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Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Touching Surprise

As part the the series My Personal Learning Network/What you
can Learn from my PLN in her blog Teaching Village, Barbara Hoskins
Sakamoto (@barbsaka) had a brilliant idea to recommend posts from
blog archives and to encourage colleagues to read "hidden gems".
Barbara created quizzes based on those posts and offered prizes
as a reward.

I took quiz #3 and I was drawn among the winners! Solving the quiz was an enriching experience and I had fun doing it. Barbara asked me for my address and yesterday I received the prize: Japanese chocolates, a fan (as a touch of Japanese culture) and a lovely card handwritten by Barbara herself. I was moved when I opened the package and thought it was coming from far away. I felt I was receiving Barbara´s warmth in that package, which had travelled such a long distance. I shared the chocolates with my nieces, who were amazed by the exotic boxes and the delicious taste of bear cookies filled with chocolate.

I would like to thank Barbara for sending me the presents and for expressing kind and friendly feelings, which are an encouragement to go on interacting in this virtual world and meeting such lovely people.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Song to Motivate Students to Speak

Songs are helpful to introduce talking points in class. They are highly motivating and
great sources of vocabulary for students to widen their scope.

To introduce the topic "What's your favourite day of the week? Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Why?", I've chosen the song "Friday I'm in Love" by the band
The Cure.

As a warm-up I'm going to ask students the question: "What's your favourite day of the week? Why?". After some exchange of ideas, the students will receive a list of words and phrases from the song and while listening will write the day of the week connected to that word or phrase in the song. As a next step, they'll have to fill in the blanks in one part of the song.

As a follow up, students can either write a poem about their favourite day of the week, make a picture and describe it to the class or show a photo to the class that shows the activity they enjoy doing on their favourite day.

Here's the link to the tasks I've created: Friday I'm in Love by The Cure

Do you have other suggestions? I'd like to hear....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Students' Studying Strategies

Have your students ever asked you how they should study?
I teach English to intermediate, upper intermediate and advanced students
and it is when they reach these levels that they realise they need to study as
what we do in class is not enough. Then, they ask me to recommend how
they should do so.

My recommendations are:

  • Reading as much as they can since it helps students widen their vocabulary scope and strengthens their use of the language;
  • Doing exercises as extra practice;
  • Keeping records of their corrections so as not to repeat mistakes;
  • Taking down notes and reading new words and phrases in context;
  • Making pictures since they are great memory aids;
  • Meeting peers to practise conversation skills;
  • Singing songs to practise pronunciation;
  • Listening to podcasts.
I am convinced we, in our capacity as teachers, should help our students develop life-long skills and become independent learners no matter how much they resist changing habits.

To collect other teachers' tips and hints I've created a wallwisher: Students' Studying Strategies
Some educators have included their suggestions via Twitter. Feel free to include yours.