Why use projects in your young leaner English classroom? Learning with projects is experiential learning and learning which motivates children, since they get to do what they like and get to avoid what they don’t like. Don’t we wish that all learning would be like that? For us, as well?
I’ve found that projects really are “knowledge in action” and reverse the traditions roles of teacher and student – with the results of less teaching and more learning! In this blog post, I explore the reasons why projects are beneficial for young learners and have additional benefits for language learning classrooms. I’ll also give you some guidelines for planning successful projects and a few examples of projects you can try out.
Here are 6 benefits of projects for young learners:
- Encourage learner independence
- Provide ways for children to apply what they learning (vocabulary, grammar, etc.)
- Help link school with home and community
- Support learning in other classes
- Encourage creativity and communication
- Make learning more enjoyable
- Appeal to different learning styles
- Bring the classroom to life
Here are some additional benefits of projects for language learning:
- Build on previous language activities
- Require authentic use of English
- Integrate skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing)
- Connect classroom with the wider world
- Bring the world into the classroom
- Take learners outside the classroom to the world
- Make learning meaningful and purposeful
- Challenge learners to use English in new ways
Now that you know some benefits of project work in the young learner classroom, it’s time to get into how you can plan and support projects to make them successful in your classroom!
Here are 5 guidelines to help you plan successful projects:
- Give very clear directions. Show children a model of what you want them to produce.
- Be sure all needed supplies and resources are available.
- Provide opportunity for children to use what they know and are learning.
- Engage their imagination.
- Connect to their lives inside and outside of school.
Keeping these guidelines in mind, here are two examples of projects that you can use in your young learner classroom.
The first project example I would like to look at is a puppet making project from National Geographic Learning’s Our World Level 2, Unit 6.
In this project, Children can make paper bag puppets and then use these puppets to have conversations or act out roles. This is a good activity for Level 2 students. There are pictures with the very simple statements of the directions. Children can follow them without even reading the directions, but it’s good that they are here, to support the development of early reading skills in L2 English.
Another example of a Young Learner project comes from National Geographic Learning’s Our World Level 3, Unit 9.
In this project, children take photos or draw their favorite activities and then put these in a class scrapbook. What is great about this project is that it builds cooperation and collaboration in the classroom, which are important 21st century skills. A bonus of this project is that it would be a great project to use for a parents’ or family day or night!
Do you have any tips for using projects in the classroom? I’d love to hear how you make projects successful in your classroom.