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

The one about the complaint….

I know, I know, I have been “missing” for quite a while, but to tell you the truth:

  • I haven’t had any blogging ideas to share
  • I have been crazy busy
  • I haven’t been in blogger mood for a while now.

Today, I am writing because I have a story to share.

A true story.

So, here goes.

I started working at a new place. Still EAP, but a different EAP contract. Compared to my pre-sessional EAP courses, the modules are pretty much the same, the skills that need to be taught the same, the ‘topics/ subjects’ the same. But, this is a new job and I was a new teacher and I shared that with my students.

I said,

Hi! I am Joanna and I am new here. I have been teaching……

I gave my BIO/ CV in a 2 truths and one lie warmer type of activity (you know the game where you write 2 true things about yourself and one lie and the students need to guess the lie).

The lie was

I have taught at XYZ before (I hadn’t taught there before)

HA! BIG mistake Jo Jo. Why hadn’t I chosen something else? Why did I want them to know that this was my first time teaching there? Who knows???!!! That warmer sentence came and bit me in the b@#t later on.

Here is what happened.

Students had to write 2000 word first drafts. I had to give feedback and return the first drafts. I gave a lot of feedback. In my mind, I was helping them improve and just making suggestions. I was really happy with my first draft feedback. So were 99% of my students.

You are a very good teacher, Joanna. You gave a lot of feedback.

1 peristeria

Now the feedback I gave was sandwich-y.

Positive

Some recommendations/ error correction

Positive

Now, let’s get back to the 99%. One day, during a lesson, one of my students said,

I think you are a very strict teacher, Joanna. You gave us too much feedback. I am worried that because you have not taught here before you will be too strict and you will give us bad grades. Last term we complained when we got bad marks.

Oh no she didn’t! Oh! Yes, she did. Does that sound like an intimidation? A bit cheeky, huh?

Was she implying that if I did not give a good grade, I would get a complaint of some sort?

My response was,

I have been teaching almost 20 years. I know how to give feedback on an essay. I gave you this much feedback because this is probably the only time you will get this much help with your writing. When you go to uni and write essays, your professor will  probably not give you feedback on your topic sentences or your subject verb agreement. I am trying to help you improve.

Silence.

So, that’s my story. Ever had anyone judge you cause of your newness? Ever had your ‘newness’ challenged?

Thanks for stopping by!! Don’t forget to follow my blog and connect with me on my social media/ Facebook page.

Till next time…..

J.

 

 

 

 

How I plan and write my blog posts

Blog posts

Hi everyone,

This post was inspired by Tekhnologic who wrote his 100th post (if you have not read his blog, you really need to check it out. It is amazing). He actually tweeted me and I felt like this could turn into a kind of tag, so after reading his thought process and everything that goes into his blog posts, I thought I’d share my blogging process. So, here goes.

First, let me start by saying that when I look at other teacher bloggers’ blog posts, I often feel like my blog is a bit different. My language is often very informal and my posts are often borderline personal. I actually have a girlie side of ELT tab, remember?As no one has told me off or sent me any ‘ you are a loser/ teacher blogger’ hate comment yet, I stick to it because I love it. For me,

this space is more like a teacher journal and less like a place where a teacher would go to learn. Sure I may provoke a thought or two from time to time, but there are other blogs that are much more informative than mine.

having said that, I do need to say that I love blogging, I really enjoy sharing my thoughts with you guys and when from time time (very rarely :p), I share something that can be useful in the classroom, I love getting the lovely comments from you guys.

Why I started blogging

Marisa, my Delta tutor, suggested I start blogging as a way to reflect (as part of my Delta) and a monster (aka me, the blogger) was born.

My blog post thought process

There is none. I mean, I don’t plan blog posts, I do not schedule, and in general, my blogging is all over the place. That’s something you probably already know if you have been following me for a while.That is why some times I publish a zillion posts some months and others, just 2. You see most of my blog posts are me sharing thoughts. These thoughts pop into my little brain, and then I feel the urge to share, and I do. I share and share (yeah, sometimes I overshare).

BUT

I do have some more serious posts where I share lesson plans or other teacher related materials. Those take more time. Those I kinda plan, as in, I actually do research in order to write. I see what is out there in the blogosphere. I find sources. I make handouts.  I draft, redraft etc.I want them to be more ‘professional’ and of course more useful for you.

Let’s Share

So, the blogging part (writing) does not really take much time cause it’s ideas and thoughts that are bursting to come out. The sharing takes more time. I share my posts mostly on Facebook. I also share on Twitter (I use hashtags like #elt #eap #businessenglish #edchat #eltchat), Pinterest and Stumbleupon.

My blog in numbers

I have written about 205 blog posts (and some guest posts). My most popular blog post is the Amy Cuddy TED Talk lesson plan (even unis have used it :)). My most successful post, in my view, is the #youngerteacherself blog post, which became a tag, and many teachers wrote their own post.(if you have a blog and want to join the tag, do do so. I’d love to hear your advice).

So, I that’s my thought process. Let me know what yours is. Thanks to T. for the inspo. There is a hashtag #ELTbehindthescenes

If you are in Athens, join me at the TESOL Greece convention on the 18th/ 19th of March. I will be talking about drawings in the classroom (Saturday 18th at 12:30). How a teacher can use different drawings in order to teach different concepts.

Connect with me on Twitter/ Facebook/ Instagram 

That’s all for now.

talk soon.

xxx

J.

The girlie side of ELT: planner reviews

Hi everyone,

I have officially gone…… nuts and, yeap, I made a YouTube channel (prepare yourselves for what follows).

One of my first videos is about planners because I love planning, organising, planners and pretty stuff. So, pour yourself some coffee, get some pop corn and watch me chat about planners.

If you want to, you can subscribe to my channel, but there will be a lot of makeup talk there , so consider yourself warned. Having said that, any support is appreciated….

So, here is a post about different planners and how I use them. You may get some ideas.

Thanks for stopping by.

xxx

Jo

I love to hate formal observations

I mentioned in one of my previous posts that my next post was going to be about formal observations cause well, loads of people are talking about them, and I thought, I’d join in. Now, loads of time has gone by since I said that, and this post has been sitting in my drafts section for quite a while now, but now is the time. Let’s talk about observations and formal observations (observations that are assessed).

So here is what I think. Formal observations are necessary, but evil (tell us how you really feel Jo). Now, evil is used for dramatic purposes. Before I go all full on about what I dislike about formal observations, I will start off with what I like about observations in general. You learn. You get constructive feedback and you see your teaching through someone else’s eyes. If you are a stronger personality, you may even ask the person observing you to pay attention to one of your weaknesses and give you tips on how to deal with that weakness. They help you improve, think out of the box, and maybe even approach a lesson differently next time. Anyone can observe you. A new teacher can give you fresh ideas a more seasoned teacher may give you practical tips and vice versa.

BUT as I said earlier, formal observations are not my cup of tea. Why? Cause even if you are the best eva prepared and qualified teacher, there is someone who is there looking at you,assessing you,  and this is stressful.

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Assessment and formal observations

In cases where formal observations are part of a diploma/certificate, they become a ‘tool’ of assessment.Someone is  assessing you based on what? Criteria. Criteria set by whom? Do these criteria fit all teaching contexts, situations, learners and teachers?

So, my next question now is, if you have a 3-4 formal observation, will they really showcase how good or bad a teacher you are? And before you say… ”that’s not why formal observations take place Joanna”. I will ask you, “so why assess then?” That’s why, for me, the assessment part of formal observations shouldn’t exist. In my little brain, the sole purpose of an observation should be to help you find ways to become a better teacher. Does assessment take that away? Yes, when you are box ticking.

Now you may say, “Yes, but in order to get a certificate/diploma, we need to formally observe you and assess you.” Sure you do, but just cause I pass the assessment criteria, doesn’t mean I know how to teach. I could have read all the criteria and made a lesson that fits these crtieria, couldn’t I? Or I could be teaching this way to pass the criteria but in real life, I neva, eva teach like that.

And anyway, what is a perfect/ good lesson? Who defines good or bad? Finally, (this is just a question that will probably piss you off) but isn’t the person assessing you, assessing you the way s/he thinks the lesson should be because the criteria have become embedded in their brain?

So what do I suggest?

Of course I am in a position to make decisions, but in my perfect little pink world this would happen. Observations wouldn’t be assessed. Period.There would be no box ticking.

I would observe, but not assess.

I would ask the teacher being observed to tell me what they want me to focus on (some people to do that). I would then make suggestions. Not assess.

I would ask for lesson plans after the observation. I would give the teacher the time to sit down and write a lesson plan after the observed lesson. Don’t get me wrong, the teacher can make a little lesson plan prior to his/her lesson, but, I, the observer would get it after the lesson. Why? Cause for me, one of the hardest and most stressful part of a formal observation was sticking to my lp.

Final thoughts

I have had some very enlightening and helpful observations in my teaching career. I have gained a lot from them. How should teachers be assessed in order to get a diploma? I dunno. That’s not the purpose of this post!

Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. It’s all yours.

Till next time ………

The girlie side of ELT: organising your desk

Hi!!

Today I am going to show you a happy place on my desk and give you ideas on how to store your pens and all your stationery. I will also show you a few things on my amazon wish list and maybe inspire you (please keep in mind that I am using amazon affiliate links, so if you choose to buy something, I will get a small commission. You do not pay extra though). So, without further ado, here is how I keep my desk… a bit organised.

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Mugs to keep your pens and pencils

I think mugs are so pretty and I have two in which I put pens and pencils. I am going through a stationery addiction at the moment and buying all these pretty little pens. I am trying to have more white and soft colours instead of black. I have a transparent glass mug with flowers and a white mug with zigzags. As I wanted it to be a bit more pretty I put some small flowers bouquets in the mugs.

Jewelry box

You know that nowadays you can find loads of jewelry boxes with draws. I got one with roses and polka dots. In the drawers I store little bits and bobs I need.

jewelry box

 

One drawer erasers, liquid paper, paper clips etc. I have another draw for chewies, pills I need to take everyday and a lighter. I have a drawer with hair ties, elastic bands etc, and my final drawer has all my usb sticks (FYI: I am an online teacher and well, a face to face teacher , so I need all this stuff lying around on my desk). I also have a few small notebooks next to the jewelery box/stationery organiser and of course my lovely Kawai erasers.

 

My wish list (amazon links)

Pretty mugs

Royal Albert China New Country Roses Cheeky Modern Mug, White/Pink . You can find it here.

Roayl albert mug.png

Paperproducts Design Gold Rose 11-Ounce Porcelain Mug, Set of 2 . You can get this here. I like how this has 2 mugs and it comes with a case which you can use to store envelopes, bills, notebooks etc.Mug set.png

Jewelry box

Jewelry Accessories Box – Colorful Flowers With Drawers. You can get it here.

jewelry box.png

Cute pens

Rbenxia Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens Plastic Cartoon Pin Type Office Students Pen Pack of 10pcs  You can get them here.

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Amazon screenshot

 

Cute erasers

Sweet Treat Erasers Bakery 4 Pack . You can get them here.

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Amazon screenshot

 

 

These are some of the things I like. You can go and check out similar things on Amazon, Etsy stores or your local stores.

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Don’t forget to ‘pin’ this 😀

 

 

Subscribe to my blog if you like what I have to say. If you don’t, gimme another chance. Connect with me on Pinterest/ Instagram.Maybe even give my Facebook page some TLC?  Remember the comments section is all yours.

Till next time……

My day in four skills: #4skills1day

I posted this on my 2nd blog (cause one blog is not enough) and I had so much fun. So, here is my day in the four skills (cleva eh? toot toot. Tooting my own horn). This should become a #hashtag.  #4skills1day (There I even made it!!!Dunno if anyone will write something similar but you know me. I ❤ chains).

Listening, reading, writing, and speaking. Welcome to my day guys, or should I say my class?!? Yeap! Yeap! Me being random once again!!!!

Listening

So this tune played over and over today. Seriously, if you play it once, you will play it over and over again!!!! It reminds me of the good old pop songs. 80s? nice. Nice and nicer.

Reading

I read this article with my learners. It is sad. Disturbing and really makes you wonder about how much we are polluting the atmosphere and crazy ‘selling’ ideas. Full article can be found here.

Speaking

I had a speaking lesson and my learner said that s/he enjoyed the session cause we were speaking and it didn’t feel like I was a teacher. Hmmmmmmm dunno how I feel about that.

Writing

Well, I am writing this blog post. I have already written another one and I wanna write one more for my edu blog. So writing x3

So there you have it. All four skills in one post. Can you describe your day in the same way? Let me know if you do (hashtag remember?)

Till next time……..