And just like that we’re back. The holidays have drawn to a close and the suncream’s back in the cabinet. The laptop’s dusted off and thoughts turn to the 25 (hopefully) beaming faces that we’ll soon have in front of us. In our first lesson back we’ll often outline our rules and expectations, explain the content of the course and get to know one another with a range of ice breaking activities. This blog post focuses on the latter. Here are 10 activities to go away and use on the first day back!
1. Teacher introduction gap fill
We’ll want our students telling us about themselves, but it’s easier for them if we go first. There are a number of ways to this. One is a gapped text which students can look over in pairs and make predictions. They’re sure to make a few funny ones which should help break the ice:
I’m Mr Brand. Nice to meet you! I was born in ______________(Country) in _______________ (Year). But I’ve lived in Spain for ___________ (years). My favourite sport is _____________ and my favourite food is _____________. I can’t stand ____________!
Students can then write or read their own texts and even gap fill them too.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Welcome to our second blog post on mediation, which is one of the six key competences for foreign languages in the new Education Law, the LOMLOE. In part 1 we asked ourselves what mediation is and why it’s important. We delved into the different subskills that make up a successful mediator and considered the ways in which we’ll already be developing these subskills in class. In part 2, we’re going to consider what a full ‘mediating a text‘ task might look like. Let’s begin!
We’ve been blogging at some length about the new Education Law and particularly about what it means for teachers of English. In the new curriculum for Foreign Languages the Key Competences to be developed have undergone change. There are now six, namely:
In this blog post, we’re going to deal with the key competence of mediation and consider these questions
1. What is mediation in a broad sense?
2. Why is mediation important?
3. What sub skills are involved in mediation?
4. How can we develop (and how are we already developing) this competence in our students? We will further expand on this point in the next blog post.
Dictation is a tried and tested activity in the language classroom. It’s a multi-skilled activity, testing listening and writing skills: it’s quick to correct too, and it’s diagnostic: we get valuable feedback for where our learners need to improve. Dictation draws our students attention to many features of speech: it helps them get to grips with elision: the omission of sounds ( /kamra/ for camera). The same can be said for assimilation: a sound becoming more like a nearby sounds (we often say ‘hambag’ for handbag). Indeed, dictation is particularly suited to English because of it’s complicated sound/spelling relationship.
Dictation is also used in certification exams. Take this example from the B1 level of the Pearson English International Certificate. At the top are the instructions the candidate sees, and the transcript of what they hear below:
Candidates hear the recording twice and the second time they hear it there are pauses to give them time to write (represented by the slashes above).
Read on to look at six great dictation activities to use in class with your students:
The new Education Law outlines eight key competences to be developed across subject areas as part of its ‘perfil de salida’ (leaver profile). These are general competences that school leavers will need to get on in life and be effective members of society. One of these key competences is Citizenship and in this blog post we are going to look at how it is defined according to the LOMLOE and consider some activities we can do with our primary pupils to develop the competence.
Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.
I took this introduction from the International Women’s Day website as I couldn’t improve upon it. I think we can agree that it’s a world we’d like to live in and one that’s worth fighting for. To create it, we’ll need to educate our children and indeed ourselves in the values above. In this blog post, I’d like to look at some of the things we can do as educators, parents and as people to try to make it a reality.
Persistence, confidence, optimism and emotional intelligence. Useful qualities to have? They’re all outlined as part of the competencia personal, social y de aprender a aprender, one of the key competences in the new LOMLOE.
In part 1 of this two part series we broke down the key competence (I called it self management) and considered how to develop skills like planning, goal setting and reflection, which are all part of ‘learning to learn‘. Today we’re going to look at the four areas mentioned in the first sentence of this post. Let’s begin!
Happy New Year one and all! It’s a New year, with New Year’s Resolutions and a New Education Law: the LOMLOE!
Back in our first blog post on the new law, we considered how the LOMLOE sets out a ‘leaver profile’ which establishes the eight key competences that young people will need to make their way in life in personal, social and academic domains. The competences are to be developed across subject areas.
One of these eight competences is referred to as the competencia personal, social y de aprender a aprender , which I’m referring to as self management, as most of the descriptors outlined for this competence in the perfil de salida fall under the umbrella of self management, as we will see.
In this blog post, the first in a two part series, I’m going to:
- Have a look at the description of the competence in the law
- Consider what we can do in English class to develop the competence.
In post 2, I will continue with the second practical section, as there’s a lot we can do with our students.
“A leader is someone who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way”
Remember the difference between a boss and a leader; a boss says “Go!”, a leader says “Let’s Go!”
Welcome to part two of our blog post on developing leadership qualities in teens. In part 1 we looked at what in means to be a good leader and how our understanding of a good leader has changed over time. We considered how to examine the concept with our students such as by discussing, categorising or ranking desirable characteristics for leaders or by reading texts by people discussing their leadership experiences.
To this we could add a quick google of leadership quotes with our students: what do they mean, what qualities do they allude to and do we agree with them? The quotes at the start of this blog could be: has domain knowledge, leads by example, provides the tools to get the job done, gets involved / gets their hands dirty, doesn’t just sit back and order.
But of course teaching about a skill isn’t enough to develop it, and in our first post we moved onto practical ways to develop leadership, namely monitoring debates and giving and receiving feedback. In part 2, let’s continue with measures, strategies and activities we can use at both a school and class level to develop our students’ leadership.
Merry Christmas teachers! After what’s been another challenging term we’re entering the home straight and will soon be sending our students on their merry way for the holidays. Once end-of-term exams and report cards are out of the way, thoughts sometimes turn to a festive lesson or two. With that in mind I’ve prepared a video-based Christmas lesson as an ‘off the shelf’ option. A students’ worksheet is available here (Word format for editing) and there are some teacher’s notes and answers here.
The lesson is based on a 2020 Commercial from the American telecommunications company Xfinity and features Steve Carrell as Santa Claus. The video combines the themes of Christmas and the pandemic, both still relevant in 2021!
The video is humorous and vocabulary rich, both in terms of its Christmas vocabulary and the phrasal verbs and other idiomatic language in the script. There’s plenty to exploit and I think the topic also offers plenty of opportunities for the students to talk about their own experiences. This lesson plan is designed for students of a B2 level and above: why not give it a go?