A teacher asked me today how to get through three weeks of summer camp and come out alive without the kids getting totally bored. Here is a strategy for success:
The key word is variety; variety of games, of topics, of teaching methods, tools and activities. Read on for examples:
1. Use language games
Use games to drill all new vocabulary and grammar, and also to revise it. Be sure to vary the types of games you use since even learning with games can become dull if the teacher always uses the same ones. When you have a game that is a hit milk it, but don’t flog it to death! My games book (176 English Language Games for Children) has all types of games, drills for listening and speaking, fluency activities, spelling and writing games, quiet games, lively games, board games and quiz games…so that no lesson feels the same.
2. Vary the topics
It’s frustrating to be doing the same words endlessly. It makes pupils perceive that they are not getting anywhere when teachers stay on the same vocabulary or grammar topic until every single child knows it perfectly. Cover several topics during the day but come back to them each day using different games to revise and expand the topic as the week goes on.
3. Vary the approach
Divide up the time into chunks so it does not seem so daunting. For example start with intensive vocab and grammar games for drilling first thing while pupils are fresh. Take the next session to create giant quiz that you add to gradually over the weeks, but not every day. Alternate with a board game or big game activity that takes up an entire lesson. Putting on a quiz as part of the show at the end of the course is a good way to show off everyone’s English. Use plays and skits and songs. In the final session stick to light games or a craft such as making props or a programme for the show to give to parents/spectators.
These plays and skits are a hit at summer camp. Check out the pictures on the link below to see how much kids enjoy doing them. Put these on as part of the end of camp show with a few props. They work on every day English and build confidence and fluency in spoken English.
Work on several skits over the camp, at least one per week though you might be able to do more depending on the age and level of your participants.
Email any time if you need help.
All the best