Can technology help teens when learning a language or is it just a distraction? Is bilingual education the way forward or can it confuse younger learners? We use lots of games in primary classes, but do they actually serve an educational purpose?
If you have taught English to Spanish speakers for a while, I’m sure you already have an idea of what the main pronunciation problems for them are. As a teacher of English and native speaker of Spanish, I have not only experienced those problems myself but also have always tried to help my students with effective and engaging techniques that I will be explaining in this post.
Below, you can find some of most problematic pronunciation areas for Spanish speakers (take a look at the Speakout Study Booster for Spanish speakers) and how to get around them in class by using games.
Word games are an engaging way not only to practice vocabulary and spelling in class but also to hone important language skills such as defining and describing. They’re fun, too, make ideal warmers and fillers, and generally don’t require much preparation – especially if you get the students involved in setting them up. Plus, many work well as competitions and can easily be adapted to suit different ages and levels. Here are 6 easy word games for the English language classroom. Why not give them a try?
Every lesson needs a warmer and there are few that go by that don’t have an odd five or ten minutes that need filling with something to keep your students on their toes or to give the class a change of pace.
We look at 7 easy warmers and fillers for the English language classroom.
Nice and nasty
This super-simple warmer is guaranteed to get your students chatting and is a great first day activity. Have students divide a sheet of paper into two columns, one they label ‘nice’, the other they label ‘nasty’. Tell them you’re going to read out a list of words, each of which they have to write in the column that expresses how they feel about it. Your list should include of a variety of people, places and things that are likely to divide opinion (for example, hip hop, spicy food, winter, Sunday evening, ironing, tattoos, English grammar, Michael Jackson, department stores). Once you have finished reading out the list and students have written the items down, they compare their answers in pairs to see how similar or how different their tastes are. Continue reading
When it comes to learning a language, you can only do so much in class. At some point, we all need to look beyond the classroom walls if we’re to put our abilities to the test and hone those hard-earned skills. Luckily, the age we live in has no shortage of options for the motivated learner.
Here are 10 ways to improve your English outside of class:
Everyone loves to play, and any teacher knows that games and quizzes are a great way to engage the language learner. For the student who wants to improve their English at home online – or even on the move with their smartphone – there are lots of great sites with free games for practising English. We’ve picked out ten to get you going. Enjoy!
Free games for practising English:
A while ago I visited a school in the community of Madrid, a public bilingual school called CEIP Cantosaltos, and while I was there talking with Maria, a wonderful and professional teacher, a girl approached us and said so excitedly: “Teacher Maria!! Tomorrow It’s my turn to show and tell!”
I asked Maria, what that was about and she told me that since she wanted to improve her students oral skills she had implemented this simple but powerful activity at the beginning of every Monday session. Show and tell is a very typical American game. And it goes like this:
A student brings a secret possession to school and they keep it covered up inside of a bag or inside of a box so the other students can’t see. The other students have to guess what’s inside the bag. The student who has the secret possession stands in front of the class and give clues about their hidden object, so they can say “it’s very big” or “it’s small” or they can describe what colour it is, or they can talk about why it is special for them, and then the students in the classroom get to ask that boy or girl questions like: “Is it round? Is it square? Is it blue?” The game ends when they figure out what it is.
It’s great for the children because it gives them the opportunity to practice questions and answers and to play with the language as well as share with their friends what is important for them turning this into a really meaningful learning experience.
Maria’s language assistant explains it in this video.
We hope you find it useful!!!
Have you heard about badges and gamification? You like the idea but you are not sure how to implement it with your younger learners?
We have a freebie for you!
Here is our proposal. It uses the familiar idea of stickers as badges to complete a collection of skills.
We hope you enjoy it and if you do…share it!
And here are some more stickers for day-to-day use.
Workshops with children are great. I love them.
I have realised that after being away from the class for quite a long time, you start to talk and think too theoretically and idealistically.
Children bring us back down to earth, back to class, a place where you need to find the perfect balance between theory, trends and reality, where emotions and relationships are as important as the latest trends in education.
Why am I saying this? Because we have created what we call “A class with your class”. The principal aim of this activity is to offer teachers a “live teacher training” . We conduct a class for the students, (we request the presence of the English teacher) and a meeting with the teachers afterwards to talk and reflect about what we have done as well as to complement the session with resources and more ideas.
Let’s have an example. We did this in A Coruña, in the International School Eiris, a great school that is now facing the challenge of implementing the use of tablets in their classes, so, we decided to deliver a QR code workshop for students and a training session to the teachers focused on digital competence in the English class.
Why QR codes? When we talk about literacy, we have to be aware that in a technological society, this concept is expanding to include the media and electronic text, in addition to the alphabet and number systems. Our students need to learn how to read images, how to read multimedia, how to read the web, and how to read anything that can give them information. QR codes are just another way to get or to offer information.
In this session we explained to the children the QR code concept, we practiced with QR codes, we created QR codes and we reflected afterwards about how we can apply it to our daily activities.
Here you have the presentation.
Another session is called 20-2-GO.
20-2-GO, is a collaborative contest that measures children’s reading comprehension in a fun way. Here you have the presentation where the rules are explained. You can use it for so many different purposes in your daily routines just by changing the questions. The counter works only in presentation mode and its duration can be adjusted to your necessities.
Here you can read a review of the activity written by a teacher after one of the workshops, thank you Salva!
Video games are present in our students life, so, why not using this reality in our behalf? Why fighting if we can use it as a great source of knowledge and not just a resource?
In this video, Nick Perkins shares some interesting reflections around this question: Can Online games make a real difference for today´s learners?
And you? What is your opinion? Do you integrate or avoid online games in your classes?