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Keith's Corner: Entry 4: Senses

Type: Article

In his fourth diary entry, Keith looks at ways of teaching his young learners some sensory vocabulary.

This week, we’ve been working on senses. Our approach to language teaching and learning follows a thematic programme, where we change topic every week or two. This last week has seen Anglia School kids sniffing, tasting, touching, feeling and hearing a whole host of child-friendly items.

Story-time on smells

Both teachers and children enjoy story-time. You can see a short clip from our story-time with a lovely book, Who’s making that smell? here. The children lift the book’s flaps to see where the pong is coming from around Ben and baby Annabel’s house. Then they guess who is hiding behind each flap, and there is usually a whoop of joy when they find out who it is.

Science of taste and smell

We looked at tastes and tastebuds and the children explored flavours themselves by trying different foods, deciding whether they were salty, sweet, sour or bitter and then naming what they could taste.

We also made enormous tongues and talked about tastebuds, so that the children would have an idea of the taste areas on their own tongues. The children tasted the sample foods we prepared, closed their eyes and thought about where they could taste the flavour the most.

They then stuck little flags onto the polystyrene tongue shapes we’d cut out for them to colour pink and stuck them on top of a portrait of themselves for a “Tongues and taste” wall display.

Blind smelling

We did similar activities with smells, too. This time, we blindfolded the children with some old ties and asked them to sniff a number of different smells in cups, which they then had to name.

The children gave the taste or smell a rating with “Yuck!” or “Yummy”. Cinammon was popular, coffee got mixed ratings and pepper got mainly “Yuck!”

Sensory shape rubbings

With our toddlers, we spent some time on sensory shapes for this topic. For example, we created touch-shapes with materials like sandpaper and stuck them to a large sheet of card. The children placed their own A4 sheet over the top of the shape, and felt the coarse texture, then did a crayon rubbing of it as they learned the name of the shape.

Senses song

There’s always a song being sung at Anglia School. This month we’ve been singing Barney the dinosaur’s Five Senses song, which has a fabulous chorus with actions that the children love to sing along to. The children already know the parts of the body in the song, but it’s a good song for reinforcing taste, touch, see, hear and smell, as well.

This topic is a great example of how we change themes but recycle skills in our programme. Much of the language is recycled, such as words for the parts of the body, though the topics change weekly. For me, this is pure CLIL. Our children, however young they are, are learning a language by doing something with it, in it and through it!

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