Me, Myself and Dublin

It was one of dreams to go to Ireland and luckily I had the opportunity to fulfill this dream combining a conference attendance and a short city break.

James Joyce Centre
The Writers Museum

Being a fan of Irish writers, the Friday I spent seeing the city was an extraordinary experience for me. I started the day visiting James Joyce Centre, then the Writers Museum. Being fuelled with literature and culture, I walked down the O’Connell Street, crossed the River Liffey and I arrived at the Trinity College in the heart of the city. Then I tried to follow the footsteps of Stephen Dedalus to Grafton Street, St Stephens Green, Belvedere College and I went back to my hotel, tired but happy.

beautiful doors of Dublin

ELT Ireland was on February 16th and 17th. It was a well-organized and friendly event. I had the chance to attend talks, which really gave me food for thought. It was really interesting to listen to Conor O’Reilly on Brexit and Impacts on English Language Learning in Ireland. This talk was also very interesting for an English teacher like myself outside the EU and gave me a very clear idea how the industry could develop in the coming years.

Attending a few ‘Train the Trainer’ courses at home in the recent years, I decided to listen to Chris Farrell on Mentoring in Teacher Development. The workshop focused on how mentoring is important as a bottom up teacher development tool and how it can help novice teachers when implemented effectively.

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Charlie Hughes at his talk

Another inspiring talk was ‘Experiencing Language: English Drama Technique and Methodology where Anna Kadzik-Bartoszewska briefly explained how drama techniques can be used in class and how it will be useful to promote self-esteem and self-confidence. The second part of the talk was delivered by Charlie Hughes who made us realize how our presence can effect others, how it can make a difference when we change our mentality and say what I’m going to bring when I enter somewhere instead of just participating and saying what I’m going to take from here.

From my workshop: Using Film in Language Classroom

My workshop ‘Making Connections: Using Film in Language Classroom’ was on Sunday morning. I briefly talked about why and how we can use film in language classroom. I mainly focused on short films as they actually give us more opportunities to make our students produce the target language.

I also attended another interesting talk delivered by Ian Brangan titled ‘CELTA uncovered: The Subtle Art of Unlearning’ For me, the conference was really fruitful and it gave me a chance to meet new people, listen to their perspectives and add new things in my luggage.

The most difficult part was leaving Dublin, as there were many paths to walk and many gems to be discovered. I hope I will be able to visit this beautiful city again.

beautiful River Liffey or as Dubliners call ‘An Life’

Tense Review

“Time is the longest distance between two places.”
― Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

I’ve been doing some creative writing workshops with a group of young learners. They love writing stories, poems but they still have problems with the tenses so today we revised them. As they love writing and hate drill-like exercises, I prepared a handout and had some fun guessing what people around the world are doing while we were revising the tenses. The handout may give you an idea and you can customise it according to your students’ needs and level.
You can download the handout.
TENSE REVISION-1zjok5g

Roll The 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.

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

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.

Lyrics Training and Costomized Exercises

Lyrics Training was a favourite site for me but for some time I have stopped using it in class. I was thinking to do a fun exercise with a class and my 16 year old daughter said ‘Why don’t you use Lyrics Training’ fot the lesson. I listened to her and visited the site to have a look at the changes and I found out that they are testing the teacher account. I signed up as a teacher , chose a song and created my custom exercise and then sent it to my students.

I noticed the need our feedback so here is mine.
This feature will allow me to do more songs in class and I just loved it.
What I will need as a teacher.
I’d like to add class accounts as in TED-Ed
I’d like to see my students’ scores (how long did they spend on the exercise, did they finish or skip it?)
I sent it as a link but I’d like to add it to Google Classroom too.
What can we teachers do after sending our customized lyrics training exercises.
We can lead a class discussion.
We can give them a comprehension exercise
We can analyze the song
We can ask them to write a song review.
Create a Padlet wall and ask them to post what they thought about the song.
Analyze the song like a poem.
Ask them to draw sequences from the song and then create a short movie.
You can try my gap fill exercise here
Here you can find more ideas on using songs in class