Create your own minibooks

I just found this amazing website where we can create minibooks for the youngest learners.

My kids love doing minibooks as they can bring them home later and show them to their parents.

http://twistynoodle.com/mini-books/make-your-own/

 

It’s a nice way of practising vocabulary and kids develop basic skills as writing, cutting, colouring,etc.

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Games in the classroom

Since very little, we start playing and something as easy as kicking a ball is a way of discovering things, socialize and interact with the environment.
Games are very successful indeed in the language classroom due to their ludic factor and their benefits to communication.

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In active learning, we, as teachers are not the protagonists in the classroom but the learners, so what we do with games is giving them the means and letting them to be the persons in charge of their own learning process.
Games can serve as means of creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom (we don’t have to forget that most learners suffer from anxiety when talking publicly in a language that is not their mother tongue and that we also have shy students in our lessons) so everyone feels more comfortable and learning takes place effortlessly.

There are lots of games we can use:
– Some of them can help us to introduct new content. For example; playing Simon Says can be useful to teach the imperative to students or helping them to review what they already know and introduce new vocabulary.
Mimics is another game in which students have to act out and the rest of the class ask questions to the person who is acting in order to guess what he/she is doing. In these games, students are totally active and involved in the learning process.
– Taboo: taboo is very helpful to develop communicative skills. I have tried this game in my speaking lessons and it can be adapted to different levels. All of my students love it and I think it’s the best game I’ve tried that make them speak in English during most of the time.
– Guessing game: in this game we can review lots of vocabulary. A student sits down on a chair in front of the blackboard. Another student or the teacher draws something on the blackboard and the student who’s sitting has to guess what’s the word. He/She has to throw questions to the class: Is it an object/person/animal/sport…? the class will answer YES/NO. It is a funny game that keeps them all involved and reinforces the structure of questions in English.
– We can play board games in the classroom, with flashcards, via Internet… possibilities are multiple.
– Students can play in groups, couples, individually…
– A good thing of games is that we show our students that learning English can be fun and help them to spark their interest in the language.

Some useful websites where I have found useful ideas for my lessons:
http://iteslj.org/games/
http://bogglesworldesl.com/esl_games.htm
http://www.teachingenglishgames.com/

I want to point out that games should be used in the language class as a complement and we don’t have to spend the whole class playing. We should take profit of the benefits of using games in the classroom to keep our students active and participants of their learning process. Everything we do in class must have a purpose, we should use different techniques in order to make lessons and content more appealing and engage our students. They not only will acquire the key competences successfully but cross-cultural ones as well. It is about time to innovate and change as our students are the future.

Let’s communicate!

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A good way of providing significant learning is making our students aware of the possibility of communicating with people from other parts of the world. Our students must see the need in learning a language; we all learn a language with the ultimate goal of communicating through it.

If we give them the tools, they can easily improve their linguistic skills and why not, find a friend from another country.

In the following site, our students can chat with people from other countries and cultures in a friendly and safe way. 

http://www.penpalworld.com

Why not using Skype in the classroom? Skype is a free tool we can use in class in order to communicate in English with students from another countries and we also have the possibility of talking to experts on the fields we are studying if we join a community.

https://education.skype.com/

Another interesting website in which we can find: penpals, blogs, forums…etc.
http://studentsoftheworld.info/

 

If you are interested in how to teach English interactively and provide your students with opportunities they won’t ever forget, take a look at those websites! Maybe you are not a teacher, but, why not improving any language by having penpals from all over the world?

Creating stories for the classroom in the classroom!

Hello everyone!

Today I want to share with you an amazing tool called Storybird!

It is a website in which we can create stories for free. You just need to create an account, choose some nice illustrations (they are great!) and then start typing your story. You can share your creation with other members, send it to a friend or share it wherever you want!

We could use Storybird in class to present new content in an attractive way or tell our students to become writers for a day and write their own stories! It is a way in which we can encourage our students to develop their writing skills and also spark their interest in literature

Here is mine! I created a story for my 3-year-old students called “What a day!”. It is useful to teach little kids different topics as: animals, weather and some basic vocabulary. My students loved it!

http://storybird.com/books/what-a-day-303/
What about you? Would you like to become a storyteller?

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Prezi: making presentations more dynamic

For me, Prezi is the new PowerPoint; not only the layouts are amazing but it is easy to use and free. It can easily be applied into education: we can change the way in which we introduce content in the classroom and through Prezi, attract our students’ attention. We should also teach our students how to create amazing Prezis they can use in order to make projects or even for their own interest, because they have a friend and it’s his/her birthday and they want to create something special for him/her.

We can use Prezi in our active classrooms; for example, we can tell our students to get into groups and become teachers for a day and teach us something new using a Prezi. They’ll love it for sure!

Here is my Prezi explaining what are digital story tellings about. A digital story telling is another technique we can use in class as it is very innovative and students can improve their creativity, linguistic skills, team work skills…etc.

http://prezi.com/eabjed5iyeeo/how-to-create-a-digital-storytelling/?kw=view-eabjed5iyeeo&rc=ref-30782507

Teaching English literature through webquests

Another active technique we can use in class is the webquest. A webquest is a sort of webpage we create to encourage our students to read or do projects in an active way. The teacher is the guide who provides students with the sources and links they have to visit in order to work on some tasks. The student is the one in charge of the learning process here so he/she has to become an active member in order to produce knowledge.

First, we create an introduction that catches our students’ attention, then, we set some activities for them but we have to recommend the sites they should visit in order to successfully complete the tasks, they have to work cooperatively in groups and then present a final project which will be evaluated. Through webquests, we evaluate the whole product and not only the final result and students develop lots of skills as: team work, creativity, autonomy, time management…etc. This is just a suggestion, you can use webquests with different purposes but I’ll show you an example of a webquest for teaching literature in English to Spanish secondary education students.

Here you can find a webquest I created on Lewis Carroll’s novels: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I hope you like it!

http://phpwebquest.org/newphp/webquest/soporte_mondrian_w.php?id_actividad=41933&id_pagina=1