Snowman-building exercise helps P.E.I. language students learn through play

·2 min read
Snowman-building exercise helps P.E.I. language students learn through play

Some P.E.I. students took part in a challenge to build snowmen as part of an education lesson to have fun and work on their language skills.

The director of the English and French as an additional language program through the Department of Education said it was an out-of-the-box idea to get students motivated.

"Many of our families come from countries that don't experience the winter the way we do," said program director Janet Perry-Payne. "So we thought, wouldn't it be neat if we could kind of establish a challenge that had to do with the snow."

The EAL and FAL programs are aimed at helping students who are new to the English or French language.

After a big snowfall over the weekend, there was a lot of building material to work with.

Submitted by P.E.I. EAL/FAL Program
Submitted by P.E.I. EAL/FAL Program

The challenge was for the students to build a snowman and submit pictures of their families with their winter creations.

"The teachers who are working with the students will use that as an opportunity to build vocabulary, to do procedural writing activities," Perry-Payne said.

"But really we wanted those student to have some fun and learn together."

They work with students from kindergarten to Grade 12 in both the Public Schools Branch and La Commission scolaire de langue française.

Language teachers usually spend time with the students at the schools to help support their language learning.

Submitted by P.E.I. EAL/FAL Program
Submitted by P.E.I. EAL/FAL Program

Perry-Payne said there were over 2,400 new language learners in the two school systems with around 850 students receiving direct support from the program's 36 teachers.

The students and their families are also often new to Prince Edward Island and sometimes to Canada's winter climate.

The challenge included a YouTube video with an explanation for those who may not have built a snowman before.

Submitted by P.E.I. EAL/FAL Program
Submitted by P.E.I. EAL/FAL Program

Perry-Payne said the response from families was wonderful, with students of all ages taking part.

"Some people are dressing their snowmen up in clothing. Some are using things that they are finding in the environment to put on their snowmen," Perry-Payne said.

"The favourite part for me is to see those pictures with families with the finished products and everybody with a smile on their faces."

The teachers will incorporate the challenge into lesson planning so students can write and speak about something they did first-hand in the snow.

The program is planning more challenges and hopes students use them to learn, while having fun at the same time.

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