Cambridge University Press

Random realia and peculiar props

I think it hit home about five minutes before the lesson:

‘Am I really going to base a 30 minute activity around this bottle of murky water? Surely this can’t work…’

Most of the activities I’ve tried from ‘Teaching Grammar Creatively’ have worked quite well. This one though… I must admit, I had my doubts.

It was supposed to be an activity for practising the present perfect (for completion). There’s a poem in the book about a ‘cosmic cocktail’… something like this:

‘I’ve blended everything nicely,

two galaxies,

several stars,

I’ve added a sprinkle of meteor dust…’

Etc.

Sticking with the theme, I made the cocktail (mocktail) as a prop. It consisted of some cheap coffee, some raisins, bits of cut-up rubber… it looked awful.

Somehow, SOMEHOW most of the students bought into it. They enjoyed guessing the ingredients, reciting the poem, then making their own. It ended up a good review of a past lesson on cooking vocabulary, and was (as the book suggests) a fun, creative task.

realia1realia2

 

So, what’s the strangest/most interesting object you’ve ever used in class? And… did it help?!

Classroom Management Techniques

I contacted Cambridge University Press last month. I said ‘If you send me a book, I’ll review it on my blog.’ To my surprise, a copy of cmt1Classroom Management Techniques by Jim Scrivener turned up in my pigeon hole at work. This was very generous of them, but it’s been out for a while and reviewed plenty of times so I’m not going to stick to my promise (sorry). Instead, I’m going to write a few different posts about sections in the book, choosing things that I agree with, new things I will definitely try out, and some things that I feel differently about as a practising teacher.

Two things I should say. First, you can find a good overview of the book here, and a nice review here. Secondly, the fact that I disagree with some things written in the book doesn’t mean I dislike it. We had a copy of it at my last school (don’t tell CUP I’ve read it already), and I think it’s great – actually I’d say it’s an essential book for any staffroom.

I’m starting with the final section in the book which is about lessons. The last 50 pages of Classroom Management Techniques offer tips and activities related to 10 different topics, which are: (more…)