An alternative to a board rush
For a recent trainee’s lesson, the TP points originally said to do a board rush to activate schema around the topic of jobs. Unfortunately, between writing the TP points and talking them through as a group, we decided to change rooms and the new room’s layout meant that a board rush would have been a little tricky. So, when we talked through the lesson, we discussed alternatives and settled on the learners writing down jobs starting with each letter in pairs and then a bit of feedback on some interesting jobs which they came up with.
In the end, the teacher decided to do feedback on all the letters of the alphabet which in many ways was fabulous as it gave the learners a chance to share their previous knowledge and allowed them to introduce new lexis to classmates. However, it did make for a slightly longer engage stage which meant the teacher was left with less time for later tasks – this wasn’t a problem in terms of aims achievement, but he had prepared a wonderful picture dictation which there unfortunately wasn’t time for.
In feedback on the lesson, which is done online as it’s a part-time CertTESOL course, I asked the trainees what they would have done differently in order to maximise time and materials. They came up with some good ideas and one trainee mentioned an alternative way of doing a board rush which I’m going to steal for this blogpost (thanks, Val!).
She suggested having the alphabet stuck up around the room, either with alphabet flashcards or on pieces of paper. Learners could then move around the room and add jobs to each letter, either by writing them directly on the paper or sticking post-its on. I think this is a great way to do an alternative board rush as it means that everyone is involved, rather than the two or three people who can squeeze up at the board on a good day, and still involves the kinaesthetic element of getting up and about. You could still have the competitive element too – either assign certain pen colours to individuals on a team as you probably would in a normal board rush, or use differnt coloured post-its (though be careful of cheats who may remove words!). Another bonus is that the lexis can be kept much more easily – often board work is fleeting, rubbed off in preparation for the next task – unless of course you’re a die-hard #ELTwhiteboard fan and take a photo of it!