RSA videos – Excellent Viewing

A man worth listening to;  David Crystal is a genius of the English language and in this video he talks about the myths and realities of texts and tweets.

 

 

Here is another.  I love this site!

“In this RSAnimate Steven Pinker shows us how the mind turns the finite building blocks of language into infinite meanings.”

Screen Casting in Second Life

As of today I have started thinking about effective learning tools for online language learning with a focus toward communicative competence.  A very broad focus I know, but here, I intend to document my progress.  The outcome will hopefully be a template for an online English learning course for future use. I’m very aware that technologies change day-to-day in the online world, so I feel this blog is a great place to catalogue my ideas and watch them develop.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been wandering around second life (SL) to find out what all the hype is about.  It seems that SL provides a great platform for a task based approach to teaching English offering a little more substance in terms of conversation practice compared to video conferencing and asynchronous online discussions and tasks. This is an area I’d love to explore a little further so through a little exploration, I found an English school on SL willing for me to become apart of their team.  Day one begins next Wednesday with a class observation then after a few training sessions they may let me loose on the students.   I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes.

My first thought was; how can I document student progress and provide demonstrations and feedback?   I know other SL members regularly record meetings, but had no idea how to go about this myself with limited means (me and my apple lappy).  Such videos would be great for not only documenting the learners progress and of course my teaching progress, but also for learners to record their own practice and watch themselves develop.  After a short youtube search, I found a website called Screenr which is a very user-friendly screen casting website (a short video tutorial on the site tells you all you need to know) which allows you to make 5 min screen recordings.  Once you have finished your recording, with the click of a button your video can be posted to your (or you class’s) twitter account.

Screen casting has great potential for language learning, one idea I have is for students to interview and record conversations with peers or other SL members then share their short conversations on a class twitter account open for discussion in future lessons.  How might you use screenr for teaching and learning?  Or do you know of better screen casting websites?

I’m looking forward to your thoughts (and criticisms)😀

esl4word wikispace

Update –

It has been a while since the last lesson installment, however I hope the resources I have provided have benefited your teaching needs and were received well by your students.

My departure from Japan brought this blog to a halt, but not because I was fed up with life as an ESL teacher.  Actually, I felt the need to advance my skills, to delve deep into the world of EFL education, so that’s where I am today.  I have moved from the role of teacher to student and currently trying my hardest to complete an MSc in TESOL, which is demanding, but I’m enjoying every minute.   It’s early days yet, but I hope this course can help me on my way to become a better teacher.  From this experience, what is fascinating is; the more you learn the more you don’t know…  If anything, this course is teaching me to keep on top of what is out there, talk to people, share thoughts and ideas, and learn from others.  Which brings me to my new direction with this blog.  Until I can expand on what is here already, I need to learn more about the exciting possibilities of what I suppose is post-modern teaching, so I have created a wiki space, which opens up a platform for us teachers to learn from one another because I know everyone has great thoughts and ideas.  Let’s share them!

http://esl4word.wikispaces.com/

If you are intrigued, please request access by clicking on the link and offer a little info about yourself, where you are in the world and the types of contexts you are or have been teaching in.

I’m looking forward to your input – that’s the only rule🙂 .

 

Hope to hear from you soon🙂

 

Review with ‘World Cup Vs Pac-man Catch-up’

Final term tests are approaching fast for students in Japan, so now is a perfect time to review previous lessons.

I’m not going to take credit for the following game.  One of the fellow Interac’s in Kochi-Ken kindly shared this one with us at the last Shikoku meeting.  All I have done is used my Pac-man characters from Pac-man ping-pong and changed the name of the game to fit.

At first I didn’t realise how much of a hit this game would be.  My most rowdy of classes were completely engaged.  I can safely say this one was a complete success for me.

It went so well I thought I’d use it as a warm up in each of my elementary classes.   The response was even better.   I also think the students good behavior had a lot to do with the beautiful weather and the fact that I was alive and  genki to take on a new day.

Like any good game you use, the best time to stop is when they want it the most.  That way they will be more excited about playing it again.   This one is a solid tool in my box for future review sessions.

Here’s how to play.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Mrs Pac-man (cut out, laminated, magnet stuck to the back)
  • 1 Mr Pac-man (cut out, laminated, magnet stuck to the back)
  • Chalk/Board Pen
  • Flash cards
  • A set of questions on the subject you want to practice
  • 2 teams of students numbered from 1~10 in each team (for a class of 20)

Directions:

  1. Draw a large circle in the centre of the board
  2. draw small circles evenly around the big circle (these are stopping points for the characters)
  3. Place Mr and Mrs Pacman on opposite sides of the circle (Horizontal)
  4. Draw direction arrows around the outside of the circle to mark the direction Mr and Mrs Pacman move.
  5. Ask any pair of numbers to stand up, e.g.  ” Number 5s stand up please.”
  6. Ask those students a question.  The first student to ping-pong with the correct answer moves their Pac-man one space.
  7. The object of the game is to catch the other teams Pac-Man to win.

I mix up the style of question asking and choice of students to stand, so as the students never feel they can doze off until it’s their turn.

When I wanted to ask some tough questions and bring the game to a close, I asked the teams to choose their strongest members.

Keep it fast and fun!

Variation:

Next class, I intend to use the hype of the world cup combined with this review game, however, using the mascot from this years world cup along with mascots from earlier years world cups.

You can find all mascots here

If you are looking for more world cup ideas, check out the ESL Imaginarium.  Most lessons and activities are media based, but there are some which you could use in any classroom. Enjoy!

If you can think of any other fun variations, please share.  I look forward to your comments.  Thanks ♥

Number + Colour(adjective) + Noun

I wanted to come up with a few activities to review numbers and food, but introduce colours at the same time.

This game is for beginners, 1st to 4th grade elementary.

I have made some cards which you can find in the title below for use in the following game. The cards are fully customisable

COLOUR + Food GAME CARDS

  • AppleBlue, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Black, White
  • TeaBlueRedYellowGreenOrangePinkPurple, Black, White
  • BananaBlue, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Black, White
  • PepperBlue, Red, Yellow, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Black, White

First of all I made 3 copies of the cards 1 set each for 3 teams.  I laminated them then stuck magnets to the back of each card.

After all the necessary drilling of new vocabulary, I followed with a TPR (total physical response) card game.

The first activity I tried out was a listening and speaking race.

Directions:

  1. Split the class into 3 teams and line them up in their teams at the back of the class with a good distance between the first student in each row and the board.
  2. Stick all teams cards to the board.
  3. give a coloured balloon to the student at the front of each team.  Have those students put the balloon between their knees.
  4. Call out  “one + COLOUR + food” (working with higher numbers = making more cards)
  5. The students with the balloons have to make their way to the board trying not to drop the balloon.  If a s drops it he/she has to go back to the starting line.
  6. When they reach the board they have to collect the card you asked for then run with the card and balloon back to their team and pass both down the line with each student in turn saying what’s on the card until it reaches the student at the front of the line.
  7. The quickest team with the correct card gains a point.  Put that card in an allocated points section for that team.
  8. Return the slower teams cards  to the center of the board.

This game practices Listening and Speaking, with pretty much the entire class being engaged at the same time.

If you would like to use the the flash cards I used as apart of the lesson drill please click on the (4 Food Flash Cards) title below.

4 Food Flash Cards

The next activity is to put into practice what the students have just learned, but this time using items which are easy to get to around the class room.

Using the same teams, I numbered the students from 1~6 (or however many are in each team)

Number ones stand up.

I call out a  number+COLOUR+item   e.g  “2 yellow hats”

The first student to run and return with the goods, saying what he/she has, “2 yellow hats” gains a point for their team.  (I used Mario Kart characters on a race track to mark their points.  The team to reach the finish line first wins stickers)

Infinitives pair work activity

Kitty:   What do you want to do?
Cow Boy:  I want to go to Tokyo to eat cakes

For this activity I have to thank mes English for this one.   They provide a perfect template for the game “Get 4” to practice many grammar points or for simple vocabulary practice.

The reason I am posting it today is that I have used it in my Elementary classes right up to my adult learners.  It has been a success every time.

Like any activity I change the rules to suit the abilities and needs of my students.

In the ideal classroom, all students behave perfectly and never cheat.   However, this is never the case, so I always look for the best ways to make this activity fool-proof.  Even this one can have it’s faults, but you have to try to trust your students a little sometimes.

Today I used it for practicing infinitives;


A:  What do you want to do?

B:  I want to go to Tokyo to eat cakes.


Infinitives GET 4

(image to follow)

Ingredients:
  • 1 worksheet per pair of students
  • an enlarged copy (I enlarged it to A1) to use to demonstrate the game to the class.
Directions:
  1. Split your class into pairs
  2. Give one worksheet per pair of students
  3. 1 student is X and the other is O
  4. Play RSP to decide who is A in the dialogue
  5. For the sake of explanation the student who is O starts by saying to X, ” What do you want to do?”
  6. Student X chooses the squares he/she wants, such as,  “I want to go to Tokyo to eat cake”
  7. Student O looks for that square then marks an X in that box for student X.
  8. The students switch roles.
  9. In short, X student marks Os square with an O
  10. O student marks X‘s sentence with an X

I find this variation of the rules cuts down the potential to cheat and encourages more listening and speaking.

I hope my directions were clear enough.  The students really get into this activity.  I found that even the slow learners participate well.  Success.  I just hope they can remember the structure for the next lesson without too much re-explanation.

Numbers Challenge – How Many Fingers?

This is a great game to practice numbers in any language.  I have used this one from 3rd grade elementary up to 2nd grade Junior high.  It’s another limited resource activity which works great as a warmer/filler or for a part of your practice within your lesson.

Ok so here are the rules:

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 students (depending on the difficulty and numbers you want to practice)
  • 1 or 2 hands per student (again depends on the numbers you want to practice)
  • 1 small score sheet for each student.

Directions:

  1. split the class into teams for 2~4 students
  2. each student holds up 1 or 2 hands made into fists (1 hand each for lower levels)
  3. In a team, all students together say, “3,2,1 – GO!” as if they are about to play ROCK SCISSORS PAPER.
  4. At the same time all students in the team display their fingers of choice from 0~10 (or 0~5 for lower levels)
  5. The first student to count and call out the correct number the fastest gains a point.
  6. This game precedes until the allocated time you have set for the game is over.
  7. Ask the students how many points they have, then reward the overall winners in the class.

My kids love this game.  Even the quiet kids really get into it.  I hope it works for you too.