1: The ‘Our town’ scene, which can be used with the whole class, a small group of children or with an individual child, has been designed to encourage the development of listening skills and the understanding of language in a structured way.
A: Use only one of the OUR TOWN scene boards.
Place all the items that will be used to create the ‘Our Town’ scene into a bag and let the children take turns to choose a picture and name them. The adult then begins to give instructions for the children to follow.
You can use this game to develop many aspects of language and differentiate the task, making it easier or more difficult, as below:
a: The more information a child has to hold in their head and then ‘process’, the more difficult the task will be. A list of 4 or 5 words will be harder than a list of 2 or 3 words, as it puts more demands on the child’s auditory memory. You can play several versions of this; a traffic jam on the road, a queue of people at the bus stop etc
b: In a similar way, we can grade the number of key words that the child must understand in order to follow the task. (A key word is one about which a child has to make a choice in order to follow the instruction.)
Be aware that if you say the words ‘big car’ and there only is one car, the child does not necessarily have to understand the word big in order to follow the instruction, and so it is not a key word in this case.
c: By adding concepts or descriptive words which are new to the child, the task becomes more difficult.
d: You can use the game to target a variety of prepositions.
e: You can also use the characters in the game to focus on the understanding and use of the pronouns him, her and them e.g. put the cat beside him, put the dog in front of her, put the policeman beside them.
B: Using both the’ Our town’ scene boards, it can also be used as a barrier game.
Using the ‘ Our town’ scene boards as a barrier game provides the children with the opportunity to give detailed and complex instruction to each other, building their confidence to use language in a structured and meaningful way.
Give each child an identical board and 5 or 6 items with which they are to make up their scene.
Position the children back to back or place a barrier between them so that they cannot see each other’s boards.
Encourage one child to select an item and place it on their own board.
This child then has to give an instruction to the other child who has to follow the instruction in order to make his board identical to the instructor’s board.
Repeat this activity until all the items have been placed on the board and then compare the boards.
Are they the same? If not, what is different? Why are they different? Can they remember the instruction given?
Reverse roles so that the second child becomes the child to give the instructions and the first child has to listen and respond.
These activities are designed to promote ‘Phonological Awareness’, which is necessary to develop children’s pre reading skills and help improve the clarity of their speech.
a: The number on the door!
The house doors are numbered 1, 2 and 3. Encourage the children to clap out the beats in each vehicle or character card and then place them on the house matching the number of syllables in their name; e.g. am- bu-lance ( 3), doc-tor (2), cat (1).
b: Rhyme Detective!
Encourage the children to listen to the word you say and look for an item in the picture that rhymes with the word you say; e.g. mouse ( house), toad ( road), ring ( swing), toy ( boy), bark (park).
c: Sort it out!- Initial Sound Awareness
Can the children listen to the names of the vehicles, people and objects and place them on the hill with the correct initial sound flag? If the word begins with an ‘f’ sound it goes on thhill with the ‘f’ flag. If it begins with a sound that is NOT an ‘f’, ‘p’ or ‘d’ sound it goes on the hill which has the ‘?’ flag.
Encourage the children to listen as you say the following; “I hear with my little ear, something beginning with …..s.” They must look in the picture for an item that begins with that sound.