Websites, videos & random stuff I use in class

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Hi everyone!

Today’s post is all over da place… but goooooooooood (me thinks). I am sharing with you a few things I used in class, plan on using in class, and some things some of my Facebook friends shared with me!! So, let’s share folks!

I was teaching question tags and I came across My English Page website and it is pretty good. You can get the question tag lesson material (theory) here and exercises here. I would not use this for weak students or lower level learners. I’d say it is better for A2+. I usually go to the Grammar Bank website when I am looking for theory + exercises (online), but I thought I’d try this one a try as well.

My learner asked me to find videos/material that would help him familiarise himself with the Aussie accent. I grew up in Sydney but only have an Oz twang as I have been told and my accent is not as Aussie as it used to. So, anyway, I asked my Facebook teacher friends for help and many made suggestions, so I am sharing these suggestions here as well (thanks to everyone!!).

So, Aussie accent lesson plan from ELT stories.

Katherine suggested I checked out Elllo. I had never heard about this website. I just had a quick look and there are various videos with different accents (from all over the world) and listening questions (plus the transcript of whatever the person in the video says). There are even EAP videos (yup) Interesting!!! You should check it out.

I discovered ABC News Australia. Videos that last for 90 secs. You can find them here.

I used this article again in class and had forgotten how good it is to get students talking. I have two words for you. Language Police. You can read the article here and use it in class as you wish.

Harvard Business Review Podcasts: I am going to use this podcast in a lesson later on (if I make a lesson plan, I will share it here). The podcast about productivity is worth listening to though, especially with your Business English students/ higher level learners (lawyers/ CEOs etc.). I love the part about reading and the flashlight/ naps.

Quick fun game (saw this in a planner group).

Tell your students:

So,you have $10.000 but you can only buy things that start with the first letter of your name. What do you get???

My answer: I’d get  jumpers, jugs, jelly beans- jelly babies, juice, Jo Malone perfumes, a jigsaw puzzle (not sure about that one), Japanese beauty products (that’s cheating) : Dunno what else….

But, how can you make this part of a lesson? Well, you can do this when teaching nouns, or as a speaking task before teaching story telling. It could be part of a lesson where you teach reasons or the use of because.

Something random

(coz everything else mentioned so far is connected :p)

Lettering is a ‘thing’ and I am trying to improve my lettering skills. I found some pdf files on some websites and if you want to try lettering with your students or improve your own calligraphy skills, you should check out this website.

So, that’s all for now guys. If you have found anything worth sharing, do let me know in the comments section below. By the way, I often wonder what you think when you read my posts, I mean, I am so informal!! But I am me and I am talking to you guys like I would if we were in the office, sharing ideas. OK. I am off now!!

Till next time……

P.S. EAP pre- sessional tutor posts have  started to get advertised on Baleap and indeed.org.uk. You should check them out and you can also read my tips regarding pre-sessional EAP courses/ interviews and so on.

Hey, I missed you guys. Haven’t written a (kinda) proper post in ages!!!This is actually my 200th post!!! Thanks for being here xx ❤ ❤ ❤ 

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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…..

 

 

 

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!!

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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

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.

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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

 

An Ietls Speaking Session turned into a needs analysis session

Hi everyone,

I had an Ielts class with a new learner and I decided to start with a speaking session. I thought this would give me a better picture of my learner’s level and a first idea of what I needed to focus on when choosing material.

What I already knew about my learner

Adult, engineer, post graduate level learner who wants to do an MA in the UK. He already had a B2 level language proficeincy certificate and used his English occasionally.

The day of the lesson came.

After a bit of small talk,

How are you? (that’s the end of the small talk)

I then took out the Ielts Practice Tests book and went to a speaking test. Of course, my first lesson was not going to be a mock test, but I did want to use ‘authentic’ exam questions.

 

Why?

I wanted:

to give the learner an idea of the speaking questions (topics, level and activities).This is going to be a crash course (intensive course?). We started this week and the learner will be taking the test in March. I needed to know the weaknesses asap, and I thought a speaking sessions would allow me to do that. This was going to be my productive skill needs analysis session.

I also wanted:

to have a communicative lesson (because they are more fun) + a lesson that focused on a productive skill..

to focus on a skill that is a bit more relaxed compared to the others.

The lesson: some thoughts and reflections.

I found a speaking test about being famous. In my mind, talking about being famous yourself, and other people who are famous, is probably a topic everyone can talk about because famous can be defined in so many ways. We also live in a day and age where being famous is not that hard.

Task 1: Ice Breaker/ Intro Questions

I started off with the first part of the Ielts test which is the ice breaker. Talk about your self, your friends, neighbourhood, life / work.

This actually was a good task cause I got to know my learner much better.

I did not stop him or time his answers, I went with the flow. I did not make error correction either. unless it was something major that impeded communication. Instead I lifted up my notebook and took notes. I said to my learner that I would jot down good points and corrections.

I noticed my student was making pronunciation mistakes and grammar mistakes, so I made that the focus of my notes. My needs analysis speaking lesson was in progress.

After we finished the 1st part, we talked a bit about his mistakes. He took notes, and wherever possible he corrected the mistakes he made. If he couldn’t find the correct answer, I told him.

Part 2 The Card

I then gave him a card with questions (this is the 2nd part of the Ielts oral exam). I told my learner he could think as long as he wanted to, take notes and then tell me the answer to these questions.

Again, I took notes, then at the end, we corrected mistakes, discussed issues.

Part 3: Open ended questions

This part was tricky because it required:

Longer turns/ monologues.

Critical thinking.

Digging deeper into the question and elaborating.

My learner had difficulty answering longer/ open ended questions, so I gave him an example and told him how I would answer a question like that. He then did answer the questions. This part showed me that when asked more complex questions my learner struggled, so now I had info about pronunciation, grammar and expressing opinions/ holding monologues/ longer turns.

Ielts.jpg

On the downside

My learner did look at me while I was writing, so while I did tell him that I was taking notes of good/ things and weaknesses, he wasn’t really convinced and there were times when he asked,

What are you writing now?

There were others where he felt a bit discouraged by the questions, so I did stray off the original exam type questions.I do not think that is a downside though (just to be clear). There was a lot of brainstorming and scaffolding in the last part.

In fact, the last part of my lesson allowed me to see how easy it is for my learner to come up with ideas and organise thoughts.

So, by the end of my one hour course, I had a first impression of what my learner needs help with. I have already made a list of some of the grammar points that need to be addressed in future classes as well as ‘sounds’ my student needs help with. By the end of this first lesson, my learner was also aware of what the Ielts speaking part is about.

All in all, I was happy with this type of ‘needs analysis’ speaking session. It was very hands on, dealt with ‘real language problems’. As this is a crash course, I really need to be very focused and have clear objectives. I always think that my 1st lessons are flops, a lot of let’s meet and become friends vibe and this was

Let’s meet, become friends and get down to business.

That’s all folks.

Don’t forget to follow my blog. Give my Facebook page a ‘like’ so you don’t miss out on my super duper posts.

Have a nice day/ evening.

Joanna

 

Drawings in the EAP classroom (my Iatefl presentation)

Hi everyone,

Today’s post is a video. It is my Iatefl (Birmingham) presentation.Un fortunately, I was unable to go to Iatefl, so I thought I’d make a voiceover video.  My talk is about using drawings when teaching academic writing.

Before watching please keep in mind:

  • My presentaion was part of the forum on academic writing and it needed to be 15 mnutes long.
  • My abstract stated that I was going to also talk a bit about presentations and how to use drawings there, but I decided to only briefly touch upon that as this forum was about academic writing.
  • Even if you do not teach academic writing, you can still use some of these drawings in your classroom.
  • I was nervous!

So, I hope enjoy the video and feel free to leave a question, comment in the comments section below.

Thanks for watching.

Joanna

#Marchfavourites

Hi guys,

I am back with another monthly favourites. I am sharing with you websites, videos, articles and loads of random stuff you can use in your classroom. I am kinda happy with this one cause there are lots of interesting things here today.

 Shout Out to Bloggers

I discovered a new blog that I like (technically she discovered me), so you may want to check her posts out. It’s called the ELT Think Tank. The post I am sharing with you today is How to get most out of Socrative in the Classroom.

Tekhnologic and I worked on a colour blind friendly post. The focus was on colourblind friendly graphs. You can find it here.

Online material for the classroom

Ideas for an article+ lesson plan (video based session): Guy Goma, the IT Job Applicant Who Was Mistakenly Interviewed on Live TV. This has been turned into a lesson plan (thanks Sue for telling me) and you can get it at Lesson stream

Websites to check out for extra grammar/vocabulary etc practice: www.englishpage.com

I was looking for a reading text that focused on conditionals and discovered this website. You may wanna have a look. Press here.

Articles I read and loved (I used with my learners)

8 benefits of being a cat owner

This is an incredibly cruel way to model plus-sized shorts: This article caused a lot of discussion!

 Videos:

The New York Times

The NY Times website has loads of videos you can watch and create lessons. I created a lesson based on the McDonald’s coffee case (you can find it here) but there are loads of other websites you can check out here.

Harvard Business Review

There are loads of short videos to watch with your learners. I have used this one:

How to get the feedback you need to grow

Random but relevant

Crafts

You know I like my DIY and well, I watched this video and loved the idea. You can make (scrunched up/crumpled) paper flowers. Press here to watch the tutorial.

Fonts

Free calligraphy fonts which you can use for your blogging, lesson material or to practice calligraphy with your students (just an idea). Tip: you download the font and then you open the file you have downloaded. You press True Type Font File and then install. It gets added to your Word.

Work

Looking for a summer job (EAP and others)? These are my favourite websites for job hunting:

http://www.jobs.ac.uk/www.baleap.org.uk

I had a great moment this month as I got two of my blog posts published in the Huffington Post. You can check them out here and here.

Finally, this is not a favourite for March, but I am really looking forward to this. I am going to be presenting at the Iatefl Birmingham conference. I will be part of the forum on academic writing and will be talking about drawing in EAP. If you are there, do come and say ‘Hello’. My talk is on Thursday the 14th at 10:25.

So, that’s all for now. Don’t forget to follow my blog if you are not already and give my Facebook page a thumbs up so that you do not miss notifications! You can follow me on Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram. If you want to read my beauty/TV and random favourites, check out blog number 2.

ELT fav

Thanks for stopping by. If you have a favourite you would like to share, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Sharing is caring.

Thanks for stopping by.

Jo