personalising lessons

Personalising learning – self-portraits

I love the book Being Creative by Chaz Pugliese. It’s full of great activities and ideas for personalising learning. It’s also a great book for new teachers to have around as it will encourage you to experiment.
I first used Being Creative a few years back when I was teaching lots of short courses. I had to do plenty of ‘Getting to know you’ lessons and I got a bit fed up with using the same old activities. I came across ‘Self-portraits’ (Being Creative, page 62 in my copy), and have used it ever since. It’s a fantastic way for finding out about your learners and to get them sharing their interests and achievements with each other.

Here’s an outline of the activity. I mainly use it with teen classes:

Ask students to draw a table in their books with three different columns (my ones below are a bit different to Pugliese’s)

portrait

(actually I make this 4 columns, including ‘two fun facts about me’)

Next, students write two of their own ideas in each column.

portrait1

Now it gets fun! Instruct students to draw a symbol to represent each idea. Model this well. (more…)

Introducing travel – student quiz

This came up again recently. There’s nothing wrong with ‘Where the hell is Matt?’, that will always be a classic. However, I like to mix things up, personalise, find different ways to engage my students. This worked well…

First up, a bit of teacher/student rapport building. Stick pictures of your own travels around the room. Get students to guess the country where the pictures were taken. You can make them obvious…

1709

or not…

1709a

Anyway, good for checking prior knowledge, and gets the class doing something straight away.

Then do a bit of sentence completion:

My top travel destination would be…  because…

Get students to complete the sentence in their notebook first (this will help you gather info!)

Then do a whole class mingle. Tell the students they have 5 minutes to ask as many people as possible about their top travel destination. They should make notes to remember what they hear – after the activity you will give them a quiz…

While everyone is chatting, listen/ask questions/look at notebooks etc. Gather info on each of your students’ responses during the 5 minutes.

When time is up put the students in pairs. Tell them to share their information. Then look at the data you’ve gathered and ask them 10 questions, e.g.

  • Which student’s top travel destination is Brazil?
  • How many students said that England was their top destination?
  • Who said they would like to see Big Ben?
  • Etc…

Obviously some students will hear questions about themselves – encourage them not to give the game away. When you’ve finished check scores and announce winners.

It’s fun and personalised. Young learners enjoy it! These stages take about 20 minutes in total, depending on level.

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.

Grammar review using drawings

This was a good idea I came across Bucksmore summer school. A review for various tenses/structures.

Give students a piece of paper. Get them to split it into 4 squares.

In each of the squares they draw one of the following:

  • Something you’ve done
  • Something you were doing this time last year
  • Something you will have done by the year 2050
  • What you will be doing in the year 2050

They choose the squares for each drawing at random.

Go over the structures if you need to…

You’ve + V3

This time last year you were  + Ving

By 2050 you will have + V3

In 2050 you’ll be + Ving

Students look at each other’s pictures and use the phrases to guess what each drawing shows.

Tweak the above examples to include structures you want to review.

Good fun. The drawing bit doesn’t have to take too long, I mean look how bad mine are!

Level? This activity was used at Upper-Int level. It was actually a warmer just to review these structures. Copyright Bucksmore I guess!

I’m writing a series of short posts in response to Martin Sketchley’s blog challenge. You can view his new blog here.