grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, discourse (9)
Read the students a paragraph of an interesting article or whatever novel you’re currently reading. Tell them to:
- raise their left hand when they hear an adjective /active sentence /etc.
- raise their right hand when they hear a noun /passive sentence /etc.
Read the students a paragraph of an interesting article or whatever novel you’re currently reading. Tell them to:
- raise their left hand when they hear /i/ (sheep)
- raise their right hand when they hear /I/ (ship) or any other easily confused sounds.
Read the students a paragraph of an interesting article or whatever novel you’re currently reading. Tell them to write down the keywords. Have them notice that the keywords are usually the words that are slightly more stressed.
Read the students a paragraph of an interesting article or whatever novel you’re currently reading. Stop periodically and have students guess what kind of word will follow (noun, verb, adjective, etc.)
Have students write a single sentence following whatever grammar pattern you’re teaching. Then have them work with their partners to come up with 2-5 possible contexts in which that sentence would be used.
(Ex: “You burnt the chicken.”= We’ll order pizza instead. / We should take it to the vet.)
On strips of paper, students write 2-3 unrelated sentences using the grammar you’re teaching. They give them to their partner who writes a logical response for each on separate strips. Pool all the sentences and responses together and have students match them up. They can then choose a sentence=response and continue the exchange to make a 4-6 line dialogue.
Have students keep a “My Mistakes” page in the back of their notebook to write all the things they know they have particular trouble with. Tell them to study this page before tests.
Dictate some correct and some incorrect sentences taken from students’ own writing. Students write only the ones they think are correct. Go over them as a class.
Give students news headlines to write out in full.
(Ex: “Doctors say kicking baby healthy.”)
B: skills: reading, writing, speaking, listening (10)
Have students prepare and perform a role-play. Stop them periodically during the performance (just shout “STOP!”) and ask the rest of the class to predict what will happen next.
Choose a picture from a guidebook or newspaper. Without showing it to the students, have them draw it as you describe it.
Make sure all activities are really communicative. If a student is speaking, make sure the ones listening have a reason to do so (out of real curiosity, to obtain information etc.)
Motivate students to write by giving the other students a real reason to read it (out of real curiosity, to obtain information etc.)
Before giving students a listening task, make sure they know what they’re listening for.
Before giving students a reading text, have them predict as much as they can from the title, pictures, comprehension questions, etc.
When reading a difficult text, have the students work in groups to choose a maximum of 3-5 words to look up in the dictionary. This forces them to decide which words are most important to understanding the text, and to ignore the rest or guess the meaning from context.
When you give a speaking activity, decide beforehand if you’re going to be correcting grammar, and if so, which. Tell the students in advance.
When you’re correcting speaking errors, note down any error you hear more than once (from the same or from different students) and go over it at the end of the activity. Don’t correct more than 8.
Have students write discussion questions for a board game and play with a maximum of 3 in a group.
C: classroom management (11)
Divide your board like this:
|Classwork(erase frequently)||New vocabulary
Change the seating every so often: horseshoe, rows, etc.
When you want students to work with different people, have them line up alphabetically by mother’s last name /birth month /etc. and sit with whoever they’re next to.
Tell fast-finishers to prepare test questions (multiple choice, error correction, etc.) on what they’ve just learned. In the last 5 minutes of class, dictate the questions to the rest of the class and let them try and solve them in class or for homework.
Don’t always have fast-finishers help other students. It can get uncomfortable for everyone.
If you’re teaching a low levels or a very difficult concept, allow students a 2 minute Spanish break. They’ll appreciate it, and be less likely to speak Spanish afterward.
When you’re tired or your students are, call a ‘One Minute Holiday’!
When students aren’t concentrating well, take a ‘break’ by having them look out the window and describe what they see.
When students aren’t concentrating well, take a ‘break’ by having them listen in at other class doors and report back words they heard other teachers say.
When students aren’t concentrating well, take a ‘break’ by having them rearrange the seating.
When students aren’t concentrating well, take a ‘break’ by listening and naming all the outside sounds.
D: dealing with moods (3)
If you’re in a bad mood for whatever reason, or if you have a personal problem, tell students in advance you might not be your usual cheerful self that day. It’s impossible to mask moods from students, but this way they won’t think you’re mad at them.
If you have one student who refuses to participate, that’s ok. You still have 14 more hanging on your every word.
Write annoying problems on signs:
|3RD PERSON “S”|
E: planning/prep (2)
Vary your approach.
Don’t always make activities grammar focused. Fluency activities like conversations or story-writing shouldn’t be focused on the grammar or else it’ll come out unnatural. Make sure you have at least one ‘non-grammar-focused’ activity per day. Over-practice is as bad as under-practice.
F: projects /ongoing (11)
Have students use the last 5 minutes to write in their journal:
- Today I learned…
- I found it easy /difficult because…
- The most fun /boring part of the lesson was…
- Something else I’d like to tell you is…
Start lessons with predictable openings: hangman, tongue twisters, etc.
If you have 10 minutes left at the end, spell out some sentences and see how fast they ‘get’ them (ex. I-L-O-V-E-Y-O-U)
If you have 10 minutes left at the end, have them write or draw what they learned in the lesson.
If you have 10 minutes left at the end, have them guess what the next day’s lesson is.
If you have 10 minutes left at the end, let them write in their journal.
If you have 10 minutes left at the end, let them prepare a test question on what they learned
Word Games: hangman
Boggle: put letters on the board, see how many words they can make
Categories: put as many blank papers out as there are students. Write a category on each paper. Students have 30 seconds to write words, then move to the next
G: small/large groups (4)
Take small classes out to do surveys.
For large classes, give one group an activity while you teach the other group.
Do a jigsaw reading: give half the class 1 text and the rest a different one and have them tell each other what they’ve read.
Do a jigsaw listening: tell Group A a story outside while Group B does their workbook exercises, then switch and tell Group B a different story. Have As pair up with Bs and tell each other their stories.
H: multiple intelligences (37)
Give students anagrams to practice vocabulary.
Give students mixed-up sentences to review grammar. Alternatively, have students write sentences on strips of paper and cut them up into words for their partners to put in order.
Cut up a conversation or reading text for students to put in order.
Give students words/lines from a tape-script /song. Students listen and mark the order in which they hear them.
Play word association by giving a word and having the students take turns adding logically connected words (ex: cat-mouse-cheese)
Give 2 words and have students connect them logically in as few words as possible (ex: wedding -??? -telephone (answer “ring”)
Don’t give the grammar rule right away. Instead give the example and have the students work out the structure.
Give students math problems to work out in English. Ask them to dictate math problems to each other. Don’t forget to teach useful words like plus, minus, equals, etc.
Have students write directions to a mystery location in the neighborhood. Other students follow the directions and report back where they ended up.
Have students write multiple choice test questions for each other.
Have students dictate large numbers to each other.
Have students practice counting syllables in words /sentences.
Play background music to suit the mood you want to create (ex: classical for quiet writing activities, techno for speed reading activities)
Have students count all the stressed words when you read out a recipe or a poem.
Have them change the lyrics of a song to include specific grammar or vocabulary.
Make a tape of songs you find useful for certain language points (ex: “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega is good for present continuous; “If I Had a Million Dollars” by the Barenaked Ladies is great for 2nd conditionals)
Have students listen to a song and sequence the lyrics
Have students draw their bedroom. Their partner has to draw it without seeing the original drawing based only on the description.
Have students draw timelines to illustrate grammar points
Have students draw a degree chart for new vocabulary
Ex: YOUNG -baby – toddler – child – teenager – adult – senior citizen- OLD
Have students draw their favorite classroom activity, or their favorite part of the movie and compare with others.
Have fast finishers illustrate a reading or a sentence from the book.
Have students bring cameras, dolls and other small toys to illustrate a story.
When you ask a controversial question (ex: “Should Spanish be used in class?”, “Should Bush be impeached?”), have them stand on an imaginary line between the window (NO) and the door (YES) to show how they feel.
Cut up whatever text or texts you want them to read and stick the pieces up on the walls around the room.
Students do a writing activity and write 2 questions about their work for the others to answer. Stick the writings up on the walls and have everyone read them and answer all the questions.
Do a “running dictation” by putting a short text or a series of questions on the wall outside the classroom and having 1 student from each pair read it, run back and dictate it to their partner.
To illustrate a grammar point or the use of a vocabulary word, have students come up with true examples about themselves or their interests.
To illustrate a grammar point or the use of a vocabulary word, have students come up with true examples about their favorite singer, athlete or movie star.
Do guided imagery exercises (ex: ”Imagine you’re relaxing on a beach with your best friends …”) to relax students and to help them practice listening.
Sit in a circle with one chair fewer than there are people. Say “Everyone wearing blue jeans, change places” (if you’re wearing blue jeans!). You try to sit sown in an empty seat. The one left standing has to continue.
Have students write 10 true sentences about themselves using the grammar. They then walk around comparing and sit next to the person they have the most in common with.
Have students prepare quizzes for another group at the same level.
Divide the class into 2 teams. Have 1 person from each team sit with their back to the board. Write up a vocabulary word. The students’ teammates have to describe the word. The point goes to whoever gets it first.
Have the students categorize new vocabulary in different ways (alphabetically, according to topic, according to ending, etc.)
Once a week, give students a chance to organize their class notes.
I: exploiting course books (2 )
Academic teachers with too many grammar points to cover in a day: Divide the class into groups so each group studies one point. They can teach each other!
When you introduce Interchange:
- Have students flip through to find 3 pictures they like (in class or for homework) and explain to their partner why they chose them.
- Prepare a quiz with at least 10 questions (ex. In which unit will we learn x grammar point?, or on which page will you find a picture of X?,
etc.) Divide the class in two teams and award points to the team that finds the answer first.
- Have students prepare similar types of questions for their partner.
J: other resources (5: music-4, newspapers-1)
Stop the tape, have students predict what will be said next.
Play the movie without sound. Students guess dialogue.
Ask why the director chose a particular piece of music.
After watching 5-10 minutes, students list characters and describe them. Help them identify predictable stereotypes / plot twists.
For Advanced 1&2 and Academic:
- Students choose a headline.
- Students write three questions based on the headline.
- Students then read the article quickly to find the answers.
For academic only:
- Students find examples of whatever grammar point they’re studying in the article and justify why it was used.
K: exams (2)
Don’t correct exams. Just put a tick or cross. Give them time to correct themselves and let them have an extra half point for every mistake they correct (at your discretion of course).
Use a GREEN pen to correct exams. It’s less depressing than RED!
L: learning strategies (4)
Ask students how they studied for the test, (alone? with music?), and what strategies they used, (writing examples, categorizing vocabulary). If you are a native speaker, tell them how you study Spanish. If you are Ecuadorian, think back to how you studied English and tell them about it.
When correcting the exam, ask students what strategies they used to do each question (ask someone who was right, ‘How did you know it was right?’
Then remind them of these strategies before the next exam.
Have Students start the lesson by predicting what you will teach, (by looking through the book), and how hard it will be.
They can also do this for entire units.
Before any activity, asks students how they will do the task and write their ideas under “strategies”:
Ex: I had my students prepare for a game where they had to give sentences using count/uncount nouns. (ex. I bought a paper – El Comercio, I bought some paper – for drawing)
Strategies(suggested by students):
- read the examples in your book
- write your own examples to practice