Weather flashcards can help teach kindergarten students about different types of weather, which influences our lives daily. It affects what we wear, what we eat, and what we do throughout the day and understanding and talking about the weather is an essential skill for language development. It also provides an excellent foundation for teaching other ESL subjects such as clothing and seasons.
However, keeping our young learners' attention can be challenging, so how do we teach the weather without students getting bored? Let's discover how to use exciting weather flashcards to teach brilliant kindergarten weather lessons.
Keeping Students Attention
I used to think that teaching the weather would be a simple subject to teach my class of kindergarten students. However, I quickly discovered that losing the children's attention was far too easy unless I had everything planned out. I have even had students get up and wonder around the class in the past! So here are a few tips to help keep your young learners focused as you teach your weather ESL lesson plan.
Transitions & Pace
When teaching kindergarten students, the pacing of your class is essential. Most especially with the 2-4-year-olds, you must ensure that you transition from one part of the lesson to the other quickly. You can't pause for a moment, or your little ones' attention will wander to another shiny thing in the room. So when planning your ESL weather lesson, keep the pace of your class steady and prepare all of your transitions in advance.
Total Physical Response (TPR) is where you put action and sound to the new weather vocabulary ESL you're teaching. This physical response helps students to remember the new weather vocabulary faster. For more information and tips on TPR, you can watch this video.
Using ESL Flashcards
Flashcards can be an excellent tool to help young learners understand and learn new language points. Weather flashcards are especially helpful as the weather each day can be different. However, you can't simply show a weather flashcard and ask students to repeat the new weather vocabulary. Introducing flashcards in this method is a quick way to lose your student's attention. Instead, weather flashcards should be 'discovered' or used as a reward for an action. An example of this is a game I use in this lesson plan called "bounce."
Now that we have gone through some tips on keeping your students' attention let's look at a weather ESL Lesson Plan.
WEATHER ESL LESSON PLAN
You will need...
A soft ball (big or small)
Start by positioning the class in a semi-circle with you, the teacher, at the front of the class. I choose to use a semi-circle so that every student can see me and the ESL weather activities I'm presenting. However, if working with a class with many students, you may find it better to sit students in rows. This seating arrangement is also okay; however, ensure that every student can see you.
First, we want to let students know that we will be talking about the weather. However, you don't want to start by using too many big words or long sentences if teaching low-level students. Your students will not understand, and if they don't understand, you will most likely lose their attention. Here is an example of a sentence that is too wordy for low-level students:
"Okay, everyone, let's look outside and see what the weather is today, look outside, over there, look and let's see what the weather is today."
These sentences are too long and can be too much language for our low-level students to understand. Instead, to introduce the weather section, start by going straight into a 'How's the Weather Today Song.'
"What's the weather,
What's the weather,
what's the weather like today?
Is it Sunny?
Is it rainy,
is it stormy,
Ensure you are singing with enthusiasm and are making eye contact with all of your students as you sing. Add some TPR for each weather vocabulary as you go through the song. Praise those children that sing along with you, but don't be disheartened if some students stare. It takes some students time to digest the new information. If they are staring, you have their attention, which means they are learning!
INTRODUCE THE FLASHCARDS
Next, you're going to place the flashcards face down on the floor one by one, counting as you do. Be sure to count nice and slow so that your students can count along with you. Introducing the flashcards in this way helps to develop students' rote-counting skills.
DISCOVER THE FLASHCARDS - BOUNCE
Now that we have our flashcards facedown on the floor in front of us, we want students to 'discover them in a fun way. To do this, we first want to introduce the ball using a chant and some TPR.
"It's a ball, roll, roll.
It's a ball roll, roll!"
We introduce and demonstrate how to roll the ball because we want students to roll rather than throw the ball during this activity. Because they are still developing physically, the children most likely won't be able to throw a ball accurately. If not careful, you can quickly end up with ten children running after a loose ball in the classroom!
Next, choose one student that is sitting nicely, call their name, and have the class chant all together:
"Roll the ball,
roll the ball,
roll the ball!"
Carefully roll the ball to that student, have them pick it up, and bring it to the front of the class. Next, have the class chant together:
"Drop the ball,
drop the ball,
drop the ball."
The student with the ball should then drop it onto one of the flashcards on the floor. As soon as the ball bounces, quickly catch it and hide it in your lap. By taking the ball away, you bring focus onto the flashcard. Give the student at the front a high-five and ask them to sit back down.
Next, without showing the flashcard to the class, take a look at it and pretend to be very excited about what you see. The more excited you are about the weather flashcard, the more excited your students will be. Have the class chant together:
"Let me see, please,
let me see, please!"
Show that flashcard to the class and introduce the word using chants and TPR as you do. You must be using the same TPR for each of the different weather flashcards every time you teach the weather lesson so that they have some time to digest and learn the new word.
Next, have the class look outside and chant all together:
Ask the class if the weather matches the weather on the flashcard you just introduced, "Is it (sunny) today?" If it doesn't, have the class chant all together:
"No, it's not.
No it's not.
No it's not!
Bye Bye (sunny)."
Place that flashcard behind you, choose another student, and go through the process again with that student. Keep going until you have introduced all the weather flashcards. Once you get to the weather of the day (try to keep that flashcard to last), have the class sing a 'How's the Weather Today?' song altogether:
"Today is a (sunny, sunny) day. *clap clap
Today is a (sunny, sunny) day. *clap clap
It's a (sunny) day; it's a (sunny) day.
Today is a (sunny, sunny) day. *clap clap"
You can then put the day's weather on a weather wall or a prominent place for all to see. You can then finish up with a fun weather song with music. Here is one of my students favorites from Super Simple Learning. This song also matches up well with the language taught in the lesson.
You will notice how the whole class is asked to chant different questions to either you or the chosen student at each step of the lesson. This method is to help keep students engaged while it is not their turn to drop the ball. If only focusing on the student at the front of the class, it is easy to lose the rest of the students' attention quickly.
Once students have got the basic vocabulary down, you can make the weather part of your daily circle time and expand on the English you're using. Start by teaching simple weather vocabulary such as sunny, windy, rainy, snowy, and cloudy. Later, introduce some weather nouns such as the sun, a cloud, a snowflake, etc. You can also expand into more descriptive language by introducing temperature and adjectives such as strong (wind) and heavy (rain).
You can talk about what different weather does; for example, the wind can blow the trees, the sun can shine down on you, the rain soaks you. You can talk about the sky, the sky's color, and the sky's color during different weather. You can talk about temperature and how it relates to seasons. The list is endless, and the more you expand on your students' weather vocabulary, the more their day-to-day English will improve. Try not to get caught up in teaching just a few weather descriptions. Think about your class, their English level, and how you can expand their language skills using the weather.
Reading story books is another fantastic way to help build vocabulary. One of my favorite to read with the weather topic is Little Cloud by Eric Carle
I explain this weather lesson plan in more detail in this video. For more ESL teaching tips consider subscribing to the Mooncake English YouTube channel.
I hope you know now how to use exciting weather flashcards to teach brilliant kindergarten weather lessons. For more exciting ESL teaching topics and teaching ideas you might want to check out my blog, Discover 10 of the best English topics for students learning ESL
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