Twinkl in Action: Facts as a foundation

Year 9 Geography. The assessment task involves looking at the impact of tourism in Kenya. Some of my EAL learners are quite new to English, and their prior knowledge of Kenya is limited. They’re gonna need some support. I get two EAL lessons a week with these kids, and mainly use the time to help them access their learning in other subjects.

Before we get into the tourism side of things, we need to lay some foundations. We also need a fun activity – learning can be fun, right?

… Twinkl to the rescue!


  • Download Twinkl’s Kenya Fact Cards. Fairly simple language, concise facts, not daunting for the learners, and visual supports. Print them out – waste the schools budget with full colour.
  • Stick them around the classroom. Hide a few on the back of chairs, that always gets someone!
  • Lead-in chat. Questions like ‘What do you know/think you know about Africa/Kenya? Refer back to some of what’s come up about Africa in Geog class in general – biomes, animals, etc.
  • Give the students this simple note taking grid. No expense spared with the design. Hey, I’m a busy teacher:
  • Check vocab as needed. Actually I don’t do that, I just let issues emerge because it means my EAL students have to communicate more! Distinctly average teaching, I know. I’d argue there’s method in my madness.
  • Pair the students. Tell them that in X minutes (say… 10 minutes?) you will give them a quiz about Kenya. They need to gather as much info as possible to help them with the quiz. BUT they won’t have time to write every single word down from the fact cards. Select important info only. And make a plan with your partner – who will look for what info? Allow a bit of a chat about the task.
  • GO
  • Cue questions about unknown vocab. What’s a ‘colony’? What does ‘export’ mean? Etc. All conducted amid frenzy because the kids really want to win the quiz (although some pretend they don’t of course).
  • Give them some bonus minutes. After all, you probably wasted a bit of time with your rubbish ad hoc explanations of new words…
  • Students sit down with their partner. Look through facts and share info. Test your partner! Ask and answer questions about the info, like ‘Name 5 landmarks…’, ‘What’s the population..?’ etc.
  • Students turn sheets over! They cannot look at the info. Then give them the quiz handout. They do it together, swap for peer marking, go through the answers as a class (or board them). If you make this into a Kahoot then please share with me 🙂
  • Allow time to record/discuss some of that new vocab.


This isn’t just about gathering random facts. Some info might not be that useful, but other info deffo is and relates to tourism in Kenya.

  • Ask students to review the facts and think about how they might connect to tourism. For example, you could highlight that an official language there is English. Could that be important from a tourism perspective? Kenya is an LIC – do you think tourism might be important to the country? What type of tourism? Etc. The facts lay the groundwork for that discussion.

Why does this work well as an EAL lesson?

  1. The fact cards are full of keywords for describing countries, useful vocab that crosses over to other subjects like History, etc
  2. It’s collaborative and there are ways to optimise communication.
  3. It builds confidence for regular Geog classes – increases the readiness of learners to tackle the task!
  4. Relatively low prep if you’re not precious about the look of the handouts.
  5. Note-taking practice (and a ‘How to’ if you’ve time)! Learners need this as they have to do a lot of skimming texts and fact gathering in their humanities classes.
  6. Yeah, stuff like that…

So, that’s ‘Twinkl in Action’. Take a good resource, make it work for the learners 🙂

Categories: Lesson Ideas, other, vocabulary

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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