Star register – make your register work for you

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How do you do the register with your kids’ classes? Do you use the time to revise new language? Do you get the students to take turns to do it? I want to share with you something I did last year with my classes of 5 to 6-year-olds which worked really well.  It took a bit of extra effort at the beginning, but it was really worth it.

As we all know, routine is important in kids classes. Spend a bit of time on getting them to come in quietly and put their books, bags and pencil cases under their chairs at the beginning of the course, and they soon start doing it without needing to be told. Why not get them speaking English at the beginning of class during the register as a matter of routine too? A little bit of autonomy can really boost confidence, so I wanted each student to be responsible for a little bit of the register every time.  And if I could make the register process colourful and physical, even better.  I’d heard that a fellow teacher had a big laminated tree with velcro on it, on which he could stick the names of his students. I sort of nabbed this idea to make my STAR REGISTER.

I made the basic background (A2, I think) from foamy stuff, felt, and bits of velcro (enough for a class and me and Dave (our class [soft toy] dog) and stuck it up on the wall in my classroom at child height. In the next class, I showed the students my star, gave them a template and asked them to draw themselves and write their name (some needed help with that bit). Here are some examples, including mine and Dave’s (made by Alejo):

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Useful for remembering who’s who, eh? I wanted the stars to last all year, so I laminated them and stuck the other bits of velcro on the back. I kept all the stars in an envelope, one for each class and brought them out at the start of the class. The routine went like this:

Once everyone had taken out their books and pencilcases, etc and sat down quietly, I shook the envelope and took one star out.

“Hello, Angel!”
“Hello, Emma”
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you, and you?”
“I’m fine. What’s your favourite colour?”
“My favourite colour is blue”
“Thank you. Come on up.”
[Angel comes to the front of the class and takes a star] “Hello, Daniela!”
“Hello, Angel.”
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, thank you, and you?”
“I’m fine. What’s your favourite colour?”
“My favourite colour is blue”
[Angel places Daniela’s star on the space picture and sits down; Daniela comes to the front and takes a star]“Hello, Teresita”
“Hello, Daniela”,…etc.

This continued until the last star was picked and they would ask the first person (Angel, in this case), whose star I would slip back in the envelope at the end. Once they got the hang of it (which didn’t take long), it was only them talking and me facilitating or helping where necessary. When all the kids’ stars were on the picture and everyone had had their go, there were two stars left: mine and Dave’s. We did a similar thing with them, but this time the children put their hands up to ask questions.

We changed the question fairly frequently to revise what we had been learning. Sometimes it involved a bit of acting, eg. “Where am I?” accompanied by a mime of someone flipping through TV channels. “Are you in the living room?” Yes!” From time to time I allowed them to ask any question they liked, which meant that we could revise everything they’d learnt.  At Easter, I asked them to remind me how much they’d learnt how to say and we made simple videos of Easter characters having a conversation. I think they were astounded at how much they could do and they loved hearing themselves!

 

There are other ways to make the star register to work for you. For example, the students practised prepositions when they told me where they wanted me to put Dave’s star and my star.

Occasionally this could take too long so I found that timing them to see how quickly they could do it made them keep up the pace and meant we could get on with our lesson sooner rather than later.

At the end of the class, once everyone had packed up (if there was still time), I got the students to line up by taking one name at a time off the picture, putting it back in the envelope and getting the class to say bye-bye to that person.

Prep 2s register

At the end of the year, I gave each student their star to take home.

What do you think? Have you got any ways to make the register work for you?

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4 comments

  1. Benjamin · · Reply

    Hi Emma. Thanks for the mention. Love how you adapted it for older kids. Will copy! 😉

  2. I adapted this for a similar aged class that I was having issues with… Instead of a beautiful space scene, I made a traffic light. We followed the same format to take the register and all the stars started on the green light. If they misbehaved during the class, I would move their star to amber. They could always go back to green though! Red was only for serious issues and meant that a parent would be called. If they ended the class on green, they got a sticker. They responded really well and it made classroom management so much easier. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. I think again it’s Benjamin who deserves the credit! Thanks for commenting, Amy!

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