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How to make teaching the 'have got' structure to young learners fun and engaging with Sam the Spud

Wow, it's been a long time ... but I'll skip my usual excuses because, you know ... life and sh** 😉 and I'll get straight into what I want to write about.

About 5 maybe 6 years ago my computer crashed. I've managed to save the majority of what was on my hard drive but sadly some files were lost forever. One of those files was one of my most favourite materials that I've ever made. It wasn't a big problem back then for two reasons. Reason one was that this teaching aid in its physical form was at school I worked at at the time. It was printed, cut, laminated, and sitting proudly on the TEFL shelves. Actually, it's still there, even though I'm not. The other reason was that some parts of it were taken from a book, which meant that I could not share it with you in my shop. So even though I was a little upset, losing it was not the end of the world.

Fast forward 5/6 years, and I have my own little language school and I have to remake all of the materials I once made for my ex school, because I left them all there. I was flipping through the course book I'm using with my first graders and the topic of face body parts was approaching fast. I never forgot the material I'd lost, I knew all the time that I should recreate it. And believe me, I've attempted a couple of times to no avail. But this time I REALLY needed it. Despite a strong belief that I cannot draw and that I won't be able to make this material completely from scratch, not using anything taken out of a book ... I started 'drawing'.

My artistic abilities are at a level of a 4-year-old. I can draw a wanky stick figure on my best days. Hand drawing anything was not an option for me. I turned to the thing I know best - Apple Pages. To those of you that don't use Mac computers, Pages is the equivalent of Microsoft Word ... but better 😅 It has an option of drawing figures in it and changing them and bending them to the shape that you want them to be. So I started 'drawing' and before I knew it, I'd actually created all the face body parts I needed and they came out looking really good, if I do say so myself 😜 I'm particularly proud of the eyes 😊

Now that I had all the body parts, and could fill them with any colour that I wanted (before, with the original material, my sister had hand coloured all of them for me) all I had to do was remake the booklets. But seeing as the old material was one of the first I've made, the idea of making it again into a booklet seemed like too much of a hustle. Double sided task cards, on the other hand, would work perfectly.

And so the looooong process of assembling the face body parts, photographing them, writing the descriptions, putting all of the above together has begun. Then printing, laminating, cutting ... it took a lot of time. At the same time, I starter feeling that I should ask for the permission from Cambridge University Press to sell my task cards, because even though I drew all the body parts myself, they were still pretty similar to the ones from the book. So I messaged them and, long story short, I got a licence to sell my material.

Ok, ok, I know, it's a long intro to actually show you the material, but I'm really chuffed that it exists again and is soooo much better than the original from 9 years ago 🥳 So, without further ado, I give you:

Sam the Spud

The material is composed of many elements, so let's go through them one by one:

Face Body Parts

We have eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and hair all in two options: small & big or long & short, all in 7 different colours. The parts are meant to be printed, laminated, and cut out to create loads of moveable body parts to be assembled on a face shaped like a potato. The body parts, once assembled into a face, look really funny and kids love playing with them.

Create Task Cards

A set of 40 double sided task cards on which, on one side, we have a picture of an assembled Sam the Spud face, and on the reverse we have a simple description using the 'have got' structure. The idea is that a student reads the description and assembles the movable face parts on the potato, and then flips the cards to compare his/her Sam the Spud with the one in the picture.

Every single card comes with a written description but also with the audio recording of the description which means that even the students who can't read yet can work with this material 🤩

I created two options of the recording: you get cards with QR codes on them, which means that your students need to work with a phone or a tablet; option two is empty space left on the cards for a PENpal sticker. You get all the recordings when you purchase the material, so all you have to do is use CreateLink Pro and transfer them onto your PENpal. If you don't know or don't remember how to do that, some time ago I created a little tutorial on how to do that and you can check it out here.

It is so much better to use the cards with PENpal because it does not require wi-fi and is fun to use for the little kids. If you don't yet own a PENpal, you can purchase one in my shop and if you get Sam the Spud material, you will find a 30% discount code to get your new PENpals 🥳 If you'd like to find out more about PENpals and why I find them amazing read about them here and here.

In the material you will get Create Cards A with description using only positive statement with 'have got' and Create Cards B with positive and negative statements. Cards B are definitely more difficult and can be used as natural progression after working with Cards A.

Word Cards

These are small word cards with all the words your students need to assemble their own description of Sam the Spud. All the descriptions on the Create Cards come in first person singular but in the Word Cards you have the option of using the third person singular with 'has got' as well.

Find the Mistake Task Cards

Each of these 20 cards consist of a picture of Sam the Spud, written description with one mistake in it, and a recorded description (same options as with the create cards). On the reverse of the cards you'll find error correction in the form of two sentences like in the example picture below:

Sam the Spud 'Find the Mistake' Card with error control

There are two versions of Find the Mistake cards. The card you see above has got a written and a recorded description but you may also chose to print out cards with just the audio description. This way, you're making sure that kids will only practise listening and will not be tempted to look at the written description. In the material you will also find small purple cards to cover the written description on the first type of cards. So again, you have the option of using the difficulty gradation with your students.

Sam the Spud 'I've got ... Who's got' cards

Match Up Task Cards

Based on the same pictures as the Create Cards, the Match Up cards work as a matching activity with the create cards. Your students read the description on the Create card, look for the matching picture, and then use the reverse of the Create Card as error control.

I've got ... Who's got/Domino Cards

20 cards with a picture and a description, to use with a bigger group as a 'I've got ...Who's got' activity, or by a single student/small group as a domino activity. The cards are great as a group activity because students need to listen very carefully to each other to see if it is the description of their Sam the Spud that is being read out loud by another students. The pictures can differ by just one detail so each time students need to listen to the very end.

Sam the Spud 'I've got ... Who's got' cards

So there you have it 😊 Sam the Spud is absolutely perfect for little kids beginning their journey of learning English. It's fun, it's interactive, it helps practise all four language skills, has inbuilt difficulty progression and error control ... it's just perfect 😅 But don't just take my word for it, get your copy today and let your students have some fun while learning the 'have got' structure and colours, body parts, and simple adjectives vocabulary.

'Sam the Spud' comes in three purchase options in my shop:

Material 1: Create Task Cards A&B (that's 80! task cards all together) + Body Parts + Word Cards

Material 2: Find the Mistake Cards (20 task cards in two options)

BUNDLE: Materials 1&2 + FREEBIES: Match Up Cards and I've got ... Who's got/Domino Cards

With each option you get a full description on how to work with the material as well as many more ideas on what to do with all the cards. And remember! 30% discount code* for PENpals!

*Use the code from the separate coupon in the zip. file. The one in the material description will not work.

Go on then, make my day, and get yourself Sam the Spud today 🥰 Leave a comment below to let me know what you think about the material 😊

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