kidZstory Felt Eductaional Resources >> How to Use a felt board
How to Use a Felt Board
How to Tell a Story
Make your story felt!
Stories are wonderful tools for communication and learning. You don't need to be a master story teller to create effective and enjoyable stories. A few simple tricks can help bring stories to life and make story telling a powerful, educational tool.
1) First of all make sure you are familiar with the story. The more familiar you are with the story the more comfortable you’ll be telling it.
2) Use pitch and vary your voice. If you want to indicate a different character alter your position, voice, facial expression
2) Adapt the story to suit the kids. Don’t feel like you have to be tied to any one version. It’s perfectly ok to change words or even large parts of the story. This is especially important when using stories with EFL learners. If there is a word you feel is too difficult or confusing just change it or leave it out. Sometimes I completely ignore the original story and make up my own simplified version.
3) Play with the story. Use the felt to play around with the story. Try having the kids retell the story in the original order and then in a different order of their own liking.
4) Make deliberate mistakes as you tell the stories. Once the kids are reasonably familiar with a story you can ‘test’ them by introducing errors. Put the felt pieces on upside down, or wrongly identify characters, for example tell them “Old Mac Donald had a cow” as you place a rabbit on the board. The kids will love to catch you out.
5) Make it interactive. By using Q and A you can involve children in the story and also check their comprehension at the same time. The questions don’t need to be difficult. ‘Asking what do you think is going to happen next?’ might be too challenging for a 4 year old just beginning to learn English. what color is the duck? How many bears? Let’s count the bears. One, two, three . How may? Three ,yes.
If you don’t already have the book form of the story consider buying it. Children learn through repetition, they love hearing stories again and again but this experience is enhanced when you add variation.
I often use the book to introduce a story, then in the next lesson I’ll re-tell it with the felt resource. Next I’ll have the children place the figures on the board as I tell the story again. I'll follow this up with a game or activity using the felt figures. This means you are providing essential repetition but at each time it is fresh and new.
Games and Activities
Games and Activities
Here is an additional collection of extra games, hints and ideas that can be used with many of the felt sets.
Competitive games can be made cooperative for the students if you pit the class against the teacher.
Select some suitable felt figures and have children sequence them according to a criterion. For example; order the dinosaurs from big to small, arrange the butterflies according to the colors of the rainbow, the animals from friendly to dangerous, etc.
Have the children group the figures in clusters according to various criteria. For example: group food types according to taste; sweet, spicy, bitter or animals according to mammal, reptile, bird etc.
If you want to attach a paper label / card to a felt board stick a piece of Velcro or coarse sandpaper to the back.
Make some Mini Felt Boards
Not a game but a useful additional resource. Make some small felt boards (see how to make a felt board). This way the kids can hold a small board and use it for placing felt figures they “win” in various games and activities.
Where, Where, Where?
Teach positional vocabulary (on, in, under, next to, etc)
Use any of the felt pieces that you like and after modeling the exercise have the children place the pieces on the board. “The cow is next to the horse. The pig is behind the barn. The chicken is on the horse.”
(You can use this game with any set)
Line up a number of felt figures on the board and tell the children to remember them. Give them a couple of minutes and then turn the board around and remove one of the figures. Face the board toward the children again and ask What’s missing”?
Place the board so it faces away from the children and they cannot see whatever is placed on it. The first child chooses a figure, for example a cow and the group says “Old MacDonald has a cow.” The first child runs to place the cow figure on the farmyard scene. The second child says “Old MacDonald has a cow and a pig.” This child then places a pig on the farm scene. The next child says “Old MacDonald has a cow, a pig and a horse.” This child then adds a horse to the scene. Make it the responsibility of the group to recall all the figures correctly. Play continues in this way until the sequence can no longer be recalled.
(This game can be used with various sets)
Place a group of felt figures on the board. Have the children repeat the names of the figures. When they are comfortable with this, cover all of the figures with a piece of plain felt. See how many figures the children can recall.
Funny Face (Make a Face Blindfolded)
Use the Clown Face or Make a Face set for this. Have the children wear a blindfold and try to arrange the face parts. Then laugh at the funny result. You should model any activity first but this is especially so with this game. The kids need to understand they are not expected to make a perfect face.
Place a large selection of figures on the board. Use some kind of eyeglass (the center from a toilet roll would work) to peruse the board and say “I spy something … red!” / “I spy something … little!” Of course you can fudge a little. If you were thinking ‘red bird and the child says ‘red barn’, why not accept it and see the smile spread across her face.
Team Relay ABC’s
You really need 2 felt boards for this. Divide the kids into 2 groups. One group gets the lower case abc figures and the other group gets the upper case ABC figures. Set it up as a relay and have the kids race to place the figures on the board. Next do it again but switch around upper and lower case figures.
Beat the Clock
Have the kids place any sequence of figures on the board (identifying each item as they do so) and time them with a stopwatch. Write the time on the whiteboard. Next, have them do it again and try to beat their previous time. Challenge them to see how fast they can get.
I’ve Got It!
Distribute the felt figures for the kids to place on their Mini-Felt-Boards. (or place on the floor)
Then proceed to tell the story or illustrate the background. When you need a figure, call for it. “One day, Cinderella was… oh! Cinderella! Who has Cinderella?” Kids check to see if they have Cinderella. (Great for reviewing stories)
Yes, No or Maybe
This is an exercise in determining differences and categorizing. Divide the felt board into 2 halves by laying a piece of string down the center. You can label the 2 sides according to what ever category you like. Fruit /Vegetable: Living / Non-living, Mammal / Insect, etc. Doubtful objects can be placed on the center line as ‘Maybes’, perhaps edging more to one side or the other.
Listen and Order
Call out a sequence of objects. “Triangle, Triangle, Square”; “Pig, Pig, Duck”;
“Red, Green, Green, Yellow”. Have the students place felt figures on the board in the order that you called.
Winner places M
Put the kids in pairs or 2 teams. Place a large letter M somewhere clearly visible. The teams take turns placing (and at the same time saying) the alphabet letters on the board. They can only place 1 or 2 letters per turn. The choice is theirs. Whoever places M first wins the game.
Similar to the game (Winner places M) above but in this game, kids stand in a line and play as individuals. They can only place 1, 2, or 3 figures on the board (identifying each figure as they go). Whoever places the tenth figure sits down. At the end of each round (when someone sits down), the teacher removes the figures from the board, placing them back in the pool and play starts again from the beginning. Last person standing is the winner. (Can be used with almost any set)
This is a very simple activity. Invite the kids to touch items as you tell a story. The beauty of this activity is that you can rest easy, knowing that there will be no torn pages.:-)
Tag a Friend
The goal of this game is for the group to place as many figures on the board as they can
Use one of the large sets and place the felt figures on a table. One by one, each student selects an item, says its name and places it on the board. The ‘known’ or “easy” items will get used up first. If a child can’t name an item they can tag a friend to help. This pair holds hands and tries to find an item they can name and put on the board. If they get stuck, they can tag another friend who now holds hands as they try to find another item. Finally they can tag the teacher if they really have to.
Place a selection of felt figures on the board (Farmyard, jungle, or ocean figures are good for this). Have one child choose one of the figures and the rest of the group tries to guess which it is by asking
Q. Is it a lion?
A. No, it is smaller than a lion.
The lion and all animals larger than the lion are removed from the board.
Q Is it a turtle?
A No, it’s faster than a turtle.
The turtle and all slower animals are removed.
Q Is it a rabbit?
A Yes, that’s right.
Place a selection of felt figures on the board (Farmyard, jungle, or ocean figures are good for this). Have one child choose one of the figures and the rest of the group tries to guess which it is by asking Yes/No questions.
With kids’ EFL classes I find it helps to prepare a handout containing a list of possible questions for them to choose from.
For example, Does it eat meat/grass/leaves? Does it live in a zoo/ on a farm? Does it have wings? Can it fly/swim? Is it brown/black? etc.
When the response to a question is negative, then all positives should be removed from the board.
Q “Can it fly?”
A “No it can’t”
All Non-flying creatures, such as elephants, should be removed from the board.
Take a Hint
The teacher describes the felt figures by giving hints one at a time while the children try to guess.
T It is big.
Kids Elephant, hippo!
T No, it has a looong neck.
T Yes! Gives the giraffe figure to the child who called first and the child places the figure on her mini felt board.
T It is black and white.
T Yes. And so on.
(In the cacophony of answers it can be unclear who called first and I use those opportunities to reward the kids who aren’t as quick)
Back to the Board
Divide the class into two teams. Have the teams sit in separate groups facing the board. Call one member from each team to stand facing their teammates with their backs to the board. Place a felt figure on the board. The students try to explain what the figure is, in English and without naming it directly. The first person to guess the figure takes it back to their group to place on their mini felt board.
Two team reps sit with their backs to the board; they hold their index fingers pointed aloft as if they had an old fashioned dueling pistol. Place a number of felt figures on the board. Someone (teacher or student) calls the name of an item and both kids turn and point to the item. Fastest wins.
Divide the felt board in half with a piece of string. Place some felt figures on one half of the board. The teacher nominates a letter and the kids have to place all the figures that begin with that letter on the other half of the board.
Use the felt letters to practice cvc word formation.
Place the letters C_T on the board. Call out "COT" or "CAT" or "CUT" etc, and have them complete the word with the correct vowel.
Spread the felt figures on the floor and have the kids sit in a circle around them. Have the children touch the felt figures when you call them. Whoever is first gets to place the felt figure onto the felt board.
(NOTE: Before the game starts, I explain that any fighting over the figures will have the fighters immediately expelled from the game.)
Place a line of felt figures on the board. Have the children repeat the names of the figures in order from left to right. When they are comfortable with this, cover the figures with a piece of plain felt. Again go through the figures but see if the children can recall the hidden figure themselves. Next cover a second figure, then a third and so on. (Works well with any of the sets. Extra materials required; small squares of plain felt)
No shoes please! Place a trail of felt figures on the floor, roughly creating a circle. Children step from piece to piece as you play some music. If you don’t want them to step on the pieces have them jump with feet spread so they land with the felt piece between their feet. When you stop the music each child identifies the figure they are standing on / over. When you have done enough jumping you can place the figures on the board.
Spin the Bottle
Arrange the pieces in a circle and place bottle in the center . Kids take turns to spin the bottle. Whatever figure the bottle points to they identify and can place on the board.
Are you my Mommy?
Use with farmyard felt. Have kids match the baby animals to their mothers. Link this concept to big and little letters.Extend this by having kids match big and little letters.
What’s my Pet?
Use either numbered felt pieces or ABC’s to label each animal or food. Distribute mini felt boards to the kids. Kids then draw cards (which will have corresponding numbers or letters written on them) from a hat to find out what their pet is. Have the kids say “I have a horse.” Then they go to the board to collect the horse. Kids will be excited to see what kind of ‘pet collection’ or ‘zoo’ they can make.
What’s my Lunch?
Same game as “What’s my Pet?” but use the felt food figures instead. Kids take turns to collect food for their lunch. Have the kids say “I have ice cream, fish and bananas for lunch.” See what kind of crazy lunch combinations you come up with.
Use the felt shapes and arrange them on the board to create a fun, shape monster!