Thursday, 25 December 2014

Thursday, 18 December 2014

'Tis the season!

My classroom is all about holidays these days. And not only because nobody feels like doing anything anymore and we're all day-dreaming about school-free days! The activities that we do are all connected to Christmas and New Year's and winter and whatnot. Yesterday I shared my YL Christmas playlist (HERE) and today I'm sharing some activities I'm about to do with my older students.

We're watching a film.

Yes, I said it. But wait! It's A Christmas Carol. So it's a classic, it's in English and in my classroom, it comes with worksheets which I'm also sharing with you. I found them on and you can download them HERE. We're also going to practise verb tenses which fits well in the whole "spirit of the past, spirit of the present, spirit of the future" concept. In the past, I used to watch the whole movie with my students but I guess that does take too much time, so this year we're watching a shorter version:

Since I'm writing about Christmas topics, let me show you some fresh photos from my classroom!

My classroom walls 

Do students still bring presents???

Some of them do :)

Teachers get hungry, too.

Speaking of gifts, I got this one a few years ago and it's still my favourite student gift. EXCELLENT TEACHER pen!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

YL Christmas videos

I've made a playlist of Youtube videos appropriate for young learners (ages 6 - 11). It's already been used in class and most of my students loved it. Hope you enjoy it, too!


Friday, 12 December 2014

OUP Conference Ljubljana 2014

This year's UOP conference in Ljubljana was held on December 5 and I've been meaning to post a review since but I've been super busy. All in all, the conference was OK and there were some useful classroom activities presented which I've since managed to try out in my classroom so I'm now able to write about them from personal experience. 

This was this year's schedule:

Below is a list of activities presented in the conference that I found useful.

Building blocks for successful lessons

1. Activities with vocabulary songs
  • Choose a vocabulary song such as Head and Shoulders.
  • Prepare flashcards for vocabulary items from the song and add two extra on the same topic
    (i. e. head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, nose,
    hands, fingers)
  • Choose as many students as there are flashcards. Call the students in front of the board and hand one flashcard to each student. 
  • Play the song. The students must find out which of the flashcards were not mentioned in the song and the students holding those flashcards may return the flashcards and go back to their desks.
  • Play the song again. The students holding flashcards must now form a line in the same order in which the words from the flashcards appeared in the song.
  • Play the song again. This time, when students hear the word from their flashcards, they should quickly raise and drop their flashcard.

2. Drawing with shapes

Using basic geometric shapes (ovals, triangles) to draw a penguin. The photos below are a prime example of my drawing skills.

My students liked this activity so I found other examples of such drawings.

Activities that work

1. Funny interviews

Ask your students to write down the answers to the following questions:

  • What's your favourite fruit?*
  • What's your favourite vegetable?*
  • How many colouring pencils have you got?
  • Are you a student?
  • Who is your favourite celebrity?**
  • What's your favourite number (1 - 10)?

Once the students have answered all the questions, show them the true questions they were answering.

  • What's your name?
  • What's your surname?
  • How old are you?
  • Are you married?
  • Who's your spouse?
  • How many children have you got?

My students loved this one. Expect some loud laughter and protests! After they see the real questions, they can interview each other. Braver students can also introduce themselves with their "new" information in front of the class.

*You can use any topic, e. g. clothes or colours.
** You may want to tell girls to choose male celebrities and vice versa. Not to appear judgemental, but you might avoid some unnecesarry conflicts this way.

2. Toilet paper ice breaker
I actually heard this one before. I think it was on last year's Rokus Klett conference. I've since forgotten about it and it was nice hearing about it again because it's a really fun idea. Here's how you do it:

bring a roll of toilet paper to your class. Pass it around and ask your students to tear off the amount they normally use.  Once everyone has done this, you then announce that for each sheet they have torn off, they must tell the group one thing about themselves.

3. Guess the question
Prepare a list of questions suitable for your students. Choose a student or ask for a volunteer to come in front of the board. The student then chooses a question from the list, writes the answer on a sheet of paper and shows it to the rest of the class. The other students must try to guess the question.

Challenging thinking on challenging behaviour
The truth is, even though I expected much from this workshop I can't really remember much of it. I found it too general and vague.

Last but not least - freebies and raffle prizes!

This year's freebies: a bag, a reader (Eat, Pray, Love), a notebook, a pen, classroom posters and a USB car charger! And lunch - if you were lucky enough to reach the buffet while there was still any food left.

And I've actually won something in the raffle this year. Thank you, Mint International House Ljubljana! :)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Sharing is caring #2: MG+

I don't know whether you're subscribed to Mary Glasgow magazines, but they have some useful articles and activities for language learning in there. If you have a subscription, you've probably also recieved a password for their website with additional activities such as video clips, listening tasks and more. For those of you who don't have that supscription for whatever reason, you can still register on their website and you'll have access to some of their activities. However, there are also activities you need an extra password for - and I'm sharing it with you in case you'd like a sneak peek! ;) Use f6regk for teacher pages or haggis5 for student pages. I hope it comes in handy!