These new kids need more public speaking skills than us. They will work on projects in teams, they will present their projects and they will need to be more confident in front of an audience. Thus, as teachers we can encourage our students to speak in front of an audience by assigning weekly projects. Friday afternoons can be a great time for doing this as on the last day of the week they feel tired and demotivated. You can find a lovely box, or a jar and put the project ideas in and ask them to choose the one for the next week.
Here are some suggestions but we can add more,
Every week students choose a song which tell a story and prepare a 3-minute presentation about the song. They have to mention the band, singer, genre and the story of the song.
Students scan through the week’s newspapers, online news channels and prepare their 3-minute presentation on current affairs.
Students find out about the movies or the plays on and choose one that they’ve watched or want to watch and prepare a presentation.
Students choose a quote that they like. Tell the class who said that and why they have chosen it and what it means.
Students choose a colour and research how that colour effects people.
Students choose two places they want to compare. they can be two cities, two cafes, two bookshops, two clothes shops, etc and prepare a 3-minute talk.
Beginning a lesson with a warm-up activity has many advantages. I can just list some as
waking up tired students
breaking the ice
encouraging students to talk and think on the subject
allowing students to settle down and prepare for the lesson
previewing or revising a particular language area
introducing the topic
starting the lesson with a smile
energising your students
proving oral fluency practice
and they are easy to prepare
There are many activities that can be used as warm-ups. Course books usually support the teachers with a short activity but from time to time, to surprise the students we can bring drama into the classroom. I’ll just list here a few drama activities and a few links for websites in this post.
Divide the class into two and tell students to stand as 2 lines. Tell them Line 1 will form a circle and that will be the inner one, line 2 will form another circle around the inner circle. Set time limits. Ask students to come face to face and talk about a) something they remember from yesterday b)what they know about the topic you are going to work on. When the time is up, tell outer circle to move until you stop them and inner circle to wait for a new partner. (You can play music while they are moving) When they stop, they can talk on the same topic with their new partners. You can finish the activity after a few rounds.
The teacher gives a piece of paper to the students and asks them to write at least 5 features of their character. The teacher collects the papers from the students and puts 4 chairs in a + shape. Then the teacher reads the features written on the papers and students who have those features are asked to gather around the same chair. Then the students can talk about their similarities. You can even put them in groups and ask them to create a class poster. This activity will be a great 1st week activity even with large classes.
Group your students and ask them to freeze frame a few scenes from the previous chapters of the book you have been reading after each scene the rest of the class try to guess which scene is in the frozen frame.
GoNoodle is a fun website you can find many videos and use them as warmers or energizers when you feel your students are getting bored.
May is round the corner. This means another school is about to end. Here you can find some revision games and activities that you’d like to use.
When I’m 65 (to revise tenses, time clauses)
Team your students
Prepare small cards, on small cards write random numbers such as 18, 22, 56, 38, etc.
Put the cards upside down on the desk
Tell students, take one card and make a sentence.
When I’m 65, I’ll probably have grandchildren.
When I was 18, I was a student at university.
I had a great holiday there (to revise tenses)
Put some postcards or photos of places on the walls and tell students to walk around and imagine they were on holiday. They have to concentrate on one picture and then go back to their seats and write a paragraph, how they spent their holiday there. Then they can read and their friends try to guess which picture he has chosen.
Ask them who they are. They will probably laugh and tell their names but tell them what roles do they have as a person in different places. Tell them that you’re their teacher, a mother, a wife, a friend, a colleague and although you are the same person but for your different roles, you have different responsibilities, feelings, emotions. Ask them if they are the same person as a sister, cousin, grandchild etc. Then give them the skeleton and ask them to write a poem describing who they are for different people and how they feel and react.
I’d like to share a quick activity that I’m planning to do with my students tomorrow.
1. Tell students to think about the characters in the book/story/novel you’re working on
2. Ask them to prepare a list of characters traits and then ask their friends if the adjectives they chose for these characters are correct or they are the opposites.
For example: (from Animal Farm)
Variation: Prepare cards with characters’ names and an adjective to describe them. Ask students to choose a card at a time and decide if the adjective is correct or it must be the opposite to describe the character.
I am not a fan of online games. I don’t play any but my son spends most of his free time playing online games. I have lots of students who do the same and when the subject is online games, even the quietest one starts to speak. A few years ago I had three students in my class. They were very much interested in games. They were very interesting boys because they were not ordinary players as they learned a lot about mythology and literature playing these games. One of them is writing stories and probably he’ll become a famous writer one day. That’s my hope for him.
I was clearing my files during the break and I came across a handout I coped from a book (unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the book) on literature. There were questions about favourite titles and characters. I put the handout among the ones I’d like to use this year but then suddenly I thought about another activity. Why shouldn’t I adapt it to games that the students are fond of playing and would work on the activity eagerly?
So here are my questions. I’ll be very happy if you can suggest other questions for this activity.
Think about the online games you love playing. First finish the sentences then compare your answers with your partner.
I think I’m like the character ————————– from the game ———— because ———————-.
I like the title of the game ————————— because ———————-.
The game which I find very challenging is ———————————.
I want to meet the character ———————- from the game —————- because ————————-
The character whose action I admire is ————————– because ——-
For me the most interesting 3 online games are ———————————.
It is easy to win a game in ————————– because ———————–
It is difficult to win a game in ———————– because ———————-.
The game ——————- is set in a ——————————. It is —————–.
10. In the game ———————— you need to be a team to win.
Here you can find the handout I prepared for the activity.
Links to some blogs and interesting posts on online games