giovedì 17 marzo 2016

Household stuff: Great tools for teaching... grammar! Part 3

Hi everyone!
Welcome back to my series about using household stuff for teaching English as a foreign language!

Today's item is

 DRINKING STRAWS €1 (100 pcs)

PURPOSE: I used drinking straws to check my students' comprehension of COUNTABLE and UNCOUNTABLE "FOOD & DRINKS" NOUNS.

WHAT I DID BEFORE CLASS: - I printed out this template and I wrote down a food noun in each glass, then I cut each glass out. 
- I stuck two sheets of paper on the desk: 


WHAT I DID IN CLASS: After teaching a bunch of  COUNTABLE and UNCOUNTABLE "FOOD & DRINKS" NOUNS I told my students they were going to play a game and I showed them the drinking straws. I placed the "paper" glasses at a certain distance from the sheets. 

WHAT MY STUDENTS DID: All students stood up around the table and I told them the rules of the game.
Students took turns to blow into their drinking straw in order to make the "paper" glasses move towards/onto the right sheet.
They got one point for each right word and lost one point for each wrong one.

It was a very funny game and I felt especially satisfied with their positive results.
Watch the video: Drinking Straws - EFL game
Until the next item ;-)

mercoledì 9 marzo 2016

Household stuff: Great tools for teaching... exam classes! Part 2

Hi everyone!

Today's item is... 
€1,50 (100 pcs)

PURPOSE: I used ice cream sticks to teach an exam-focused class. Students were trained to practise Cambridge FCE Reading and Use of English PART 4.   
[This part of the exam is called KEY WORD TRANSFORMATION. Each question consists of a sentence followed by a ‘key’ word and a second sentence with a gap in the middle. You have to use this key word to complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence.]

WHAT I DID BEFORE CLASS: I wrote some sentences on the ice cream sticks using present perfect simple/continuous and past simple. I wrote some sentences with the same meaning - using different tenses - and some "distractors'" which were wrong. 
E.g. Stick 1 --> My nephew began to play tennis in 2010.
Stick 2--> My nephew has been playing tennis since 2010.
Stick 3 --> My nephew has been played tennis since 2010.
The first two sentences have a similar meaning while the third one is wrong.

STUDENTS: (4-6) Teenagers

WHAT I DID IN CLASS: I told my students we were going to play a game to revise the use of PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE/CONTINUOUS and PAST SIMPLE and I showed them the ice cream sticks in a clear plastic bag.
Afterwards, much to their surprise, I dumped the sticks on the desk. I said they had to pick up two sticks with the same meaning without moving the others. (See the rules of the game MIKADO)

When they picked up two right sentences without moving the other sticks, they got 2 points.
When they picked up two right sentences moving one or more sticks, they got 1 point.
When they picked up a wrong sentence, they got no points.
They had a lot of fun!

Until the next item ;-)

mercoledì 2 marzo 2016

Household stuff: Great tools for teaching! Part 1

LOOK OUT! Even though this blogpost seems to be addressed to women only I'm sure male teachers will find it useful! 

WARNING: This is a very personal blogpost.

As you know (or if it's the first time you drop by, let me introduce myself) I teach English as a Foreign Language to children, teenagers and adults in a small seaside town (between Rome and Naples) where I was born. I'm in my early thirties (everyone says I look younger, though) and I'm not married.  "You should get married soon, or you'll be too old to have children" (Apparently everyone has watched/read Bridget Jones' Diary!)
Being unmarried at my age, especially in a small town, makes me feel like a suspicious person.
I spend most time teaching and when I'm off I love planning lessons and finding new teaching methods. This seems to be my greatest fault.  Ok... I plead guilty, Sir. 
"Well, what should I do?" I wondered. Showing more interest in household chores and cooking may help, I thought. So, a few weeks ago I tiptoed into a Houseware&Household shop near my language studio and I explored it. Unfortunately, once again I couldn't help but thinking of my lessons... 
I hope my ideas will appeal to you!

1) FLY SWATTER (€0,80 each) --> a plastic tool with a handle, used to swat (= hit) insects (

1.1 Right or Wrong?
Materials: 2 fly swatters 
                 right/wrong sentences on sheets of paper
                (about) 8 magnets

Procedure: - I sticked on the board two sentences, one right and the other wrong.
                  - In pairs students came to the board and swatted the wrong sentence.
Comment: My teenager students practised the use of Contrasting Linkers (even though, despite, however, etc.)

1.2 Say... Swat it right!
Materials: 2 fly swatters
                 words about "the house" (any topic you want)
                 (about) 20 magnets
Procedure: - I sticked on the board five words about "the house".
                   - In pairs students came to the board.
              - I said a word in Italian (my students' native language") and students swatted the right word.              
Comments: It was a great way to revise vocabulary for lower-levels.

P.S. Be careful! Students might swat each other. Warn them beforehand that if they do so you will stop the game!
Until the next household item ;-)