I’m busy producing a second edition of “Lesson A Day”. I’ve had lots of nice feedback and teachers are appreciating this organized but low key approach. Just click on the lesson idea and get the suggested resource. Enough for one a day for a whole month! Also use the voicethread for this and get the Teach / Learn coursebook with it.
I’m a big fan of drawing in the EFL Classroom 2.0. Last night, my parents related a story about a neighbors door mat (pictured). I immediately thought “LESSON!”, so here it is.
It would be great for students to make / draw their own door mats for the whole class. Maybe even have a contest. Watch the presentation / examples below – discuss as needed. Make one together as a whole class and then give out the A4 paper and let me do it! Check their language and sketch and they can then turn it over and do it as a final draft. Finally, present them for the class and display on the classroom walls.
Simple, strong lesson!
Getting our students retelling, even in a very simple form, is SO powerful! It creates active listeners and learners and really enlivens the learning process. Throughout my own career as an EFL teacher, retelling is something I plan into my lessons for all levels of learners. Just “remembering” what we’ve learned is a simple form of retelling and something that allows repetition and a “jellying” of the learning experience. Retelling is also incredibly social and we are hard wired for this – think of how we are captivated around the campfire by “story” or how powerful a hold gossip has on us. You can harness this ancient force in your classroom too!
The best way is to give students a variety of language material – audio / video / written. Doesn’t have to be what we commonly associate with retelling – a story. I usually use 4 different types of material for a larger class. Allow them time to understand the material and then put them in groups to retell / share what they were given. Monitor and then when most have retold, split them up into other groups to retell again to new partners. Continue until the final step – have them retell what someone else told them! This type of jigsaw style lesson works well for retelling.
Language is intimately tied to memory. And we understand too little about memory. However, over the years I’ve understood how student’s with higher levels of fluency in a second language have a great ability to retell and “remember” language. So retelling is also a perfect placement/level test. Give students a very simple paragraph or story. They should even at a very low level, understand all the vocabulary/ideas. Next, create checklist of main ideas and information. Ask the student questions and check if they can recall the information. The more information recalled, the higher the level. A simple and effective formative test. See the power point below for some examples.
** Not your ordinary, endless list – just what’s number 1.
Show ‘N Tell
Yes, this is not just a stand by but a great activity for bringing the REAL and real communication into the classroom. It works in an L1 classroom and even works better in an L2 classroom!
The simple version is to have the children bring in a personal item that they want to share with the class. Make a whole lesson of it or schedule it (I prefer the whole lesson).
Make sure to do the following:
1. Model Show ‘N Tell by bringing in your own item! Get the children to ask you about it and give your own presentation and “show”.
2. Make sure to pass the items around. Don’t worry, even if fragile, kids will be careful (usually more so than adults). Children learn language by touching – believe it or not!
3. If you want to make a language lesson of it – write down some key questions / question words, so students can be prompted. Or the day before, brainstorm questions to ask! Write them on chart paper for reference during show and tell.
4. If you can, get them out of their desks and to another area. Sitting on the floor is best. Make it special!
5. Even try filming it! Parents will love this but make sure you run this by administration….
And do you know the bonus, for you the teacher? — Well, besides having a fairly easy lesson, you will get to know your students so much better! And there ain’t no better way to teach them better than to know them better!