Online English lessons and coding with YL (Part Three)
January 2021 – This is the last part of a three-post serie, giving suggestions on how to use Scratch codes in teaching English (and coding) to Young Learners (above all in online YL lessons). In the first part, I describe simple animations to revise numbers and prepositions of place, while in the second post, mazes were proposed to practice giving directions and question-answer animations. This time, I invite you to adventure into the Scratch world of quizzes and stories.
HOW TO TEACH ENGLISH WITH SCRATCH?
SIMPLE PAST QUIZ
Quizzes are like dialogues, but instead of pre-setting the answers to the question, students have the possibility to interview the user of the animation to answer to questions. The Future Learn course introduces a capital city quiz, we turned it into a simple past quiz:
Click here to find the same animation simplified, with only the first two verbs. Feel free to save it to your computer and customize it for your students.
My students’ came up with the most creative quizzes taking questions from maths, geography, history, even music. After creating their quizzes, they sent the ready animation to me to be edited and shared in our studio.
Finally, let’s personalize the course book with Scratch.
STORY TELLING WITH SCRATCH
There’s a possibility to combine a simple story with quiz questions and use the answers to these questions in the story. So for example, your story for your group, where every student is a girl, could be: Bella was a witch and was cooking frogs in her cauldron. However, you can ask your students at the beginning of the animation:
– What’s your name? (Giovanna)
– What animals do you find disgusting? (snails)
Then you use the code to embed the answer into your original sentence: Giovanna was a witch and was cooking snails in her cauldron. By sending the link of the animation to your students, they answer in their privacy and have a great laugh without teasing anybody. Here is the final animation:
You can Look into the code here.
Now, if you have the book, Fun for Movers with you, open it on page 80:
The first exercise teaches picture description by turning it into a gap-fill game. Story Telling (which means using Variables and Sensing code elements) students can create customizable gap-fill stories. Here is the story told in a Scratch animation to the first two pictures:
Here is the code of this animation. The students were asked to complete the code and repeat it at home in the book. They learnt the story with the correct grammar without ever noticing that the exercise was a grammar revision task. It was well hidden behind a coding task.
We love learning, but don’t like to be taught. YL students often get bored just by looking at their usual course book. When in class, we can get out of the chair by playing a variety of exciting games. Online, we are still in baby shoes to understand how to really engage students. I invite you to give Scratch a go. You will see your students explaining in English what is not working in their animation and even find them eager to answer to their classmates’ questions about a problem in their code.
You don’t only give them useful language in English and real motivation to ask questions and answer to them, but you also lay down the foundation for a future based on app making, programming languages and code generating. This is what CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) stands for.
PS: The options how to use Scratch in an English lesson are really endless, these are only the first ideas inspired by the Future Learn course challenges. Needless to say, you can also adventure into the world of home-made video games. Let me show you one of our Halloween 2020 project (by the way, this is the masterpiece of a 10-year old boy):
To see all Scratch animations describe in this post, click onto the ELT-Tutor STUDIO: Teaching English with Scratch.
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