‘Skype Status’ Activity

Regular classes with your students can be considered as a good start for them to become a self-confident English user. Along with them there are sometimes lots of extracurricular activities expressing an interest of further learning of the language. One of them I am going to share with you today.

At work where I conduct English classes with adults we all use skype for internal communication with colleagues. No doubt, some of them are my students. It is known, that there is a rather popular trend to post quotes from films, books or just your own clever thoughts into a skype status. Why not use this idea to make your students post something essential? The procedure is pretty simple.

  1. You announce 2 (or more) weeks of Skype Status Activity in your office or a classroom.
  2. You ask students to post a quote they prefer into a skype status, and tell them, that your status will hang there for 2 (or more weeks). They all can see and read statuses of their partners.
  3. You tell students that after 2 weeks you would like to award those ones whose status turns out to be the most interesting (thought-provoking, surprising, amazing, lovely….and so on).

The most interesting in this activity happens when these 2 weeks are over. How to award the winner and how to decide who the winner is? You ask everybody to vote for the status they like most or you can decide on your own. Before that think about gifts. It can be a book or a cinema ticket, depends on your fantasy.

I am looking forward to your comments.

Thank you.

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Post-It Notes for Metacognitive Feedback

The idea of Metacognitive Feedback is pretty clear for those who strive for excellence in improving their teaching skills. From the point of view of some English teachers, it is probably the most important part of the lesson and its value should never be underestimated. The ways of conducting it are different. My way which has recently been used and approved goes along with using post-it notes. Now I am going to explain how it works.

In the end of the lesson the teacher generally asks his or her students about the lesson: how it worked, what was new and useful, what they liked and did not like about the lesson. Sometimes students express what they want to say orally, and again, the way they do it can vary from lesson to lesson. Say, on the one hand, you ask students to discuss all the questions in pairs or in small groups, on the other hand, each opinion is extremely useful for the teacher and he or she wants to listen to each student’s opinion and make notes. In this case each student takes some seconds to say what he wants. Taking into consideration the fact that it takes a long time for someone to formulate their ideas and express their thoughts, why not ask students to write them first and then to express? For those purposes I usually use post-it notes. They are very convenient to use, rather democratic and are easily accepted by students as a form of giving feedback to the teacher. The idea is simple: you ask students to write their thoughts about the lesson on small sheets of paper. They can categorize their thoughts making a table if they want, or simply using different colors for answering different questions. If a student answer the question what he liked about the lesson, let him use a green paper. If he wants to write about what he did not like, he generally uses a red sheet of paper.

What do I do with these notes after the lesson? With a small size, a post-it note can be stuck on the board or on the wall, reds to reds, greens to greens. It is a nice visual expression of students’ thoughts and opinions. I don’t finish my lesson until I look at all these sheets of paper and analyze my lesson. These notes help me to reflect on the lesson and be prepared for writing a plan for the further lessons.

I am looking forward to your comments.

Thank you.