Active learning really works!

Yesterday with my KET students I tried a different activity. I wanted to review the weather and teach them the “going to” tense so I decided to do something more entertaining with them.

First I reviewed the weather vocabulary with some flashcards, then I put them on the table and we played a game. They had to put their hands on their heads and when I called out a flashcard they had to touch it. The first one in touching it gets the flashcard. They are around 13 years old so they like a lot competition.

Then I arranged them into groups and gave them different roles (so I make sure everyone’s doing something in the group). I told them they were going to present the weather forecast. One member was the secretary (who had to write down the script), another was the language moderator (the one who checked that the script was well written) and then the other was the tv presenter.

I told them that the best group would get candy (they are still kids and this motivates them a lot!). As soon as I said that they started working.

I put a map on the whiteboard (one group chose Europe and the other one Comunitat Valenciana) and the presenter had to stick the flashcard in the area and report the weather. (On Tuesday it’s going to be sunny in Valencia… It’s going to rain in London…etc.).

They loved a lot the activity, all of them were working and we reached the goal: to learn the weather, to learn the going to and obviously speak in English and… more important… they had fun!

In the end I gave candy to all of them because they did it perfect! One of the group even created adverts and some jingles for the news! ūüôā

I was only there to help, they were the ones in charge and used their creativity to do this exercise. It took me 15 minutes and it really changed the atmosphere in the classroom!2d33dde

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Happy Easter

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A nice and easy craft I did today for wishing Happy Easter with my younger students!

You just need yellow and orange cardboard, yellow sheets of paper, googly eyes, brad fasteners and some strings.

First you draw the shape of an egg, then draw both hands of the kids on the sheets of paper and fasten them with brads, then you glue the beak and legs of the chick you have drawn on the orange cardboard. Add the googly eyes and then put the string on top of the head. You can draw a nice message on the tummy of the chick.

Reflections of a teacher

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Today I want to share with the world how happy I am.

I’ve been teaching only for four years but I have to say I wouldn’t do any other job as I really feel teaching is my thing! ūüôā

Every year is different, kids change and so do I! I feel every year I get better as I learn from my mistakes and I like asking my students how do they feel after a lesson from time to time. This blog also helps me to reflect on how I could do things and how I would like to do them.

I get loads of love from my students , I think teaching is the most rewarding job. Sometimes I get angry with¬†them¬†(they don’t listen, or they are just tired) but then they show me they understand and learn so fast and that they are actually getting good grades. I love working with kids but this year I’m also teaching a group of adults and I also enjoy it¬†a lot.

I feel grateful and full of joy today…¬†I got a phone¬†calle¬†from the mum of one of my¬†students¬†today to tell me how happy she is. Her daughter didn’t like English at all… and now she got the highest grade and she is always asking when is Sara going to come home.

I have a passion for English, I always liked this language… I really want to transmit my students this passion. Teaching should go beyond getting a mark, it should go beyond the conception that it’s a subject. It goes beyond that… it is a code, a powerful way in which people of different cultures and places in the world can communicate. It can be fun and interesting.

I know for some people English is just hard and they don’t get it and they are bored… we need more enthusiastic teachers that can actually¬†change this… impossible is nothing!

 

 

 

Balloon Debate

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Yesterday I did an oral activity with my students of 5th & 6th of Primary they enjoyed a lot and I need to share it with the rest of the world.

 

It is called “balloon debate” and I learnt it when I was a student in Nottingham University. I decided to modify it for lower levels and so enhance the communicative skills of my students. I think every activity can be adapted to the age and level of our students.

 

First I explained them the situation. They need to choose who they want to be (it can be a celebrity, anyone famous, a person from the class…etc.). They are travelling in a hot air balloon but there is a leak and there is only enough gas for one person. They all have to give reasons to the rest of the class to convince them they have to stay in the balloon as then the whole class have to vote.¬†I gave them pieces of paper where they had to write down what they were going to say. I wrote¬†down on the blackboard the first sentence: I deserve being in the balloon because…

¬†I made groups of three people, all three spoke to the rest of the class and then they left the classroom for a short time as the rest of the class had to vote. Then another three and then the three remaining. Some of them chose the same celebrities (Spanish singers, celebrities they like..etc,) but it’s okay if they are in different groups. In the end there was only one winner and I was surprised because the winner was a girl who pretended to be another boy from the class who’s very special.

 

They enjoyed the activity a lot, one of them was Shakira and tried to do Shakira’s voice and sing, they tried to imitate even the behaviour of these people. It was really fun and I think I achieved the aim of the activity: to keep them talking and make them¬†have fun while learning. I saw smiles on their faces and that was very rewarding.

 

Why don’t you try it in your class?

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.

Introducing new content through music…

With this song by Nada Surf we can introduce our students wh- questions as well as teaching them some new vocabulary.

Here are the lyrics:

Oh my my
Who’s that child?
Where is he going to?
Why is he so wild?
What is he staring at?
Why is he so taken?

Seems like he’s choosing to believe
Even when he’s faking
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
Elusive energy
Hard to hold
I’m looking for it now and will be when I’m old
Whoever put that fist in the square must have been a good friend to the mayor
Driving by Spanish roundabout art it’s gotta be who you know
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
Have I known you for ten thousand days?
Is there no other way to go?
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
This new piece I can feel it now
Well once in awhile now
It better grow
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting for something
It always feels like I’m waiting
It always feels like I’m waiting for something

Nada Surf – Waiting For Something Lyrics

We can always show the video of the song on YouTube to our students and ask them questions like:

What do you think this song is about?
Do you think the song tries to reflect upon something? Has it got a message?

We can create activities, start some debates…etc.

As I mentioned in other post, songs are really good for teaching pronunciation and to introduce new grammar or vocabulary points in a more appealing way to our students. What we have to do is create good activities and be careful with the songs we choose and the vocabulary they contain as it might not be appropriate for them. We have to take into account the pace of the song, the words…etc. We can use songs for teaching English but use them with a purpose, not just because it’s cool.
I do love music, I think one can learn a lot through a song as songs talk about everything.
I usually carry a notebook with me and I try to write down titles of songs I think I can use in class. It is a nice training for teachers who want to go beyond and want to be creative.