вторник, 17 сентября 2013 г.

A last week ideas review

Creating a new rubric of the blog is another resolution of mine, but as soon as I'm a mess, I can't really promise it'll last (although making the problem public might help), well, ta dam! I'm going to come up with ideas week review.  Sounds cool, but they are not actually my ideas but technically anything that was my personal intake durng the week and has anything to do with ELT. If there's anyone here reading it, please get vocal and leave comments.

Idea #1 . This is the activity for  informal gatherings like speaking clubs and discussions, because it requiers at least 5 participants. It took me almost a year to figure out how to use Dixit game to the full. We played it a couple of times with my learners and sts and we ended up saying one word per hour which is not  something an English teacher might be particularly happy abt. Well, the idea is: I create a list of proverbs/idioms/saying, I guess 20 is ok for one round of a game, hand out the list,  sts go through the list, make sure they understand everything, and while playing they need to use an item from the list. The proverbs/idioms are vocabulary items I never really deal in my classroom so it might be a good chance to go through them. Each item is going to be thought abt, pronounced and articulated  many times during the game and this is actually the point )). I'll see how it works and write the results here. 

Idea #2. This academic year is all about teaching vocabulary and speaking, and I'm desperate for some breakthrough in both of these skills, if I'm not  able to achieve any results, I swear I'll quit my job. The second idea is all abt recycling vocabulary, esp the one we've learnt during the class. As soon as I've started working only with pairs or mini-groups, by the end of the class, I ask each student to write 5 taboo cards, with the target word on the top and three most associated words, thus we'll get 10 at the end of each class and start the next one with them. First of all, there's this conscious raising moment, that it's the student who chooses which words s/he wants to create a card for; 2) the emergent language goes on the cards as well; 3) the next class begins with these cards, and as in taboo the students can explain the word without mentioning most associated words/or only with associated words but make it real speedy;4) and this makes me feel good abt using cards in the classroom)))

Idea #3. This one is so simple, but silly me...couldn't think of it myself. I now know how to store reusable cards/small handouts... in envelopes with the grammar/vocab point written on it!!! This is something which people should get a Nobel prize for. I used to keep the cards in boxes, and it's no surprise i never really reused them, because looking for them in a huge mess of cards takes as much time as looking for them and cutting. 

Idea #4. Peppa Pig - a sensational cartoon, love every bit of it, going to show it to each of my students for no particular reason, just for fun and good English (it's only 5 min anyway)

Idea #5. I'm not a film watcher myself, but most people are so it's time I started doing something about it, and these are the ideas and movies I'm going to exploit to the full. 

Idea #6. It's something I got from the book called Speaking by Kathleen Bailey (if I ever have time for book reviews this will be the first one . Well, basically this is the idea for a seating arrangement that never came to my mind. It's called tango seating, it's best for information gap tasks- if you picture a couple sitting down in desks facing the opposite directions, with their right shoulders together, so that they can speak to and hear one anothere,but neither can see what is on  the other person's  desk or lap, here it is:tango seating))

I promise to check out everything and write the results of what actually worked)

четверг, 12 сентября 2013 г.

some useful resources

These are some resources I find effective and fun to work with words and texts; I usually advise them in my teacher training sessions, the links are all active, so just click on highlighted words

This is a crossword maker, you can save a copy and use it any time you need

This one is technically for NEF texts, but can be used otherwise, i love the option of creating pair-work crosswords with/out clues, the crossword can't be saved as it is, but can be copied and pasted

These are bingo cards - good for revising vocab andd adding more fun to the class

Mindmaps are great for visual and logical learners, if given as homework, kinesthetics are highly likely to love them as well

I use word clouds when there's a big vocab input to come in the classroom (ot "term input" if it's a teacher training session). I give out the word cloud and ask to tick the words/terms they know and promise they are going to know them by the end of the class/session(so it's a sort of setting an outcome as well).

Another word cloud is here.  You can save the word clouds via e-mail as well and use them later anytime you need, if there's an Internet access in you class you might not want to print them out, although as mentioned above, working individually with the list raises consciousness at the beginning of the class and gives a sense of achievemnet by the end of it.

I never particulary liked wordsearches neither did i see any sense in vocab recycling until i noticed that learners really can't find words they don't well even given the clue) which is why it's better to use them at the last stages of learning or recognizing words unless you want to take a big break during your class)) On this resource  you can choose the wordsearch shape as well

Word order is a huge issue with our students, creating lots of scrambled sentences with target words help work with WO and vocab at the same time, as well as articles and preps

This fantastic resource has nearly everything that a teacher needs so check it out yourself, don't get discouraged by the registration, the effort is worth taken!

среда, 6 февраля 2013 г.

Some tips for novice teachers - reflections after observations)

Part 1 This is an old idea of mine - to reflect on some observed classes to help novice teachers aka students bring some variety, structure and fun into the classroom. I'm not acting a sage on the stage here, some ideas offere here are controversial and are under hot discussions for ages, but anyways hopefully they might be a good kickoff in your career.
The main maxim to be remembered first thing is that you teach how to speak a language and this is what you allow to do in your class and this is what you create an atmosphere for. You can't start playing Bach practicing chords and scales, can you? You start playing a piece of music by actially playing it, you don't read music, you don't practice chords (these are all preparations though), you start playing it - it's quite clumsy, unsteady, a bit irritating, but you keep playing, the same way you're going to start speaking a language by actually speaking it, not reading and translating. 
The second maxim - it's clear as this: we all experienced grammar-translation method at schools and universities: a sad fact is that not all our teachers are going to be our role models. You often complain you didn't have a chance to learn English at school, you did it only at university or with private tutors, and this didn't happen because of the whole educational paradigm and approaches teachers have and I DO understand teachers have to stick to the programme and they are underpaid and lots of other things, but it's your generation who' re going to make a difference and you're not going to do doing old things. All in all, learning new approaches , watching and attending workshops, using and trying different techniques, tools and activities is a MUST
 There are a lot of elt issues to be covered and probably there's more to come up on this blog as well, but for now there are some practicalities to use in your classrooms: 

  • It's a good idea to go for drilling when you introduce new structures and words because they provide intensive oral practice and they help "getting your tongue around" 
  • Flashcards - flashcards are a very useful teaching aid, they are basically any pictures and photos that can help in different ways:introduce a new vocabulary, show the meaning of a word, for storytelling activities you name it, you can find some here as well as a lot of other materials.

воскресенье, 20 января 2013 г.

An article for reading 

Read the article and answer the following questions:
 1. What is  a blog?
2. Types of blogs used in language teaching
3. Give some reasons for using blogs
4. Some ideas for activities
5. Problems to watch for