Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘experiences’


Would you know what to do if the photocopier broke? And I mean REALLY broke… You’ve unjammed it, kicked it, sworn at it, turn it on and off but it just. won’t. work. What’s your next step? Panic? Scream? Cry?

Fear thee not. Here are some ideas that could help ease those panic-stricken moments when you have to deliver a material free lesson, or when you need a warmer/cooler/filler. No photocopies, not high-tech gadgetry, just a teacher, some students, and a few scraps of paper.

1.

Dictate 8 or so infinitives (regular and irregular) and get the students to write down the past participle of the verbs.

Elicit the answers, and put them in the middle of the board. Then elicit a complement for the verb and write that to the right of the participle.

For example: You say “ride”, and the students write down “ridden” (which you put in the middle of the board). Then get the students to suggest things you can ride (bike, camel, horse, unicycle). Choose the most interesting one and write it next to the verb.

When you’ve finished with all the participles, on the left hand side, write “Have you ever”.

So you should have something that looks like this:

Have you ever             ridden               a camel?

                                          met                      a celebrity?

                                          flown                  in a helicopter?

                                         eaten                    sushi?

                                          swum                  with dolphins?

There you have a “Find someone who” activity which required no photocopying or preparation. It can be adapted for any level and grammar point. Future Perfect (Find someone who will have bought a house/ got married/ had children/ travelled to Australia by 2020).

2.

This next activity works better with higher levels and focusses on speaking and fluency. It can last up to an hour if you collect some errors and do some feedback.

Give each student 3 bits of scrap paper. One each paper, they should write one sentence that describes an important event in their life (that they are happy to talk to the class about). When they have 3 events, they should write the year it happened in the top right corner, and the approximate month in the left, so it should look a bit like this:

Put the students into group of 3 or 4. They put all their papers together, then line them up in a ladder on the table in chronological order. It might be an idea to cellotape the ladder to the table at this point.

Give each group one dice and one counter. They roll the dice and move the counter up the ladder for the correct number. The owner of the paper then has to talk about this event for 2 minutes (less for lower levels) and the other students must be ready to ask one questions each when the time is up.

Fold the paper over when it’s done so it isn’t repeated then continue until they have all been spoken about.

Part 2 to follow! Enjoy and let me know how it goes!

Read Full Post »


A teacher told me about this activity and I thought it would work really well in showing students that it’s not what you say, but how you say it, that the key lies in your intonation! I think she found these ideas on another website.

Give the students simple words and phrases. Start with “Hello“.

Ask the students to think:

How would you say “Hello”

  • to a friend
  • to a friend you haven’t seen in 4 years
  • to a neighbour you don’t like
  • to a baby
  • to someone you discovered doing something they shouldn’t be doing
  • when you answer the phone

Then get them to practice it in pairs. Then get class feedback to demonstrate how the intonation and pronunciation changes.

Some more examples:

Goodbye

  • to a family member as you’re about to get on a plane
  • to someone who has been annoying you
  • to someone you’ve just had a fight with
  • to a salesman on the phone
  • to your boyfriend/girlfriend on the phone
  • to a child starting his first day at school

How are you

  • to someone you haven’t seen in 10 years
  • to someone who’s family member had died
  • to someone who didn’t sleep in their own bed last night

“I never go to pubs”

  • you are a person who disapproves of drinking alcohol and you are speaking to someone who often goes to pubs
  • when it is followed by “…but I sometimes go to discos”

What have you done?

  • to someone who has tried to fix your TV but has made the situation worse
  • when you hear a loud noise coming from a different room in the house
  • when someone has done something very bad which will have serious consequences

Do you have any more suggestions for phrases or situations?

Like this post? Why not have a look at this other post: https://missfearnley.wordpress.com/2010/09/19/adjectives-of-manner

Read Full Post »


I came across this blog today. This man speaks a variety of languages as he went to the country, let go of his fear of making mistakes, and just spoke the language. He dispels the common fears (and excuses we make) that hold us back from learning a language and shows that it is possible.

http://www.fluentin3months.com/

The video on TedTalksx is a great resource (subtitles avalible). This would be fab to use in class to inspire your students and also as a starter for a discussion. I’m sure it would inspire them to go out and make the most of the opportunities they have. As I have now become a student myself (I’m trying to learn Italian in the short 3 months that I’m teaching here), it has certainly inspired me!

Link to the video: http://speakfromday1.com/tedx/

Read Full Post »


I’m sure this has been used and used and re-used some more in your classes, but I used this in a class last week and even though I had used it before, I was surprised at the results, so thought I would put it on here to remind you that it is a great activity to use.

For those who may not be familiar with the concept of Speed Dating, a quick summary: Strangers go to the event and spend about 5 minutes at a table talking to a partner, a bell then sounds and they move round to the next person. They fill out an opinion form and hand them in to the organisers. If there are any matches, the organisers send their details to one another and romance blossoms from there!

You can use this activity at any level. It works with elementary students who are learning to introduce themselves and ask people questions. I have used it with intermediate students to improve fluency and last week I used it with advanced students who had to include more complex vocabulary and had to portray certain characteristics. They were very lathargic on a hot Friday afternoon but became full of energy and motivation once they started speed dating!

I find that getting students to make a new personality brings them out of themselves and gets rid of any shyness that there may have been before. You could give them a magazine and they have to find a photo of a person to be which can be quite fun.

Make sure you have equal number of boys and girls (you may need to have some transgender students for a while!)

They then need to invent a new name, age, personality profile (for higher students to act out), job, family imformation, hobbies and interests. Give them about 5-10 minutes for this as this is not the focus, and they may get carried away lookign for photos.

Set the tables up so one “date” takes place at each table. Give the students a maximum of 5 minutes (I find 3 minutes helps keep the pace up and means they don’t have any awkward silences) to talk to each other, then move one set around so they speak to as many people as possible. When they have spoken to everyone, bring them back together as a class and see who they made a note of who they liked… See if any romances have blossomed!

I have had 80 year old alcholics, 20 year old New York City singers and dancers, ego-centric socialites and lots and lots of giggles!

Read Full Post »


This is a great film that I have used many times in the classroom to introduce the idea of a “spoof” film.

I watch the film once with the students, then give them 10 questions about the man’s job, the accident, the bird etc, and we watch it again. There are no words in the film, so there is no chance that they won’t understand the film, which makes it accessible to everyone… they just have to express their own ideas in English.

Lead In: Write “Who Am I?” on the board. Students can only ask you Yes/No questions to guess who you are (Tom Cruise). When they have finally guessed, then ask them which films has he been in (Mission Impossible). Then introduce the idea of a spoof (a film about a film which makes jokes about it), then show them the film.

Extension: Students could write/perform a spoof of their favourite film, or make a funny film about their school/class.

Read Full Post »


I don’t think there is any room for a teacher to shout in anger at their students in the classroom (or outside of it to be honest). We need to find other ways of making sure the students behave. With adults, I don’t think there is a problem, but with teenagers, of course, it is a different story.

One method which I think works quite well, and doesn’t make the teacher out to be the bad guy, is peer discipline. The following idea is similar to the “five point deduction” idea, if you have heard of it…

Write on the board:

Let’s have a good lesson today. On Friday we want to play a game.

(game, song, watch a film etc…. whatever you do as a treat with your students)

Leave this on the board for the whole lesson.

Explain to the students that you want to play a game with them on Friday, but each time they misbehave, you are going to cross off a letter. If it is impossible to understand the sentence at the end of the lesson, you won’t be playing a game, but continuing with your regular work (grammar, reading, etc…)

The students will then begin to tow the line with the rowdy students, and tell them to be quiet and behave, so you have very little to do by way of discipline.

Who needs any extra stress?

Read Full Post »


This is probably already very popular in your classroom, but maybe you have thought of it and dismissed it as a bad idea. Hopefully, this will encourage you to change you mind.

My Top Tip of the Day:

Play Music.

This works well when the students are working together in pairs or groups for a longer periods of time. It helps them to relax and they enjoy the atmosphere in the classroom. I only play it as background music, and tend to keep use quieter, more chilled out music, but music which sings about the theme of the lesson is great. I try to keep is lyrical to increase language exposure.

The feedback I got after doing this was great. They loved it.

I have only done this with teens, please let me know how it goes with adults.

Some of my favourite bands/artists to use:

Alexi Murdoch, Snow Patrol, John Mayer, City and Colour, Death Cab for Cutie

Feel free to suggest others!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »