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.
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.
Something really annoying happened. I discovered a blog a few days ago. It’s an ELT blog but there was something strange. The site looked exactly the same as A Journey In TEFL. Even in the About page, the writer is me. I immediately asked help from Edublogs because it looks the blog has been written on Edublogs too. They informed me that it actually is just mirrored and is being hosted by an other platform. Although we asked their help, they rejected my request. The blog is called Language Ladies . Just have a look. You can even check if your blog has a duplicate too. I came across with it on Google Search.
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,
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.
Students scan through the week’s newspapers, online news channels and prepare their 3-minute presentation on current affairs.
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.
Students choose a quote that they like. Tell the class who said that and why they have chosen it and what it means.
Students choose a colour and research how that colour effects people.
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.
Beginning a lesson with a warm-up activity has many advantages. I can just list some as
waking up tired students
breaking the ice
encouraging students to talk and think on the subject
allowing students to settle down and prepare for the lesson
previewing or revising a particular language area
introducing the topic
starting the lesson with a smile
energising your students
proving oral fluency practice
and they are easy to prepare
There are many activities that can be used as warm-ups. Course books usually support the teachers with a short activity but from time to time, to surprise the students we can bring drama into the classroom. I’ll just list here a few drama activities and a few links for websites in this post.
Divide the class into two and tell students to stand as 2 lines. Tell them Line 1 will form a circle and that will be the inner one, line 2 will form another circle around the inner circle. Set time limits. Ask students to come face to face and talk about a) something they remember from yesterday b)what they know about the topic you are going to work on. When the time is up, tell outer circle to move until you stop them and inner circle to wait for a new partner. (You can play music while they are moving) When they stop, they can talk on the same topic with their new partners. You can finish the activity after a few rounds.
The teacher gives a piece of paper to the students and asks them to write at least 5 features of their character. The teacher collects the papers from the students and puts 4 chairs in a + shape. Then the teacher reads the features written on the papers and students who have those features are asked to gather around the same chair. Then the students can talk about their similarities. You can even put them in groups and ask them to create a class poster. This activity will be a great 1st week activity even with large classes.
Group your students and ask them to freeze frame a few scenes from the previous chapters of the book you have been reading after each scene the rest of the class try to guess which scene is in the frozen frame.
GoNoodle is a fun website you can find many videos and use them as warmers or energizers when you feel your students are getting bored.