Thursday, March 14, 2013

True / False Flags

I'm still pretty busy, but yesterday I spent the whole day doing this DIY project for my practicum, so I just wanted to share what I made with you.

I had to hold a class to 6th graders and I wanted to amp it up a bit because the topic wasn't very interesting. Therefore, I decided to create these true / false flags for the students to use during a typical true/false activity. I read some statements connected to the text we were working on and they had to raise a "T" flag if a statement was correct and an "F" flag if it was false. They were ecstatic when they saw the flags, so if you have some free time, try spending it on creating them, your students will love you and you'll be able to reuse them for sure.


So, you'll need the following:
- some long and thick straws in two colors
- some paper in two colors
- scissors
- glue
- ruler
- markers




Sunday, February 24, 2013

Visual Statements

Remember my blog post about creative writing activities, where your students have to connect the titles of their favorite songs into a story? Well, besides their favorite song titles you can use visual statements, which can be found everywhere on the internet. 

Some of my favorite web-sites for this are:






You can also use these to teach your students how English language functions in terms of irony and sarcasm (someecards). If they are longer you can tell them to write a story about what a visual statement is saying. Or you can make a bigger project where your students write their impressions about learning English on a poster and incorporate some visual statements in their stories, so you end up with a "picture story" of some sort.



Another idea is to use visual statements that have to do with English language in specific, so your students feel more at ease if something you are teaching is difficult to understand or just to direct their attention to how beautiful and versatile this language is. I also think it's great to start or finish each class with an inspiring visual statement so that your students get motivated for your class or the whole day. 



Here is the list of some web-sites with interesting facts about the English language - I'm sure your students would love to know them. These are not visual statements but you can make your own with these facts.




 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tic-Tac-Toe

Here's another interesting way to check your students' understanding of a certain topic. I'm sure you are all familiar with  Tic-Tac-Toe, a game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The winner is the one who succeeds in placing three respective marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row. 

For this version of the game you will need: post-its, a board and a chalk/marker. Draw a large 3x3 grid on the board and mark each of the spaces with numbers. Write some questions or tasks on post-its and stick one post-it into each space. 


It should look something like this.


Divide students in 2 groups. The first group picks out a space, you read the post-it from that space and if they give the correct answer or do the task as they should, you put X or O in that space and remove the post-it. Now the second group can take the turn. Do the same until you have a winner.

This method is great if you have questions about a reading they should've done or as a revision game before a test for any kind of subject matter. Just make sure to prepare enough post-its because your students might want to play the game over and over again. :)


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My First Time in an EFL Classroom



Hi, everyone! I know I've been MIA for the last month or so, but I had a lot going on at the university. I'm slowly finishing my studies and although there's still a lot to be done, I think I'll be able to spend some of my time on this blog in the next couple of months. Today I wanted to tell you how my first time in an EFL classroom as a student of teaching foreign languages went by.
Once again, I got reassured that teaching is what I want to do for the rest of my life! One of my colleagues and I visited a local elementary school and we got to observe an English class of third graders. Their teacher, Jelena, blew me away.



I always thought that teaching kids at such young age is chaotic and exhausting and all over the place, but seeing this class made me realize that all the things that we were taught in college really can be transferred to an enjoyable practice. The topic of the lesson were days of the week and some activities that can be done in one’s free time. The class started with a “Happy Birthday” song to a girl, who was smiling all the time as she was listening to her classmates singing. Then the teacher checked the homework with the students and there it was – the first shock – everyone wanted to participate. Later on I realized that their language knowledge is very wide and that was another big surprise. The teacher praised the students a lot, for everything they did well actually and she had a smile on her face all the time, so it was really a pleasure watching her class. Teaching aid she used for most of her activities were word cards and blackboard. Her pronunciation is amazing and I can see that the students picked up a lot from it. When they made a mistake, she just gently repeated the phrase pronouncing in correctly, which was the smoothest mistake correction I have ever witnessed. The sequence of the activities was also great – one led to another and they were gradually more difficult. I love the fact that homework was given in the middle of the class and was based on a task that had already been done, so that the students knew exactly what they had to do and how to do it.



There were a lot of games used, and the teacher told us that she uses them in every class, especially when teaching the first grade. She incorporated the games in the class approximately every 10 to 15 minutes or when she realized that the students were losing their concentration. First there was a game called “Freeze”, which includes a lot of physical movement, then a game for days in a week, where students worked in groups of three and had to write down the names of the days that she had shown them; and last but not least there was a “Simon says…” game, which the students were ecstatic about.
There were also three girls in the class with learning difficulties, so they usually work according to the adapted curriculum. They were included in almost all activities, but when something was too difficult for them, they received already prepared worksheets to fill out. While other students were doing a writing activity, the teacher checked the worksheets with those girls and read a bit with them, again, always praising them for what they did well.
All in all, I loved being in the classroom, where so much enthusiasm, smiling, praising, supporting and learning was taking place. I admire Jelena for her organization skills, her patience and the way she treats her students and I wish someday I will be able to transfer my knowledge onto my students the same way.