When we saw this lesson plan, we just knew we had to share it with you. For young learners aged 4 to 7, it helps them question stereotypes through puzzles and play.
Thank you to Thais and Active English for giving us permission to share it here. To find out more about Active English courses, click here.
Age: 4-7 years old
By the age of 4 to 6 children have already been exposed to stereotypical ideals and are likely to have formed preconceived notions of people and society. Taking into consideration the key role images play as a medium for meaning-making, it is of extreme importance to expose young children to images which present people from all walks of life.
Thus, exposing young children to images of a diverse range of people who make valuable contributions to our society is a way we can break down the stereotypes that often limit their beliefs about others and themselves.
In this lesson, the learners will put together jigsaw puzzles that show images of people who work in different jobs. The images will have been carefully selected to send the implicit message that regardless of your color, gender or disabilities, you can still be a great person and do incredible things. This will create the perfect context for the acquisition of vocabulary and structures related to professions (She/ He is a painter, musician, doctor, an actress/ actor…) and language needed for the puzzle (Here’s her head/ Where’s her body? / Is this her body?/ I don’t know/ Oh look!).
Key Concept: I can do great things when I grow up.
Materials & Preparation:
Find pictures and cut out the upper/ lower parts of the characters’ bodies so as to create the puzzle. (The idea is to have as much diversity as possible, especially focusing on images of black women, people with disabilities, overweight women/ men dressed up in their uniforms or with their work tools.)
Lesson Stage Setting the Scene
Timing 3 minutes
Start the video with the teacher playing with a puzzle, trying to fit Frida Kahlo’s head with different parts of the body/ professions.
● Camera will open with the teacher playing, and look up with surprise as if the child had just arrived in that room to play.
● Connect with the child watching at home with a big smile and say hello! Use your gestures and facial expression to show how you are feeling today.
● Then show the puzzle and your frustration at not being able to put it together.
● Ask them to help you using plenty of gestures to support their understanding. Suggestion script:
Oh, hello there! How are you today? (make sure you look into the camera)
I’m not feeling so good (facial expressions are keyhere!), I can’t (try to make it as if you were having difficulties finding the correct pieces of the puzzle)…
Oh, can you help me?
(Remember to wait for a few seconds for ss to interact with the video at home and invite ss to guess)
Lesson Stage Lesson Teaser
Timing 3 minutes
Calling their attention to the puzzle you are trying to solve, ask them Oh, can you help me? (show the camera Frida [or another character’s] head) say (while you are sorting through the pieces)
Here’s her head…
But… where’s her body?
I don’t know.
Is this her body? (time for interaction) No, it’s not.
Meanwhile try and fit different bodies (2 or 3) until you find the right one. Is this her body? (time for interaction) Yes, it is!
Oh look, it’s Frida Kahlo! She’s an artist!
Be consistent with the steps and the language you use in this game.
Lesson Stage Introduce today’s topic and key language
Timing 4-5 minutes
Invite ss to play the game with you in order to present them the key language of professions.
Are you ready to play the game with me? (time)
I can’t hear you, are you ready? (time for interaction)
Say Yes, I’m ready! (time for interaction)
So here we go!
Cut to a top down shot of the completed puzzles, each showing a different profession. Point to each one and introduce the profession in English with a quick drill: police officer, doctor, singer, artist, scientist.
Lesson Stage Topic Based Play
Timing 3-4 minutes
Camera cuts back to show the whole teacher and the puzzle pieces.
Model the way to play the matching puzzle game being consistent with the steps and the language you use.
Flip the puzzle pieces over and mix them around with your hands. Say mix, mix, mix! Flip over two pieces and see if they match. Name each profession as you do: A police officer and a scientist. They’re NOT the same. Flip them back over and keep trying until you have a match.
After you have completed the puzzles, stop and look in the camera and thank them for playing with you.
Lesson Stage Ending the class
Timing 2 minutes
Tell them that It’s time to go! End the lesson by standing up and singing one of the songs they are familiar with from previous lessons. Invite them to sing and do the actions with you.
Wave and say Goodbye!
Home – school connection instructions
Send a video to the parents/caregivers with instructions for how to make and do the puzzle with the children at home before the next lesson.
Passionate about education, Thais has been an English teacher for 8 years. A Languages and Literature graduate, she holds a CELTA and a CPE. She’s currently doing her Masters in education – teaching English to very young learners in public schools – at USP.