Thursday, 22 March 2012

Fun warm-up or wind down: instant table-top board game

My fleet of  'game markers' always ready for action!


*a dice a coin, or spinner.

*a marker per student or group of students. (You can always have them make one out of a small piece of cardboard. Have them write a group name and representative symbol on it if you like.)

*slips of paper

1. Hand out three slips of paper to each student or small group of students.

2. Ask them to write on each something relevant  to what you are studying.
This may be for example
  • interesting and difficult vocabulary items
  • interesting questions related to the theme you are working on. 
  • different phonetic symbols or sounds you have been studying
  • positive or negative statement they feel strongly about. 
  • sentences about a particular theme. 
(Alternately for this step you can use flashcards you may have been working with)

3. If the group is small enough, you can play on a table top.

Alternately you might have several games going simultaneously in small groups.

A fun variation for big groups with lots of space available and lots of kinesthetic energy needing to be spent, the squares themselves can be whole sheets of paper and you can play a giant floor board game, with the students themselves being the markers.

Whatever of these choices you make, shuffle the slips of paper, and lay them out randomly in a chain with a beginning and an end.

If you like, you might add some random squares with "miss your turn", "free question" "go forward 2" etc. 

4. Take turns to roll the dice and play in normal board game fashion. Students may have to answer questions, or ask a question with the word from the square they land in, pronounce it correctly, identify whether the sentence they land on is correct or incorrect, and if incorrect, correct it... and so on, according to the nature of the material studied.

I hope you and your students enjoy this great instant, very flexible and very student-centered warm-up, wind-down or revision.

If you have any ideas to add, please go right ahead!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Course Book Free! With a little help from .... a Course Book!

Ok, so maybe it's cheating.

But I have to confess I have of late been trialing following the 'sequencing' developed in a established coursebook to develop my beginner level classes. As I commented in the previous post, the problem here for 'negotiating' content with low-level students is that what they need is basically EVERYTHING, and they need it in a scaffolded, sequenced kind of way.

Of course I can  - and no doubt should  - sit down and develop a coherent sequence myself. Indeed until recently that is what I have done. But I found too much of my time and resources taken up in developing and revising this simple sequencing.

It was draining and dragging at me in my otherwise overwhelmingly joyous process of planning great classes. 

So I chose a course I liked, of a communicative rather than grammaresque orientation.

And since then, rather than having to trawl through the process of designing a sequence myself, I am saving myself thay particular work by following the general sequence of tasks and language content developed in THAT course - then I close the book and develop that content in my own way.

Yes probably it's cheating. But's working! It's working!