Making the most of your course book.
Course books are only as good as the teachers who use them and the students who study from them. A good course book should be part of the teaching process but should not dominate it. As my friend Matt Barnard told me, you teach the students not the course book.
Below are some ways to adapt and use the course book to bring variety to your lessons.
Put the students into small groups, give them a list of words and ask them to put them into categories. You can tell the groups or ask them to come up with them. You can have words from one lexical set or different lexical sets.
Put two lists of words on the board from two different lexical sets. Ask students to make associations between words from each set.
Back to the boards
One student sees a word the other doesn’t. Then –
- the students who sees the words describes it so the other one can guess.
- the student who sees the word draws it so the other one can guess.
- the student who sees the word acts it so the other one can guess.
- the student who doesn’t sees the word asks yes or no questions to try to guess the word.
Dictate a text at a normal speed, (don’t slow down). Students write down the key words. Ask them to compare and then read text again, students again write down key words. Students then work in groups to rewrite the text trying to get the same meaning.
Simple use the questions to encourage students to predict the answers before they read.
Ask students to write a summary of the text in 140 characters or fewer. A character = a letter, a number, a punctuation mark or a space.
Ask students to write a Epitaphs (a rhyming tribute to a dead person) of one of the characters in the story.
Here lies the body of Jonothan Blake, he stepped on the gas instead of the break.
Here lies the body of the king of rock and roll, all those burgers took their toll.
Students have words from the listening on the desks in front of them, as they listen they try to grab the words they hear. The one with the most is the winner. (repeat it immediately for more fun).
Song to Project
Use any some, ask the students to imagine who the band are, what they look like, how they feel etc etc. You can then ask them to make a project around the band they create.
Singing in Rounds
Reuse a song by getting students to sing in rounds, e.g. one group starting, the next starting after the first two lines etc.
I asked the participants in Novi Sad to write the Epitaphs, the Twitter Summary or the Dictogloss for homework, if you did please leave your attempts here.
Feel free to leave comments to let me know how the activities worked with your class.