So a couple of people asked me what I did in class, especially since I never use a book. I thought I’d share with the world.
I almost always put everything on PowerPoint, but I also know that even in the best of schools computers can be moody. I know that they are really not sentient, but sometimes, they act as if they are- and that they don’t really like me very much. So I always have back up material. If I need a song, I import it to PowerPoint, but I also burn it on to disk. I also make sure I bring paper or worksheets, because I know my students will conveniently ‘forget’ to bring everything they would need.
For the first class of the semester I had them do a survey- I made up 6 different survey worksheets, each one had questions about different things- food, school uniforms, music, study habits, hobbies, and romance. For the advanced students I gave each student one survey and had them ask all their class mates the questions, then give a presentation about the results. For the intermediate classes I explained some of the vocabulary, and put them in pairs and gave out the surveys. They had 5 minutes to ask and answer the questions then they would change partners. For my lowest level class I did the same as with the intermediate, but I would go over more vocabulary, and I gave the students a lot more time.
The next class is one I’m doing now. We are having fun with proverbs. I made a worksheet with several half proverbs:
When in Rome___________________________
If at first you don’t succeed ______________________
etc. I explained what a proverb was, and for my advanced class, I put them in groups, told them they didn’t have to have the ‘real’ proverb, but that they should make their own, and let them go. For my intermediate class, I explained vocabulary, and did one on the board, with examples from the advanced class. I put them in groups and helped each group until they ‘got’ it. For the very beginner class, I put them in pairs, gave more examples and my co-teacher and I helped them a lot. I was really impressed by how well they did. When they were finished I had them present their best proverbs. I also did a bit of grammar correction. It is a fun class
Next week we are doing Mad Libs. I made up some stories using the vocabulary book they have, and took out the nouns, verbs and adjectives. I then made up a list of nouns, verbs and adjectives. I used the vocabulary from their textbook and vocabulary book. I will model a mad lib with my co-teacher- then put them in pairs. I will have to monitor the students to make sure they don’t cheat by matching up the story and list worksheets or by one reading the story to her partner, but like the proverbs, it takes a bit of work before they ‘get’ it but once they do, they usually have a good time. ( I’ll do a lot more pre-teaching for intermediate and beginner classes, but I think all my classes can do it.) Once everyone is finished I will have them present their stories.
I will also do metaphors: I will play the song “Missing” from Everything but the Girl and although I did add a video last time, I can’t re-figure out how to do it this time, so …. you can look it up on youtube.
The lyrics are very haunting, and my students last year really liked the song. I will have them do a cloze test with the lyrics, and then put the important lyrics on the board
“And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain”
I will explain a metaphor with examples. For the advanced class I will put them in groups, give them the worksheets and let them have fun. For the intermediate class I will put them in groups and give them the worksheets, then have them brainstorm emotions and expressions that they can make metaphors from. I will then monitor them carefully and help them as much as they need to get started. (once the students do one, and you say “yes, that is right” they usually become confident enough to finish the task fairly quickly) For the beginners, I will put a lot more examples on the board, and brainstorm more expressions and emotions. The students last year had a blast with this, they really enjoyed getting creative.
I also enjoy situation/character cards. I make up several cards (enough for each pair group in my largest class) with different situations- getting lost in the woods, shopping, the school is mysteriously closed, etc. I then make up enough character cards for every student in my largest class. Once the cards are made up, I laminate them so I can re-use them. I then put the students in pairs and hand out the situation cards, and hand out the character cards. I explain that they have to write a dialog using the cards.
a : b a: b a : b ( at least three exchanges for beginners, five for intermediate, and eight for the advanced class)
After they have written the dialog I have them perform their skits. ( this is something that can be used over and over, and the students start very shy, but by the end of the semester, some become quite the little hams.) Again, for the advanced class I explain what I want them to do, then let them go, I do some pre-teaching and brainstorming for the intermediate class, and a lot of pre-teaching and brainstorming for the beginner classes.
In the coming weeks I will have them make their own country with their own bill of rights, maps, have them make a travel ad for Seoul, a murder mystery, and several word games.
The hardest part is getting the students to let go of having the one right answer, and getting confident producing their own language. Its a bit frightening for them, because they are used to having all the language there, and choosing the right answer from a set list. But. They really enjoy it once they let go of the fear.
This is my favorite part of my job, creating the worksheets and activities for my students.