November 11, 1998
Language Proficiency: Beginners
Language Background: From various countries
Students will learn the vocabulary for the basic colors in English, be able to recognize these words, and then use them appropriately to describe the colors of an object.
Start out reading a picture book about colors to the class.
This stimulates the students' minds and focuses them in on the topic of "colors." Perhaps it will tap into their existent knowledge on the subject, whether in the L1 or L2.
Have color charts in front of the classroom depicting each color of the rainbow and the name of each color. First, the teacher will point to the color, say the name, and then have the class repeat.
Students will hear the name of the color, see the name of the color, and connect it with a visual picture of the color. So there is a written connection between what the students hear, say and see--they connect meaning with written words.
Work up to where the teacher simply points and the class tells the teacher which color it is. Call on individuals as well.
Individual responses call for the students to be responsible for what they are learning.
Play Simon Says with crayons! (Everyone should have their own set of crayons.) Use commands such as these:
Simon says take out your crayons.
Simon says open the box.
Simon says raise the [green, brown, red, blue, purple, yellow, orange] crayon.
Put it down.
Pick up the blue crayon.
Simon says write your first name with the blue crayon.
Simon says put the blue crayon back in the box.
Pick up the orange crayon.
Write your last name with the orange crayon.
Put the orange crayon back in the box.
Simon says pick up the purple crayon.
Simon says draw a line under your name with the purple crayon.
Put the purple crayon back in the box.
Simon says pick up the red and green crayons.
Put them back.
Simon says pick up the orange and the yellow crayons.
Simon says put them back.
Cover the box.
Simon says hand in your paper.
Hand in your crayons.
Simon says put the crayons away.
(commands adapted from ESL Teacher's Activities Kit by Elizabeth Claire, Prentice Hall, 1988, p40)
This is a total physical response activity--it requires students to use listening skills, language processing skills, and then respond appropriately (vocabulary comprehension).
Through practice and drilling, students will begin to acquire color-vocabulary and be able to respond quickly. Students tend to remember things better when a physical activity is tied to learning. Plus, the game is fun and age-appropriate.
This builds a word bank for the students to use for quick reference, plus it helps reinforce what they have learned.
The teacher immediately transcribes their words onto the paper, providing the students with a written connection between what they say and what it looks like in print. They build word recognition by connecting meaning with written words.
The story will be meaningful to them, because it is their own words, their own story. This also provides exposure to writing and sentence structure.
Take each student individually and have them tell you the names of the various colors as you point to them. If they are still struggling, have them draw more pictures with the colors they are having a hard time with and label each color.