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!!

sábado, 31 de março de 2012

Easter time warm-up activity!

Split your class into two groups and challenge them to find as quick as possible 26 Easter words!


Source: Creative Easter Wordlist http://k6educators.about.com/od/aprilholidaylessons/qt/Easter-Word-List.htm?nl=1

segunda-feira, 26 de março de 2012

Super Challenge Box to handle early-finishers in the classroom

The notion of early finishers suggests that more capable children are whizzing through the work and then left waiting for something to do. I suggest below a technique which attempts to manage early-finishers bearing in mind that a good fast-finisher activity should be:

  • useful- that it should imply some kind of extension activity which allows stronger pupils to learn more.
  • relevant- that it is connected with the topic being studied or as a revision of something already studied.
  • appropriate- that it suits the linguistic, as well as cognitive level of the learners.
  • simple- that it does not require complex instructions.
  • autonomous- that it can be done without taking up too much teacher-time.
  • easy-to-end- that it can be finished quickly and is easy to check.
  • discreet- that it does not disturb the rest of the group.
  • flexible- that the activity will work for individuals or for pairs.
  • fun- that it will not be seen as an onerous "punishment".

Procedure: The early-finisher student gets a card from the Super challenge box and the student works at his own level and pace. The kids love to see if they can 'beat' the challenge by finishing the activity! In my Supper Challenge Box I include activities like:
1) word-search games
2) crosswords
3) vocabulary inspector (students get a dictinary and chooses 5 cool words to teach the group)
4) make a vocabulary chain list ie country (England- Denmark- Korea...)
5) write a to z list of something ie fruit
6) read a fable and make a drawing to ilustrate it.

There is a great set of activities ready to be used at : https://www.blake.com.au/v/vspfiles/downloadables/F13_20TaskCards.pdf

domingo, 25 de março de 2012

Vocabulary hint # 19

This week's expression is an idiom. Ckeck it out!


Meaning: to damage a vehicle so badly that it cannot be repaired
For example: After writing off his car, everybody thought that Carl would start driving a bit more carefully.
In Portuguese: dar perda total; dar PT.

domingo, 18 de março de 2012

English Metre – A nice technique to combat L1 use in the classroom.

The avoidance of L1 use has always been a controversial issue in ELT. Research has shown that there are positives and negatives but my scope today is the L1 use in groups that are able to have an English-only environment. For students, an entire class in English offers additional opportunities to hear the language. The English used for explanations and instructions represent "real" English because students actively listen how to use a grammar point or vocabulary word, or how to conduct an activity, for example. When they use the new material or complete the activity correctly, this boosts confidence. They can measure comprehension through success. Hence, there is no reason for students to use L1 in class if they are able to do that in English. Having in mind this scenario teacher Fabiane and I came up with a technique called English Metre which favors the reinforcement of positive behavior. The technique is simple. Each student is given a paper ruler and at the end of every lesson they are invited to color it according to their English contribution to the lesson (i.e. a student who had an excellent participation will color three centimetres whereas another student who used more L1 than desired will color just one centimetre). The technique has proven to be very effective so far and students feel very proud of their colored centimeters. The picture above illustrates a suggestion of board. Special thanks to Fabiane for her great board!

quinta-feira, 8 de março de 2012

Expression of the week #18

This week's expression is a slang. Check it out!


Definition: someone with great talent or skill
Usage: He might be useless at sports, but he sure is a wiz at computers.
Origin: possibly an abbreviation of "wizard"

terça-feira, 6 de março de 2012

Using Socratic Questions to Trans4 minds in your lessons‏!

Socrates was one of the greatest educators who taught by asking questions and thus drawing out answers from his pupils ('ex duco', means to 'lead out', which is the root of 'education'). My experience as a teacher and coordinator has shown me that teachers tend to favour closed-ended questions in their lessons and they often complain that their students do not seem motivated to take part in discussions. What these teachers might not be aware of is that closed-ended questions are a simple way to close down a conversation. Open questions lead to long answers, whilst closed questions lead to short answers, typically one word, such as 'yes' and 'no'. When you are unintentionally forcing your students to give short answers, this legitimizes short comments on your side. This leads to a spiral of brevity that quickly ends the conversation. And this exactly what teachers don't want to take place. So, to make your conversation classes more vivid, beware the way you pose questions to your students. Going back to Socrates, here are the six types of questions he used to ask his pupils. Probably often to their initial annoyance but more often to their ultimate delight. He was a man of remarkable integrity and his story makes for marvelous reading.The overall purpose of Socratic questioning, is to challenge accuracy and completeness of thinking in a way that acts to move people towards their ultimate goal. Have a look and get the most of your conversation classes!

1. Questions for clarification:
  • Why do you say that?
  • How does this relate to our discussion?

2. Questions that probe assumptions:
  • What could we assume instead?
  • How can you verify or disapprove that assumption?
3. Questions that probe reasons and evidence:
  • What would be an example?
  • What is....analogous to?
  • What do you think causes to happen...? Why:?
4. Questions about Viewpoints and Perspectives:
  • What would be an alternative?
  • What is another way to look at it?
  • Would you explain why it is necessary or beneficial, and who benefits?
  • Why is the best?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of...?
  • How are...and ...similar?
  • What is a counterargument for...?
5. Questions that probe implications and consequences:
  • What generalizations can you make?
  • What are the consequences of that assumption?
  • What are you implying?
  • How does...affect...?
  • How does...tie in with what we learned before?
6. Questions about the question:
  • What was the point of this question?
  • Why do you think I asked this question?
  • What does...mean?
  • How does...apply to everyday life?

domingo, 4 de março de 2012

Magic Painting - kids must-do activity!!



60ml  of water
60ml of  baking soda
Cotton swab
Sheet of white paper
Purple grape juice

1.  To make the paint, dissolve the baking soda in the water.
2.   Dip the cotton swab in the cup and paint a picture. Hard to see?
3.  Simply brush over the picture purple grape juice. The picture mysteriously appears in blue-green colors.

Suggested Activity:
All teachers know how much kids love activities which involve magic and surprise!!! My suggestion is that they paint a picture and hand it to the teacher. After, when all pictures are mixed up, they have the revelation moment altogether. Students then, have to find out who painted and the author has to explain why he chose to paint that. Lots of surprise and interaction in your lesson!!!