“It’s not about having enough time,
it’s about making enough time.”
|My mom prepared this card display!|
Routine cards are a great resource to teach young learners as they help students to understand time, reduce anxiety, ease transitions, promote dialogue about learning, raise learning awareness, and foster power sharing.
Routine cards can be created in many ways. At school we have the following ones: Relaxing, Warm up, Circle Time, Storytelling, Game, Puppet, Song, Art, Video, Writing, Reading, Grammar, Theater, Project, Cooking, Sports, Surprise, and Wrap up.
Here below I will explore many of the great advantages I have found while working with routine cards. Come with me!
it is hard for young learners to understand how time is lived. Some children enjoy the class so much that they ask every five minutes if we still have time left, some other children are anxious either waiting for a certain favourite activity to happen or for the class to end. In all these situations there is anxiety, which certainly hinders the concentration and learning from the whole group. By showing young learners the sequence of what is planned for the class, they can concretely "see" time passing and can know when and what is happening next. We usually turn every card down after we have done that activity.
Routine cards allow for smoother transitions between activities: I guess most teachers agree that it is hard for children to transition activities. I noticed that when students know what is happening next it is easier to progress in the sequence of activities. It is very important to prime them, by telling them that we still have some minutes to finish, as it allows them some time to accomplish the task and move on. It is important to have a sequence in which there is a growing level of interest after demanding activities, such as having a game after a writing activity.
Attention: make sure you say that you are doing the writing and then the reading. If you say that you are playing the game if you do the writing, the game is being set as a reward for the writing and this implies indirectly and unconsciously that the writing part is the "bad" one.
It is a great way to manage energy: there are naturally some activities that are more demanding and some others that are the students' favourites. Routine cards can help teachers and students by organizing "harder" activities first and the most pleasurable ones last. I like also look use routine cards to balance the sitting and standing activities as well as the open and guided ones. Another thing I do to raise students' concentration is to insert fun and relaxing quick activities that students are successful between longer ones.
|Listening to students is essential in affective learning!|
We can ask why they think in certain ways and try to understand how they value the activities and get their purpose. I usually briefly talk about why I think they are important. During these metalinguistic conversations students might ask you why you haven't done some of the cards and I think this is great to get ourselves out of our comfort zones!
Teachers become more aware of their teaching: If students do not actively tell you that they would like to have in their classes, you can clearly see the cards that you are usually having in class. Have you always been working with songs and haven't had any videos? What stops you from having a more balanced learning diet to your students? This can be a wake up call! As hard as it can be, it's explicitly revealed not only to you, but also to your students. Better work on a diversified menu before students ask you! And also let them ask as this allows for being of service to the group!
|Here we have pictures of the students doing the activities!|
Allows for personalization: one thing I still haven't done is to make the cards together with the students by either drawing or cutting from magazines. I believe this experience can be very fruitful as it not only personalizes their cards and learning, but also creates this moment to talk about all we can do during the course right at its beginning. It also creates a very unique product that can be shown to and even used by other groups. The group can in this process come up with cards that are different such as adventure, fantasy, jumping, or whatever comes through their minds!
Last words about routine cards:
Students enjoy the cards and they even ask for them when we do not take them. I get confused when I am not using the cards.
Cards can be hard to use with some very young children and with older students. What I do with the very young ones is to put only four cards to get them used, even if they are not paying much attention. Regarding the older ones, I usually write on the board the activities and talk to them about what we are doing. I guess they might reject the actual flipping of the cards as they see it as something childish. I tell them why I do it and that in companies meetings have an agenda as well.
Some very young students have stolen cards. The stolen ones are the activities that they do not like and the wrap up card. Do you know why the wrap up card? Because without it, the class will not finish! What a treat to listen to them saying it!
What about you?
How do you manage time with your young learners?
Do you use any strategies to discuss what you are doing with your students?
Send you a big frug,
Did you like it? Share it!
Please read the comment Kim Horne has made below about how she uses routine cards with her young learners. Great ideas!
These are the cards she uses with her students in Japan. Beautiful!
Thank you SO much for sharing, Kim!