. You can print the following model or create your own one:

Incentive chart (www.makinglearningfun.com)

Maths

Worksheet 1: Trace the number

Make a copy for each child of the worksheet 1. Ask the children to trace the numbers. As they finish sit down with them individually or in small groups and repeat the numbers while pointing.

Note: This will be part of the mini office.

Worksheet 2: Stick circles and form a caterpillar.

Make a copy for each child of worksheet 2. Give them round shaped labels of the same or different colours. Ask students to stick as many circles as the number shows like in the example above.

Worksheet 3: Create a mini book.

Make a copy for each student of worksheet 3: number 1, number 2, number 3, number 4 and number 5. You can work on a number every day or focus on one every week (depending on the time available). Give children round shaped labels. Ask students to stick the labels on the number, raising awareness of the number shape. Then ask them to trace the number. Finally ask them to colour the fruit. Go around the tables asking students which number is which.

Resources:

worksheet 1

Worksheet 2

Worksheet 3: number 1, number 2, number 3, number 4, number 5.

Other worksheets

Here are some other worksheets you can practice with your students (from http://www.makinglearningfun.com)

Other resources


There is a wonderful teacher’s guide where you can find activities like this mini book. Have a look at the sample pages available on their web page: Teacher created resources

Colours

Worksheet 1 and 2: Make a very colourful caterpillar.

Note: It would be ideal to read books about colours such as Brown bear, brown bear what do you see? before this lesson so that students are already familiar with colours.

Make a copy for each child of worksheet 1 and/or worksheet 2. Worksheet 1 consists on colouring the circles, cutting them and sticking them on another piece of paper (little children might not have yet acquired the ability to cut on their own). Worksheet 2 is easier and only requires them to colour the circle following the colour names.

Note: This will be part of the mini office.

Resources:

Worksheet 1

Worksheet 2

Days of the week

Prepare some flashcards with the name of the days of the week, the food items and the numbers from 1 to 5. In this activity we will use a pocket chart.

Hang the pocket chart low enough so that children can easily reach the strips but high enough so that everybody can see the result. Ask students about the story: On Monday, the hungry caterpillar ate… Place Monday on the pocket chart while talking and elicit the number and the food item, then place them. You can demonstrate another or if you see some children are getting the idea, or you have used the pocket chart before and students are familiar with it, just call a child and have him or her place the flashcards in order as in the picture.

Some beautiful flashcards are (from http://www.makinglearningfun.com)

Sunday

Monday-Tuesday

Wednesday-Thursday

Friday-Saturday

Alphabet

Worksheet 1: Make an alphabet caterpillar.

Make a copy of worksheet 1 for each student. Use alphabet charts, magnets, sand boxes and so on to demonstrate the letters of the alphabet. Older students might already be familiar with them whereas first-years might need to work on it throughout the year.

Note: This will be part of the mini office.

Resources:

Worksheet 1

Food items

Worksheet 1: Spelling

Make a copy of worksheet 1 for each student. Ask the students to cut it into four squares. Following the look, say, cover, write and check technique, tell students to practice the spelling of each word by folding the name bellow as in the picture.

Worksheet 2: Words and letters

Make a copy of worksheet 2 for each student. Show them the difference between a letter (show a magnet letter) and a word (show a flashcard). Ask them to colour green the circles with a word and blue the circles with a letter.

Resources:

Worksheet 1

Worksheet 2

Mini Office

We are ready now to make our mini office. Ask students to cut or help them cut the worksheet with the colours, the numbers, the days of the week, the fruits flashcards and the alphabet. Stick them on the mini office as you wish and it will be ready to use.

As this book has been so popular for years with both kids and teachers, there are loads of games associated with the story available, from card games to puzzles. This is truly and oldy but a goody, years of teacher experience around the world has built up a treasure chest of ideas. I hope this brief collection of activities can as useful in your classes as they are in mine.

Useful web pages:

Making learning fun

Eric Carle’s web page

Teaching heart

DLTK

First school

The virtual vine

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Pocket charts in the EFL classes

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What is a pocket chart?

A pocket chart is a clever way to display letters, words, sentences as well as pictures and other items. It contains pockets where the cards can be placed and it’s an easy way to make a portable and interactive display.

How can I get one?

They seem to be fairly common in many schools and among teachers, but to be honest it doesn’t seem to be so popular here in Spain. I saw one for the first time last year when I received a second-hand one as a present. I find them extremely useful for any class, any subject and a must-have tool for a language class and I’m surprised that EFL books don’t come with one in their course packs.

Basically you can either buy one or make your own by laminating a big piece of colored cardboard. Then, stick strips of clear plastic from one side to the other, making the pockets with them.

How can I use it?

It has hundreds of possibilities in the English class. From being a portable word display to becoming an interactive board for children to learn about phonics, letters, words and so on.

Some activities:

  • Alphabet chart (Letter level)

Have one or more students place the alphabet cards in order. This activity can be done while singing the alphabet song or listening to alphabet stories such as: ABC, by Dr Seuss or Chicka, chicka, boom, boom, by Bill Martin jr.

Place some letters on top. Students then have to place words underneath starting with that letter.

Use it with Jolly Phonics. Place the sound and the words in the jolly phonic jingle.

  • Matching (Word and sentence level)

Have students match two pictures. Ex. color and animal.

Have students match a picture and the word. Ex. frog and picture of a frog.

Reading comprehension: match sentence and picture. Ex. The bird is red and the picture of the bird.

  • Sequencing (sentence  and text level)

Start the session by placing the date and the weather cards at the top of the chart.

You can sequence: months, days of the week, colors of the rainbow and so on.

You can sequence a story. Ex. brown bear, red bird, yellow duck and so on (from Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?, Bill Martin jr.)

Ex. Monday 1 apple, Tuesday 2 pears and so on (from The very hungry caterpillar, Eric Carle) Continue reading

Literacy tools for EFL very young learners and YL

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There are many literacy tools that can be used in EFL classes. Many are well known and are well worn and well used (to be polite) in EFL coursebooks and accompanying teacher’s books. With that in mind, I find that others are still to be discovered,  especially those intended for preschool students.

By saying this, I’m assuming that preschool and primary English speakers and EFL children have many things in common and that some tools if not all can be used in both scenarios. Indeed, I believe that literacy teachers would be ideal EFL teachers of little ones. Whereas EFL teachers who have only be exposed to adult learners aren’t necessarily the most able to catter the needs of very young learners and young learners. Many will disagree with me on that, at least monetarily.

In this new project I’m going to analyse some literacy tools waiting to be discovered in the EFL classes.