Countdown to Christmas

This is an article I came across on facebook. It’s an easy-to-follow idea to create an advent calendar with random acts of kindness. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

This blog presents a calendar full of ideas we can follow, and it also includes a blank copy we can use for our students to fill in. Isn’t it awesome?

As a plus, we can practise vocabulary and the imperative forms, provoke a debate and create a mood for Christmas.

You can read the article here. 

updated-for-2015-the-popular-free-printable-random-acts-of-christmas-kindness-advent-calendar-is-the-best-way-to-countdown-to-christmas-we-are-definitely-doing-this-one1

You can download the blank copy here.

Advertisements

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.

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.

 

Writing Stories

I’ve designed this two-hour lesson plan to teach how to write a story. I hope you like it.

Aim: Writing a Story

Level: Intermediate – Upper-intermediate

Materials: Google Docs document, slideshow presentation, photocopies

This is the lesson plan I wrote. At the end of the lesson we ask them to write a 200 word story starting like this:

The most wonderlful thing of life is that you always know how your day starts, but you never know how it is going to finish.

Natasha Bedingfield: Unwritten

Whenever I hear this song I say to myself, I have to do something with it, after a lot of thinking, here is the activity I designed:

Time: 30 minutes

Skills: Listening, reading, speaking, writing. Students are encouraged to listen to a song, read its lyrcis, write and speak about it. They are forced to think in English and speak about feelings.

Level: Upper-Intermediate to Advanced

Aim: To analyse the meaning of the song and to write some creative lines.

Contents: Expressing your opinion, talking about feelings.

Procedure:

  • Students watch the videoclip of the song Unwritten, by Natasha Bedingfield. If we have time, we can share with them what the Wikipedia says about this song.
  • We tell them to pay attention to what happens there and at the end we ask them what they saw. If they don’t know what to say, we can tell them to say what they think that happened in the lift, and where it takes everyone.
  • Then we give them the lyrics and ask them the meaning of the song. If they don’t know what to say, we can use the ideas given at Blurt It. They have to write a few lines about it and then share them with their classmates.
  • When they’re finished, we’ll point out these lines taken from the song:

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in

  • We share with them this idea: It’s clear that feeling the rain on your skin is something that can make you feel alive.
  • Now it’s their time to share with the whole class those things that make them feel alive.

These kinds of activities are sometimes risky, so we have to think it twice before using it with a group that’s not cohesive enough or with people afraid to talk about feelings.

Materials:

These notes contain some extracts from the website Blurt It and the lyrics to the song, together with the questions students have to answer.

Guided Story: Romeo and Juliet

Sometimes students don’t know how to start a story. I’ve created this activity to help them brainstorm and then write a story. The activity can be used with intermediate students and above and it takes about 45 minutes. If we want them to write a story in class they should be given 30 more minutes.

These are the steps of the activity: Continue reading