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


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?