Last-minute last-class activity

Got one or two students showing up to classes this week? Feeling a bit awkward about it? Here’s a ready-made activity you can use last-minute.

Following Ceri Jones’ interesting workshop we had last month on looking back I suggest doing some kind of questionnaire with your students to see how they feel about their English and their progress. You can find out interesting things about them and how they see their learning. No judgement, their evaluation can be completely different from the teacher’s – that’s why it’s often surprising and interesting to get to know their opinion. You can also find out where you could have pushed them a bit more and think about what to change in the future.

I did a few versions of this questionnaire with both my adults and teenagers (14-year-olds). It takes up about 20 minutes, depending on where the discussion takes you. I strongly suggest thinking beforehand about some tips for students on how to learn more effectively and what they can do at home (whether they will use your ideas is not in our power, but they will have been advised at least).

The procedure is very straightforward. Use the example to explain how they are supposed to complete the chart. Please emphasize that it’s the progress they are evaluating not their level (this means they need to think if their level in different skills and areas has improved over the year; don’t take it personally if it they feel it hasn’t – progress is rarely even and may depend on many factors). Give them some time to answer the questions. It’s essential that they tell you first how they are going to work on their English before you give them your suggestions. You can also have the group brainstorm without your help for a while and then join them in the discussion.

Feel free to adapt the questionnaire to your students’ needs.

Let me know how it went! And share your own questionnaires!

by Kasia Kepka

self-evaluation bar chart adults

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You must play this game with your students!

I don’t think it needs any explanations 🙂 Just watch, enjoy and play!

 

P.S. good to revise question formation first 😉 Oh, and maybe voice recording the students playing the game could be fun!

by Kasia Kepka

The Island – a fun writing activity to practise linking words

Level:B1/B2, Age: Teenagers, Time: 45-55 minutes

This is a great activity from the old edition of Face2Face Intermediate for imaginative PET/FCE groups that enjoy writing stories but need help with linking words/expressions and narrative tenses. The students should have done some controlled work on these in previous classes before doing this freer activity.

 

Procedure:

1 Print/Photocopy the activity sheet and give one to each student.

2 Read through the introduction and 18 incomplete sentences with the students to clear up any vocabulary problems.

3 Put the students into pairs or small groups and tell them to complete the sentences using correct grammatical forms and interesting vocabulary.

4 When they finish the 18 sentences, ask them to write a 19th, describing what happened to the family and why they never arrived at their destination.

5 Tell the pairs/groups to exchange their stories and correct any errors they see.

6 Finally, they should give the stories back and each pair/group should read out their own story for general enjoyment and feedback.

Have fun with the activity!

THE ISLAND (1)

island
by Judy Graham-Scott

Alternative reading activities

I have recently come across a collection of reading activities I put together a few years ago and I thought I would share it here, hoping you will find them useful for your classes.

There are a few ideas on how to make reading a bit more exciting for the students and change the standard way of doing a reading class. You will find some ideas on how to approach exam reading tasks too. All of the activities can be successfully carried out in any group, both with adults and younger learners.

If you try any of them out or you have done before, or if you would like to share your own idea for a reading task please leave a comment below.

Here is the file:

Reading – alternative teachniques

 

by Kasia Kępka

What to do with consolidation pages?

Time: 60 mins / Age: teenagers / Level: any

Here is an idea on how to turn consolidation material into a competitive activity. Useful especially in review lessons before a test.

Step 1

  1. Take a review page with exercises, photocopy it and cut up so that each exercise is on a separate piece of paper. (Photocopy and cut up the answers as well)

 

2. Put the pieces of paper up the walls in your classroom.

3. Put students into pairs (it’s better to pair up shy or weaker students together, as they will be forced to co-operate without depending on stronger students). Give each pair a colour pencil.

4. Students have 5 mins to go around the classroom and complete the activities. RULES: they must take turns to complete the exercises. They can help one another. After completing one sentence on one card they must move to a different card.

 

5. When the time is up, give each pair a card to check against the answers you have photocopied earlier. They put ticks or crosses on the cards and award each colour team their points.

img_20180416_175810.jpg

Step 2

Students now move on to creating their own tasks.

  1. Choose two types of tasks you want them to practise, e.g. Student A: ‘complete the gaps with the correct form of a verb’, and Student B: ‘correct the sentence’.
  2. Each student in the pair creates an activity for the others writing 4 test sentences to be completed by the others. They write their tasks on separate pieces of paper. The teacher monitors and helps when necessary.
  3. They put their tasks up on the walls.
  4. Students continue the previous game (with the same rules). They must not complete their own tasks.
  5. When the time is up they take down their cards and check the answers.
  6. Again they award the colour teams their points.

IMG_20180416_193142

 

This is a way of making a boring resource a little bit more fun. If you monitor attentively you will be able to see which students are struggling with the tasks and help them without drawing the attention of the other students. Also, creating tasks for other students to complete raises their awareness of grammar, helps them concentrate on accuracy and creates a situation in which they definitely know the right answers because they wrote the task! What is more, if a team did badly in Step 1, they have a chance to do better in the other step (the Green team from the photo did rather poorly at the beginning, but it looks like they’d learned something in the process as they improved a lot in their second go). The turn taking keeps everyone on task and the rules on completing keeps everyone working at a similar pace.

And the best thing is that it’s material light and needs very little preparation 🙂 So, you’re welcome!

 

by Kasia Kępka