In the classroom
The water cycle revisited
You might be expecting me to talk about experimenting in an attempt to tie new language to
evaporation from the ocean due to the heat of the requests for water and toilet trips and would like to
sun, clouds condensing then rising before rain falls share these with you here.
to run off mountains into the sea once more, or to
form groundwater. But no, not today - the water As far as drinking water goes, I have started using
cycle I want to talk about is a different one. It starts a couple of traditional water jugs, as seen in the
with our primary students being thirsty and wanting action shot below, to create a whole class lesson
to drink water. In the middle part of the cycle they stage. We all line up, each child has their own cup
are okay for a while. After that they need to go to and they decide which vessel they wish to drink
the loo and finally they are okay for a little while from, asking:
longer, before the cycle starts again.
The drinking and the peeing can be fairly intrusive
for a young learner teacher - not in a class
shatteringly interruptive way but rather as a
Over the last two or three years, I have been trying
to think of ways to reclaim these moments and to
harness them for our own purpose of teaching our
students more words and sentences in English.
Here we have turned water drinking into a
My basic premise is that whenever a student wants
something, we can use that as leverage to get
them to produce a stretch of language. This is not
a particularly unique line of reasoning. There are
thousands of us, in fact tens or hundreds of
worldwide along such logic. Hence:
Can I drink water?
Can I go to the toilet please?
are to be heard in classrooms globally.
Can I drink from the brown clay water jug?
Can I drink from the while clay water jug?
In lieu of clay jugs, coloured bottles could be used
(for Can I drink from the red/blue/green bottle? etc)
or jugs with small cutouts of the vocabulary of the
week taped to the outside (Can I drink from the
bottle with the cheetah/whale/seal on it? etc).
Toilet trips are a tad more complicated. There is a
Once our students have mastered these two limit to how much language, and especially new
sentences though, do we stop there and have language, you can ask a student to produce before
them repeating the same thing for the next term, letting them go to the toilet - if you do not wish to
year or several years? Recently I have been produce accidents. So instead of making students