Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Dear all, 

I just wanted to say thank you for reading my blog this year. It has been a pleasure to write for you. I hope we'll see each other next year as well and I wish you all the best.



Sincerely,
Eva :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

The 12 Days of Christmas



One of my favorite things at school during Christmas time was listening to Christmas songs, filling out the blanks on the paper and singing the songs afterwards. So, in the memory of that, here are two versions of a well-known Christmas carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and worksheets with lyrics for you to use while doing Christmas listening activities.

This is the original version of the carol. You can download the lyrics from here.



This is the parody of the original carol and you can either use it together with the original, or on its own, but with the reference to the original one. I find this one hilarious and I would use it with advanced learners.  Click here to download the lyrics.





What are some of your favorite Christmas songs/carols? :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Learning Difficulties: Dyslexia and Dysgraphia

A few weeks ago, some of my colleagues at the university had a presentation about learning difficulties, which was really useful and informative. That is the reason I decided to write a post about the two most common learning difficulties - dyslexia and dysgraphia. There are a lot of great resources where you can read about these conditions, so I'll just give you some guidelines which will hopefully help you recognize these difficulties if a student of yours has them. 

This is what a simple text looks like to a person who has dyslexia.

 Dyslexia is is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. Some of the symptoms (according to Dyslexia.com) are:
  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
  • Labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "behavior problem."
  • Isn't "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be helped in the school setting.
  • High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.
  • Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
  • Seems to "Zone out" or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
  • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper" or "daydreamer."
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids. 
This is what a handwriting of a person with dysgraphia can look like.
 
 Dyslexia can, but doesn't have to be connected to dysgraphia, which is a deficiency in the ability to write, regardless of the ability to read, not due to intellectual impairment. Most common symptoms of dysgraphia (taken from here) are:
  • A mixture of upper case/lower case letters
  • Irregular letter sizes and shapes
  • Unfinished letters
  • Struggle to use writing as a communications tool
  • Odd writing grip
  • Many spelling mistakes (Sometimes)
  • Decreased or increased speed of writing and copying
  • Talks to self while writing
  • General illegibility
  • Reluctance or refusal to complete writing tasks
  • Crying and stress (which can be created by the frustration with the task of writing and/or spelling. This can also be brought on in dysgraphic students by common environmental sources such as high levels of environmental noise and/or over-illumination).
  • Experiencing physical pain in the hand and/or arm when writing
  • Poor use of lines and spaces
There are many different types of dyslexia and dysgraphia. If any of your students shows more than a half of the symptoms I have listed here - they might have one or another and it is up to the experts to determine how serious their difficulties are. However, the first step towards help is in your hands. Both of these conditions can bring a lot of frustration and unnecessary stress to the students and their families, but if you act on time - a lot of it can be prevented.
 
To read more about dyslexia and dysgraphia and how to deal with them in class, you can visit the following sites:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Videos and Speaking Activities

Videos can be a great tool for practicing pronunciation and delivering a speech about a certain topic. How? Easy. All you have to do is let a video play, but mute. Your students can then pretend to be TV presenters, or guides or characters in the video and deliver what the characters are saying. Best videos for this are commercials and news or scoops about certain sightseeing attractions and similar. 

Firstly, of course, let them see the video (with or without tune) to make them familiar with the topic. If they hear what the person in the video is saying, they can try to catch as much as possible and then reproduce it in their own way. If not, they get to be more creative. Either way, let them take notes and then give them some time to think of the most appropriate way of presenting what they have written. They shouldn't read from their notes, but maybe just refer to them when necessary. At the end of the activity, let them see the complete video to see if they were close with what they were saying.

Here are some videos that can be used for this activity.  




  


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Drawing Dictation

Remember the post about running dictation? Well this time, you are going to read something about drawing dictation. This type of dictation is fairly simple and especially appropriate for young learners. The deal is that your students don't have to write down everything you say, but instead they have to draw it. I'm sure you can see all the advantages of this kind of dictation for young learners - first one being the fact that they might not be able to write just yet, so this way you can check their understanding of some words or simple sentences. 



For older and more advanced students, you can describe, let's say, a room and they can draw it - extremely useful for prepositions.

Have you ever done this kind of dictation? Was it more successful with younger or older learners?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Simulations and Role-Plays

Simulations and role-plays are very useful for speaking activities, where the emphasis is on fluency and not so much on accuracy. They can be fun and your students could really grow to like them if you adapt them to their age and level of knowledge.



Firstly, let's refresh our knowledge of the difference between simulations and role-plays. When it comes to simulation students speak and react as themselves, but the group role, situation and task is imaginary. In role-plays, on the other hand, students are given a situation plus problem or task, but they are also allotted individual roles, so they are not acting as themselves, but as though they are someone else. The most important thing for both is that students imagine themselves in a situation outside the classroom and use language appropriate to this new context. You can give your students a variety of roles (profession, status, personality, attitude, mood), variety of physical settings, variety of communicative functions and purposes, which all lead to varied language.


Here you can find descriptions of situations great for starting simulation activities. Let your students prepare a short dialogue, but make sure not to let them read from their notes, they should only help with the preparation. These situations are hilarious if you are just the observer, so they should really have fun.

When it comes to role-plays, the easiest thing to do is to give them different settings, professions, moods and situations, so that they can really act it out. They could be the judges on the X-Factor, who have to tell a person that he/she really sucks at singing, or Angelina and Brad in their home trying to find all their children who are playing hide and seek, or even Barack Obama addressing public after being re-elected president of the USA. Just think outside of the box and keep in mind the aims of your activities. And have fun, of course.

Do you like simulations and role-plays? Which are better according to you?
 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bio-poem

A bio-poem is a poem that describes a person in 11 lines. It is also a great method for inspiring your students to write poems or anything actually. This is what a bio-poem should look like:



(First name)-
(Four adjectives that describe the person)
Son or Daughter of (your parents names)
Lover of (three different things that the person loves)
Who feels (three different feelings and when or where they are felt)
Who gives (three different things the person gives)
Who fears (three different fears the person has)
Who would like to see (three different things the person would like to see)
Who lives (a brief description of where the person lives)
-(last name) 

 
 
Another example can be found here.  

How do you inspire your students to write? Have you ever used a bio-poem?


Friday, October 26, 2012

Giveaway Winners

Dear all,

thank you once again so much for reading my blog and a special thanks to those who entered the giveaway. So here are the winners:

GRAND PRIZE 
SnippettingOne'sWayThroughTheCraft 

1st ISSUE OF VIEW MAGAZINE 
StoryTeller
Martina Valenčak
Bryce Maximus
Stana Pavić

Congratulations to all! I would like you to send your addresses to my e-mail so that we can ship the prizes. 

I apologize for not being very active this past few weeks, I had some things to take care of, but I'll be back full time from my following post on.




Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My First Giveaway

Dear all, 


In order to say thank you for visiting my blog, I decided to do my first giveaway. I’m really grateful for each and every one of you from all over the world, and I hope that this blog does help you and give you at least a bit of inspiration to be the most creative teachers you can be.

The first part of the grand prize for this giveaway is a GRADED READERS book. For those of you who are new to this you can get more information about what graded readers are here.

These are great for your classes because you can use them as obligatory readings, do different projects with them, use just parts of them in your classes or just make your students aware of the fact that there are many books they can read in English, even if they have just started learning it. 

There are many different publishers of graded readers, but the one I’m giving to you this time is from Oxford Bookworms Club – Silver Edition (Stages 2 and 3) 



 It includes the following stories:

The Christmas Presents, by O. Henry
Netty Sargent and the House, by Thomas Hardy
Too Old to Rock and Roll, by Jan Mark
Walk in Amnesia, by O. Henry
The Five Orange Pips, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe

After every story, there are some tasks to check your students’ reading comprehension on different levels. You can get more information about this book here
 
But, that’s not all. I’m so happy to announce that there will be 4 runners up prizes as well, and these are pretty amazing too. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you could have seen that I recently discovered this amazing magazine for learning English, which is called View. It’s a relatively new magazine, since its current issue is only the 3rd one. The publishers of View decided to donate 5 issues of the 1st edition of View for this giveaway (1 for the grand prize winner and 4 more), so a big thanks to them! 


 This is what they say about View (taken from their website):

View is a magazine for learning English. It was born out of the idea of learning English through reading interesting and educational articles. Travels, movies, music, learning methods, English grammar, are only some of the regular themes through which we try to entertain, educate and inform our readers. At the end of the articles there is a glossary containing useful words, English definitions and translations to native language.

Editor-in-chief is Conrad Ian Kellett, an experienced professor of English. Our correspondents are a blend of native and non-native speakers with a background in education and with experience in writing graded texts. 

The magazine is intended for everyone who wants to learn, improve or maintain their knowledge of English. Subscribers are students and teachers alike, schools of foreign languages, libraries, high schools....

The magazine is published bimonthly.

To sum up, the prizes will be as follows:
  1. Oxford Bookworms Club – Silver Edition (Stages 2 and 3) + View magazine (1st edition)
  2. View magazine (1st edition)
  3. View magazine (1st edition)
  4. View magazine (1st edition)
  5. View magazine (1st edition)
What you need to do to enter the giveaway is the following:
  1. You have to leave a comment on this post saying what you would like to read about on my blog and any other suggestions or comments you might have about it.
  2. You have to LIKE my FB page: Creative Teacherette
  3. You have to share the information about this giveaway on your Facebook (just share the link on this post I posted on my FB page and make sure it is public, so that I can see it)
  4. You have to LIKE the FB page of View magazine.
And that’s all! You have until October 25th 6 p.m. CET to enter the giveaway. Once the deadline is met, I’ll use random.org to generate the winner and I’ll announce the winners in the post following that date. They will also be contacted per e-mail or via FB. If they don’t respond within 48 hours, I’ll pick new winners.

Good luck to everyone and thank you so much for reading my blog!