The Door

img_20180605_1739561571941578.jpgThis is a picture of the door of my classroom. This is what my students see whenever they look at the door or when they leave my class.

As well, I have plenty of resources on the walls: phrasal verbs, grammar bits, functional language and lots of collocations & idioms. And I teach to groups of different ages so when my students come in they get fully immersed in the learning experience.

I strongly believe that teachers shape the future of the younger generations therefore we are not only in charge of developing their skills but also we instil values:

Respect one another

Say Thank you, I’m sorry, Please

Keep your promise

Do your best!

The way you teach, the way you interact with your students, the way you decorate your classroom and even the way you dress, everything talks about who you are but most importantly it’s about how your students see you and what kind of role model you project onto their minds. Because, whether you like it or not, teachers are role models for their students, therefore our responsibility is huge.

I haven’t given up on the dream of living in a better world, but I know that the process of change starts from within; we are all an equally important part of our society and we all build it with our behaviour, our attitude and our dreams, hence let’s never forget this:

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

Now, that’s one big part of our job, the other one is teaching English. I was wondering one day how could I take advantage of all the information I have on the walls of my classroom and an idea came to my mind that proved to be of great value.

Once in a while, I ask my students to search for pictures or words/expressions/phrasal verbs on these walls. Of course, everything is a competition and I reward the one that finds it first with, well, paper money. You might have already read about my teaching “framework” in another post Have You Ever Danced a T-Rex Macarena?

First, students move. They have to stand up and explore. Secondly, they have some fun as they giggle quite often. Thirdly and most importantly, they learn. They learn new words from the pictures ‘Find a piggy bank!’ ‘Look for a clothes peg!’ – ‘Teacher, what is a clothes peg?’ and they literally have to read a lot of words when they search for an expression ‘Find the idiom HIT THE BOOKS!’ ‘Look for a COUCH POTATO!’ – ‘Teacher, what is a couch potato?’ 

IMG_20180605_173909For the groups that prepare a Cambridge exam, the functional language on the walls is highly important. After a few weeks of training they know where to look for the information when they need it and their speaking skills develop considerably.

Good bye three thousand times of saying I THINK, my students are now able to control this annoying habit and use other expressions like: I consider, To me, I believe etc.

Good bye simple structures like I agree, I don’t agree with you. Welcome I feel the same way, That’s a good point, I’m afraid I have to disagree and so on.

Well, taking this into consideration, I have to conclude and say that I am absolutely proud of each and every one of my students. They have worked hard, they have played even harder. We have all enjoyed our time spent together, we’ve been through good and sometimes not so good moments together and we have all learnt about ourselves, about working in a team and about how to communicate effectively.

That being said, it’s time to close the door on another school year.

Enjoy summer everyone!


 

More teaching ideas here.

THE ART GALLERY

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Take an imaginary walk with me through these thought-provoking illustrations that comment on social, economic, and political issues.

THE ART GALLERY is not only a lesson about art and museums but also an invitation to critical thinking.

“Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see.”

Is education the key to a better future? I strongly believe so.


More general English lessons here

PERSPECTIVES

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When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

PERSPECTIVES is a speaking practice lesson, aimed at developing functional language on a wide variety of topics , rounding off with a self-reflection question: “Would you like you, if you met you?”

A listening exercise focused on business expressions has been added for Business students: PERSPECTIVES C1 + LISTENING


More Business lessons here.   More general English lessons here.

 

 

What Happened to the Black Sheep?

sheepFind out what happened to the black sheep through the vivid imagination of your students. Introduce them to storytelling and narrative tenses. Scatter some colour idioms on the way. Top it all off with a listening, some grammar practice and …

… call it a day!

Idioms are extremely common in everyday conversation. Because idioms don’t always make sense literally, you’ll need to familiarise your students with the meaning and usage of each idiom. That may seem like a lot of hard work but learning idioms this way can make you all have a whale of a time!

The Black Sheep + Listening

Just let your imagination run wild!


More general English lessons here.

What Does Home Mean to You?

1799150_1Home is where the  is!

Start with a general conversation on the topic but make sure you are sharing too, move on to some useful vocabulary words and discuss what would their dream houses be like. Then top it up with a few Feng Shui tips, wrap up with a role play and clinch it with this wonderful saying:

LIFE takes you to unexpected places, LOVE brings you HOME.

Listening practice, grammar and vocabulary exercises, speaking activities, all included in this lesson:

HOME + Listening 1 + Listening 2


More general English lessons here

 

Are You a Tech-Savvy Teacher?

These activities are meant for groups of Teenagers & Young Learners.

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.”

John Dewey

Basically it’s about keeping ourselves updated. Updated not only with the latest trends in technology but also with what our students are interested in, the games they play, the heroes they look up to, the way they spend their free time. For my younger students these are the “cool” things this year:

love

This works wonders with teenagers as they already know by heart a lot of the songs. Students need to fill in the gaps or choose the missing word but they can also sing along! There are several game modes: beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert but they can also create an account and compete against people all over the world! Can your students beat the record?

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I know that we are all against the use of phones in the classroom but you cannot imagine the fun we had a few days ago playing QUIZ YOUR ENGLISH with a group of teenagers. The best part is that they can challenge anyone they want in or out of the classroom as far as they know their nicknames but they also have to be the fastest in answering a wide range of vocabulary and grammar exercises in order to win!

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This is a great application for football lovers. Students have to answer English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation questions to help their team pass the ball, get to the goal, shoot and score! Most of my students are hooked on football anyways so this App certainly nails it!

Why fighting against the use of phones in classes when we should show them how to take advantage of their devices and learn more English in & out of the classroom?

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Well, this year’s trend is for sure Clash Royal even though Fortnite catches up quickly. Therefore, the episodes of Clash-A-Rama are the best way to finish a class: they are short, funny, with lots of new vocabulary and expressions in a variety of contexts. As we watch I write expressions and new words on the board, my students have to pay attention and try to figure out what do those expressions mean or what are those new words. As well, sometimes I stop the video and ask them what will happen next; as all of these characters are unpredictable they can say so many things!

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The same goes with PLAYMOBIL for younger students that still love to play with Playmobil sets. lil’monkey media are in fact a mother and her daughter, unpacking Playmobil sets and showing us all the features and the fun we can have . It’s great vocabulary for descriptions and actions, objects and places therefore I entirely recommend these videos for language learning.

Capture

This is a great web page with all sorts of interactive games. I would like to point out two of them, Phrasal Verbs and Conditionals that really come in handy for teaching.

Why not dance in your English classes?

Swish, swish was a huge success as a challenge among my students: for the last few minutes of the class the winning team would choose a Just Dance song and all of them dance it!

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More activities here.

It’s the END OF THE WORLD!

This activity is meant for groups of Teenagers & Adults, One2One classes as well.

Do you like to use role plays in your classes?

Here you can find an interesting role play about the end of the world, in which students not only have to make a tough decision but also, indirectly, deal with their own stereotypes and prejudices, prioritising their needs.

In fact, after disclosing the secret information I invite them to reflect on the choices they have initially made: Is money relevant in the new world? Have they protected the family? Have they chosen the priest?

Many more questions may come up to your mind to subtly engage them in a conversation about the society we live in and the idealistic concept of a new beginning.

Furthermore you can link the role play to the listening and find out what did the corrupt 78 year old businessman do after the earthquake and what will happen to Earth if …? Practise conditional sentences with them and expand their vocabulary with new words describing personality and character.

THE END OF THE WORLD + Listening 1 + Listening 2


More activities can be found here.

Mind the Gap!

Unequal pay is unacceptable in the eyes of children. Why should we accept this as adults?

A Business lesson covering vocabulary and useful expressions about PAY & BENEFITS (job perks, wage vs. salary, golden handshake vs. golden parachute etc.) but also tackling the sensitive issue of glass ceiling in this touching video.

It’s imperative for all of us to MIND THE GAP!

Listening practice can be found here.


More Business English lessons here.

The Pet Rock

Can a poor product be made successful with clever marketing techniques?

Discover the four P’s of Marketing: Product, Price, Place & Promotion through these unusual products like The Pet Rock or The Gift of Nothing; discuss brands and slogans with your Business students and ignite a heated debate about The Surplus Society.

This is the age of more. More choice. More consumption. More fun. More fear. More uncertainty. More competition.

SLOGANS! goes beyond mere marketing vocabulary and product descriptions.

THINK DIFFERENT!

🍎

Listening can be downloaded from here.


More Business lessons here.

Words, Words, Words!

These activities are meant for groups of Young Learners & Teenagers

📌 LINKING WORDS

Purpose: activate & review vocabulary

Split the group in two teams.

Zigzag turns.

One student starts with a word, for example CAT – finishes in T, another student from the other team has 5 seconds to continue the game with a word starting with letter T, for instance TOMATO – OWL – LIVE ...

If one of them doesn’t say a word in 5 seconds I give £5 to the other team.

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RULES:

  • No names
  • No numbers
  • No repetitions

I play with paper money in my classes and at the end of the class, the winning team gives a challenge to the other one – Have You Ever Played a T-Rex Macarena?

Other ways of playing Linking Words

🔗Same rules, same way of playing, except that this time all the class stands up and who ever doesn’t say a word in 5 seconds is eliminated and sits down.

The winner – the last one standing, gets a bigger prize for his/her team – £20!

🔗ADJECTIVES & VERBS

This time is team vs. team, whoever knows the word says it! We only play with adjectives but not with the ones ending in Y.

Time for thinking – 1 minute.

For example: one team says BEAUTIFUL – finishes in L , the other team has 1 minute to say another adjective starting with LLONG etc.

The winning team gets £10!

Instead of adjectives you can use VERBS – infinitives & irregular forms are accepted, no verbs finishing in Y.

For example, READ – DID – DO – OBSERVE …

📌 LETTERS – SENTENCES

Purpose: structure sentences, word order & grammar review

Split the group in two teams.

Ask them to tell you five random letters, for example A N S I B. Write them on the board.

Tell them that they will get £5 if they can make a grammatically correct sentence in which each word starts with the corresponding letter. It’s OK if it’s not always a logical sentence as far as it’s grammatically correct. Ask them to work in teams, sometimes pen & paper is needed.

For example: A N S I B

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Anna Needs Some Interesting Books.

Animals Never Sleep In Bags. 😂?!

Next round ask for six random letters. Then seven, eight etc. and raise the prize £10 – £15 etc. If both teams have a sentence at the same time, they both get the money!

Depending on the age you can let students use one word as a NAME or you can even complicate things a bit by telling them that one of the letters is a VERB, an ADJECTIVE, an ADVERB or a NOUN, PHRASAL VERB if you can see the possibility.

For example: C L D I F W

  • where L is a noun: Can Lions Dance In Funny Ways?
  • where I is a verb: Calm Librarians Don’t Investigate Familiar Watermarks.
  • where D is an adjective: Cats Like Dangerous Insects From Water.
  • where W is an adverb: Carl’s Little Duck Is Flying Wonderfully.
  • where L D is a phrasal verb: Camels Lie Down In Filthy Waters.

📌 CATEGORIES

Purpose: vocabulary review

Split the group in two teams.

Ask them to tell you:

Folders Icon with variations of colors

  • FIVE things made of: wood, plastic, metal etc.
  • FIVE animals that live: in the jungle, at the farm etc.
  • FIVE things that are always: blue, red, yellow etc.
  • FIVE vegetables or fruit.
  • FIVE things that are easy to break, difficult to climb etc.
  • FIVE things that you find in: the kitchen, the bathroom etc.
  • FIVE …

Just let your imagination run free!

The first team that gets FIVE of something wins £5 as well!

A variation of this game could be:

🖇️ Ask them to tell you all the vegetables they know and you give them £1/vegetable; same for parts of the body, items of furniture, food, things related to the weather etc.


More activities here.