Practicing Am, Is, and Are
English is not an easy language to master. It can be challenging even for those of us that only have to concentrate on learning the rules associated with it. For ESL students that work in the area of speech, we often need to practice grammar use within conversation. A nice way to do this in session is to utilize play and games to make it a fun experience for everyone. Developmentally, a lot of children learn how to use am, is, and are, but sometimes when there is a focus on another area, this may slide. These are a few activities to try with children of different ages.
Time to Go Fishing
Kids love to pretend they are fishing. The Let’s Go Fishin’ game from Pressman Toys has a lot of potential. There really is no need to have rules for this game. It is all about having fun fishing with a pole and in this instance, practicing with am, is, and are. During the play of the game, you will structure a sequence where everyone will say the same items on each turn. Some ideas on how to stress the is/am/are:
- It is my turn.
- I am going to turn on the game.
- Now I am going to catch a fish.
- The fish is _____.
- There are ____ left.
For younger children who may get frustrated with the motorized fishing game, you can make a fishing pole with a ruler, string, and magnet on the end. Have laminated fish cards that also include key sounds and a magnet for fishing fun. The words on the fish will add another skill to practice while working on some conversational grammar.
Hangman is also a Helper
For older children, you can incorporate the is/am/are review into a game of Hangman with a dry erase board. Just like with younger children, it is about adding conversational practice that focuses on this grammar topic. Some possibilities to use are:
- It is my turn.
- I am thinking.
- Is there a ____?
- There are ____ letters to pick from.
To allow carry over at home, send a sheet home to parents asking them to play a game of hide and go seek with an object. They can give clues like “It is in _____.” Kids should answer back with “I am going to ____.” Then they can ask questions about the object. Is the item blue/fuzzy/up high? If they are not sure they should say “I am not sure, I need more clues.” Once they have a guess, they can respond with “Is it a ____.” Always send home instructions and inquire if families would prefer them to be in the other language spoken at home to make it easier for them.