ARTS AND CRAFTS FOR KIDSWhen we as teachers talk about the English class (or any other language) we have tohave in mind the great variety of activities we can do in our classrooms. It is becausewe are teaching a language and it means that students have the possibility of knowingmany different topics, that is, they can learn what they want to learn. The languagelearning represents the knowledge of the world, of new cultures.If teachers want to promote a meaningful learning, they can use many different andcreative activities and techniques that help students to be engaged in learning. Thesecreative activities could be games, songs, poems, rhymes, tongue twisters, etc., but inthis case we are going to talk about arts and crafts in the language class.Arts and crafts are important -specially with younger students- because they are veryactive, their periods of attention are so short and they need to be exposed to differentkinds of activities according to their learning styles. This quote helps us to understandit better “Arts and crafts in the English classroom covers a wide area from simpleactivities such as cut and paste posters to more complicated projects such as makingpapier mache maracas to use for the school show. I find that appropriacy, preparationand clarity of target language usually ensure a successful activity and lots of fun in theclassroom.” (http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk /think/resources/art_craft.shtml).What is important here is to know that using arts and crafts has to be purposeful and ithas to be connected with the rest of the activities and the things students are leaningin the English class. Here I am going to present three crafts for children that have thepurpose of reinforcing the different topics the students learn in class, in such a waythey can do something with their hands and use it for learning purposes or just to do apresentation with all the works done in the language class. • CLASS 1 (PAPER BAG PUPPETS)This class is going to be for first, second graders and the purpose is to learn vocabularyabout the animals differentiating them according to the place they belong to.To start the teacher can play a game in which he selects a set of six animals and hesays the name of this animals to each one of the students (some students will haverepeated names of the animals). They are going to be in the center of the classroomwithout chairs and desks, and when the teacher says “FIND YOU” they have to startimitating the sounds of the animals trying to find the other classmates that have thesame animal. When they are together, the teacher asks them to say the animals theyare and he asks them some simple questions like Do you have any pets?, Do you likedogs,…? Etc. To continue, the teacher asks the students to re-group according to the place theanimals belong to (the house, the zoo, the farm). Here they talk about other animalsthey know that belong to those places. In this moment the teacher starts to showsome flashcards with other animals and all the students participate completing thesentence the teacher says by imitating the animal he shows: The cow goes …Moo moo.
After that, students are presented a video with a song called: Animals voices (Here asegment of the song):In my house, I have..In my house, I have…I have a dog. Woof, woof!I have a cat. Meow!On my farm, I have…On my farm, I have…I have a cow. Moo, moo!I have a pig.Oink, oink, oink, oink! They have to listen to it and to identify the animals that are mentioned because afterthe song they have to go to the board and select from the flashcards the animals theysaw in the video.They learn the song and the teacher proposes them to create a puppet related to theanimals they learned in the class. This is a paper bag puppet and these are thematerials: • Paper bags, scraps of construction paper, glue, scissors, markers or crayons. optional - googly eyes, pipe cleaners for whiskersFold the two square edges of a paper bag under (at the dotted lines), to form theanimals head. You now have the shape of the animals head. And according the animalstudents are doing (a raccoon, dog, cat, rabbit, bunny, mouse, pig, panda, or frog) theyhave to cut ears, nose, etc. In this case for the dog they have to cut out ears, eyes, anose, and a tongue. Glue the tongue inside the mouth. Glue the eyes, nose, and ears tothe dogs face.
With those puppets students are ready to sing again the song but now using thepuppets. As they are grouped according to the animals they built (the paper bagpuppets), everybody sings the chorus but in the part where the animals arementioned, only the students who have them in puppets sing imitating their sounds.This is a very simple example of the use of those paper bag puppets, but they could beused to create a short presentation of the younger students -for all the school- singingthis song that is simple for them.
• CLASS 2 (RAINSTICK)This class is going to be for fourth, fifth graders and the purpose is to learn the namesof some musical instruments trying to classify them into different categories.To start the teacher tells the students the topic of the class and asks some questionslike: What is your favorite music? Who knows to play an instrument? To continue, heasks them to take out the instruments they carried to the class. As they do that theteacher sticks the name of each instrument on the board with the image (smallflashcards) to introduce the vocabulary and he also sticks new images with instrumentsthat are new for the students.After that, the class discusses about the main difference among the instruments andthey conclude that they might be classified into different categories according to themechanism by which the instrument makes its sound. These categories are string, wind,brass and percussion. At the same time the teacher is going to present an audio with thesounds produced by each one of the instruments that they are seeing on the board, whatstudents have to do is to be attentive because they have to go to the board to classify theminto their categories. They can find common string instruments like the guitar, violin and piano.Wind instruments like the flute and saxophone. Brass instruments like the trumpet, tromboneand drums and cymbals as percussion instruments.Knowing the different instruments, their classification and the sounds they produce, the classtalks about the different styles of music and the instruments we can listen to for example inrock, tropical, romantic, vallenato music etc. The teacher introduces the sentence: The drumsare played in rock music and the students using the same sentence start to talk about the restof the instruments.In this moment they are ready to play a competition game in which the class is going to listento different instruments, the first students of each line have to go to the board and saythe name of the instrument they listened to. If they are right they receive a point forthe line and the line that gets more points is going to be the winner.Finally and to complete this class about the musical instruments, the teacher tells thestudents a story about a popular ceremonial instrument that is used to invoke the rainspirits. They are made by people who live in the deserts of northern Chile. In Chile,rainsticks are traditionally made from dead cactus tubes with hundreds of cactusspines hammered into the tube. Tiny lava pebbles cascade gently through the tube,sounding much like rain.The teacher proposes the class to create a rainstick, the materials are: • A paper towel tube or other long cardboard tube, aluminum foil, small dried beans (like lentils), unpopped popcorn, dry rice, or tiny pasta. Brown paper (from a grocery bag) or construction paper. glue, scissors, crayons or markersTrace around the end of your tube onto a piece of brown paper (or constructionpaper). Draw a bigger circle around that circle and then draw a lot of spokes betweenthe two circles. Cut along the spokes. Put glue on the spokes and glue the cap onto oneend of your tube. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that is about one and half times thelength of your tube and about 6 inches wide. Crunch the aluminum foil into two long,thin, snake-like shapes.
Then twist each one into a spring shape. Put the aluminum foil springs into your tube.Pour some dry beans, dry rice, or unpopped popcorn into your tube. The tube shouldonly be about 1/10 full. You can experiment to see how different amounts anddifferent types of seeds and beans change the sound. Make another cap from brownpaper (the same as the first three steps) and cap your tubeOptional: Decorate the tube by covering it with brown paper or construction paper,and then making designs with crayons or markers (or cut-out paper or stickers). These rainsticks could be presented as the music project of the area of English with the rest of the instruments the students carried to the class with their names. Even, if possible the students who know to play an instrument can do a mini presentation too. • CLASS 3 (PLAY DOUGH PAINTING)This class is going to be for preschoolers and the purpose is to learn the parts of theface.To start the teacher teaches a song called “My face” and while they are singing theteacher touches his eyes, ears, mouth and nose and the students do the same. Theyrepeat the song several times and to complement this work the teacher sticks on theboard a carton face without its parts that are stuck next to the face. The teacher askssome students to go to the board and stick the eyes, the mouth, the nose and the earson the carton face.With this face they remember the name of each part and students are ready to play agame “Simon says”. The orders are “Simon says touch your mouth…” etc. Here thestudents have a lot of fun specially when they make mistakes and touch any part of theface without listening to the part “Simon says…” And also because some of thestudents can participate giving the orders to the rest of the classmates.To finish, the teacher does an activity showing the students different faces and in eachone of them it is missing one of the parts. It could be a competition game in which theyhave to say the name of the part that is missing to get a point, or it could be an activitydone with a worksheet in which they have to draw in each face the parts that aremissing (But it is better to do it orally -the competition- to foster the students’ oralproduction).To finish the class, the teacher proposes the students to create a painting ofthemselves with the parts of the face they learned in the English class, but for thepicture they will use play dough. The materials are: • Play dough of different colors, a small board of carton or wood, one needle or “punzón” or a stick with a defined point and varnish.To start they spread the play dough on the board (a thin coat of one color). With theneedle the students draw their face with the parts they learned in the class (if they
make any mistake there are not problems, working with play dough is very easy toerase)With play dough of different colors they fill the drawing and when it is ready theteacher writes with the needle the students’ name under the drawing they did in thisway: Carol’ face. Finally they have to use the varnish to harden the play dough and letthe painting dries.This kind of exercises helps the students to link what they learn in the class with extra activitieslike crafts, motivating them to participate in class. In this case for example student can do apresentation of their paintings, showing the rest of the school all the works they are doing inclass and what they have learned.SOURCES: • http://www.educared.edu.pe/estudiantes/manualidades/framelink.htm? manualidades • http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/music/rainstick/