Get the kids talking about things they created, their drawings. This reaches them at the heart level. If you try to reach them at the level of mind (you only THINK you’re a teacher), you will fail.
Communicate with them and don’t worry about what in the hell – literally – you are teaching them as far as components of the language. Let all that go. It’s a new time now.
Quit with the “I-have-to-use-CI-to-teach-them-this-and-that-and-x-and-y-today.” It’s bullshit. Just communicate with them. Get off your high horse.
Use their drawings to find out about them. Stop using those stupid novels. Grow up and realize once and for all that you are not teaching math or chemistry.