This blog is aimed at professionals and learners who seek excellence and are tireless in learning more and more... Here you will find classroom management tips, teacher development issues, a myriad of class activities to enhance your lesson plan and useful vocabulary tips. Many thanks for your visit!!

domingo, 26 de fevereiro de 2012

English is a crazy language questionnaire!

What about starting your lesson with a discussion about the English language and its pecularities? The text on picture above is a nice way to show it!
After reading the text students could in pairs or groups talk about the following questions:

1) What do you like the most about English?
2) What is the most difficult thing to learn?
3) What's your favorite accent?
4) What is the most difficult word to spell?
5) What's your favorite word in English?
6) Why is learning English important to you?
7) Which example from the text above called your attention?
8) Besides coming to class, what else do you do to practice your English?
9) What are you particularly interested in learning about English this year?
10) What advice would you give for someone who is starting to learn English?

quarta-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2012

Conundrums to warm up or wrap up your lessons!


What is it?
 A conundrum is a puzzling question or problem in which the person trying to solve the problem may need to ask questions to gain the information needed to solve it. Conundrum sample: John and Mary are dead. They are lying in a puddle of water on the ground and they are surrounded by broken glass. How did they die? Answer: they are goldfish and their acquarium has been pushed. 

Why using this activity in your lesson?
To start or end the lesson on a lighter note. This activity takes from 5 to 8 minutes and students will be engaged and motivated to find the solution for the puzzle. Also, this activity provides context and purpose to use vocabulary and grammar structures as a means to solve the puzzle and not as an end to practice specific language.

What levels?  Intermediate and up. Students should be able to make questions in different verb tenses.

What are the materials needed?  The conundrum provided by the teacher.

How to do it? In the 5 first or last minutes of the lesson, the teacher asks a students to get a piece of paper with a conundrum printed on it. Teacher can establish if students can ask information questions or only yes/no questions. With lower levels, the teacher can write words as hints to help students make the questions. It can be played individually or in groups.

Where can I find more conundrum samples?

Special thanks to Cátia Thonnigs and Vivian Magalhães for this great tip at Southern Cone Tesol Convention in  Curitiba, 2011. Workshop: From Homemade to online games: teaching and entertaining your students.

domingo, 12 de fevereiro de 2012

Activities to wrap/ warm up your lesson

Teachers spend hours developing lesson plans and sometimes they give a great deal of focus to this introductory activity and with good reason as we know that if you don’t have the students attention at the beginning of a lesson, chances are pretty small that it will be gained later on. While we devote this attention to the start of the lesson, this focus is rarely mirrored at the end. Given that, it is important that teachers bear in mind that students should always leave the classroom having a positive perception of learning and a reason to come back. For this reason, I describe below 5 wrap-up activities that allowed my students to have this pleasant feeling.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon this nice image and I liked it so much that I started thinking of ways to use it in class.

1) Just push PLAY warm-up : show the picture below to your students and while you play a song they should talk to someone about their day or weekend. They talk about the things they would like to play again, rewind, forward or pause. Play the song for 1 or 2 minutes and pause it. Tell them that now they are supposed to change partners and so on.

2) Just push PLAY wrap-up: in the last 10 minutes of your lesson, give each student a piece of paper with the buttons printed on it (you can just print the image above!). Play a cool song and ask students to reflect upon the lesson and write down on the paper what they would like to play again, rewind, pause and stop. If you think it is ok, you can have students talking and sharing their opinions but if you prefer not, just collect the pieces of paper. I have no doubt you will have a priceless material in your hands which will work as an accountability moment to assess how students like your lessons and what they think of your and their performance.

3) Lesson in a bottle: before class, the teacher should get a plastic bottle and put some questions inside. Suggested questions: What was your favorite activity? What can you teach for you classmates from today’s lesson? Tell everyone a new word you learned? What topics were discussed during the class? What was the most important thing you learned today? Can you remember the homework assignment? and so on… At the the last 5-8 minutes of the lesson, the teacher invites everyone to sit on the floor and make a circle. The teacher puts the bottle in the middle of the circle and asks a volunteer to twist it. The cap of the bottle points the student who should open the bottle and answer a question. Be sure it is a simple activity but it will guarantee a nice recapping for your lesson and students leaving the classroom in a very good mood!

4) Ballon Pass: Before class, the teacher should get 5 balloons and put a slip of paper with a question inside each balloon. Suggested questions: What was your favorite activity? What can you teach for you classmates from today’s lesson? Tell everyone a new word you learned? What topics were discussed during the class? What was the most important thing you learned today? Can you remember the homework assignment? At the last 5-8 minutes of the lesson,  have the students stand in a circle. Without using their hands, have the students pass around the balloon. If a student happens to use their hands or is unable to keep the balloon afloat, the student must then sit or step on the balloon to pop it and answer the question inside it.

5) Lesson Stop Light: the teacher should give each pair of students a picture of a stop light. In the green, they write something they already knew about today’s topic. In yellow, they write something they learned today and in red, they write something they didn’t understand about what was discussed. Give immediate positive feedback on the green/ yellow comments and try to clarify the red light comments. If it is needded longer time to do so, tell students you are going to prepare a great activity to clarify the topics next lesson. This way you show that you care about their impressions and you are concerned about their learning!


sábado, 11 de fevereiro de 2012

Expression of the week #17

Would you know how to answer the question below?

She gave us a ballpark figure for the cost because she....

A)did not know the exact amount
B)knew how much a ballpark cost
C)wanted to tell us the exact amount

The correct answer for this question is letter A. If you give a ballpark figure or a ballpark estimate, you give a number which you think is fairly close to the actual one.

Source: englishclub.com

domingo, 5 de fevereiro de 2012

English and Englishes quiz - Getting acquainted with World English


What is known today as World English is the result of the English language development to take account of local language needs. So, what about having your students familiarized about it  with the quiz below?

1) In Indian English, where does a babu work?
a)in an office     b)in a hospital   c)in a factory

2) Something describe in South African as larney is:
a)very poor       b)very expensive  c)very boring

3) In Indian English, an English person is informally called...:
a)a geyser        b)a smoko         c)an angrez

4)Why would you smoodge to someone in Australia or New Zealand?
a)because you want something
b)because you want to give them something
c)because you love them

5)In Australian and New Zealand English, sunnies are...:
a)sunbeds    b)sunglasses     c) sunflowers

6)If an Australian describes a party as a fizzer, was it....?
a)a success   b) a failure       c) a champagne tasting

7) In Scottish English, swedes are called...:

a)neeps        b)tatties          c)drams

8) In Southeast Asian English, Cantopop is a type of...:
a)alcoholic drink   b)music   c)lollypop

Answer key: 1)a  2)b  3)c  4)a  5)b  6)b  7)a  8)b

Suggested activity: give each student one of the questions above. They are supposed to read it aloud and the other classmates should give the right answer. For each wrong answer the student who read the question aloud scores a point and the ones that give the right answer score the point for themselves.Another student reads the question and the game continues.

Source: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: the wonder of the world.