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.

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?

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