Lesson Ideas

Lesson idea: ‘used to’ for describing past appearance

I made this activity up in class and it worked well! Really creative, loads of interesting language, and also a good way to practice ‘used to’ for describing past appearance.

Procedure:

  • Students work in pairs
  • Everyone has some scrap paper (or the back of their handout). Tell students they have 1 minute to draw their partner. 1 minute only.
  • So, Student A has drawn student B, right? Now, Student As swap drawings with each other. Student Bs swap too. They have one minute to add loads of random features onto each drawing. Random things like strange tattoos, unicorn horns (!), I don’t know… anything they want. Then they give the sketch back to the original artist.
  • Pause for some laughter
  • So, Student A now has a distorted sketch of their partner, Student B. Tell them that this is what their partner looked like 10 years ago. Back then, Student A and Student B were old schoolmates… They haven’t seen each other in ages!
  • Board part of a dialogue, like this…

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IELTS: identifying attitudes and opinions

Another ‘making things up as I go along’. This time in my IELTS Teens class.

Topic: Environment and the natural world

Context: We’d just done some vocabulary review / building activities. We’d also dipped into the book for some listening practice – a few activities on ‘identifying attitudes/opinions’. So, we had tonnes of new vocab, plus loads of phrases in a table like this…

Cue Teacher Pete’s random fluency practice, with the aim(s) of developing students’ ability to…

  • think on their feet
  • see things from different perspectives (whether they agree or not!)
  • justify opinions
  • wake up a bit after coursebook activities

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‘so’, ‘such a’, and cheap cocktails

Another one of my ‘making things up as I go along’ reflections. This time, something that actually worked!

The materials from one of our in-house, pre-int lessons the other day reviewed so/such (a) in the context of travel / holidays / hotels, that sort of thing.

The task was ‘describe a place you’ve visited or hotel you’ve stayed in, and shoehorn in some such a nice place/so lovely style phrases’. It was alright. Apart from that none of the students seemed that bothered about each other’s stories, none of them felt much like using a ‘so/such a’ phrase, and none of them really needed to either. But hey, that was the lesson aim, so I kind of had to run with it…

I spent some of the task time listening/assisting/etc, and the rest zoning out thinking ‘if I’m supposed to get learners using this language then I’m failing – so what other tasks have a got up my sleeve?’

I scribbled down (i.e. typed out on the IWB) a dialogue like this…

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Wordwall for ELT vocabulary games

Wordwall is a recent find for me. I heard about it during this webinar on gamifying learning, which was quite interesting. I’ve since mentioned it to various colleagues, and the typical response has been ‘oh yeah, Wordwall, that’s pretty good’. So I guess I’m behind the times!

Basically, Wordwall allows you to create interactive resources online for use in class or at home. Activities are often games, but you can use it to bring more standard coursebook activities to life such as matching tasks. It’s very straightforward to create a resource – there are a variety of templates available, most of which are intuitive and require no more than 10 minutes to set up.  You can create five activities with the free membership, then unlimited activities (including a multiplayer quiz) when you sign up (costs me 120 baht per month which isn’t bad). (more…)

Lesson Share Winner!

I don’t often win things – just like the football team I support! However, I was lucky enough to be the Onestopenglish Lesson Share winner for February. Woohoo! Check out the competition here.

What was the lesson?

Resources based on my own short story called ‘Instant Coffee’. The resources should last around 2.5 hours of class time. They follow a text-driven approach (see my lesson here). B2 Level +.

The short story in 10 words…

Popular social media foodographer gets ‘eye camera implant’. It malfunctions.

I was really chuffed that Onestopenglish chose to edit and share my lesson. Some reasons why… (more…)

More PronPack – contrastive stress

More PronPack in class today. I’m just making a quick note of a follow-up activity I did – worked well.

I used ‘Stress Jigsaw’, a cool activity for raising awareness of contrastive stress. It involves matching questions with the correct answer, using the tonic stress in the answer as a clue. Here is a pic, but not of all the matching pairs as the publishers might not be happy with that… (more…)

Using PronPack

I’ve been using PronPack a bit in class recently. I was going to review it, but I think it’s more interesting to write about how I’m using it instead.

I’ve just taught my teen classes the phonemic chart and we’ve been identifying some of the sounds they have difficulties with. Hancock’s Vowel Breakout (Book 2) was a good springboard for practice the other day. If you are unfamiliar, this is an activity where learners find their way out of a maze by following a path of words which include a certain sound.

I used this task as a quick review of our vowel focus the previous week, but I extended it by getting learners to make their own mazes for sounds they found difficult/problematic to produce or identify. (more…)