Through the introductory routine, we have prepared the children for the up-coming lesson: we greeted, activated their brains, practised focusing and socialised.

We have chosen the project name and chose the picture book which introduced the theme of the project as well as all the topics that can be covered under the roof of the project. We did that through storytelling.

So, what's next?

It's time we took some relevant vocabulary to work with on different topics. 

In traditional teaching, the vocabulary is usually pre-selected, and children only need to memorise it.

Have you ever considered to offer children to select the vocabulary by themselves? You haven't? 
You may think I'm crazy because children don't know enough English! Or, how can they know what's relevant?

Well, how about if we try it now?

With the right activity, children can select their own vocabulary, no matter their level of English knowledge. Through pictures, of course. 

I call it ...


Children are given either a blank piece of paper or a black-and-white partly drawn picture, which is in some way connected to the theme of the picture book. That way we give children the starting point from which they create their own story. The way they like it. The animals they want to chose. The weather they want to have. The colours they like ...

The finished doodle is a selection of drawn objects put together in a new story. If you, as a teacher, would also like to introduce something that children have not drawn (like the weather, for instance), and is relevant for the later steps, you may encourage them (via questions) to fill it in. 

A lot of revision of the already known vocabulary can be covered via doodling, as well as practising listening.

What else can we achieve through doodling?

Not only have we given children the control (autonomy) over their learning, because it was their choice what they wanted to draw (and in that we conveyed our trust in them), but we have also opened the first steps to literacy. Through the process of doodling, we addressed:
  • the pronunciation of the new vocabulary;
  • the connection between sounds and letters;
  • the awareness of the syllables;
  • the focus on spelling;
  • the introduction of articles and plural of nouns.

All that?! How?

While discussing the content of their drawings, children become familiar with the vocabulary.

"Can you find anything blue in your picture?"
(Children point to something blue)
"Do you know what it is?"

The connection between the sounds and the letters, the awareness of the syllables.

"Can you find a tree in the picture?"
(Children point to the tree)
"Can you recognise the first sound?"
(they say)
"How many claps for 'a tree'?"
(they clap the word)
"Can you find a picture of the tree in the Cool Alphabet House?
(they go and find it in the 'T' pocket)

Then we proceed to spelling and in that, we come upon plural of the nouns and articles.

Through doodling, we took the relevant vocabulary that we are going to use at our next steps and will make some new use of it. 

Of course, all will be written in my next posts.

If you want to be reminded of my next post, I suggest you sign up (see the top right 'follow by email', or put your email address on my list). This way you won't miss anything.

If you want to be introduced to my step by step approach in practice, you can sign up for my workshops

If you're not from Slovenia, there are other options:

  • workshops at different international conferences;
  • afternoon workshops at Pilgrims, the second week in July 2018;
  • I can come to you - for more information, contact me at info@c00lsch00l.eu.
  • If you believe the presentation of the PBA approach could benefit your teachers, I would be happy to hold a plenary at your conference ... just drop me a line.

The PBA, ELTA Serbia SIG Day, Joy of Teaching Young Learners, March 2018

Until then, you can read related themes:

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