Christmas Report

20131212-104402.jpgI don’t like giving homework for holidays, but I think it’s necessary that students do things constantly so that their linguistic competence improves more and more. That’s why I’ve thought of this simple report. The only thing they have to do is writing down whatever they do in English: watching a film, reading the news, listening to a podcast, etc.

My aim with this small record is that they become aware of what they have done and what they could have done. I hope it works that way.

You can download the Christmas report here.

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Writing a blogpost with B2 students.

20131209-121105.jpgThis is a rather long lesson plan for B2 students, though it can be adapted for B1 and higher levels. It is the result of two objectives I had in mind: first, writing an article, and second, doing some collaborative work on a blog.

LEVEL: B2

TIME: 1 hour

SKILLS: writing

MATERIALS: printed model article, some slideshows (shown below), projector, pc and whitescreen

Procedure

STEP ONE

Students revise a model article, they have to work on its structure, cohesion and coherence, vocabulary, etc. Once they have shared their discoveries, the teacher has to help them find out other discourse markers, topic sentences, etc. I used one found on NEF Advanced, Oxford.

STEP TWO

The teacher shows the first two slideshows you can find on this article. With the help of the teacher, they have to relate what they have seen in the model text with what they are seeing at the moment.

STEP THREE

The teacher explains the use of wordpress with the last slideshow (it’s in Spanish as I had prepared it for a session with teachers of several languages) of the same post as before. We have to expect some negative reactions as most of them have never used wordpress, our mission here is to reassure them and motivate them to try. It’s important that we provide them with a channel to express their doubts and questions, we are using our facebook group, and there they do not only get my help, but other classmates’. Anyway, I’ve promised I will publish myself the blogposts of those who try and can’t manage to publish their posts.

STEP FOUR

Explain their task.

Your task

  • Select a topic you can talk about. Some ideas might be: your job, studies, hobbies, a place you have visited or you would like to visit, etc.
  • Write a blog post of about 250 words (don’t copy from Wikipedia or similar) using your own words.
  • Add at least one related image, link and video. Slideshow presentations or audio using soundcloud are optional.
  • Send me an email when you have sent it for revision. I will revise it and publish (you can not do it on your own).
  • If you have problems with media resources (video, images, etc.), leave them as a link and I will solve it for you.
  • When you see your mates’ works, please comment all of them, say your opinion, if you like them or not. There will be time for this (until Christmas holidays).
  • The deadline is the 12th of December.
  • After this deadline there will be time to use the comments section to ask and answer and create some interaction among them.

STEP FIVE

Now you have to invite them as “contributors” to your blog, thus, they will be able to write and add links, but not to publish posts. This way you can revise what they produce and make any necessary changes.

The deadline for the articles is still open today (December, 9th 2013), but here you can see what they’ve written so far and what other students have done previously.

 

Zen Christmas

This year I decided to repeat this activity I had done three years ago (explained here). This is what I wrote in that article:

Some days later I came accross this beautiful article thanks to my friend Laura Martín. The article appeared in the blog Zen Habits and talks about how much money we spend on Christmas presents and gives advice on how we could share costless things with our beloved ones. And I thought, why don’t we have our zen presents in class? And so this activity was born.
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