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.

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Roald Dahl 100 Years Old

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September 13th is the Roald Dahl day and this year it’s his 100th birthday. Regular readers know that I’m fond of Roald Dahl stories and I love using them in class. I just wanted to bring some links that you’d like to use with your classes.

Here the schools are not open yet but I’ll start the year with some Roald Dahl stories with my Grade 11 and 12 students. So here you can find some ideas and websites which will inspire you with your celebrations.

My number 1 is The Official Roald Dahl Website, full of ideas and inspirations. You can find writing tips, games, stories and teaching materials there.

On Teacher Vision, you can find loads of links with great ideas.

TES also has lesson plans and ideas.

British Council’s literature project BritLit has a great lesson on The Landlady with the full story.

Some older posts on my blog can be found here 

Well, let the celebrations begin!

Three Chairs, A Drama Activity for Language Classes

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I’ll share a quick drama activity I learned from our drama club while performing at an event at school.

  • Put 3 chairs in front of the board.
  • Put labels on the chairs as “sad-1”, “happy-2″,”angry-3”
  • Write some situations on slips of papers and put them in a box. (You are waiting at the bus stop and the bus is late / You are going to take an important exam /You are travelling to …
  • Let students choose a slip of paper
  • Give them a few minutes to prepare a very short story based on the situation they have on their papers.

Begin with the volunteers. Explain the rules.

Tell students that you will shout a number from 1 to 3 and she/he will sit on that chair and start telling the story according to the emotion written on the chair. While the student is telling the story change the numbers randomly.

This activity will be suitable for intermediate and above but I think it can also be tried with beginners as a reading aloud activity. The teacher can give a text to practise reading aloud and then asks the students to read the text sadly, angrily, cheerfully, etc

 

Fun with Readers

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Last week, with a group of twelve-year olds we had great fun reading a short story. It was our first meeting so I started with a getting to know activity which came from freshly Leo Selivan’s  latests blog post. Kids loved drawing stick figures and introducing themselves in third person.

Then we read the story and enjoyed ourselves a lot. On this blog post, I want to share some of the activities we did during the workshops.

1.I gave them word posters and asked them to work in groups. We checked the vocabulary together and then in groups they wrote a mini saga choosing 5 words from the word cloud.

2. We wrote a rap together about the characters and their meeting with the fantastic characters. Then we sang it all together.

3. When the characters met new fantasy characters, I put them in teams and asked them to write their songs together. 

4. I also cut some of the illustrations from the book and gave each pair a different picture and asked them to write “a six word story” for each picture.

5. After reading the story, they created a fantasy character and the land of the character drawing the character and the land.

6. Finally, as they told me they loved the stick figure activity very much, I asked them to work in pairs and gave each pair a character. They wrote their memes on a padlet wall.

In the end for feedback I told the kids to write 3 things they loved, 2 things they learned and a feeling. I loved the feedbacks very much but one of them made my day.

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Twitter Bios for Book Characters

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I’d like to share a quick activity I’ve done with my students. After reading a short story or a novel in the class or if the students are assigned to read their own choices, you can use this activity.

Ask the students to write Twitter bios for each character, (or the ones they’ve chosen) in stead of writing character descriptions. You can start with your own example. Tell them to highlight the significant characteristic of that character, adding hashtags as well. You may want to create a template for the exercise, the Power Point will help or you can ask your students to create their own templates.

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