Daily routines are one of the most necessary and fundamental elements that any teacher or Language Assistant can implement in their classroom. The daily repetition of actions improves memory, expands vocabulary, and enhances pronunciation. It also increases self-confidence as well as public-speaking skills.
From the moment daily routines are introduced, students begin to look for several things: incentives, a response from their peers, and positive praise for their work. If a routine lacks any of the three, it will most likely not be as effective in the classroom.
Cards With The Days of The Week
I begin each of my classes (1st and 2nd of primary, as well as one of my advanced infantile classes) with the same routine. First, at the start of class one student stands up in front of their peers and answers 2-3 basic questions that I may ask them. These questions include, but are not limited to, “What is your name?”, “How are you?”, “How old are you?”. “What is your favorite color?”, “What is your favorite food?”, and “What is your favorite animal?”.
Next, the student walks over to the wall in our classroom that has cards with the days of the week written on them. The student takes cards that read “Today is”, “Yesterday was”, and “Tomorrow will be”. Then, matches the cards to the days of the week that correspond to complete each sentence. The student then reads the sentences out loud in English for the class to hear. If their pronunciation is inaccurate, we repeat the sentence together until it improves.
Praise Your Students
It is crucial that, no matter how many times you may need to repeat a word or a phrase with a student, you then praise his or her speaking ability. Students actively seek this positive praise from their Language Assistants, as well as from their peers, while they are working with the cards.
Each of the cards has Velcro on them so that the entire class can see the matches pairs for the remainder of the lesson/day. Once the student has successfully completed this task, the entire class then recites our class song for the days of the week to further comprehension and to improve memory skills.
Finally, the student must answer the final question of “What is the weather like today?”. The student then responds orally and also matches the corresponding Velcro answer on the board to answer the question as well.
Choose a Hat to Wear
Next, the student has to choose a hat to wear for the remainder of the class session. This aspect plays the role of the incentive. There are two hat options. One hat reads “He” and the other reads “She”. Once the student has correctly chosen the hat that suits their gender, they then select a classmate to wear the hat of the contrasting gender. This helps to include class participation as well.
The purpose of these hats is to help the students differentiate between “He” and “She” while speaking and writing. Many students learning English as a second language have difficulty with this distinction. Since incorporating this activity into our English class routine, I have noticed a drastic improvement with the distinction between “he” and “she” in the students’ oral and writing skills.
Question Signs to Put On
The final part of our regular English class routine includes a group of six students that rotates between each class. Each one of the six students is presented with a sign to wear that reads a question word: “How much?”, “Where?”, “What”, “Why”, “Who”, and “When”. The student must say the correct translation of the word before he or she is allowed to wear the sign. This furthers the aspect of implementing an incentive into the daily routine.
The five students then form a circle in front of the class. They begin to ask one another questions out loud that correspond to the questions written on their respective signs. This helps the students to put the questions into context in English sentences. Additionally, this activity emphasizes comprehension, pronunciation, and listening.
For the remainder of the class, the students are referred to by the names on their respective signs, rather than their actual names. This furthers the listening comprehension aspect of this routine.
Daily Routines Completed
Once the regular daily routines are completed, the main lesson begins. The daily class routine only takes up about seven minutes during the beginning of each of the fifty-minute English class periods. Over the course of this one month of implementing this repetitive daily routine, I have noted a drastic improvement within the students. Also, the comprehension levels of these key language aspects have increased.
Many of my students – as young as the third year of infantile and the first year of primary – are now able to properly differentiate between he and she, or even respond to the elementary question “What day is it today?”.
By Alexandra K. R., 2019-2020