domingo, 19 de setembro de 2010

I wish...

In one of my classes this week, I'm gonna teach "wish clauses". Every time I present this subject I like using a simple activity which can make things easier for the students to understand. All you have to do is to type (or even write!) the following sentences leaving some blanks for your student(s) to fill out.

Something I don't like about the way I look
Something I don't like at home
Something I don't like about the way I am
Something I don't like about my brother/sister
Something I don't like about my parents
Something I don't like about my best friend
Something I don't like about the city I live in

Ready! So before you present the grammar content, ask your group to fill out those sentences and then check their answers. Now it's time to present the new subject! Put one of the anwers you heard on the board and turn it into a wish clause. For example: "Melissa thinks she's too tall. So, she wishes she weren't too tall or she wishes she were shorter." Do the same with some other answers and finally ask your students to do the same with their other responses. Great exercise! Have nice classes, tomorrow, colleague!

domingo, 12 de setembro de 2010

Problems We Face 5 (Working with large groups)

This is a problem I had to deal with many years ago, but I do know that lots of English teachers live this reality every day. We cannot deny that teaching English to a large group is much more difficult than working with small classes or even with an individual student. This is why I searched on the Net about the subject in order to find ways to minimize the problem and once again I found some nice stuff in Check it out!

According to Marie Brown in the article "Problems of English Teachers Handling Large Classes", it is possible for teachers to overcome some of the problems with a little extra planning. As the most common difficulties in teaching large groups, she mentions the personal involvement once it's difficult for the instructor to spend an equal amount of time working with all students, the class activities which may require several class sessions to complete, and the class management because the instructor has to cope with distracting actions of individual students. Then, she gives some strategies for success including making students responsible for their own learning, for example, through assignements that require them to present their work teaching the class what they've learned, setting up reading groups (assign different numbers and have students join small groups), etc. I also read another article, this one written by Erin Schreiner. "How to teach English to large classes", brings some practical ideas to solve the problem, such as: The instructor should prefer checking students' comprehension with written instead of oral responses because in big groups it's too time consuming to listen to oral responses from all students; allow students to trade their papers with their classmates and ask the peers to make corrections and constructive comments; use small groups of 4 to 7 students and assign each group a different text for them to read and discuss. According to the writer If teachers engage in some time-saving and grouping practices that will reduce workload and allow students to engage in the literary conversations necessary to study English.

I'd also mention that working with large groups do have some advantages, especially when we talk about dynamic activities which are simply great when used to teach or consolidate a certain content. Teachers had better try to minimize the disadvantages of teaching English to big groups but always try to take advantage of the number of students in class when thinking about a dynamic or different activity to use in class. It can be fun! Think about it!

See you, tomorrow, colleague!

sábado, 11 de setembro de 2010

That's true!

Last Wednesday I started teaching Portuguese to two Americans and all I can say is that it's been a great experience so far. Soon I'm gonna post something about these kind of classes,too. Up to now I've been adapting some activities I use with my English students and everything is going pretty well! Have a great weekend, colleague!

quinta-feira, 9 de setembro de 2010

You! Be the interviewer!!

Today I wanted to review many things with one of my private students, so I prepared a list of questions (maaaany!) reviewing everything we had studied. Then at the beginning of our class I told him we would pretend we were on a TV show and he was going to be interviewed by me. It worked really well also as a warm up because after this oral review we were ready to start the new unit. This idea came up because the first exercise of the lesson we were about to start was a listening activity in which he was supposed to listen to an interview with a fashion model and write down some information about it. It's great to see you again, colleague! Have nice classes tomorrow!

sexta-feira, 3 de setembro de 2010

In Parentheses.

My dear colleagues, due to the holiday I won't be able to post anything new up to Tuesday. So from Wednesday on you can definitely pass by 'cause I'm gonna have something new for you! Have a wonderful holiday!

An old movie...a new idea!

You probably watched this movie a long time ago, just like me. So I had this DVD in my mini school and I realized it would be useful to introduce the theme "sports" with two of my teen students. So before class, I chose a scene which I thought would be nice for them to watch and also one that could really focus on the subject of our next unit. After watching it, I asked some questions like: "Do you like basketball?" "What's the name of the main character?", etc. Even an old movie can do the trick!

quinta-feira, 2 de setembro de 2010

Consolidating Adverbs of Frequency.

A common doubt students usually have when it comes to Adverbs of Frequency is the location it should come in a sentence. So after presenting the content, a good idea is to give them the chance to check if they really understood where they should put the adverb in a certain phrase. This is why I prepared this simple activity yesterday. I typed some sentences and then cut them into pieces so that my students had to put them in order and place the adverb in the correct place. Simple as that! Have nice classes, colleague!

quarta-feira, 1 de setembro de 2010

My mini school's first year!

So here is the mural I've prepared for this month. The picture was supposed to be a cake but I'm afraid I couldn't make a good one...opsss. Anyway, I have on my mural all my student's names - people who I really like and care the most. One year already! Time flies! See you tomorrow, colleague!