I’m killing two birds with one stone with this post! Firstly as it allows me to throw out another piece of paper with thoughts from last year written on and also it’s good for one of my new year resolutions!
At some point last year, probably during my quest to make use of more routines, I started a list of some activities I could do in class to revise language. So here’s my list…
- Question word O+X
- Where’s the ghost? (good for prepositions)
- Character Builds (great for any age and level)
- Star Word
- Freeze! (What were you doing when…?)
- Alphabet Race
- Guess the Question
- The Boss Says…
- Disappearing Sentence
- Sit down if…
- Different types of Dictation
- Vocab boxes
I gave a talk on Saturday at ACEIA, the annual conference for language schools in Andalucía. Towards the end I asked participants to share their favourite activities with VYLs and as I was wandering around, I heard one of the participants mention Kids TV 1,2,3 – a youTube channel which has a great range of songs and rhymes for VYLs – a great standby for the last five minutes of class, or to be incorporated into your daily routines!
We are creatures of habit – I know where I like to sit on the bus and try to find “my spot” on each trip. Our students likewise have their favourite spots in the classroom – facing the board, in the corner, next to a friend. We are always encouraged to mix students up a bit so that they learn to work with different people, appreciate different learners’ needs and learning styles and to vary pairings of stronger and weaker students.
However, it can sometimes seem a bit patronising to move students around and it can also be awkward and time-consuming if done during the class, as students collect up their materials and bags and manoeuvre around the tables and chairs. It’s a good idea to try and arrange people into a different seating arrangement before the class starts and a fun way to do this is by giving each student a question on entering class, the answer to which is stuck on a post-it to their chair. I did this activity with the trainees the other day using questions to revise phonology as it was our final lesson and a revision session for the exam.
It also works well if you want to choose who sits together – just make sure you know who to ask what and keep an eye on your students that they don’t sneakily swap the post-its so they can sit with a friend! I used to use a similar technique with my young learners – I would say the name of a fruit and they had to find the correct picture on their chair. It’s a nice way to revise vocabulary topics as well as each student can then tell you the word on their chair.
I’ve got quite a weak class of late-Primary students this year and so I’ve been using this powerpoint slide (Weekend for Monday) every Monday to give them some help talking about what they did at the weekend. The beauty of the past simple in English is that the verb form doesn’t change according to the subject, so this week I’m going to ask them to tell each other what they did and then report back to the class on one thing. This will mean they’ll all have more opportunity to speak and will make the activity quicker, as I often find that they do the same thing each weekend and get bored of listening to each other!