Classroom routine is the core of any class including ESL classes.
It is needless to say that build up a routine is always very important especially if you have young ESL learners in your class. Routine gives these little children confidence and you can teach them more sufficiently. So think about it how you would like to begin every class and when they enter first time in your ESL classroom you can do it with them.
Don't forget, different students, different routine. If you notice one routine doesn’t work with a class, don’t be afraid to change it. Experiment and choose the best.
Of course you can keep the main things such as greetings, weather… etc. But one class likes a song to start with, the other likes a rhyme. You can try more than one thing.
I have a list of songs, I start my classes with. They might help you to find the right one for each of your ESL groups.
To begin with, sit children into a circle. Youngest kids can start with “Hello!” song when they can wave, shake hands or hug whoever is sitting next to them. It gives them security and some contact with each other. After singing the song, I always greet them one by one, calling their names and they answer back.
- Good morning Alba!
-Good morning Miss!
- How are you today?
- I’m fine thank you. And you?
Obviously you can alternate between Good morning! Hello! or Good afternoon!
You can also teach them different answers to the “How are you?” question.
They can answer: “I’m ok, thanks.” “I’m happy.” “I’m not so well.” “I’m excited.” “I’m sad.”
Slowly, you can teach them different feelings to answer with.
After the first part you can go to the days of the week, the weather and numbers.
Chants days of the week then ask them “What day is it today?” According to their answer put the given day’s flashcard on the board.
Sing weather song then ask, “What’s the weather like today?” Whilst your class singing a weather song, of your choice you can place the weather flashcards accordingly. (sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy, snowy, foggy, cold, hot, etc…)
When you finished with the song one of the children can choose the right weather card and say “It’s ….. today.”
Finally you can move to the numbers. Chants numbers up to 10 or 20, clap or tap with each number so they can distinguish them.
With a bit more advanced students you can also ask the date, and month.
This is basically the warm up exercise. If you like to have more details on it find it under the name of Warm up in the ESL classroom.
Now we are at the main part of the lesson. Straight after warming kids up and make them feel comfortable you can introduce new vocabulary, a new grammar pattern or whatever your lesson is going to be about.
If you choose to teach new vocabulary for young learners, the easiest way is to do it with flashcards. There are plenty of games with flashcards you can make learning fun. You can also use real objects and variate it with a lot of movements.
There are fun interactive games as well to make class interesting.
After you introduced vocabulary or a new pattern, it is time to put it into practice. Let kids play games with the words in pairs or in little groups.
The final part of the class is when you make sure kids go home happy. I usually finish with a song, they can sing on the way home or a little piece of art bit, a puppet, a card to take home and practice or play with. That also shows parents what bit we worked on that day.
If you have other ways of setting the class routine and it works well, we would be happy to hear about it.