Jan 21, 2016

Dumb Ways to Die

Dumb Ways to Die is one of those songs that you cannot get rid of easily. Apart from its catchy tune, it comes with an equally enjoyable video, making it one of the most popular videos in YouTube
It was designed as a public service announcement campaign by Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, to promote rail safety. The video went viral through sharing and social media starting in November 2012. Since then it has spawned more songs, a considerable number of parodies, video games and, believe it or not, a couple of ESL lesson plans! 
The following lesson plan is a combination of what circulates on the Internet (a version that works best with my classes). Ideal for older children and young teens. Level B1, mainly due to its vocabulary (although it becomes self explanatory through the video)

Jan 10, 2016

Whiteboard Organisation

Having an organised and reader-friendly whiteboard is vital when you are working with good, old-fashioned whiteboards. Whiteboard organisation can be quite challenging though for teachers who, like me, struggle to keep things under control in classroom environments that are increasingly getting more restless and more difficult to handle (for reasons we, in Greek State Schools, are all aware of ).

When I attended the RSA Certificate in TEFL (now CELTA) 25 years ago in International House Hastings, we were given some basic guidelines for keeping our whiteboard, or should I say blackboard, neat. I had forgotten all about them, when I came across the same basic advice, together with some new tips in http://eltplanning.com/. As a way to keep them in mind I made a simple outline, which I hope you will find helpful.

  • Set the goals of the lesson at the beginning and keep them up untill the end.

  • Make sure everything you write is big enough and clear enough even for the ones at the back. Take a step back to check if you must.

  • Using different colour markers can be helpful. Just make sure you are consistent with the colour coordination, for example blue for vocabulary, green for stress, red for form symbols (v), (n) etc.

  • For the "What I Learnt" section, you can use blank post-it notes. In the final few minutes of class students can come to the front, take a post-it back to their table, write something they’ve learnt then stick it on the board as they leave class. (This can form the basis of a quick revision in the next lesson).  

  • As a simple behaviour management tool, you can use the Mystery Prize section. Just display a simple piece of paper on the board saying ‘Mystery Prize’. Write something on the back of it or on the board behind it – like ‘No Homework!’ or whatever your prize is. Tell students that if they work hard and behave, they get to reveal the prize at the end of class.

Jan 7, 2016

Internet & email Vocabulary

Have you ever wondered what these symbols are called in English? Have you ever tried to read a website address and had no idea how to do it? Well now you know ... 

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