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

Speaking For An Audience

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These new kids need more public speaking skills than us. They will work on projects in teams, they will present their projects and they will need to be more confident in front of an audience. Thus, as teachers we can encourage our students to speak in front of an audience by assigning weekly projects. Friday afternoons can be a great time for doing this as on the last day of the week they feel tired and demotivated. You can find a lovely box, or a jar and put the project ideas in and ask them to choose the one for the next week.

Here are some suggestions but we can add more,

  1. Every week students choose a song which tell a story and prepare a 3-minute presentation about the song. They have to mention the band, singer, genre and the story of the song.
  2. Students scan through the week’s newspapers, online news channels and prepare their 3-minute presentation on current affairs.
  3. Students find out about the movies or the plays on and choose one that they’ve watched or want to watch and prepare a presentation.
  4. Students choose a quote that they like. Tell the class who said that and why they have chosen it and what it means.
  5. Students choose a colour and research how that colour effects people.
  6. Students choose two places they want to compare. they can be two cities, two cafes, two bookshops, two clothes shops, etc and prepare a 3-minute talk.

 

A first week activity inspired by a novel

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September is here and another school year is on its way. I’m just enjoying the last few lazy days reading and planning ahead. I’m reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George at the moment. I loved the book. Not only for the plot, not only it is set in Paris along the River Seine but also the richness of the creative writing ideas that pop up in front of my eyes while reading it.

The book takes place in Paris and tells the story of a bookshop owner Jean Perdu who calls his bookshop the Literary Apothecary, because he doesn’t just sell books to his customers, he also prescribes them to suit their minor ailments he diagnoses in them.

I just don’t want to forget those brilliant ideas Mr Perdu brought into my mind so I decided to write them.

Here is one as a first week activity. Mr Perdu says “books are like people, and people are like books.” And continues “ I ask myself is he or she the main character in his or her life?” (pg 28) well, I’m not going to reveal more but I’m planning my first day activity as follows.

The activity will be suitable for any level if you plan it that way but I’ll do it with my year 12 students.

Tell students they are a character in a novel.

Tell them to describe themselves, their motives, ambitions, weak points, strengths.

Who else are in their story? What kind of characters are they? A short description for them as the characters of the story…

The blurb of their story, their problem and how they expect the story will end.

I’ll tell them to create a book cover and a few pages of their books to display on classroom walls.

I think this will be a good beginning for a class who will be studying hard for their university exam. This year their main concern is the exam and how they will shape their future so I guess starting the year with these book covers will be fun.