To teach English language skills to young kids, you first need to get their attention. If you can engage with them “where they live,” you’ve found one of the golden keys to success.
From a very young age, most kids now live, breathe and communicate with each other online. They’re practically born with mobile phones in their hands, texting and playing games at blinding speed— so why enlist those interests and skills to reinforce vocabulary, grammar, usage, and writing skills?
A free resource called ifaketext lets you create fake text conversations of up to 50 words per screen. They’re a terrific way to connect and engage with young students. Once you’re created a conversation, just take a screen shot it, right click on it to save it as a jpeg, then send it to your student.
Here are just a few examples of how you can use ifaketext.
Supply the vocabulary words — Send a text that sets up a scenario asking students to provide a specific set of words you want to review. In the example below, the student would look at the example in capital letters and write down the names of other activities (run, sing, play, etc.).
Brief reading and writing exercises — Use an ifake text to start a conservation between characters in a story. Ask your students to write the rest of it (specify minimum/maximum length). You can also pair off students to have them make up the rest of the conversation together, then write it down. This text also sneaks in a reminder about the difference between can’t and won’t.
Review parts of speech or vocabulary. Here’s an exercise you can adapt to suit a wide range of reviewing needs. You can ask students to name/define a word, term or construction or write a sentence using it. This example is intended to reinforce the difference between an adjective and an adverb. The student would be asked to write down another sentence that contains an adjective, followed by one that contains the corresponding adverb.
GoodMorning! – This isn’t directly related to ELA but it’s really helpful way to use ifaketext.
No teacher ever has enough teaching time, so send a ifaketext each morning to greet your students and give them the day’s timely notices or information. The text can be anything from a reminder to bring something to class (a permission slip, the item they’ve chosen for show-and-tell, or a book report), to a reminder of early dismissal, or even just a note to say that you missed them over break and are looking forward to seeing them.
This example reminds a forgetful student to remember to bring his homework to class.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. We’d love to hear your creative ideas for using this fun tool!