Sunday, 7 October 2012

Exam Smiles

Finding links 
Put 5 random pictures on the board ask students to find links between the pictures.
Put words and 2 pictures on the board ask students to think which words match 1 picture match both pictures or match neither picture.
Put a list of words on the board and ask students to put them into categories.
 Put a list of words on the board, ask students to choose 1, then find a link to a second one. Then they take the second one and find a link to a third one, then they try to link the third to a fourth and so on until they have all the words. (Each time a different word, they can't go back.)

Do a part 2 type exam task but with a twist. Ask students to look at picture 1 for 30 seconds, then replace it with picture 2. Ask them to compare and contrast the pictures. 
Do a part 3 type exam task. Show all 5 pictures for about a minute then take away the pictures and ask students to the task without looking at the pictures.
 At the end of a lesson ask students to remember all the pictures used in a lesson.

Alphabet game. Ask the students to come up with 5 items that begin with the same letter. Verb, adjective, girl’s name, place and sport. Ask them to write a sentence using the grammar structure you are working on.

Manipulating texts. 
Reuse a text by asking students to make a gapfill exercise for other groups in the class.
Reuse a text by putting it on the board and asking students to take words out but the text should still make sense. (Roughly the saem sense.)

Using Questions Tell students you are going to do a listening or reading but you are not going to tell the students what it is about. Ask them to read the questions and get them to tell you what they know about the text just by reading the questions. Then ask them to answer the questions before looking at or hearing the text. This is a great way to encourage students to see how reading the questions gives them som much information.

Writing One word at a time... as students to work in group, give them a piece of paper, tell them they are going to write a story or letter one word at a time. Ask person 1 in the group to write the first word, then pass the paper to the second person who writes the next word then to the 3rd person and so on. 

140 Characters. That is the length of a tweet or a text message. Ask the students to write a answer to an exam question using only 140 characters, letters, punctuation, spaces. When they have done ask them to give their text to a different students who writes a reply also in 140 characters. Getting Feedback Ask students to read out the answers in the manner of the adverbs on the board.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Gareth's Grammar Session

Making grammar fun
Gareth session. This is the handout if you came to Gareth’s version of the session.

Whatever type of grammar teacher you are, grammar needs to be made fun so that it is memorable for students.
Below are the five ideas I showed in the session. Let me know if they work for you.

Change Places if…
Ask students to stand in a circle. Say a sentence using the grammar point you want to practice. Students respond if it is true for them. Ask students to then come up with their own statements.
Change places if you like Twilight
Change places if you are wearing green.
Change places if you have been to Wales. etc etc.

Human Pexeso
Ask your students to stand up  and stand in  a circle. Give each one a pexeso card.
In the session I used simple words but you could use pictures.
Start by doing a demonstration.
Ask one student randomly ‘ What can you do?’
the student looks at their card and says I can …
then you ask a second student ‘What can you do?’
the students say what is on their card. If it is a match the question wins a point.
Now ask the student on your left to ask a question to any student randomly  wait for the answer then the student asks another student if it is a match then the student  who questions wins a point and the ones with the cards put their cards down. But stay in the circle because it will be their turn to ask soon.
If the student picks someone with a match to themselves they win 2 points.
Now move on to the next student in the circle who can ask the question.
this could be done with a range of other language points.
what have you got – cards with bike football doll etc
what do you look like – cards with picutres of people
where are you going  - cards with words or pictures of places   railway station etc etc
This activity is fun but it is a drill of a language form .  what can you do I can play tennis etc.

Controlled Practice Runaround
After a multiple choice controlled practice ask your students to stand up. Tell them that the back of the classroom is option A, the left is option B and the right is option C  Read out the question and ask them to move to the part of the room they think is the correct answer. Then confirm the answers for them.
This gets some movement into the lesson and brings some fun to a gap fill.
If you feel this would be too disruptive ask students to point to the correct answer.

Substitution Tables
Create a substitution table like the one below. Ask students to create true sentences for themselves using the table. see how many they can make. See who can make the most. This personalizes the language but provides safe controlled practice.

Alphabet game.
Ask the students to come up with 5 items that begin with the same letter.
Verb, adjective, girl’s name, place and sport. Ask them to write a sentence using the grammar structure you are working on.

Timelines and concept check questions

See my video blog on these. You’ll find it here.

managing for success

Managing for Success

What is classroom management? For me classroom management are all the considerations about a lesson that aren’t the methodology and the content.
The picture below is a mind map of some of the things that people suggested make up classroom management in the first few sessions. Have I missed anything? Add your thoughts in the comments section below.

The session looked at two areas of classroom management, instructions and movement but it also touched on feedback and seating arrangements too.


Here is a video of me giving terrible instructions. What is wrong with them?

Here are the instructions for instructions that you came up with in the session.

  • stand in one place
  • wait till you have attention.
  • slow down
  • repeat key facts
  • check students have understood.
  • only say what needs saying
  • don’t over complicate
  • do an example
  • know what you want to say

Movement and pair work.

Sitting in a different seat every lesson helps students to concentrate.
Research suggests that seeing a room from a different angle can improve attention levels in the classroom. That suggests that sitting in the some seat every lesson can have a negative effect on students.
Students like working with the same people so why bother move them.
This is true, so one has to make the decision do the negatives outweigh the positives.
Pair work reduces pressure on the students.
Pair work helps students to feel more comfortable. They are not performing in front of the whole class. it means they have time to rehearse before having to tell the class.
Movement in a lesson helps students to improve concentration.
It is said that even minimal movement can help to get oxygen into the brain and that in turn helps to prolong the concentration span. So ask students to put their hands on their heads or point to something can be beneficial.
Pair work or group work means I lose control of the classroom.
This is an understandable concern, what are the students doing in pairs and groups are they doing what I have asked them to? Bit even when the class works as a whole there might be people not paying attention, day dreaming etc. Again do the positives outweigh the negatives.
Working with different students improves the classroom dynamics.
We want to foster cooperation in our classes. The best way to do that is to encourage students to work and learn from everyone in the room. But that is in a perfect world and I know reality is different.
Changing classroom positions is good for discipline.
This could be true, moving students around can help the break up disruptive pairs. If you do this randomly then students don’t feel like they are being picked on.
Changes in groups should be temporary so students can go back to their comfort zones.
I think this is true, I often sit with my friends in lessons because I like them, I don’t mind working with other people but I want to go back to my friends.
Collaboration (working together) helps to improve learning.
As Sir Ken Robinson said in this video
collaboration is important for education. Pair work and group work can become important learning tools. What we think of as copying could be thought of as peer teaching and collaborative development. Allowing students to steal ideas from each other is fun and can help them grow. During the mind map or poster activity in some locations I let 1 member of each group go off and spy on the others.
Also reflect on what you learnt in this seminar. Who did you learn it from. All I really did in the session was manage the room and set up the activities. It was you who shared, reflected and learnt with and from each other.

In the session I showed you 5 ways to change the groups around, they were
  • numbers
  • musical chairs
  • dots
  • spokesperson
  • ladders
Which ways do you move your students? Leave a comment in the section below.

I also showed you 5 activities for classroom use, they were
  • mind maps
  • stop game
  • making posters
  • turn over discussions
  • draw and describe
Have you used any of them? Where they successful? Tell us using the comments below.

Finally I used a range of ways to do feedback, did you spot them? Again let me know using the comments section below. 

here is the ken Robinson video in full