One of the most critical things for students learning English as a second is spelling. And of course, it happens to be one of the most boring. That is, it's boring if you're just like...ok, let's memorise some dull spelling words that have no context or anything interesting.
Well, not over here! Spelling doesn't have to be a burden. You can sneak it into lessons in fun, enjoyable ways. So much so, students won't even realise they're learning how to spell!
Introducing...zoo animal spellers! These guys are as educational as they are adorable. And they are super easy and fun to make.
What's the idea behind them? Well, spelling is the focus here. But words without pictures have no context, meaning, or engagement for students. Visual cues are super useful for students learning a second language. Plus, for early learners, they are enjoyable!
What's even better than a picture? A puzzle!
I recently made DIY puzzles for early learners. These were a HUGE success with my students as a warm up in an ESL class. My students of 4/5/6 years old loved them so much.
So, I thought, why not add some words and make it more learning focused?
First, using some cardboard from a box in which I bought new headphones (seriously, anything can be a resourceful material!) I drew these zoo animals. Really thought, you can use any type of word (noun or verb) for these and the affect will be the same.
After drawing and colouring, I wrote out the letters. This is important! The letters are needed for the actual spelling emphasis, otherwise you've just got some cute animals. If you're making these, try to space out the letters evenly as you write for the next step.
Oh, and if you're thinking "but I'm not good at drawing..." or anything along those lines, just remember that children are the easiest audience to impress! They won't focus too much on the details of the actual image. Consult good old Google search for some inspiration what animals to draw and just give it a go!
Next, get the scissors out and get chopping! Cut between each letter. Yes, it is sad chopping through the innocent elephant's nose, but it is needed!
Now, you've got a bunch letters and picture.
Once you give them to the students, they need to rearrange the pieces to match up the picture and spell out the word.
This is ideal for early learners in ESL classes. I recommend using it as a warm up activity to get their brains and hands into learning mode. Or, it can be used as a fun brain break mid-session if the students are losing focus.
What a great combination we have here! Letters, words, animals, pictures - all on recycled cardboard!