Fish bowl paraphrasing activity

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is going to be about an activity a colleague shared with us and I thought it sounded like a good idea. If you teach paraphrasing and academic writing, this post is for you.

Procedure

Put students in groups of four and then four more around those student. This is something like a circle in a circle.

The students in the inner circle are given a text which hey are asked to paraphrase. Once they are happy with their paraphrase (I suggest you give your students a word and time limit), the teacher takes away the text and asks the student to share their (paraphrased) text. The students in pairs must paraphrase the text again.

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Why do this?

It is a great way to help students avoid plagiarism.

It’s a great collaborative task.

It’s more fun than writing a paraphrase on your own.

Have you tried this activity? Have you tried a different version? Let me know what you think!

Till next time…..

Jo

xx

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Research is like….. Getting creative in the EAP classroom

Hi everyone!

In today’s post I am going to talk about a fun and creative activity I did with my students (not my idea, but really enjoyed it and thought I’d let you in on the task). Teaching in the EAP classroom can be sometimes dry and tiring. It can get boring as well!! Teachers are always trying to find ways to make some of the lessons a bit more enjoyable. This is the case of today’s writing idea. It’s sort of like an EAP picture composition.

What did I do?

Students were introduced to metaphors and were then asked to finish the sentence
research is like……
What this meant was that students had to compare research with something
Research is like a birthday cake……
Now, they also had to discuss the features/elements of research with those that go into the process of let’s say, making a birthday cake. I probably do not make sense…….

Procedure

Students were then asked to think and brainstorm about everything that comes together in order to do research (professor, thesis statement, books, journals, library etc.).
We wrote everything on the board. I then started writing my text. I introduced the task with an example.
I said,
Research is like a day at the beach. The water is my research question and the sand is the data and the sources I need to use. When I combine the water and the sand they become one entity which helps me make a castle. The castle is my research project. The person who helps me create the sand castle is my professor. He tells me ……
I actually drew pictures of some of the items as I was writing this text.

Final thoughts

Most of the students got into it and made picture essays in a Google doc. Others just wrote a text. It was a fun activity and I will definitely be trying it again next term.
Till next time…..
Joanna

The one where you meet someone who reads your blog…..

Blogging is an interesting thing. For me, it’s like writing a journal. I chat and ramble and engage in interesting conversations with you guys but because everything is online, while it is real, it doesn’t feel real. Do you get me? I mean I share my stories, I ask for advice but everything is in world wide web!! It isn’t tangible. I do not meet people!!Until……..

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Well, a couple of weeks ago I met two teachers who said,

Oh! When I heard your name and saw your face, I knew I was reading your blog!

How cool! How embarrassing!!

The things I say here!! The things you guys actually have to read and then to meet teachers who have actually read my blog and like the stuff I write? It’s so weird!!

But this isn’t the first time this has happened. Last year I went for lunch with some friends in Newcastle and one of the people there said,

Oh!

I read your blog as I was preparing for my pre-sessional interview!! Your tips were helpful.

Mind-boggling folks!!

So, you don’t really understand the “power”, “dynamic” of blogging until you have that face to face interaction I guess  or maybe I don’t!

How does that make me feel?

Well, I guess I feel strange and happy at the same time. Happy that I can help someone, strange cause, boy oh boy, do I ramble!! I guess bigger bloggers are used to it, but I am not. That’s why I am writing about it today. Does meeting someone who has read what I say, change the way I blog? Nope!! Still gonna ramble!!!

So what about you guys? Have you met any of the teachers who read your blogs? How does that make you feel?

Short and sweet today. I have to write 15 posts this month!

Don’t think that’s gonna happen, but I will try!!

Till next time….

Jo

 

 

My Whiteboard & the thought process behind it

Hi guys,

Blog post numero duo (don’t worry my counting in Italian is gonna end today!) is here. Today I am going to talk about and show you my whiteboard. I have never really shared pics of my whiteboard, but I thought I’d share something cause well it’s interesting to share the ‘thought’ process behind what goes on my bard.

My context

I was teaching academic English and the lesson was a writing lesson.

My thought process

Of course I don’t think my whiteboard is perfect nor do I think that you will want to lift it and make it your own, but it makes sense to me and my learners. My white board is often photographed (I will touch upon the whole photograph thing a bit later on).

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Let’s take a closer look

You know when you reach the end of a series of sessions which have all been leading up to the writing of a long essay? This is what this board was for. A round up of the things my learners needed to focus on before handing in the first draft of their cause and effect essay. It was, in fact, based on questions and things I had noticed needed to be highlighted. I like using asterisks and smiley/sad faces. I draw boxes, circle things and so on. I do not use colours cause I am colourblind and that does not make sense to me (see what a non colour coordinated whiteboard looks like?).

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Setting Homework

Yeap! I make a list of everything my students have to do for homework. This works for me cause I don’t erase it, so it is there the next time I go into class and I get to check it. It works for my students as well cause they take a pic and check their homework (hopefully they do it as well!!).

Camera in the class: Do or don’t?

Well, personally, I don’t mind when my students take a pic of my whiteboard. I do always warn them though. I say,

Just because I am OK with you taking a pic of my whiteboard/ slides, doesn’t mean all the tutors are, so you need to ask for their permission.

I also tell them when they need to write something down. You see, when something is super important, I tell them to take notes and not just a pic. I think they retain it better in their memory. Someone actually told me that. Dunno if it is an urban legend though or true!!

So, there you have it. My whiteboard. I’d love to see yours. As for the #hanachallenge, I am on number 2 (have committed to 15…. let’s see).

Don’t forget to follow my blog (if you aren’t already). ‘Like’ my Facebook page (see sidebar on ways to connect).

Thanks for stopping by!!

Till next time….

Blog post number 1: My big news!!!!

Hi guys!!!

A while ago Hana Ticha wrote a blog post about how lots of bloggers were not really blogging that much and we (silent bloggers) kinda took it as a challenge and decided we’d try to blog as much as possible in September.

I set a target of 15 blog posts. Let’s see if I manage to do it.

We named it #thehanachallenge and you (yes, fellow edu blogger) can take part if you wish and try to set a target of as many as possible.

Beach in Chania

Let me explain my silence

I have actually gone from a rambler to not writing much at all.

I have been busy. I mean really busy. I have too many hobbies and a demanding full time job, so I kinda stopped blogging.

The other thing is that I feel all “blogged out”. I mean, I have kinda shared most of the things I wanted to share. I have written loads of blog posts!!

Blogging was also a way I shared my ideas cause my teaching situation made me feel a bit isolated, but now I go into the staff room and exchange opinions and then it’s out of my system folks!! I never had a proper staff room before. A space to share ideas, talk about our work problems. The past few months I did.

This brings me to my big news. Yup. So, if you have been reading my blog for a while you probably know that

I am in Greece

I teach EAP in the UK during the summer

I teach Business English online

Well, this year was a bit different. My EAP journey started in March and….

I just got a full time job at a UK university!!!

It’s my first full time EAP tutor post. I am so excited and so scared!!! It will be a new chapter in my career as a teacher and quite challenging cause I have never lived in the UK during the winter, I have never been far away from my family for so long and yeah, it’s a new beginning.

So, there’s my life update and blog post numero uno!!!

Till next time….

Jo

The girlie side of ELT: 2 Summer Reads

Book Reviews
Hi everyone,
Today’s post is about books!I ❤ reading light-hearted books, especially during summer. I will actually talk to you about two of the books I have read so far and recommend them. If you like novels that are funny and about love, I have something for you love!
Both

13 Weddings by Paige Toon

I read this in 3 days. It is about a girl called Bronte who woks for a magazine. She meets someone, falls in love, and so on so on. You see her adventures and giggle from time to time. I like that about books. If a book makes me laugh, I am content. I really liked the ending because it was not predictable. There is a second story line which I did not really get (father- daughter relationship), it did make me want to read more though in order to figure out what was going on.
I recommend this book if you are looking for something easy to read, on the beach during the summer.
You can get the book here.
paige

The Queen of Wishful Thinking by Milly Johnson

I haven’t finished reading this but I thought I’d mention it cause first of all, I really like where the story is set. England and in an antique shop. This one is about two people who love antiques and meet. They are both married and not very happy in their  marriages. It is interesting to see the couple dynamics. Not as light- hearted as the other book, but nothing heavy (so far). Again, a book you can flip through during your holidays. You can get it here.
milly

Other recommendations

If you haven’t read the Rosie Project or the Rosie Effect, you need to. Again stories about finding love but written from a guys perspective. I have one spoiler for you. He makes a questionnaire in order to find his perfect wife. These books are really fun to read and page turners. You can get the Rosie Project here and the Rosie Effect here
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If you enjoyed what you read, do subscribe to my blog. We can also connect on social media. Click on the ones you use and connect with me 🙂  Pinterest / TwitterInstagram/Google+. /YouTube  Maybe give my Facebook page a ‘like’ and you will neva, eva miss out on my super posts.

See you in my next post!!!

xxx

Jo

Don’t Judge a book by its cover (get to know me activity)

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Hi everyone!

I had a warmer idea for the ‘get to know me’ part of a lesson and I thought I’d share. It’s based on a social experiment I watched regarding blind dates. So, the warmer is called ‘judging a book by its cover’ (I made that up. Don’t know if this activity exists somewhere in the ELTsphere) and here is how it goes. Of course you can use this activity when teaching a 1-21- lesson, an online lesson or any type of lesson. You do not need any props except pen and paper.

Procedure

Introduce the task by showing a PPT or writing on the board the phrase:

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Ask students what they think it means. Do this as a class activity. NO pair work. Students should not be talking to each other at this stage!

Once you have discussed what this means. Write the following questions on the board (My PPT: Get to know me).

start

Give students 3-4 minutes to answer these questions about you. Ask them to shout out their answers regarding you. Then show them/ write your own answers. This should take about 8-10 minutes depending on how much you want to share etc. Tell students to find someone they have not spoken to before. This will be their partner for this activity. Hand out the question papers. I have linked mine here (Your name is), but you can also make your own. Avoid controversial questions. I think it’s a good idea to stick to basics.

Question Ideas

  1. Your name is………………………………………….. 
  2. You are………………………………………… years old.
  3. You are from…………………………………………….. 
  4. Your favourite colour is………………
  5. In your free time you like to…………………………………………………………………………………… 
  6. You do not like…………………………………………. 
  7. Your favourite movie is………………………
  8. Your favourite singer is……………………
  9. Your favourite actor/ actress is………………….

This activity can last as long as you want it to depending on how many questions you have. My students are adult learners who are going to do a Masters degree (hence the uni question).

So, that’s the Get to Know me/warmer activity. Hope you like it. Let me know if you try it and how it went. Connect with me on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram 

Thanks for stopping by…..

Joanna