Roll a Dice

You feel tired and have no energy to plan a lesson for tomorrow,
Your students have been too fast to finish the tasks you planned for this lesson,
You see they sulk, they feel bored or tired and can’t understand the lesson,
then why not roll a dice and let the fun begin.
What can you do with a dice?
There are wonderful no-prep activities to liven up your class, to motivate your students to speak or even to write. Here are some activities you may want to use whenever you feel the need:
1. The student rolls the dice and tells things aboult herself according to the number on the dice. If the number is three, for instance, she must say three interesting facts about herself.
2. Write what each number is for (from 1 to 6) on the board. Such as, 1 something you’ve done so far today; 2 something you want to buy this year, etc and the students roll the dice in turns and talk about themselves.
3. Dictate them an opening sentence for a story. Tell them you’ll throw the dice and they have to continue to write the story. The dice will decide the number of sentences they’ll write. If the number on the dice is 4, they will write four sentences. Then dictate them another sentence, tell them they can change the subject but they have to fit the sentence into their story. Then roll the dice again and students continue to write. Roll the dice for the last time and tell students to finish their stories.
4. Ask students to write questions on cards. Put the pile of the cards in the middle of the desk. Roll the dice. The students must answer questions according to the number on the dice in turns.
5. Divide students into 6. Give each team a number from 1-6 and a topic such as travel, school, celebrations and then tell them to write questions on their topics on small slips of papers or cards. When the questions are ready, ask them to roll the dice and answer the questions in turns. If 1 is travel and they’ve rolled 1, then they will choose a question from that pile.
6. Assign a task for each number 1: draw the word, 2: use the word in a sentence, 3: define the word, 4: spell the word, 5: give a synonym, antonym or a derivative of the word, 6: ask a question using the word.

An the list goes on….
Hope these will help.

5 Ways to Sharpen Your Memory

 

A few years ago I was able to recall phone numbers, important dates and names easily. I never felt the need to jot down dates, shopping items on my agenda. However, things are not the same anymore. Perhaps I can easily put the blame on my smart phone which does all the job for me but deep down it makes me uncomfortable. Not knowing my own kids’ phone numbers by heart is a real pain  so I started doing some exercise. Here are a few tips for the ones who want to sharpen their memories.

1 If you can’t learn a phone number, break it up into chunks of two or three digits. Instead of searching the name on your contact list, press the numbers to call people you often call.

2 Make shopping lists before you go to the market. Put them somewhere visible. Try to keep the items in your mind while shopping.

3 Start a new hobby such as Sudoku, knitting, crafts, writing a blog…. The experts say this way your brain will build new connections between neurons. Grandma kept knitting until she was 90 and everything she knitted had patterns and she used to say it was good for her because she was counting while she was knitting.

4 Learn something new every day for the neuron thing.

5 Read, read, read.. If possible start a reading club with your friends and come together to discuss the books. The discussion usually leads to friendly chats 🙂

Bonus: Stephen Krashen always says be bilingual and drink 3 cups of coffee everyday to keep dementia away from you.

Draw a Door

Rue Cremieux, Paris

My door is on the roof. I climb with a rope. I have stairs from moon. (Maral, age 11)

One of the most favourite activities we do in class is creative writing. It is great for revising grammar and vocabulary. It is also great for unleashing their hidden talents. Although they sometimes complain about drawing, they end up with wonders.
Here is one we’ve recently done:

Creative Writing Task:

Imagine it is 2040. Draw the door of your house an describe your life there.

  • Aim: Talking about daily routines.
  • Describing people and and places
  • Using present simple tense

In the end I was happy with a bunch of creative minds who managed to think outside the box.

My Words

 

We all know that teaching vocabulary is one of the most difficult part of our job. I don’t know why but the students tend to ignore that they have to learn words and instead they focus more on grammar. However, without words grammar serves as math formulas. Here is a very quick activity that can be used with students to deal with new words or revise the ones they’ve already learned.

Tell them to list five-ten words that they love (depending on their level) and then write why they have chosen these words. You can use it with every level but the beginners will need more guidance. You can give them a handout (not necessarily, they can easily jot down in their notebooks) and ask them to fill or complete it. As a follow up they can create word posters using Wordle or any other tool or you can ask them to write a mini saga using these five words.

Here you can find a sample handout?

 

Explore Oxplore

I’ve just come across this fancy new portal created by the Oxford University, Oxplore. It is a gem. I will just write how it works and how I’ve started using it with my students.The portal aims teenagers. Thus, it is colourful, vivid and eye-catching. It attracts the attention of the visitor. It is easy to navigate and fun to spend time there.

 As it aims 11-18 year-olds it asks big questions (YES-NO) that they will find interesting. These questions are easily debatable but before we debate, the portal let us know a lot of things about the issues.. Promoting critical thinking, It gives the students a chance to see every coin has two sides. It also gives possibilities for differentiation as the portal offers different sources, quizzes, articles and a video. Moreover, the site is prepared by the University of Oxford so the information you get is reliable.

 If you like the site and want to contribute by asking your ‘big questions’ you can send your questions, or encourage your students to ask their questions which will be sent to the team to be another big Oxplore question.

I prepared an Oxplore activity handout so that we can also discuss the questions in the class. You can have a look at it screenshot of my handout and I’d like to hear how you will use the website.

handout