martedì 23 maggio 2017

Teaching for Exams? Have fun! - Key-word transformations with a twist

One of the most tricky and challenging parts of the Cambridge First Exam is Use of English part 4. Students always complain about how difficult it is and prefer to skip it rather than taking the bull by the horns.
If you don't know about this part of the exam, here you are the description from the Cambridge English website.

KEY WORD TRANSFORMATION: Each question consists of a sentence followed by a ‘key’ word and a second sentence with a gap in the middle. You have to use this key word to complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence.


I do think that students need to learn to face their weaknesses and practice makes perfect. On the other hand, in their shoes, I understand that training for an exam must be boring so I decided to match a fun game with this exercise.

KEY-WORD TRANSFORMATIONS WITH A TWIST
What do you need? Worksheet(s) of Key word transformations 
A spinner board (optional)
A Finger Twister board


KEY OF THE COLOURS (for those who don't have a spinner board)
GREEN - LEFT HAND - THUMB
ORANGE - LEFT HAND - INDEX FINGER
PINK - RIGHT HAND - LITTLE FINGER
BLUE - RIGHT HAND - RING FINGER

RULES
1) Students work in pairs
2) Students in turns rotate the spinner board. The arrow indicates a finger and colored circle. OR Students in turns call out a colour and number.

3) The teacher boards the corresponding transformation.

4) The student needs to answer the question.
4a If the student answers correctly, they don't put any fingers on the board.
4b If the student makes a mistake, they have to put their finger on the corresponding circle according to the spinner/ the number and color they have previously called out.
4c The teacher gives the chance to another student to answer correctly. If they can answer correctly, they take off one of their fingers from the finger twister board.

5) The winner is the student with fewer fingers on the board, that is, the one who has made fewer mistakes.

My students have never had such fun doing this exercise. :)







martedì 11 aprile 2017

The dice game: a fun, low-prep speaking game

UPDATE: This blog post has been shortlisted for the 'Blog Award for Innovative Teaching Ideas' by Teaching English British Council

A fun game to revise the question form of past simple and of course... to speak 🇬🇧!!!

Level: elementary

Age of students: Children, teenagers, adults

Aim of the game: Practising past simple forms

What you need: a dice each 3 students

*You can adapt easily this game to meet your students' needs. For example, it can also be used to practise present simple and frequency adverbs.

Rules of the game
1) Think of 6 actions you did yesterday.
2) Write them down.
3) Work in groups of 3.
4) In turn, roll the dice and read out the sentence that corresponds to the number you got.
E.g. I roll the dice and I get 1. I read out the sentence "I ate fish and chips".
5) The other two learners in the group need to make up a suitable question for my answer.
E.g. Question by Maria: " What did you eat for lunch yesterday?"
Question by Francesco: "What did you eat for dinner yesterday?"
6) The student who rolled the dice decides which question is the most suitable for their answer. 
7) The learner(s) who guessed the correct question get(s) as many points as the spots on the face of the dice)
E.g. In this case Maria got 1 point because I had fish and chips for lunch.

Some feedback
My students and I loved this game because:
- it was a good way to drill the question form of past simple;
- they practiced irregular verbs;
- and finally, they got some points to become the best student of the month 😜

lunedì 10 aprile 2017

The Best Blog Posts about IATEFL Glasgow 2017 Online

A very interesting talk about motivation based on new book Motivational Teaching by Nicholas Thorner

A Wonderful session by Rachael Harris, focusing on activities that enhance our students' and our own well-being.

A very interesting session, full of ideas on how to actually become a teacherpreneur by Marina Kladova

An excellent session and one that has really made me think about the discrepency between what learners believe they have learned from a lesson and what teachers believe they have thought by Mark Heffernan (Queen Mary University of London) and David Byrne (EC London)

Empathy may be one of the qualities which distinguishes an average teacher from an excellent teacher in the eyes of the student. In this session, Kieran Donaghy (Film English) examines the importance of empathy in language education and proposes practical activities to encourage teachers, teacher trainers and students to be more empathetic.

This post is based on the IATEFL opening plenary Connecting minds: language learner and teacher psychologies by Sarah Mercer (Day 2 of IATEFL 2017 in Glasgow).

Here is an infographic summary of Brian Tomlinson's presentation on Let's Listen to the Learners, some of the resources he referred to on how to involve the learners in their learning

The interviews with Andy Hockley 1 and Marek Kiczkowiak 2 discuss the issue of native speakerism