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Friday, May 28, 2010

A Song for the Class

After reading a post in Jason Renshaw´s Weblog, in which

Jason embedded the video of the song Enjoy the Silence, I thought it would be interesting to make use of the song as a way of introducing a talking point in my upper intermediate class.

As to the selection of tasks, I was inspired by a post I read in Janet Abruzzo's edublog and by another one I read in Eva Büyüksimkesyan's blog, A Journey in TEFL.

Here's a link to the tasks I prepared: A Song for the Class

I hope you find it helpful. Which songs have you found suitable to be used in your classes?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Creative Tool

I like finding out innovative ways of presenting material to my students as part of my self-improvement edtech skills. I'm far from being an expert but I do my best to make use of the free tools available.

Among Google docs I've chosen a format to devise charts so as to summarize a book module and help my students organise the topics they have to study in order to be prepared for the end-of-module written test.

These are the summaries I've created and I've been able to download them in pdf format too:

Which tool do you use to create summaries in order to help your students organise their material for studying?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Attempt to Motivate Students

Motivation is one of our main concerns as teachers, especially if we teach teenagers, whose motivation span deflates at lightning speed. In an attempt to encourage my teenage students to adopt English learning habits at home, I've created classroom blogs and wikis to upload material for my students to use after class. Thanks to my Twitter colleagues I'm able to receive creative ideas I do my best to put into practice so as to prevent my students' motivation from fading.

In this post, I'd like to share some of the links I've used to update my students' blogs and wikis:

1) Quizzes: Definitions

2) WallWisher: Students' Expectations

3) Games: Synonym Toast

5) Surveys: Free Time Survey

6) Articles connected to the topics introduced in class: Extreme Sports

7) Interactive Stories: Inanimate Alice

8) Grammar Tasks: Multiple Choice

9) Intonation Awareness Exercises: English Media Lab

10) Bakcground Knowledge: 2010 World Cup Map

11) Listening Practice: Accidents at Home

12) Speaking Practice: Questions Recorded with Vocaroo

This list is just an example of the kind of material I upload, for which I am thankful to my Twitter fellows for sharing it.

I'm interested in knowing how you encourage your students to practise outside the classroom.

Friday, May 14, 2010

It's Worth Taking a Look at This blog.

It's Worth Taking a Look at This Blog!

I would like to thank Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell) for mentioning Linguistic Consultancy in her post about the ten blogs you should look at and for all her support and encouragement. Her blog Teacher Reboot Camp is absolutely resourceful and a great professional boost for educators.

It's difficult for me to select only 10 blogs among the set I always read and find highly insightful.

These are some of the blogs I follow but I always read insightful posts written by qualified educators I come across in Twitter.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Comprehensive Classes

Teaching a language implies the developing of reading, listening, speaking and writing skills, which should be integrated when dealing with a certain topic in class. The integration of skills contributes to effective learning and makes it easier for students to fully apprehend what is being taught.

In one of my latest classes with intermediate-level students, I had to introduce the topic "extreme sports". In the lead-in stage, I used the pictures that appeared in the coursebook to present and elicit the new vocabulary so the students were able to speak about these sports. For the students to remember the new vocabulary, we created a mind-map. Then the students were supposed to do a listening task in their coursebooks. They listened to a conversation about extreme sports and completed a chart. After that, they carried out surveys and interviewed their partners. When they finished, they had to express the results of their surveys to the whole group.
To encourage a freer application of the vocabulary, students participated in a problem-solving task through interaction. They exchanged views and ideas to solve a problem: the possible dangers of these activities. For this task, students had to use functional language to agree and disagree and they had to respect turn-taking.
As a follow-up, I´ve uploaded an article about extreme sports in their class blog, which they were supposed to read at home. I've also created a Wallwisher for them to express their views on the topic.

In brief, it was a multi-skill practice of the language: students talked to each other, in small groups and to the whole class; they listened to each other and to the recording; they read an article and they wrote about their opinion in the wallwisher.