sábado, 31 de julho de 2010

Breif reviews are great!

I always start a class correcting homework and then I apply my students a brief review about the content they studied during the previous lesson. Correcting homework exercises is already a kind of a review because most of the time they refer to what has been studied. I really think it’s important to “refresh” our students’ memories and also give them a second chance to check up on what they've studied so that they can say whether they understood or not the lesson . This brief review can be done in several ways, such as:
a) A fast written exercise – teacher chooses the most important topics of the previous lesson and prepare a few written questions about them;
b) A dictation – especially great to review vocabulary. The instructor can even show pictures and students are supposed to write what they see (Picture Dictation);
c) Oral questions – Teacher asks questions related to the content, like: “What’s your favorite season?” or “What’s the weather like today”, etc.;
d) Using the board – the instructor simply uses the board to review the previous class. Notice that the grammar points or structures which have been taught can even be elicited from the students. That can make the brief review even more dynamic why not ask them to tell you what they learned during their last class?;
e) A game – there are a variety of games which can be used for everything we need! Hot potato, hangman, tic-tac-toe, are only some examples of them!

Those fast reviews are a nice way to have students ready to start a new lesson, and they work really well as a warm up! Remember that new information can easily be forgotten by our students (everything is new for them!) and feeling confident about what they’re learning is directly linked to their motivation. I wish you a beautiful Saturday, colleague!

sexta-feira, 30 de julho de 2010

Nice subjects for conversation classes!

You can check on some nice topics to use in conversation classes at http://www.esljunction.com/conversation_questions/. They bring some interesting themes like: Love and relationship, work and employment, television and radio, politics (this one could be really interesting once we have elections in Brazil this year) and money. The coolest thing is that the site also brings printable questions about the subjects that may be used in class! Really nice! Have a great weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 29 de julho de 2010

Set the scene with a simple and fast game!

These days I wanted to set the scene of a listening exercise (it was something about confessions of a “shopaholic”) with a student and I didn’t know what to do. So I created three simple questions about the theme of the listening activity, printed them and also cut those sentences in pieces. My student was supposed to put the questions in order and answer them afterwards. Fast and nice activity! Notice that we can use this fun exercise for any subject we want! See you tomorrow, colleague!

quarta-feira, 28 de julho de 2010

Watch "Friends" and talk about fashion!

Next time you find a lesson in which the theme "fashion" comes up, think about implementing your class with a video. I'm a big fan of the sitcom "Friends", as you already know, and they have a wonderful episode about the subject. You can select three scenes from the episode about "Joey's purse" and have a great time with your students before discussing fashion with them. Last week I had to talk about fashion styles and clothes with one of my students and the activity went on really well. After watching the selected scenes my student asnwered some simples questions which I had written on the board,something like: Would you wear a purse?, What do you think about the way Joey's friends reacted when they saw him?, and so on. The coolest thing is that this is a different way of introducing the topic of a unit! Have fun!

terça-feira, 27 de julho de 2010

The day's gone! (Practicing "days of the week")

Every time I have to present the days of the week, I make use of this very simple activity. The first thing you have to do is to write all the days of the week on the board and then start practicing with your students. So you can point to each of the days, in order, and they read them out loud. After doing that several times, the instructor chooses a day and erases it. Then, the students are supposed to keep reading all the days of the week, including that one which has been erased. Next time, teacher erases another one and so on. This is a very challenging exercise for the students because they struggle not to forget the days that are gone. Really cool! No preparation needed! Great!

segunda-feira, 26 de julho de 2010

Warm up ideas for the first class after winter vacations!

Getting started is always a different moment. Either students are really excited to start everything again or they are really bored because their vacation is over. So here there are three suggestions I got from www.ehow.com (“Warm up activities for English class” by Erin Schreiner) for the first day. Check them out:

a) Journal: Give each student a piece of paper and they should write what’s occurring in their life at that time.
b) Mysterious Object descriptions: Bring a different object to class like, as suggested by the author, plumbing fixtures or an antique machine and have students try to guess what it is and its purpose. I myself would like to try this activity but I thought about another unusual object which could be easier for us to find. Maybe something different used for cooking, for example.
c) Picture Description: Teacher should find a very interesting picture and students have to describe the events shown in the image. I really liked the idea she gave of selecting award-winning journalistic photos for this activity. I've never searched on those kinds of pictures but I'm pretty sure they can be interesting for us in many ways. I'll definitely take a look at them!

See you tomorrow, my dear colleague!

domingo, 25 de julho de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

2 - THE PERFECT JOB (Intermediate): As we were talking about occupations I thought it would be a great idea to post about this veeeery nive activity that you can find at www.englishbanana.com. The exercise brings several proper names which are kind of weird because all of them have something related to a job. For example: Laura Whiteboard. The students are supposed to find out among many options what Laura does. This one is pretty easy, isn't it? She's a teacher, of course! I loved this printable!

sábado, 24 de julho de 2010

Comparing jobs!

Last Thursday I had to practice Comparisons with one of my students. We were working on some structures such as "Being a doctor is more interesting than being a dentist" or "A waiter isn't as well paid as a chef". Then I remembered I had prepared an activity from a game about occupations and I could make use of the words I had. So I placed the names of the jobs (doctor, secretary, janitor, dentist, etc) on the desk facing down. My student and I were supposed to get one of those and compare the jobs we had as much as we could using the new structures. All you need is to print or even write some job names and have a great consolidating exercise. Have a wonderful weekend, colleague!

sexta-feira, 23 de julho de 2010

Teaching animal vocabulary with really cheap toys!

I got these ones at a popular store and they all come in a pack! Really cheap and useful!

quinta-feira, 22 de julho de 2010

What happens next?

Another activity that can be done with a part of a movie or a sitcom in class is the following: The instructor chooses a very nice scene from a movie/sitcom and explain the students that their mission is to try to guess the rest of it. The winner will be the one who guesses it correctly or the one who gets closer to it. Don’t forget the reward! So, students watch the scene and the teacher pauses the DVD at the right time. "OK. What happens next?" Set a time limit for them to discuss about it (a wonderful idea of a pair/group activity!) and then they write or simply report orally to the rest of the group their opinion. It’s always great to have you here, colleague! Have a nice class!

quarta-feira, 21 de julho de 2010

Better late than never: Happy Friend's Day!

I know I'm kind of late...but I didn’t know we had a special date for friends. Actually, it was yesterday....July 20, “friend’s day”!. Anyway, as some of my students sent me such sweet messages on this day, I decided to “celebrate” with them somehow with some music. Then I remembered about this very old but extremely beautiful song which is called “You’ve got a friend”. Is there anything else to say? Coincidently, I’ve just bought another one of those DVDs “Divas” (R$ 14,99) and I’m gonna be able to make use of it this time already. So I typed the lyrics and prepared a simple exercise envolving verb tenses and auxiliary verbs for them to do before watching the video clip. Well, better late than never! I’m gonna tell them at the end of the class that, since we had such a special date during the week, I couldn’t help preparing them a small surprise. Happy Friend’s Day, colleague!
PS: Those DVDs “Divas” (there are many of them) are really nice because they’re cheap, they bring some classics of the music AND they bring the lyrics, so our students are able to watch and follow them as well. Simply great!

terça-feira, 20 de julho de 2010

Teaching Directions II

This activity is great! The teacher has to bring to class two handkerchieves and divide the group in teams. Each team chooses a volunteer and the instructor blindfolds them. Their mission is to walk to the other side of the classroom only guided by their team partners who are supposed to give directions like: Turn left, turn right, go straight, and so on. Don't forget to organize the desks after the volunteers are properly blindfolded in order to make it a little difficult for them to walk around. Notice that the volunteers cannot touch the desks during their way. If they do, the winner is the one who didn’t touch the desks as many times as the other. Great game for kids and teens and it can be even interesting to use with adults!!See you tomorrow, colleague!

segunda-feira, 19 de julho de 2010

Motivation is everything!

How can we motivate our students to learn English? I searched on the Net about the subject and I found some nice stuff. Much of the “theory” we already know, so I thought it would be really useful if I found some very practical ideas about motivation. Concretely speaking, what can we do? So I took a look at http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk and there was this article “Ways of motivating EFL/ESL students in the classroom.” The author gives us some very nice and clear suggestions about the subject. Summarizing:
a) The use of pair work and group work appropriately: According to the author, “language is best learned through the close collaboration and communication among students.”;
b) The seating of students: The way students are seated in the classroom will often determine the dynamics of the lesson. A simple change in the seating pattern can make the difference!
c) Maximize eye contact: If we don’t do it, attention is likely to drop. Further more, showing interest in what our students are saying is really important;
d) Think in advance how you will organize changing partners or changing groups: Students get bored when they have to wait too long for the instructor to decide;
e) The error correction: The author considers that “if we stop at every single error this will lead to a gap of communication and students will be too much afraid of making mistakes.” I totally agree with him! So, we should be aware of when to correct a mistake and also how to do it;
f) Role plays: acording to the article, “it helps the less motivated students to take part in the lesson”;
g) Using realia, flash cards, stories and songs in teaching: the author even gives a wonderful suggestion when using a song. Students should draw a picture of their feelings while listening to the music. Great idea, isn’t it?
h) Using audio visual material (CD player, video, computer...).

Have wonderful classes today, colleague!

domingo, 18 de julho de 2010

Top 10 Banana Printables!

3 – HOTEL ANAGRAMS (Intermediate) - Talking about English for Tourism...I’ve found at www.englishbanana.com this wonderful and relaxing vocabulary exercise in which students have to unscramble some anagrams. Nice!

sábado, 17 de julho de 2010

Something about another book.

As a private teacher I’ve already taught certain students who wanted to improve their English because they were working in a hotel. I really believe that in these cases the best thing to do is to work with a specific material because they get more motivated, deal with real situations and that’s why it’s possible for them to practice what they learn in class at work every day! So I decided to get this book some time ago. What a regret! Honestly, I didn’t like it. The book doesn’t bring useful dialogues and instead, it presents lots of grammar and also some information which are not, in my opinion, relevant to those kind of students who look for an English teacher simply in order to learn how to communicate with their foreign guests. Well, that's it for today, colleague! Have a wonderful weekend!

sexta-feira, 16 de julho de 2010

The old and good Tic-tac-toe!

This is one of those activities that are extremely simple and very nice but which is usually forgotten in class. I myself can count the times I've made use of this old and good game with my students. But yesterday two of them wanted to play a game on the board at the end of the class and we decided to play "tic-tac-toe". I said "OK". But they would have to answer the questions I'd ask them before they put their signs on the board. Actually, I had seen this variety of the game somewhere and it would be a great chance for me to see if it really works in class and also to review the content we studied some time ago. They were really excited about the idea because it would make the activity a little different and even more challenging! They could only mark on the board if they asnwered the question correctly and if they didn't....their opponent had the chance to win the game! Simple and wonderful! Have a great day, colleague!

quinta-feira, 15 de julho de 2010

"Yesterday something different happened...."

So a long time ago there was this TV show in which the guests were supposed to create a story and include some strange objects the host would show them at the same time. I remember it was very funny because the stories were the craziest! And it couldn't be any different once the objects were shown by the time they were speaking so they didn't have any time to make it logical. Then I thought about bringing it to class. I got some of the objects I have at my mini school like the flute I got once at a R$1,99 store (remember?) and also some plastic objects I have to teach such as animals and fruits. Then, at the end of the class I wrote the following sentence on the board: "Yesterday something different happenned..." and I asked my student to continue the story, but she would have to include all the objects I would show her by the time. Activity approved!

quarta-feira, 14 de julho de 2010

My mural in July.

Yesterday I had a difficult mission: think about a theme to change my mural decoration in the shortest period of time. World Cup is gone and it's already July. Once we are in the middle of the month (Gosh! Time simply flies!) I decided not to decorate it for Independence Day and use a decoration I could keep next month, too. So I thought about searching on the Net for some simple and interesting facts about the American way of life. Things like: What they do in their free time, their eating habits, what they love, their favorite sports, etc. I guess it would be interesting for the students to know a little about some of the American habits. Check it out!
PS: You can take a look at some more pictures at www.myminischooldecor.blogspot.com

terça-feira, 13 de julho de 2010

A second-hand book in class!

Using an English book in class is just another way of practicing reading and have fun at the same time. And the best thing is that we don’t have to spend too much money on one of those books. You can get great options at the second-hand store closest to you! This one I bought at one of those and it was a bargain! Well, I’m gonna list four suggestions of using and old English book in class. Here they are:
a) Teacher takes copies of a page of the book. Don’t forget to read it first so that you can select the one which is gonna fit your lesson better. If you work with large groups, you can divide them in smaller teams or even in pairs and have them identify and underline certain structures. You can list them on the board, for example and set them some time for the activity;
b) Another idea would be to select a page from the book, take copies and cut them in parts. Students then participate in a competition in which they have to put the text in order. The ones who finish first or the students who made fewer mistakes, win the game! You can also set a time for them to do it, and the winners would be the ones who finish within that time or even the ones who could put in order most parts of the page correctly;
c) The instructor takes copies of a page and cut the last part of it. Students try to guess how that last paragraph would be. It can also be a written exercise;
d) Students act out the page you’ve selected. Give them some minutes to prepare the play and have fun!

It's great to see you again, colleague!

segunda-feira, 12 de julho de 2010