Challenge: teach two 6y.o. boys, no toys, no games, no books


I have a dilemma. My school is NOT set up for teaching kids, but some long-term student they don’t want to alienate wants to bring in two six year olds and have them taught whilst long-term student is getting her lesson.
I am the lucky winner of this challenge.

Here’s the deal. Were going to be in a small classroom barely large enough for a table and chairs. There is no room to run around. I pity these kids since they have little choice but to remain seated for two solid hours. There just aren’t any other options.

There are no toys, games, or children’s books of any kind amongst the teaching materials of my school.
I am not allowed to take them outside.

Duration of class time: TWO HOURS :astonished:

What would you do? I have a whiteboard and a supply of white paper at my disposal.
I have a feeling if the kids hate me it will be very bad for me, as the school staff don’t know me very well yet. I do have some experience in a kindy, but that was in a well-stocked school with a Chinese teacher and a playground. But the conditions under which these kids are going to be locked in a room with me with no diversions save the ones I can pull out of my imagination, :help:

Oh, and by the way, their level of English is very low, and I don’t speak Chinese.

More experienced teachers, please tell me: how would you handle this? :help:

The school has no goals or idea what it wants to do with these students. You also say it is not set up for young learners. Decline to take the class.

I wish I had that choice. I do not. Plus, as a new teacher at this school, I am desperate for hours and cannot afford to decline anything.

By the way, I should have mentioned: I’m willing to spend a bit of money (and only a bit) on materials to make my two hours with them slightly less unbearable for me and for them. Crayons, I suppose. Screw it, we’ll just draw for two hours.

What else? And where can I buy a stickyball that adheres to the whiteboard?

Well, then, the local ten dollar store is your friend. Get yourself some magnetized letters and numbers as well as sticky balls and any other supplies you think may be useful. You’ll probably want some books as well. But remember that the cost of creating a bag of tricks for kids, when your school doesn’t specialize in kids, may make the class financially a loss for you. Certainly the amount of effort required from you-- when the school apears to be putting in none-- makes this class painful.

You sure you need the hours that bad?

Clay. All you need to know!

Where do i get it and what do I do with it?

Play Doh at toy shops. Or the cheaper stuff at the local shops or bookshops in the stationery dept sometimes.

Use it to teach colours, numbers, requests, adjectives, prepositions, lotsa nouns, anything, really.

Take the kids out for a field trip (i.e. the local boozer) and explain to them - using sign language - the utter degradation of being an ESL teacher in Taiwan.

But seriously, the school (or the students’ parents) should cough up some dough for books and materials.

Start looking for another job. Do this one for now if you really need the money, but this is definitely not a job that will make your time in Taiwan enjoyable.

best advice yet (not the the other posts weren’t helpful).

the school doesn’t care about you, these kids, or anything besides the almighty $$$. get something else lined up (you can do that now) and get outta dodge.

  1. Do a lot of TPR based activities. It’s an excellent teaching method for low level students.

The kids don’t have to run around, but they do get to move.

  1. Play card games. You can start with just plain playing cards and teach them how to play games like UNO and go-fish. Get them to use English for the numbers and colors, taking turns, etc. In UNO have them take 2 cards each time they speak Chinese.

You an make this even better by taking some small plastic sleeves and writing AKQJ10…etc. in marker on one side, then typing up flashcards to put in (you’ll also want to use construction paper as a backing.) You can then use these as playing cards and swap new vocabulary in and out. Add rules so that the children will need to pronounce the words as they play them, and in some situations in the game, have to read an example sentence from the card.

  1. Get 2 flyswatters, plastic toy hammers, or those flexible hands you can get at stationary stores and use those with the whiteboard so students hit the board to identify words you write up (in multiple colors). You can do spelling and phonics by writing letters on the board and have them hit the letters to match what you say.

Oh, and look for a better job.

UNO cards are expensive.

Oh, I get to make my own deck of cards, I am so excited! The prospect of designing a whole slew of flash cards that I will never use again fills me with joy! I was wondering what to do with those oodles and oodles of free time I have at my disposal in a room full of teaching supplies! (sorry man, I know you tried to help, but I HAD to get that out of my system. IYour suggestions would be great if I had 30 hours a week of kids classes, but for two kids, two hours, ummmm. Please forgive me?)

motivation flies out of window
two kids in solitary confinement
please get me out of here.

Yeah, I’m getting the hell out of Dodge alright. But that won’t be happening tomorrow; I have my ARC at this school and getting a new job takes longer than a week.

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I need as many of them as possible.

I guess I’ll play a lot of games on the whiteboard, and I sure hope they like to draw pictures. And make paper airplanes.

And drink whisky. Just kidding.

[quote=“Buttercup”]Play Doh at toy shops. Or the cheaper stuff at the local shops or bookshops in the stationery dept sometimes.

Use it to teach colours, numbers, requests, adjectives, prepositions, lotsa nouns, anything, really.[/quote]

How do I use clay to teach prepositions and adjectives?

I like the clay idea. I’m sure the boys would like to have something in their hands besides paper and pencils.

Thanks a lot, if you get around to answering this.

[quote=“JHARRIS”]How do I use clay to teach prepositions and adjectives?[/quote]Make (with the clay), or buy, little figures/animals. Make bridges, houses, cars, etc. with the clay (or doing junk modeling using cardboard boxes, tubes, plastic bottles, etc.). Then you can put the figures/animals in/on/under/next to/behind/between the other objects. Later, you could do prepositions of movement such as through, over, under, around, etc.

You can also make and talk about objects or figures that are big/small/tall/long/short/round/square, etc.

But it’s probably best not to teach large groups of related vocabulary at the same time. Better to use this kind of language – and the figures/models – in the course of storytelling. You could tell stories to the kids, or you could all collaborate in interactive storytelling.

Damn. Is life that hard? make the school pay for them.

Seems to me that you’ve been given a lot of sound advice here. Take it or think about changing the thread to a rant. :laughing:

Can you ask the parents to pay for textbooks for the children? I taught some specialised one-on-one classes at cram schools, such as engineering language, and once I explained why they needed a book they could keep, they were happy to pay for it. Your kids would only need one book each to start, and if you got the CD or cassette you would have a lot of resources there already. It would just give you so much more direction especially for young learners with little language ability.

You could also go to the closest branch of the Taipei city library and pick up some English-language picture books, the one on Jianguo has a great collection of big books, too. Or if you have access to a computer with internet, go to some of the sites like disney, nickjr, thomasthetankengine… and play the games on there with the kids.

Ask the parents of the kids to let them bring their favorite toys to your class and then teach them about them - names, colors, size, what they can do…

I used to play a lot of boardgames with the six-year-olds I taught, ones we made ourselves, but if you really have a communication problem with the language barrier it could be a challenge.

Ask them to bring in photographs from home of their family and house and use that to jump start vocabulary and teaching useful phrases. Get simple pictures from the internet and use them for games like concentration, “hide-n-seek” (where you hide one picture and they have to tell you which one is missing), and bingo.

You can make playdough cheaply - flour, water, oil with cream of tartar and food coloring optional. You can get sandpaper and make sandpaper letters with it and have them close their eyes to try to recognize the letters only from touch.

Then again, being stuck in a classroom with 5-6 little kids who spoke very little English and receiving no school support or curriculum was basically how I spent my first four years in Taiwan. It’s also how I started my teaching resources collection which numbers at over 200 volumes of resource and advice books. And I am an expert at making playdough, including chocolate-scented playdough, sanddough, and applesauce playdough.

Your school should be providing you a budget for materials for this class. If not, walk. It’s not fair to you to spend money when they are probably making more money from this class than you are.

A deck of playing cards in 7-11 costs like $50. Ace=skip, Jack=Reverse, 2=take 2 skip, 8=wild

Use a computer. It takes 10 minutes to type up a template using text boxes that are about playing card size. Playing card size clear plastic sleeves are available at a place called The Witch House cheap, but since you’re only going to need one deck (I usually have 3 decks for a class) you can get suitable materials at your local bookstore.

When you write the suit and value on the plastic sleeve it makes creating new flashcards very easy. Just remove the hold words from the sleeves and put in the new ones. It takes very little preparation time once you’ve gotten the plastic sleeves done, and it can be reused over and over again.

But, if you don’t want to make cards, don’t do it.