Yummy Revision

    I love ideas that simply come out of nowhere. My colleagues sometimes share their ideas and teaching tips that are extremely handy and appealing. That’s why I try to find a chance to use them as soon as possible. Today I was thrilled to have massive revision with my Intermediate students, following the idea of one of my colleagues Darya. I would call it Yummy Revision, and soon you’ll find out why it is so.

The idea is fairly simple. You should get a pack of M&M’s or any other brand of coloured candy. They serve like teaching aids for creating tasks for end-of-course revision.

Outline:

Step 1. Check the colours of M&Ms you have and cut out paper circles (one for each colour).
Assign each colour a category/topic for revision (e.g. Green: Decision­ making, Yellow: time-
management etc.) Stick  the circles on the whiteboard.

Step 2.  Divide your group into mini­groups. Pour M&Ms or any other multicolour candy into
3 bowls (I had 3 mini groups). Make sure the number of candies is equal in each, say, 9.

Step 3. And here we go­ Explain students that each group should come up with as many
tasks/exercises on a topic as they have candies of the same colour.

E.g. There are 3 green candies in their bowl (Green: Decision­making), so they think of 3
different exercises/tasks/activities on the topic. ( Make sure you elicit types of possible  tasks before –explanation, correcting mistakes, using the right preposition, gap­filling, providing synonymous phrases etc.)

As a result ­all your students are engaged, they revise target vocabulary, collaborate. After the class ask each group to send what they come up with to you by email, so that you
could check if everything in their tasks is fine.

Next class? It’s up to you­ have a competition using those activities, or pick the best ones, or
have them exchange their tasks etc.

And, of course, let them eat the candies at the end of the class­ they’re really well­ deserved.

I’m posting this large quote,  it’s how my colleague explained the activity.
So, today I was having the funniest class ever. It was fantastic to help students to create their tasks, to support lower ones and to ask the stronger to support the lower too. And yep, we ate those candies just after the lesson, sitting together on the sofa in the middle of the office and sharing our smiles and laughs.
And here comes a photo:

IMG_20160329_111425

I would love to thank Darya for this amazing experience!
This really made my day and I’m happy to share with you.

Thanks for reading!

‘Word of the day’ (Part 2)

[See the first part here]

To tell the truth, I’m not really into subscribing to such websites as “Idiom of the day” or “Oneliners-and-proverbs”. Yep, on the one hand, they are fabulous in terms of new vocabulary being revealed and learnt or, at least, noticed, and you can find out something really appealing. But on the other hand, having a huge workload and being extremely busy, you just skip those emails with a new idiom every day and it so happens you never read them again. Or you do, in case you’re inspired, but sometimes your motivation just fades away… My today’s post is about trying “word of the day” with students in the classroom, which turned out to be fairly engaging. Without being subscribed to one of those sites.

Otline: Teacher chooses a word, or a multi-word chunk, a proverb or an idiom and writes it somewhere in a corner of the whiteboard and introduces it to students in the beginning of the lesson. She asks her students to explain the meaning, and if they don’t know, she explains it. Later on students should come up with examples where the word is found (in other words, to make up sentences). Students can share in pairs, also they can make up questions to turn this activity into a communicative task. During the lesson the teacher can pay attention to the word again, and in the end to ask again about the meaning and examples.

The first time I tried it out with my Upper-Intermediate students, I completely went crazy about it. Firstly, this is something new your students will probably never find themselves. With a communicative task or a straightforward make-up-sentences activity the teacher can be sure her students will memorize the word. Secondly, it’s a new vocabulary unit that comes every lesson just in the very beginning, and it can become a nice starter every time, and you never need to come up with a starter idea. And without a doubt, it’s what your students will definitely love about the lesson.

With my upper-intermediates I made up my mind to assign students with a task to find word of the day for the next lesson and to share with the partners. We already had 3 lessons afterwards, and I should admit, this is probably the part of the lesson my students were looking forward to. At least, they were inspired to find out something completely new.

Thanks for reading!

‘Pass it round’ (Part 1)

Hi everyone!
Recently I have been suggested trying out several activities for the upcoming webinar on Vocabulary Activities. Honestly, I was amazed by the book ‘Vocabulary Activities’ by Penny Ur aiming to encourage teachers to use new ideas for their lessons to make them more engaging, yet beneficial and effective. I was really inspired when I started trying out the activities and I wanted

The first one I’ve given a try, was ‘Pass it round’. It was a follow-up task with suffixes for parts of speech. Students had been given a worksheet to come up with nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs with particular suffixes. So, ‘Pass it round’ was a revision activity just the following lesson.

Outline: students should add new items to vocabulary lists as they are passed round the class. S/s are divided into groups of two and three, they are given a sheet of paper with suffixes -ship, – ment, -ance/ence, – tion and -ness (as an example). Students are allowed just a minute to fill in at least one variant. Then the sheets are passed to another group and it has to read all the variants and has to add their ideas. The process continues, and each sheet goes to the group that hadn’t seen it before. When the groups have contributed, they can leave their sheets on their desks and can move round the class to see the others.

That’s what we’ve got today:

Picture1

The task turned out to be very engaging. To make it more competitive teacher can use a timer to have the exact time for filling in the sheet.

This task is great for revision, but also, it can be carried out for vocabulary expansion.

I’ll definitely try it out with other groups.

Thanks for reading!

A year of ELT blogging, a year of hopes…

A close friend of mine who is now becoming a very successful IT specialist, always says:

When applying for a job and preparing your CV next time, include ONLY skills and experience you really enjoy doing. In this case you’re definitely about to appreciate your future job…

It’s arguable, but, in fact, I take the point. And my today’s post is in no way connected with CVs or applying for a new job, but it is about experience and skills I’ve obtained to date. It is reflecting on my lessons and my teaching practice in general. So the next time I talk about my job and things that I love about it most (a common question I always ask during the first interview with my potential students), I’ll no doubt include blogging experience and share all the pleasant points I’ve encountered so far.

Yesterday I got the announcement about the first anniversary of my ELT blog Enséñame. If I were a hand-made seller, I would probably organize my first give-away and rush into giving presents to my followers. I wish I could… I wish I could hug everybody who I happen to know thanks to my blogging experience. I wish I could at least send a postcard to those who supported me and posted comments on my blog-posts with appealing ideas.

This year has been the best year of my teaching practice: a tremendous lot of engaging ideas, a lot of new ELT-world people, who contributed to my professional growth, a lot of grateful students whose results are inspiring me and giving food for thought.

Thank you everybody!

And .. thanks for stopping by.

Kisses and hugs 😉

One-Candle-cake

When you give up the next time…

Last summer my colleague Olga suggested that I should try my luck and write a speaker proposal for the upcoming IATEFL conference 2016. I remember those days in July 2015, they were not only stuffed with expectations and hopes. Sadly, I accidentally injured my neck and I was experiencing a terrible pain those days, every day was just a nightmare,  so I should say writing a speaker proposal turned out to be a real pain in the neck. Along with a proposal I was preparing 7 to 9 applications for IATEFL scholarships, don’t remember the exact number. Thinking, drafting, editing – I love these words, they are symbols of those summer days. But everything comes to its end, sooner or later. In august I spent wonderful weeks in the Crimea with my family and came back to work full of hope. But there was nothing to hope for. My scholarships applications did not win, but it was only September, and my speaker proposal could still be chosen and I started waiting for the e-mail from IATEFL. And I got it, in late November. Due to some considerable reasons my company could not pay for my participation and that meant I was not about to attend it anyway. To tell the truth, I was upset and completely frustrated about all this. Of course, presenting a talk at IATEFL conference was my dream, though it might sound banal and even trivial. The only difference is that all it was about MY dreams…

Last Friday I was traveling home when I heard a twit-twit sound of my smartphone announcing an email received. It was a message from a certain Patrick, I wasn’t very interested at first sight. The email ran, that though I hadn’t won the scholarship, Macmillan was very impressed by my entry and they were about to propose a special prize for me, including the excerpt of my entry published on the Scholarship page and a 6-month free subscription to Onestopenglish.com. Truth be told, nothing could compare to my elation and joy when I received that message. There were days full of dismay and despair, and now there are days full of sunshine in my soul. On Saturday I called Olya and told her about it, I wanted to share my feelings. And I also thanked her for such an unforgettable experience.

Now I´m back to work, surfing onestopenglish.com in search for new activities for my students. I´m happy to see the excerpt of my entry and my name together with names of teachers from Romania, Italy, Taiwan, Switzerland… I´m happy to be here among those who love teaching. Now I know for sure:

A place for everything and everything in its place.

Thanks for reading!