Once upon a time: 10 story activities for the primary classroom

Children love stories! Stories appeal to their vivid sense of imagination and appetite for fantasy. They help children understand and accept their own feelings and are a vehicle to teach values and about other cultures. And from a language perspective, they are a rich source of vocabulary and structures in context and lend themselves to both serious and enjoyable learning for our pupils.

In this blog post we will consider 10 classroom-ready activities to use alongside stories in the classroom. These are divided into three sections: before reading, while reading and post-reading

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Happy World Book Day! 10 English book-related expressions

The 23rd of April sees the celebration of World Book Day, a festival organised by UNESCO to promote reading and publishing. The date was linked with books long before World Book Day came into existence (in 1995) however, with ‘La diada de Sant Jordi’, a special day for romance and literature in Catalonia. The 23rd April marks the death of both Cervantes and Shakespeare.

Apart from exchanging a rose and a book to celebrate, how about checking out these 10 book-related expressions in English, complete with examples?

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Equal opportunities in ELT: putting native-speakerism to bed

Recently, we shared an article about native / non-native speaker teachers (NST / NNST from now on) on the Pearson ELT Spain and Portugal facebook page and it sparked some quite lively debate. There were polarised arguments in the vein of ‘Natives don’t know their own grammar’ to ‘Non-natives can’t pronounce properly’ as well as more nuanced arguments in between and the aim of this blog post is to delve into this issue which remains a thorny one in our profession.

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5 fantastically fun ideas for the primary classroom

With the Pearson Teacher Training Department for Spain and Portugal having delivered a large number of sessions around primary learners so far this year (and with many more to come!), the aim of this week’s post is to share five of the practical ideas we’ve been looking at. These activities have fun and engagement at their heart, as well as including the language practice our students need to make progress.

1) Sing a welcome song

Songs are a great way to learn English and thankfully for us, most primary-aged pupils are only too happy to sing. We often use songs as a way to contextualise a grammar point or some vocabulary – a catchy song will help this stick. But what about beginning our lessons with a welcome song? This is a great way to set a positive climate for learning and to calm and focus our students. Here is an example of a welcome song:

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Fostering the 4Cs in the primary English classroom

We English teachers do so much more than teach English.  I won’t attempt a definitive list for fear of breaking the internet, but one of the other things we do is to teach our students transferable skills which will be useful to them wherever they end up. The 4Cs of Critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration have been recognised as the ‘learning and innovation’ skills that separate students who are prepared for life in the 21st century from those who aren’t: how can we help nurture these skills? In this blog post I’d like to begin to take a look at these questions which I will be looking into in more detail in my webinar on the topic. Continue reading

10 ways to talk about happiness, positivity and laughter

Welcome back everybody! With the end of Christmas, New Year and Epiphany it’s time to tighten our belts financially, loosen our belts literally (at least in my case after all the mince pies) and generally get back to work.  But do not despair! This blog post has the aim of staving off the holiday blues with 10 ways to talk about happiness, positivity and laughter in English plus ideas to teach and use these expressions in class.

  1.       To be full of the joys of spring

Spring may seem a long way off after the weekend’s snowfall, but here is a nice expression to talk about someone who seems positive, energetic and enthusiastic.

Chris is full of the joys of spring at the moment. Things must be going well with his new girlfriend!  

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving! 5 turkey-related expressions for class

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On the fourth Thursday in November Americans* celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday to celebrate the harvest and other blessings over the past year. This tradition dates all the way back to 1621, when English colonists and the Wampanoag North American Indians shared a feast and signed a peace treaty which was to last 50 years.

Thanksgiving sees families come together for a feast which typically includes potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, stuffing and, of course, a turkey. Here at Pearson we’d like to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving! Though we can’t provide teachers with a turkey to celebrate, we can offer five common turkey-related expressions plus ways to use them in class.

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Creating a culture of collaboration in the primary classroom

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Having our pupils work collaboratively makes sense on many levels. We might consider the development of higher order thinking skills like critical thinking, or the improvement in oral communication skills. Collaboration in class will go a long way to making our students socially competent people and looking further afield, the ability to work together is held in very high esteem by prospective employers, so we’re sowing the seeds for a successful future. And if pupils work collaboratively on a regular basis, they will start to see one another as resources, as opposed to looking only to the teacher to answer questions.

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