“Once upon a time there were four little bunnies and their names were – Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter”
This month we set up a project at school for Young Learners and each grade will be working with children’s literature, including Beatrix Potter’s tales. This year is celebrating her 150th birth anniversary. Beatrix Potter wrote bucolic tales about bunny rabbits. Thus, I have decided to engage my small group of young learners through Peter Rabbit story and, it is also Easter time. We will celebrate it according to our traditions and with fluffy bunnies full of chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday hunt as well.
Anyway, I grew up listening many tales from many part of the world. My mother used to teach English in her free time in a school nearby our home, and I still remember her preparing some lessons. Most of the time late at night after helping me with my homework. One of the books that she used to read for me before bed time was Peter Rabbit – a small golden book that she bought before entering at the University. It was not new but full of memories from its previous owner and she still keeps it on her shelf.
Time passed by and nowadays, I am an english teacher with the same passion that once she was and of course, full of resources that she could not have imagined that one day, it would be possible to use them in a regular class. Thus, I asked for her help and showed my lesson plan about Peter Rabbit. She seemed surprised to find the lesson planning about the story that she used to read when I was a little girl. Actually, We had such a great time laughing and preparing the lesson together.
So here it is our lesson:
Let’s meet Peter Rabbit –
I will work with this paper book or if you prefer an e-book version, it is available for free on IOS or Android platforms. It will be a nice time for them learning a new language by stories. Moreover, storytelling is a magical moment for kids in general. As a mother, I really know how powerful telling a story for a kid can help them to develop their emotion and imagination. Children’s minds began to inquire, wonder, think when we (parents, teachers, storytellers…) start telling stories.
The reason of this lesson is to give a motivating reason for English-language learners to speak and write. Even though our meeting occurs twice in 45-min class per week, They will be exposed and stimulated to interact with the whole classroom using the new vocabulary in a ludic way. As you can see in the picture below, we can explore activities in many possibilities to engage them learning through their contents – for instance numbers (one – two – three) opposites (little and big) family members (mother, brother, sister), prepositions (in, on, under) food ( vegetables) and feelings (kindness, behavior and on).
Besides, you can engage them to create their own stories, using another kind of animal (cat, dog or pig), they can reread the story and collaborating for their
portifolio project. So that, they will develop even more the four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) which have been exploring in pairs during the classes.
After you have introduced them the story and explored the target language. Finally, you can use this video to check whether they achieved the goals you had set up previously. This is the moment for sense of achievement. I usually do this at the end of the class to measure if they assimulate the new vocabulary and some grammar points.
Therefore, the main goal of this project is to engage them to have fun toward their own pace, supporting each other to collaborate and giving them feedback to improve their confidence to learn a new language.
Many people might think that teaching children is easy, a piece of cake. However, teaching kids goes beyond telling stories and playing around. They will carry with them, the stories that caught their attention, which made them dream and co-participate for the rest of their lifes. Nevertheless to say that, stories can build our personalities, shape our future and make us a better person. To sum up, all languages have their own stories like every culture and every human being…
Here there are some links that might help you to engage your classroom with Beatrix Potter’s 150th anniversary.
The Peter Rabbit Coin – The Guardian
The Letter for a young correspondent – The Guardian
Beatrix Potter – Twitter full of articles about her 150th celebration
The Tales of Peter Rabbit – You Tube
Stick Tale – Pinterest and BookTime