Yesterday’s News with Kids
Years ago when I started teaching kids English in Ikoma, I needed to learn the curriculum. I started with a good textbook. But I had lots of ideas. I wanted kids to learn through play. Not just playing games to memorize structures, but ‘play’ so there is a story and it has meaning for kids. Along the way, I noticed that the standard curriculum did not teach the past tense to kids. I went along with that at first. But about five years ago, I began to think, ‘why not teach past tense to kids?’
Past Tense for Kids in Stories
Then I started to play with the kids more. We made stories. We used the dolls. We used houses and other places like supermarkets and banks. Then, slowly, I began to teach the past tense to kids. It made sense. And the most important thing was, the kids did not have trouble with it.
At the start, I limited it to just a few basic words. After all, the kid’s class students don’t have a very large vocabulary. Basic important words like ‘go’, ‘eat’, or ‘sleep’ were natural targets to teach.
Past Tense as Vocabulary
The kids themselves treat the past tense as vocabulary. They don’t worry much abut grammar. They don’t mind learning new words, as long as it is fun. Using dolls makes it fun, and making stories creates meaning. Together they create a fertile environment for learning and memorizing the past tense for kids.
Even as I write this blog, I am getting more ideas. It seems that teaching grammar as vocabulary is often a better way to teach kids. They respond well to vocabulary, and learn fast. Teaching rules works with some of the kids but confuses others. I think using dolls and stories is a great way to teach the past tense to kids.