July 2010 archive

Reading Authentic


image created via Add Letters

Reading is one of the activities I love doing. However, students don’t usually like it as they haven’t built a habit for reading or they think they don’t read in their daily lives. When I ask about their preferences, they mostly say they don’t read anything.

Of course, they do read. We know that but they don’t know it. They consider reading is just reading books or newspapers. Maybe we can start from there and make them realise they need good reading skills to survive in life.

When they go out, they will walk and see signs and advertisements on the billboards. When they shop, they will have to read the labels or what is in the product. When they go to the doctor, they will have to read the prescription and when they want to celebrate an important event, they will want to invite their friends to eat together so they will buy cookery books and read the instructions.

This is how we do in our mother tongues but they will travel. It’s easier now. They will use social media and have friends all around the world and it is very obvious that they will need English even for reading labels, jars or recipes so everything we read in our daily lives can be used in EFL classrooms as well.

Showing them how to read and teaching them the meaning between the lines can help them see that they actually read. And who knows maybe some of them will even start reading stories too.

Here is an activity I thought I can use with my classes.(As reading recipes is another thing that I love doing)

Activity for reading recipes

Level : Intermediate and above

  • Group the students
  • Give each group a set of recipes
  • Give each group the ingredients they have at home.
  • Tell who will be the guests and add what they can’t eat (allergies, taste choice, etc)
  • Tell them to prepare a three course meal for dinner . They have to cook and prepare in 60 minutes.
  • Students will read the recipes, check their ingredients and choose what to cook.

Follow up: Ask them to create a glogster for their menu.

Staffrooms of the 21st century

It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and that means schools are close and we are on holiday. That’s good because it gives us a chance to relax, read and have some ‘me’ time.

That’s also good because during this time we can do something for professional development just attending some workshops, reading books, even cleaning our files and book shelves will help.

This summer is a bit different for me because my PLN is making me ready for the coming year. Every day they keep sending great links, tips, adding comments and suggestions to the blog posts and it is kind of a constant workshop going on 7/24.

Once again I believe having a PLN is like sharing a staffroom with your colleagues. A staffroom without doors and borders, a staffroom full of colleagues with lots of experience with so many different classes, a staff-room with different point of views which will help a new teacher to analyse better.

Sometimes it is like you are talking alone but then you hear voices. They help you leaving their ideas, suggestions or even they can help by talking face to face using Skype.

I’ve been teaching for a very long time and this comfort that I’ve just found is a wonderful feeling.

Another 1st Day Activity-Promises to be kept…

ImageChef Sketchpad - ImageChef.com

I believe from the moment we enter the classroom, our aim should be to help our students see where their learning journey is taking them to so the first day activities are important to give them some clues too.

You can adapt the activities below according to your classes. If they are new comers this way you can learn about them changing some of the questions, if you already know them you can just remind  them their reason to be in the class.

Activity 1

I ask my students to write a letter to me imagining it’s the last day of the class and tell me how they became successful throughout the year answering the following questions:

How many hours a day did you study English?

How many books did you read?

What was your aim?

How did you improve your studying skills?

What advice can you give to your friends who will be in this class next year?

How did you change?

When I read the letters, I comment on them and tell them that those are their promises and they have to keep their promises. So they should read the number of books they have written in their letters or study or do the things they have stated.

However, this year I’m planning to do something else.

Activity 2

Materials: colourful paper or cards, colourful pens, blue-tac

Ask students to choose some colourful pens and paper.

Tell them to write their names in the middle.

Tell them to write what their plans are for the year, how they will study, what they will learn, what they will read, etc on the corners or around their names.

Then stick the cards on the walls so as not to forget them 🙂

Skyping Discussions






image from here

I’m thinking about a new challenge. This year thanks to twitter and my PLN, I and my students experienced wonderful things. We had global projects and skype chats now I’m thinking to move it one step further.

Sometimes we organise debates in the class. I thought maybe we could do it using skype but then I realised we would need judges and a winner team so I gave up with this idea. Now I’m thinking to find classes for my classes to discuss a given topic.

They can read and research and then we can talk about it. 5 students for each class, a student can have maximum 90 seconds. Student As sit face to face, one of them speaks and then the other. Then they leave the seats to student Bs.At the end of each session each class writes a report and prepares a post activity on the topic using one of the web 2.0 tools.

I know we have a curriculum but may be we can arrange a discussion at the beginning of each month. This can give them a chance to chat with other teenagers and I strongly belive that these types of activities will boost their confidence.

My students will be grade 10,11 and 12. They are intermediate to upper-intermediate. Let’s think about the topics before September.

We can start a wiki and add the recordings and explanations there.

Would you like to join me? Please RT this post and drop me a line here.

Chaos on my blog

Well, I’m not happy with the look of my blog. I used Blue Zinfandel Enhanced by Brian Gardne which is very modern,simple and easy to look and read. However, I wanted something more energetic and decided to make a change.

Changes are sometimes very good and they save us. Don’t we change our hair colour or hairstyle when we feel depressed, bored or can not find anything to change in our lives so I changed the look of my blog and chose Notepad Chaos by Evan Eckard. It is lively, energetic and cute but now I find it too chaotic. I don’t want to change the appearance of my blog once a month. Yet I feel this one is not for me so for the last time (I hope) I will change it.

What I want:

three columns: but most of the themes I like have 2 columns so I think I’ll choose one of them.

colour: I want a white or pale white look. I find black difficult to read. However, some black themes are just gorgeous.

something like a notebook: yay but some themes are so beige which is not something I want for my blog.

personal: I must love it and it should say something about me. (I don’t know what, though)

Anyway, if you are reading this post, it means that I have finally found what I’ve been looking for and will keep it.

ps: and at last it’s ready… but I feel like I look for a different colour lipstick for a long time and back home with what I’ve already had…

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