Teaching Tips for level K/1
Explor-A-World lessons for the K/1 level focus on activities that encourage listening and recognition skills. You might ask questions such as “Who is wearing rouge?” and have children wearing the color red stand or group themselves to one side of the room. Encourage children to repeat the sounds they hear, and listen for different sounds as they learn to distinguish vocabulary words.
Visual clues are also very prevalent in K/1 lessons: use flashcards and images frequently to help children associate the sounds they hear with the image of the vocabulary word. Children will often respond with the English word when asked to identify a flashcard–that’s ok! Just restate their response using the language word to help reinforce the vocabulary, or say, “Cow! That’s right! Who can tell me how to say that in German?”
Keep lessons active! Encourage movement when learning new words, acting out animals, or playing charades to represent different activities. Not only will this help channel the energy of young kids, but movement also helps children associate words with actions and can lead to better retention of the vocabulary.
Teaching Tips for level 2/3
Encourage children at this age to begin matching the new sounds they hear with the written words of the language vocabulary. Children can trace words and discuss how accents on certain letters change the way the letter sounds. This kind of linguistic awareness helps children learn about their own language as well!
Give children a chance to be independent in playing games and participating in activities. Practicing the language while playing games allows for repetition and social interaction, both of which help children learn. Try to avoid translating the vocabulary into English–use the language words as often as possible and encourage students to do the same!
Teaching Tips for level 4/5
Older children can use the question/answer formats in each lesson to create role playing situations or write stories that illustrate the use of the vocabulary. Their lessons also include many opportunities to research cultural facts and apply concepts from language arts and math to their language learning. This helps them understand how language is connected to different academic disciplines as well as different aspects of life in general!
Teaching Tips for Mandarin Chinese
Working with Chinese characters can present some challenges in exploratory language learning. One way to help children recognize characters is to incorporate the characters into pictures that depict the word. For example, you might draw the character for “house” on a large piece of paper, and have children incorporate doors, windows, a roof or landscaping around the character to elaborate on the house theme. Creating their own imagery also helps to make the learning personalized, connected to their own concept of what a “house” means to them.