Category Archives: Resources for tesl/tefl

Dexter’s Routine. Video Lesson Plan

Are you a fan of Dexter series? Is it worth watching? I’ve never seen it. However, I’ve found two videos on You Tube that are just perfect for an activity revising present simple for routines. First, let’s watch the videos, and start racking your brains to see what we can do with them…

The first thing that got to my mind when I watched them was: collaborative viewing. I’m sure you all know this activity, but it’s sometimes good to revisit old activities. I thought that students could work in pairs. One is watching the first video, and the other one is with his back to the screen. The first one has to retell what’s going on in the video, while the other one takes down notes. The objective would be to write Dexter’s morning routine. Then, they exchange roles to watch the second video. This time they would write the girl’s night routine.

This was the first idea that came to my mind. However, I believe there are plenty more things we can do with these two videos, since they are so visual. Why not sharing your ideas? We’d all be very grateful…

 

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Clowning on the first class day!

Yesterday I started a course called: “Clown como estrategia didáctica” (clown as a didactic strategy). I had a lot of fun, and  felt like a child again enjoying the freedom of just playing around and not thinking or worrying about anything else. We should never loose that innocence, and if we have already lost it, recover it by all means. I can assure you it is worth the effort.

While I was there, I revisited two old activities, I haven’t used for a long time, that are perfect for getting to know each other. It was wonderful, having looked at them from a new perspective. There I was the student, and not the teacher, and could have fun without paying attention to anything else (timing, students who were not connected with what was going on in the class, minding students didn’t get hurt, or run wildly out of control). I was free to relax and enjoy myself.

little Gabriel clown by L O O K
little Gabriel clown, a photo by L O O K on Flickr.

However, at one point we have to come back to reality and face the truth: I’m still a grown-up adult and a teacher of kids, teenagers and adults. I remembered about Eva’s carnival  and decided to share these two activities that are very useful for the  first week of classes:

A Chain of Hands: At first, the teacher asked us to start walking around the room. Then, she told us to make eye contact with the people we encountered, while we kept on walking. After that, when we encountered a person we were supposed to give him/her a highfive and say a word or make a sound (whatever came to our mind at that moment). The following step was to hold hands and introduce ourselves (Hi, I’m Sabrina). And finally the best part, we had to hold a person’s hand and introduce ourselves, but we couldn’t stop holding hands till we found another person to hold hands with. It was very funny, because sometimes you found yourself holding hands with two people at the same time, as your previous partner had not yet found a person to hold hands with. We ended up with some strange hand chains. I’m not sure whether I’ve been clear enough, you know you can always ask for more details in the comments section.

You are what you do!: This is a super simple activity but it always spreads a roar of laughter. The participants have to make a circle, and one of them introduces himself and makes a movement, or uses a strange tone of voice, or both at the same time. The rest of them, have to observe him closely and repeat everything he’s said and done. They have to mirror his introduction. I just love this activity, and students really become creative once they understand what they are supposed to do.

That’s all for now falks! Hope I have inspired you for your beginning of classes. If you want to find another idea, have a look at this post. As here in Argentina we are starting the second semester,  and therefore, I cannot try these activities in my classes, I’m looking forward to hearing about your experience. =)

My Attempt at Drama in the Classroom.

Back in Buenos Aires, after a relaxing and exciting month in Bella Colombia. Have just arrived and realised that the blogosphere has been all the rage about using drama in the classroom. I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant and afraid of using it in my own classes. However, after attending @shellterrell’s workshop on the topic, I decided to give it a try.Here then, is my humble contribution to the debate. My first attempt at it.

Drama masks

Last year, with my 5th grade students, we read The Adventures of  Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. We read one chapter per class, and every day we did different activities. You can see one of them related to collaborative drawing in the classroom here.

Another day I decided to give drama a try. The original activity I had planned was a bit dull and simple. Students were supposed to listen to the corresponding book chapter, and after that, create a dialogue about that part of the story and come to the front to perform it. However, the day before, I had attended Shelly’s workshop on drama, and while I was driving to school ( I have to admit that this is the time when I come up with the most brilliant ideas!) I had one of those wonderful light bulb moments… (I know I haven’t invented the wheel, but I managed to make my activity better and much more fun)

A light bulb moment

I’m sure you are all waiting for my revolutionary idea. Pretty simple to tell you the truth. First, I asked my students to brainstorm feelings and moods. I wrote them on the blackboard. They came up with things such as happy, sad, excited, nervous, afraid, and so on and so forth. After that, I read the chapter to them and they had to write a dialogue based on it to perform in front of the class. The difference from the original activity being that they had to choose a feeling and perform it showing that feeling. The other groups had to guess what the feeling was. It was great fun and it brought tons of laughter to the classroom. It was great, because it provided the students who were acting as the audience, with a real purpose for listening to their peers. Not just listening for the sake of listening.

If you are interested in the use of drama in the classroom, Shelly has made a thorough post with lots of resources and ideas here , and @davedodgson has written an inspirational post with plenty of activities to use with YLs here. Thanks to both of them for having motivated me to incorporate drama in my own lessons and for having taught me so many things!

I would love to learn other ways of using drama, so I would appreciate you sharing your own techniques, activities or resources about the topic. Let’s keep on learning collaborately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) EFL/ESL/ELL Blog Carnival

I am very pleased to be the host of this month carnival, as I’d love to introduce you to all these wonderful educators who are willing to share their thoughts and ideas.  But  especially, because I have been able to introduce the carnival to many members of my PLN, who are sending their contributions for the first time. As you’ve read in the title in this carnival you are going to find the answer to many:

  1. How can we focus on form in the techno age? If you are a dogmeist and you are always wondering how to focus on form in the techno age, @kalinagoenglish has got the answer: USE GOOGLE DOCS!
  2. What are the best resources, articles and blogs for teachers of ELL? If you are an ELL teacher who is  generally reading blogs, online articles, following teachers on Twitter, and you always end up asking yourself: “Have I missed something important?”, @Larryferlazzo provides you with a list of the bests of 2010.
  3. How can we revise spelling in the classroom? If you are sick and tired of practicing spelling in your classes, add to it a fun element with these games created by @crystalannie.  You may also use  Johanna Stirling’s templates, the spelling queen as she was called in one of her blog post comments.
  4. How can we learn vocabulary? If what you need is to learn vocabulary, @teacherdominic gives you 10 easy tips to follow (espeacially if you are preparing for IELTS)
  5. How can we teach conditionals in a contextualised way? Conditionals is a tough grammar point to teach, and even more to teach it in a contextualised way. We all love football, so @harrisonmike‘s lesson plan is the perfect answer to this question.
  6. What does sustained teacher training for ELLs look like? Mary Ann Zehr shares with us an experience that took place in Austin, Texas.
  7. How can we use Web 2.0 in the ELD classroom? Once more Larry Ferlazzo and Alice Mercer provides us with tonnes of useful links.
  8. How can we incorporate music and songs in ELT? Teacher Greg has made a thorough list of ideas, resources, activities, and many more…
  9. How can we teach unplugged with a student interaction whiteboard? Sounds contradictory? @ShellTerrell has got the answer in response to @englishraven’s challenge. (We do hope Jason hasn’t killed her for this mix =) )
  10. Can we make manufactured teachable moments? The answer according to @ddeubel is YES and he explains us HOW.
  11. How can we use wordle in the classroom? @aClilToClimb has shared in his blog all the tricks for using wordle and lots of ideas for using it in the classroom.
  12. How can we embrace visual enhancements in instruction? Flickr is a great aid according to @jenverschoor, who suggests lots of ways of using it in the classroom in her blog post.
  13. How can we break down the classrom walls and bring the real world into our classrooms?@gret tells us about her experience with the good news blog that has made her students feel thrilled about learning English.  And @christina_mark shares with us here her C2 level students online conversation with Mr. B. M., Assistant Professor of American Literature of the English Department (Faculty of Humanities in Serbia) and his Second Year students in a kind of e-classroom (Webinar) Branko created to foster this event over Adobe Connect Pro. Stephan Hughes has shared some posts done by his students in their blogs. In the first one, Maria Cecilia tells us about Cyprus. In the second one, Gustavo introduces us to Manuel Francisco Dos Santos.
  14. What can we do  to encourage and support multilingualism both in the classroom and at home?@elltoolbox may not have the answer to this question, though he has for sure the courage to ask it and make us reflect about the issue.
  15. How can we use dictogloss in the classroom?@DaveDodgson gives us instructions on how to apply it with young learners and @cerirhiannon explains why she likes them so much and how to use them with adult learners here.
  16. How much importance should we give to the teaching of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation at different levels? You may be wondering what I am aiming at with this question… wonder no more and read @hoprea‘s post where you will find food for thought on this topic.
  17. Can NNESTs do dogme in their classes? Quite a controversial topic taken by a NNEST @cecilialcoelho

Bonus track: We all know about the importance of being a reflective teacher, so here goes a contribution by @evab2001 a wondeful teacher, who following @englishraven’s challenge (seems that his challenges are quite popular around the blogosphere) has given a name to her approach to teaching. Hers is called C-elt. What about yours?

Reminder! The next carnival will be hosted by Alice Mercer on  February 1st, so don’t forget to send your contributions here . Let @larryferlazzo know if you are interested in hosting future carnivals.

Contribute A Post To The Next ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival

The next ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival will be published on December 1st at this blog . Any posts related to teaching or learning English, including examples of student work, are welcome. You can contribute a post to it by using this easy submission form. If the form does not work for some reason, you can send the link  directly to me or to Larry Ferlazzo via his contact form.

Ms. Flecha posted the Nineteenth Edition Of The ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival in early October, and she did a great job. You can check-out posts there from twenty ESL/EFL teachers from all around the world.

You can see all the previous eighteen editions of the ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival here.

Alice Mercer will be hosting the February 1st edition. Let Larry know if you might be interested in hosting future ones.

Looking forward to your contributions.

Nineteenth Edition Of The ESL/EFL/ELL Blog Carnival Is Up!

As Larry Ferlazzo has already announced in his blog, the new edition of the ESL / EFL/ ELL carnival is already online. This time it was hosted by Ms. Flecha (if you haven’t taken a look at her blog yet, this may be a great opportunity to start browsing it).

In this edition of the carnival you will find inspiring ideas from 20 teachers. I have known some of them but some others are new for me. Apparently, we’d never end finding interesting teachers to add to our PLN. There were so many contributions this time that they’ve had to be organised into different categories. Here goes a preview of the categories, if you want to know the content, you’ll have to go and visit Ms. Flecha:

  • A Conversation on Language
  • Dynamic Teaching…Games, Teaching Tools and Strategies
  • Classroom 2.0
  • Learning and Teaching with Eyes Wide Open (reflective teaching)
  • On the Job Front

Finally, I would like to say that I’m very honoured to have taken part in this edition of the carnival and especially to be hosting the next carnival. It will be published on December 1st and I’d love to receive contributions from all of you. You can contribute a post to it by using this easy submission form. If the form does not work for some reason, you can send the link to me via email. Looking forward to your posts.

Quizzing!!!!

As you all may know by now, with my 5º grade students we are doing a project on animals. We are currently working on animal adaptations and after playing a quiz on the topic in class I have asked them to prepare their own quizzes. The results were great. You can see their creations here.They were fascinated to see the final results. If you would like to do something similar with your students, I can share with you the tutorial I’ve left them in our class blog:

1) Enter the page and write your quiz title (Try to be original!) and click on Create my Quiz

2) Click on Continue

3) Login by entering a USERNAME and PASSWORD

4) Click on Multiple Choice

5) Write in the Tag box: Animals

6) Enter the question, the different options and click next to the correct option. It should look like this:

8 ) Click on Multiple Choice again until you finish writing all your questions.

9) Select the category K12 education

10) Click on Create Quiz and that’s it! Your quizz is created!

Hope you’ve found it useful! If you had, why not sharing other ways of using this quizz creator?

Easy ways to make your photos talk!

Preparing a project with my 5º grade students about animals, I’ve remembered that there are many ways in which we can make photos talk. I thought that would give a fun twist to my students writing assignment. In groups they would be assigned an animal group (reptiles, mammals, insects, etc) and they would have to choose an animal from that group and talk about their characterisctics in the 1º person form. Of course, they could add some humorous information too. This would become more fun if they could make a photo of that animal speak and post it to their class blog: http://www.saintexupery5.wordpress.com.

I’ve prepared an introduction to the assignment using the programme crazy talk. Here is the description of it you can find in the website ” CrazyTalk is a revolutionary tool for creating sophisticated, zany or dramatic talking characters for unique digital content. Simply import an image and CrazyTalk guides you through the process to bring it to life with wizard-like menus for beginners and in-depth power editors for pros.” It is very good and easy to use and here you can see the result:

However, at school I cannot install new softwares. Therefore, my students cannot use that programme to create their own talking photos. Apart from that, we don’t have microfones. In spite of all the drawbacks, I’ve found a way out. You may already know about it: Blabberize and text-to-speech. Here, you can read the tutorial I’ve written for my students:

Instructions for creating your own talking photo:

1) Choose an animal and look for an image in Google images http://www.google.com.ar/imghp?hl=es&tab=wi

2) Right click the image and save it in the computer (Remember where you have saved it!)

3) Enter this webpage: http://www2.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php

4) Choose the speaker in step 1

5) Insert your text in the white box (step 2)

6) Click on download and right click on the link that appears in blue to save it to your computer. (Remember where you have saved it!)

7) Enter this webpage: http://blabberize.com/

8 ) Click on “MAKE”

9) Click on “Browse” and find your picture file.

10) Select the area of the image you want to use and click on

the blue arrow. 
11) Move the blue and green circles to accomodate them surrounding the mouth and click on the blue arrow.

12) Click on the pink arrow to upload the audio file you have stored in your computer. Click on browse and upload it.

13) When you finish doing this, call your teacher so that she can save it in the class account and upload it to the blog.

I would love to know whether you think it is clear or not and other ways in which we can use blabberise. Here you can see their creations, will be more than grateful if you can leave us a comment with your thoughts about them.

The Hokey Pokey

We all know that children learn through playing and singing. Trying to find something to change a bit my class routine, I realised that I have totally forgotten about the Hokey Pokey song. It’s been a long while, since I last used it in my class. I’m sure it will bring a lot of  laughter and fun to my second grade students. A good way of starting the class. So here it goes the video and the lyrics from http://www.supersimplesongs.com

Lyrics & Gestures

(Begin with everyone standing in a circle)

Hey everybody. It’s time to do the Hokey Pokey!
Make a BIIIIIG circle.

You put one hand in. (Put one hand in the circle.)
One hand out. (Put that hand out of the circle.)
One hand in. (Put the hand back into the circle.)
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. (Shake your hand.)
You do the Hokey Pokey (Spin and dance) and turn around
Everybody turn around. (Turn around in a circle.)

You put two hands in.
Two hands out.
Two hands in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and clap your hands.
Everybody clap your hands.

You put one foot in.
One foot out.
One foot in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and sit down.
Everybody please sit down.

You put two feet in.
Two feet out.
Two feet in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and stand up.
Everybody please stand up.

You put your head in.
Your head out.
Your head in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You to the Hokey Pokey and sing a song.
La la la la la la!

You put your backside in.
Your backside out.
Your backside in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and be quiet.
Everybody please be quiet. Shh!

You put your whole self in.
Your whole self out.
Your whole self in.
And you shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.
You do the Hokey Pokey and take a bow.
Everybody take a bow.

What do you generally do in your class routines? Can you give me some more ideas?

Bunny Chow (Traditional South African Dish)

Today, I’m sharing with you a short activity I’m planning to do as part of my world cup project with my 5º grade students. In this activity, students will learn how to prepare Bunny Chows, a very traditional dish from South Africa.

They will have to watch the following video from You Tube and complete the activities you will find below.

1) Write down the missing ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 loaf of b_ _ _ _

Chop O _ _ _ _ _                         20 g

T _ _ _ _ _  Puré                         300 g

S _ _ _

R_ _   Chilli

R _ _  Chilli Powder

G _ _ _ _ _                                 50 g

G _ _ _ _ _                                 50 g

2 ) Complete with the appropriate words:

CUT     BLENDER   FRENCH FRIES    GARNISH    MIX   FRY

First, _____________ the onions.

Put two spoons of Yoghurt and the onions in the _____________

Fry and __________ in a frying pan the ginger, the garlic, the tomato puré, the red chillis and  some salt. Let them cook for some minuter.

___________ the inside part of the bread and place the mixture inside it. ___________ it with some chop onions and chillis. Accompany it with _____________________.

Hope you use it in your classes. Please, share your experience with it  and more ideas on how to exploit the world cup tournament.