Passives for getting updates

Hi everyone! This blog has been quite for a while, it´s high time I continued blogging about my teaching practice. I was off for my vacation and it was really amazing to spend a fortnight in the forest with no Internet, no social networks, no ridiculous messages from strangers… I´m absolutely delighted to be here with my fellow-teachers.

My idea of a blog-post today is to tell you about the idea I’ve recently come up with. I was looking for warmers or lessons starters with a grammar flavor and I hit the mark, I managed to come across some teachers who constantly use Grammar warmers to make their classes more engaging, on the one hand, and useful, on the other hand. I should admit, I don’t spend a lot of time with my Upper-Intermediate students getting them to revise Grammar. So how could I do it? Provide them with Grammar warmer.

The first idea I came up with was using Passives to get updates.
I was off for two weeks, and it was quite awkward to come back after a long time of silence from the office, and I wanted to get updates about the current situation. So I asked my students to make up sentences with:

It is said that…
It is discussed… It is believed that…

In giving this short exercise to my students, I’m killing two birds with one stone. Firstly, I’m becoming more aware of the current situation in the office. For instance, today I had a chance to know, our office is gonna participate in Summer Party and we all are invited! That means, we´ll be lucky enough to be entertained in a country-based hotel with lots of fun! Yikes! Secondly, while using these particular structures, students are becoming more aware of the Passive Voice, and what´s more is that the task is personalized.

Tomorrow I´m gonna try a bunch of new Grammar warmers, namely, ask students about their typical working week and this particular week (making use of Present Simple and Present Continuous correspondingly).

I’m happy to be back. Thanks for stopping by!

Yours,

Anna

Question Warmer

With my Pre-Intermediate students we are having now Grammar Section, where they can focus on answering questions. No doubt, it deals with using question words, or wh- words.

Today I’ve been lucky to create a warmer with interactive activity and a communicative task following it.

I elicited 5 question words, as we were having 5 people in the group. I wrote them on post-it notes and gave to students. I asked them to make up a question using their question words and it took them just a minute to complete this task. After that each student was supposed to come up to the board, stick a note onto it, write a question with it and read it aloud to partners.  After all questions were written on the board, students were having a communicative task with each other: they took turns to ask and answer those questions.

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My students have already had such tasks when they were supposed to come up to the board and write something on it, or ask their partner a question standing in front of it, and they loved it, for sure.

It was a nice lesson with a nice warmer. I wish I always had such an inspiration to create new activities and use them as well. How do you usually come up with new ideas for warmers? Where do you find them and how? Do you find my idea useful?

Thanks for reading.

News activity as a lesson starter

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Source: http://www.spotlight-online.de/language/vocabulary/good-news

Hi there!

Today I´m going to share an idea my students find challenging but attractive enough to be realized. It is an idea of a lesson starter when you meet with your students after a weekend or it’s just your first class after the weekend, when students are open to a new series of classes and they need to be warmed up and made to speak.

Preparation: before the weekend ask your students to use any news portal known to them to prepare a short 1-minute informative exchange including news they had a chance to face during the weekend. It can be news from everywhere and about any of aspects of life: culture, science, work, politics, ecology, traveling, etc. Just things they are personally excited about. I suggest doing it at the weekend to provide students with enough time for observing news portals.

How it works: break students into pairs and let them talk about news they want to share. Each talk should not be more than 1 minute. Then change partners or let them choose new partners again and repeat the activity. If possible it would be better to let each student to talk once to every member of the class. Also it’s possible to work in groups of three and four.

As a follow-up students can classify all news in accordance with its aspects given above. As a feedback they can answer the question whose news are more surprising (interesting, boring, memorable, etc).

I always do this activity with my Intermediates and Upper-Intermediates, on Monday morning it is vitally important to begin classes with something making you speak at once.

How do you find this idea? Would you like to try it with your students? Why? Why not?

Thanks for stopping by!

Real stories of real people represent an idea of an internal project

Several weeks ago I was having a successful series of classes with Pre-Intermediate students. At that time they were studying how to talk about their job and current working issues; no doubt that was achieved by revising Present Simple and Present Continuous as well as learning new ways of using Present Continuous in terms of speaking not only about a moment of speaking but also about changing situations.

The coursebook offered 3 texts about people presenting their jobs. It can be seen on a picture below: Present Simple and Continuous are used along with some necessary vocabulary to talk about their jobs.

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After the whole unit was finished it was high time to revise the material. As for vocabulary revision, I decided to ask stronger students from Intermediate group write their own short texts about their work using the proposed vocabulary and grammar. For having them as better visuals all necessary grammar and vocabulary was given in bold type. My story came along with theirs. The result you can see below.

 Picture of me 3

Anna Z. English Teacher.

I work for Epam Systems in Sergiev Posad office. My job involves organizing and conducting English classes for EPAM employees. I also take part in different conferences, webinars, trainings for teachers and special projects. For example, now I’m working on my blog where I write posts and articles about my teaching practice and tips for other teachers worldwide.

antonAnton A. Business Analyst.

My position in EPAM as a Business Analyst. A lot of my job consists of communicating with customers. Also I’m involved in organizing meetings for all Business Analysts of SP office and I’m a chairman of these meetings. Currently I’m working on a project with energetic Company ‘CHEVRON’. I’m planning future releases and I’m clarifying all the requirements.

Vitaliy

Vitaliy A. Software Developer.

I’m a Software Engineer in Epam Systems. I’m involved in implementing new functionality. I also write emails and test my work to ensure that my code works correctly. Currently, I’m working on a foreign project for a Canadian customer. Here I’m implementing tasks, related to service integration processes. These tasks are hard, so I’m reading a lot of documentation to get the idea of how it should work.

The idea was quite simple: I asked students to use those texts to talk about their jobs and current changing situations. Moreover, in the working kitchen where people get together during lunchtime we placed those stories and asked everybody to pay attention, saying that those were examples of “About myself”. The idea was welcome by other employees and we succeeded in motivating others to participate in other projects, as we called them. I was inspired too, as I could see students’ interest in doing this unusual thing.

In conclusion I want to say that if you like this idea to be used with your students, ask stronger students to help you. It will definitely generate their interest, too. Along with this, your target students will be really excited about reading stories about real people they know. Also, I’d say they liked idea about reading my story: they come a lot more familiar with what I do and what my responsibilities are.

Now I’m open to new internal projects. They are inviting and definitely worth trying.

Thanks for stopping by!