Chucking the Lesson Plan Out of the Window

Hi everyone,

Today I had a lesson with a learner and I had planned to do a lesson on phrasal verbs. I had my lesson plan ready (not really a plan, just a few ideas on what I would do and when), my presentation uploaded (this was an online class) and everything was set. The phrasal verb lesson was quite challenging and my learner did want to be challenged, so I was really pleased with what I had prepared for today.

My lesson started and I did a bit of chit chat. My learner said,

I am working from home because I get distracted at work.

and bam…. my lesson plan went down the drain, and I just changed everything!! You see, this phrase got us talking about distractions and working from home.Penny dropping.

I then decided that THIS was the chance to change the lesson into something that was prompted by the learner and something that made her very chatty. So, scratch the grammar lesson, we are gonna do a speaking/ listening class.

What did I do?

I found the Jason Fried TED talk about ‘Why Work Doesn’t happen at Work’ and asked her questions that were actually answered in the TED talk.

I asked,

Where do you go to get important things done?

What is the connection between work & sleep? She actually got this right!! It is phase based.

What distractions do you have at work? Can you categorise them in real and not important distractions?

We spent about 10 minutes talking about those questions.

I then asked her to take notes of the answers Fried gave to those questions.

Because the TED talk was long (15 mins), I broke it down into 2 halves. Half way through, we discussed her answers to the questions and issues that came up from what she heard. We then heard the rest of the talk and did the same.

So,we talked about what the learner already knew,  what she learnt from the talk, and what she wanted to learn from what she heard. This talk actually inspired her to do some research on meetings, managers differences between  the USA and France, and Jason Fried!

Beach in Chania

Did I just have a learner driven lesson?

I think I did. Yes, I prompted her and gave her a provocative TED talk as stimulus. I have never had this learner be so chatty before! She loved it because she is a manager and she could relate to what was being discussed. She actually asked for the link to the TED talk cause she wanted to use it during a meeting.

Me, to myself.

YES!

Did I meet my learning objective?

Well, we did not do anything about phrasal verbs, and if my objectives were to

*familiarise learner with phrasal verbs of verbs XYZ and blah, blah, blah,

then, we didn’t, but this spontaneous 5 minute planned lesson was one of the best we have had and she loved it. I am glad the penny dropped when it did, and that I was actually ‘listening’ to my pre-lesson chit chat.

Joanna’s words of wisdom

Do not underestimate the power of chit chat.

Listen to the ‘chit chat’.

Use it to guide you in your choice of material.

It’s OK to chuck out the lesson plan and be spontaneous.

Oh! But do keep in mind that I do have a lesson plan for the Jason Fried TED talk (which I have shared here) and I have used it many times, so while the ‘chucking out’ was spontaneous, I did know what I was doing and talking about. I knew my material very well. I just hadn’t prepared it for today.

So, folks that was my lesson today.I am a Happy Teacher today!

Do you guys have similar experiences? Let me know when you chucked out your LP and did something completely different. How was it?

Till next time…..

 

 

 

The girlie side of ELT: my Xmas book gift guide/ reading list

Hi everyone!!

Today’s Girlie Side of ELT  post is a video about books I will be reading during the Christmas break ( I am a teacher) and some book suggestions.When I am not reading books about teaching,  I like reading romance novels, so light reading. I also like historic novels and books about productivity, business, getting things done and so on.

The books mentioned

(Affliate links)
The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect:

These are books about a guys search for the perfect girlfriend/ wife. This is a fun/ light hearted book to read.

Books thumban.jpg
Bridget Jones mad about the boy

Bridget Jones? This is the latest book and it has nothing to do with the movie. That’s what I’ve been told.
Queen’s Sorrow

Novel about Henry the 8th wives. I have read a few books written by Dunn. They are easy to read.
Girl boss:

This book has been written by the owner of Nasty girls and she talks about the company and how she rose to success/ advice and more.
The Decision book:

If you want to be more productive, read this book. I read it in one night. Yeap. A page turner.
Presence:

I love Amy Cuddy’s TED talk , so I had to get her book. It is about challenging yourself.

For more details about the books, check out my video. Do subscribe to my channel cause I am really tying and I do know I need to improve and get proper filming equipment, bt for the moment, I am testing it out.

Thanks for stopping by.
xox
Joanna

Hi everyone!!

Today’s blogmas post is a video about books I will be reading during the Christmas break ( I am a teacher) and some book suggestions.

I like reading romance novels, so light reading. I also like historic novels and books about productivity, business, getting things done and so on.

The books mentioned

(Affliate links)
The Rosie Project & The Rosie Effect:

These are books about a guys search for the perfect girlfriend/ wife. This is a fun/ light hearted book to read.

Books thumban.jpg
Bridget Jones mad about the boy

Bridget Jones? This is the latest book and it has nothing to do with the movie. That’s what I’ve been told.
Queen’s Sorrow

Novel about Henry the 8th wives. I have read a few books written by Dunn. They are easy to read.
Girl boss:

This book has been written by the owner of Nasty girls and she talks about the company and how she rose to success/ advice and more.
The Decision book:

If you want to be more productive, read this book. I read it in one night. Yeap. A page turner.
Presence:

I love Amy Cuddy’s TED talk , so I had to get her book. It is about challenging yourself.

For more details about the books, check out my video. Do subscribe to my channel cause I am really tying and I do know I need to improve and get proper filming equipment, bt for the moment, I am testing it out.

Thanks for stopping by.
xox
Joanna

Christmas Countdown Activities

Hi everyone,

For the 3rd year, I have prepared a day-to-day activity calendar/ countdown up to the Christmas break. There are loads of shorter and longer tasks you can try with your learners. If you do not like all the tasks, I have added some extras at the end of this post. I hope you like my suggestions!!

Cuntdown.jpg

Possible preparation before the tasks start:

Depending on your budget, you may need to ask students to contribute.

  • You may need to order blank Christmas stockings. You can find a 6 pack on Amazon here.
  • Ask your students to bring in small stocking fillers/ pressies, so you can use them in the pass the parcel game. You can set a price limit.
  • Buy chocolates for various activities (if you have the budget)

Thursday 1

Decorate the classroom part 1

Ideas:

Decorate the Christmas tree.

Print Holiday Season colouring pages and hang on the wall

Friday 2

Decorate the classroom part 2

Gingerbread Streamers

Christmas gingerbread men streamers. Get a string of paper and get each student to draw a gingerbread man. Then cut out the men and make a hole on the top of the paper and hang it in the class.

 

Picture from http://www.enchantedlearning.com. Found here

Educational twist: teach your students the parts of the body while making the streamers.

Monday 5

Set up the secret Santa game/ activity.Explain what secret Santa is. Put all your students’ names in a bag and then each student pulls a name. Make sure there is a money limit or that everyone is making a gift instead of buying something (that’s up to you to decide).Also specify that the presents need to be gender neutral!  Tell them they must bring in their presents on X of December (give yourself time to make or purchase something if a student has forgotten to bring a purchase).

Tuesday 6

Christmas/holidays around the world project: Get your students to find information about how Christmas is celebrated around the world. It may be a good idea to do some research on how people in Australia celebrate cause it is summer over there🙂. Give your students about ten days to finish their projects. Inform them that they will be presenting to the rest of the class. Depending on class size, you can do this as individual/pair or group work. You can also send your learners to this website and ask them to find information. Presentation date: Friday the 16th

Wednesday 7

Holiday ABCs

Make teams and give students pieces of paper with different letters of the ABC. Each team must come up with words that have to do with the holiday season and that of curse start with the letter they have on their card.

Thursday 8

Time for some Christmas songs/ carols. Find a Christmas song you like, search for the lyrics and start singing with your students. My suggestion: Santa Claus is coming to town

                           You better watch out

                                  You better not cry

                                          Better not pout

                                                   I’m telling you why

                                                        Santa Claus is coming to town

Yu could also do a Christmas karaoke. This video has 15 songs without words just the lyrics and the music.

Friday 9

Online Christmas trivia: Get your learners to answer questions about the holidays.This can be done online in pairs or groups. You can find the quiz here.

Monday 12

Describe the object/picture:Depending on the class size make groups of 3 or more.. Give one student a Holiday related picture. The other group members cannot see the picture. The student with the picture describes the object and the other group members draw what the student is describing. Once the description is finished the students see how close to the drawing they are. This can also be done with a Holiday ornament where the student describes the ornament and the other learners draw it.

Tuesday 13

Time to watch some movies.

Christmas movies for kids

The Polar Express

Home Alone

Frosty the Snowman

Miracle on 34th Street

The Muppet Christmas Carol

It is a wonderful life

For teenagers/ adult learners that like romance❤❤

You can watch Hallmark Christmas movies. A lot are available online. Just press Hallmark Christmas movies on YouTube and you will find lots of full movies online.

If you do not want to watch something for a full lesson, you can watch the Charlie Brown clip below (7 minutes long)

Educational twist: Get your students to write a film review or summarise the main points of the story.

Wednesday 14

Make a Christmas Stocking. Ask your students to bring in a  blank Christmas stocking. Use different materials to cut out ornaments/ designs that they will stick on their stockings

Thursday 15

Pass the parcel Holiday edition. You wrap chocolates or little gifts in lots of layers of paper. You make a few ‘parcels’.You give the parcel to the learners who are sitting in a circle. While the music is playing they need to be handing each other the parcel’. You, the teacher, stop  the music suddenly and the student who is holding the parcel needs to take off the wrap.

Educational twist:

When the music stops in order for the student to unwrap the parcel, you can ask a grammar/ vocabulary question. If they get it right, the take the wrap off, if they get it wrong, they don’t take it off..

Friday 16

Present the ‘Holidays around the world’ project set on the 6th of December.

Monday 19

Sock Snowman: Get your students to make a snowman out of a sock. You can watch the video with your learners and make a sock.

Educational twist: Get them to write down the instructions on how to make this. Half the class watches the video and then they have to tell their classmates (the other half) what to do. If you are interested in grammar, get them to practice countable and uncountable nouns.

Tuesday 20

Stocking filler exercise. I have written a blog post about this task. You can find it here.

Wednesday 21

Pin Rudolph’s red nose. How do you play? Find a picture of Rudolph online, blindfold your students, turn them round in circles for a bit, and then ask them to pin Rudolph’s nose. This activity is loads of fun and young learners really like it. 

f5513-untitled2brudoplph

Thursday 22

Christmas Scavengers Hunt/ Treasure hunt.

Place clues around the class/ school that will lead to a ‘treasure’ (maybe a chocolate/ cake, so that it can be shared). Depending on your class size you can organise more than one treasure hunts.

Friday 23

Party time/ Secret Santa.

Need more ideas? Try these extras.

  • Go to audible.com and use the free trial option to listen to Charles Dickens audiobook (it is 2hrs 54 mins long). This is appropriate for higher-level learners.
  • More Christmas DIY ideas video (it’s got some Itlian words, but you get the idea from watching the video🙂 )

  • Play Christmas word snake. How is this played? Each student takes turns to write a word connected to holiday season on the board. The final letter of student A’s word is the first letter of student B’s word.

                                     Christmas

                                                       Santa

                                                                 Angel

                                                                           Lantern   

  • Time to make a card for the Holidays! You can find templates here or improvise!!
  • Play Holiday season Bingo (make word or picture Bingo cards). You can find templates here.
f5ac5-bingo

Picture from DLTK website (linked above)

I hope you enjoyed this post. Don’t forget to follow my blog and other social media.

Thanks for stopping by.

Joanna

Plan with me & Giveaway :)

Hi everyone!!

I made another plan with me video and I only used digital paper this time, since my teacher friends seem to enjoy these more crafty videos/ posts, I thought I’d share it here as well.

Right side.jpg

You can watch my video and see my planning stages. You will also have a chance to win these goodies.Stickers.jpgWashi.jpg

Watch the video here (it’s a bit shaky….)

There will be 2 winners! Open internationally. Hope you enjoy my ‘planning’.

Giveaway Thumbnail.jpg

xox

Joanna

Xmas stocking filler game

Hi everyone!!

I was watching a movie the other night and I got an idea for a Christmas activity. You  need Christmas stockings and stocking fillers which are all brought into the class from your students. I think this will be great fun, so let’s have a look at the procedure, the learning objectives and my suggestions on how this activity should go.

What do you need?

Students🙂

Stockings

Stocking fillers

Example of the procedure

Students bring the stocking from home and they fill their stockings with items that are important to them. They give the stocking to the teacher in private so that the other classmates do not see the stocking. The teacher hangs the stockings in the classroom and asks the students to pick a stocking.

Student A has put different stocking fillers in his stocking, for example,  a plane ticket. Student B, who has picked student’s A stocking, takes out all the stocking fillers.

Student B then starts guessing the significance of the item. For instance,”I see a plane ticket.I think this student has travelled abroad.” After student B describes all the objects in the stocking, the whole class guesses who the stocking belongs to. No one is allowed to say if it their stocking or not. After all the stockings/ stocking fillers have been described and all the ‘guesses’ have been made, the students say which stocking was theirs and the real meaning of the items in their stocking.

Christmas pic 2.jpg

Teacher instructions

Tell sts to bring stocking from home.

Each stocking must have 4 things in it.

Emphasise that they should not show/ tell any other classmates what their stocking or stocking fillers look like.

Inform learners that this is not a gift exchange. All items will be returned to original owner.

The stocking fillers must have a special significance for the student. The items should not be too obvious, so that other learners can have fun guessing what these items mean and why they are important.

Timing

Each student needs to describe the object they take out of the stocking and discuss its significance for at least 2 minutes.

Depending on the size of the class, you allot the time.

Skills practiced

Listening/ Speaking.

Students use vocabulary  and grammar related to guessing and hypothesising.

Feedback?

This can be a great learning opportunity. as the teacher is mostly monitoring, they can take notes of any errors made during the guessing or stocking filler description and then the whole class can correct these mistakes.

I think this will be a  fun activity and everyone can take part. No money needs to be spent because students bring in items that belong to them.

Let me know if you try this game. Don’t forget to follow my blog (check the sidebar) or give my Facebook page a ‘like’ so that you don’t miss out any super duper posts.

Till next time……

Jo

 

How talking about’makeup’ has affected my teaching

Catchy title eh? Yup . I am proud of this one! Now, let’s talk. There is a lot of convo going on about whether or not we should talk about our personal life, things we like with our learners on not. When does sharing become over sharing? When do you draw a line? Do you bring yourself down to the learner’s level or are you up on your teacher pedastol?

I am now going to tell you what I think what is essential for ‘good teaching’. Maybe even THE most important.

Rapport

No matter how many diplomas and MAs you have, if you are distant, in my books, you will probably be able to teach the mixed conditionals, but you will not be making an impact and you probably won’t be remembered.

Do you need to be remembered as a teacher? Of course (me thinks) but not as the scary teacher, but the one they smile at when they see after years.

Why?

What do you mean why? When your learners like you, they learn better. When you have a good relationship with your kids, they thrive. They feel comfy to ask questions, they don’t mind making mistakes. They enjoy coming to class. OK, sometimes there may be a danger of overenjoying coming to class aka turning your class into a playground, but let’s not focus on that one.

Rapport and good relationships with your students allows you to use the second best ‘weapon’ in the classroom.

The guilt trip

If your students don’t give a crap about you (sorry for the bad langauge but I am trying to be dramatic), then you cannot use the guilt trip card. You know the card you use when you say,

I put all my energy into:

  • correcting your essay,finding material

  • trying to make the lesson interesting

  • teaching you on a Sunday

  • and you don’t want to pay attention?

The wake up call when learners are in lala land, arrogant or just not putting enough effort into their work. That’s freakin great child psychology (the guilt card) :p

Now, let’s move on to some more focused and serious reasons why ‘becoming friends’ with your learners can be very beneficial.

Finding Material

You learn about your student’s likes/ dislikes, so you know how to choose better material. They become your ‘theme’ syllabus!!

Being more concious of learner needs/ problems

If your learner feels comfortable with you as a teacher, they are mosre likely to talk about any learner problems/ issues they have. It is not just about understanding the Passive Voice, it may be “I am a slow reader”. In Greece, very often, parents do not talk about learning difficulties and you are left scratching your head, trying to figure out what’s going on. If your student feels safe, they will open up. This will help you as a teacher.

Disadvantages of good rapport?

Are there any? Yes, depending on how you define ‘good rapport’. Number 1 is drawing the line. I have had students tell me stuff they haven’t told their parents. that’s when I have said,

Do not tell me this. tell your mum because if you do not, I will

Becoming too invested in your learners and worrying about them.Taking your ‘work’ home and having trouble persuading yourself that it is NOT your problem, you cannot solve everything.

So, yeah, the lines can be blurry, but taking the distant teacher hat off, getting off the pedastol, is better than being the one who does not make a connection, does impact.

daisy.jpg

Thanks for stopping by.

Joanna

 

The girlie side of Elt: polka dot/scrapbooking spread

Hi everyone!!

Whenever I post a planner -related post, you guys seem to like it, so I made a video coz I started making videos (yeap, I have gone nuts). Today, you can see my face and my planner!!

I know the quality of the video is bad but it was fun to make. So, I hope you enjoy my girlie planner stuff. Oh! If you wonder how long it takes me to make my spreads, I’d say about 60 mins. Down time. I relax and cut pieces of paper and use stickers🙂

Have a lovely day, night, afternoon.

Jo