Parts and objects of the house – Do adults like coloring, cutting and pasting?

House – Do adults like colouring, cutting and pasting?

Level: A1+

Age: Adults

Number of SS: 6.

Goal: Practice parts and objects of the house.

 The year has begun so it’s to start posting again.

They had already seen parts of the house and the objects, but the activity can also be done as an introduction.

As a warmer, I asked them to stand up and form two lines, both lines facing the same wall. In pairs, one S had to draw one house object on the other’s back and he/she had to guess the object. I forgot to take pictures, sorry hehehe.

After that they had to look at some pictures and write down the names.

Captura de Tela 2016-02-26 às 11.00.23

Then they received cardboards and named each one after a room. Finally, exchanging the cardboards, they had to color, cut and paste the objects according to the rooms.

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They had lots of fun, practice the vocabulary and did something meaningful. I’m sure it will help them to remember the content.

Comparatives – Are dogs cuter than cats?

Level: A2

Age: 10 – 11

Number of SS: 12 in one group and 8 in the other.

Goal: Practice and produce comparatives before explaining the rule.

 

First, I elicited name of animals and each student chose an animal. I managed to avoid repeated animals. Each student was given a marker and told to draw the animal on the board.

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After that, in pairs, students had to make a list of adjectives to describe animals. Then, in groups of four, they had to share their adjectives and add the new ones to their lists.

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In the same groups, they talked about the animals. They had to use the adjectives, from their lists, in the conversation.

I asked them the question the book brings as the topic of the unit: Are dogs cuter than cats? And I used their animals on the board to keep asking questions: Are … cuter than …? Who thinks … are cuter than … raise your hands.

After that, they opened their books and did a listening exercise, in which, two people compare dogs and cats.

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The next step was to orally compare animals using the animals on the board, the animals on the book, their adjectives and the book’s adjectives. At this point they were supposed to use the comparative structure. I went around monitoring and modelling the structure but I didn’t stop to explain it.

It was only after this practice that I went to board and elicited the chart and they copied on their notebooks.

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I felt that the scaffolding was great. They got what they were expected to do very easily and produced beautifully. The goal was achieved in a fun and light way.

Writing – Can we do it together?

Level: B1

Age: 13 -15

Number of SS: 13 in one group and 9 in the other.

Goal: Practice Point of time X Period of time to the present.

 

I normally use this activity when we are working on conditionals. However, I thought it would help students see and practice the difference between Past simple and Present perfect, Point of time X Period of time to the present.

First, I divided the board in two: Point of time on one side and Period of time to the present on the other. Students were given pieces of chalk or markers. In pairs, they went to the board and wrote time expressions, ex: in 2007, two days ago, etc. on the side of point of time and since 1999, in the last few years, etc. on the side of period of time to the present.

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Students formed a circle with the chairs and were given a piece of paper. They were asked to write a point of time sentence and pass the piece of paper to the student on their right. The student read the sentence, folded the paper backwards and had to write a period of time to the present sentence and pass the piece of paper. Students could only read the last sentence and had to continue the story. If they read point of time, they wrote period of time to the present and vice versa.

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When there wasn’t space to write anymore, students corrected the stories in pairs.

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To sum up and assess it properly, also in pairs, students had to organize the two stories into one. They wrote it on a piece of paper and handed me. They could change the order of the sentences and add connectors.

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I had lots of fun correcting the stories; they were very crazy and creative. Few mistakes were spotted, which shows they goal was achieved. The also had fun linking the crazy sentences they had previously written.

Days of the week – Can we use their desks to help?

Level: A1+

Age: 09 – 10

Number of SS: 7.

Goal: Practice days of the week.

 

In this case, they had previously seen the structure, but I have already done this activity to introduce days of the week.

A line of seven desks was organized in an OK distance from the wall. I put five desks very close to each other and the other two desks were together but a bit far from the five. The idea here was to visualize that there are five days that are weekdays and two days that are the weekend. I asked students questions like: What do you have in your lives that are always five and two? They guessed many different things, after a while I told them that it was the week and asked them to sit down on the desks.

The ideal number for this activity is eight students, but you can always adapt. On that day I performed the activity with them to complete eight people.

With students seated on the desks, I elicited the days and each student wrote one of the days on a slip of paper. Then, they stuck the slips, on the desks, in the correct order of the week. To provide the link to how the book addresses the topic, they also had to write a job. Ex. On Monday, I’m a vet.

One student stayed in front of the line of desks, he/she had to ask: What do you do on … ? The student of the day asked had to answer: On … I’m a …

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When the student finished answering everyone had to stand up, run, touch the wall, run back and sit on a different desk. The student who asked the question didn’t need to touch wall, so he/she could sit down faster than the others.
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After that they prepared a poster with what they had practiced: On … I’m a …

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The posters were stuck to the wall.

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They had great fun running and sitting down on different places. They had to think of a day to ask the question and pay attention to the question to answer it properly. The organization of the desks helped them visualizing the days, which is related to the spatial intelligence. The association with jobs may also help their brain connections. They did that in a very friendly way.

Verb collocation – Let’s use student’s knowledge!

Level: A2

Age: 11 -13

Number of SS: 7.

Goal: To work on verb collocation using student’s previous knowledge.

It’s possible to use this activity to help the production of many different topics.

Students formed a circle; I gave them one ball, which they had to randomly throw to each other. Every time one student threw the ball he or she had to say an infinitive verb, ex. Go, play, do, etc.

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While they were throwing the ball and saying infinitives, I was writing them on the board.

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When they had said enough infinitives, they were given a marker and told to write verb collocations on the board. They were allowed to write more than one collocation per verb.

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The topic of the class was illnesses and pieces of advice using should or shouldn’t. So they were encouraged to use the verb collocations after should and shouldn’t to give advice.

They had drawn the illnesses on slips.

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They sat on the floor in groups, one student had to get a slip and say: I have a … What should I do? Each student of the group had to give a piece of advice using should or shouldn’t + a verb collocation.

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Reading – Can it be fun and kinesthetic?

Level: A2

Age: 11 -13

Number of SS: 9.

Goal: To read actively.

The teacher’s first step is to read the text and prepare some questions related to it.

I prepared ten questions and printed two sets, one green and one red. Then, the questions were cut in slips.questions

The students were divided in two groups. They got their books and sat on the corner of the classroom.11998247_10153059382337761_1695870387_n

The questions were placed on the floor, on the other side of the classroom.11997393_10153059382297761_702499076_n

One student of the group had to run, get one question.11998561_10153059382242761_94940514_n

Go back to the group and together they had to find the answer.11997855_10153059382147761_1697856720_n

Then, one student wrote the answer on the board. Students took turns doing that.11997406_10153059381777761_1192468490_n
One group got the green questions and the other the red questions. After answering all questions, we corrected the answers together. I read the questions and they told me the answers.

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The result of the activity was excellent. They practice scanning and skimming in a very engaged and fun way. They all participated and liked to find the answers reading the text, I guess they didn’t even had the feeling they were reading it. The reading process naturally happened. The two groups answered the questions correctly. After that, they easily answered the book’s questions and they were very concentrated while they were doing that.

Used to – Can we use suggestopedia to teach it?

Level: B1

Age: 13 -15

Number of SS: 13 in one group and 8 in the other.

Goal: To introduce “used to” inductively.

 

This activity was performed as the introduction of the topic.

11998052_10153047532807761_529804552_nI asked students to lie comfortably on the floor, turned off the lights and put a quiet relaxing song.

Smoothly speaking, I asked students to close their eyes and imagine they were around five to seven years old.

I conducted the narrative asking them to imagine places they went, people they met and things they did when they were children. At this part of the activity I prefer not to prepare a text, I like feeling the flow. However, if you have never done anything like that, I suggest you prepare your script beforehand.

It is necessary to be careful when you are bringing students “back”. It is important not to break to energy flow. I normally end the activity asking them to imagine their homes. After exploring the house they go to bed and wake up in our real classroom.

When they woke up, they worked in pairs or trios telling their classmates what they had imagined.

While they were talking I wrote some sentences using “used to” on the board. The sentences were about me, some were true and some were false.

Ex: I used to play table tennis, I used to watch Barnie, etc.

When they finished their stories, I told them that there were some sentences about my childhood on the board and they had to guess if they were true or false.

After that, they also wrote, true and false, sentences about themselves using “used to”. Later, in groups, they shared the sentences and the other students had to guess true or false.

It was only after this practice that I elicited the reason to use “used to” and the grammar rule.

In one of the groups, one student asked about “used to” before writing the sentences, I called the class attention and asked if anyone could explain it. One of the students did it and it was really nice.

In both groups, I was happy after the activity. They loved lying down on the floor, they had room to talk about their personalization (and they actively did it), they grasped the meaning naturally and I didn’t need to give much explanation about anything. The learning was smooth and natural.

 

Starting up

I’ve had this plan of creating a blog for while and, finally, I managed my schedule to do it. The purpose of this blog is not to deliver texts. I’m going to weekly post activities I’ve done successfully with my students. However, as a first post, I’d like to repost a text I wrote and posted in a friend’s blog in 2012. It’s was fun to read it three years later. So many things have changed in my life but this text still reflects my opinion about teaching.

Brasília, September 2, 2015.

THE TEACHER MUST HAVE A HEART

After attending a week of professional development, such as the 13th BRAZ-TESOL National Convention, teachers normally go back to their schools full of new ideas. They heard Christine Coombe talking about the 10 characteristic of a highly effective teacher; Kathi Bailey speaking about the bridges to link what students can say to what they want to say; Ben Goldstein and the metaphors in English; Jim Scrivener developing the interaction between teaching and learning; David Nunan mentioning the proto-language and real language; Luke Meddings giving ideas to teach unplugged; Herbert Puchta showing thoughtful aspects about Neurolinguistics; Nicky Hocky and the digital literacies; Jeremy Harmer elucidating the myth of multi-tasking; and Lindsay Clandfield talking about critical thinking, among other speakers. And I’m not even mentioning what teachers have certainly learned from all the workshops and talks they have attended in addition to the plenary sessions.
Although they have probably enjoyed learning and remembering so many things, they now have a big problem in their minds, which is how to apply all those things in their classroom. Is everything suitable to their reality? Should they try to do everything they have heard from these highly-respected professionals in ELT? But… how???????
This is exactly my point in this reflection. Though teachers should always try to keep up to date, they are the ones who know their students, classroom, school, city and country. They are the ones who must feel when to use certain activity. They should know how adapt activities to different contexts. They have to make students embrace the activities and the ideas they’ve been presented with. They are in charge of the responsibility to teach their students. Finally, they are the ones who have to cope with such diverse teaching situations.
Thousands of activities without feeling aren’t worth it, just as feeling without any activity is equally worthless.
It’s possible to say that the teacher should have this balance: to keep up to date, but always remembering that they need a reality filter. As Christine Coombe ranked ’the calling to the profession’ as the number one characteristic of a good teacher, I think I can say that the teacher’s heart is this reality filter I’m talking about.
I fortunately work in a school which encourages teachers to try new ideas, and to be always pursuing self and professional development. I am, most definitely, looking forward to putting to use the new ideas I had during this fantastic brainstorming week.
Brasília, August 4, 2012