August 25

Visual Literacy

End of Week 3 now and I’m very excited as this afternoon I’m doing the session on Visual Literacy.  Followers of the blog will have noticed I’ve been using more multimedia resources this year and this afternoon’s session is a very hands-on look at using video and photos in the classroom.

For the trainees attending the session, and for anyone else who’s interested, here are some useful links to sites and lesson plans using video and pictures:

• Ceri Jones has some great lesson plans on her blog close up

Lesson Stream, Jamie Keddie’s site, provides very detailed lesson plans based on short clips

• On this blog you can find a lesson plan on Planking and another on character builds taken from a screenshot

• Michelle Worgan has posted some great activities on her blog, including a lesson based on Free Running

eltpics gives teachers a place to share pictures on a variety of topics, all of which are available under a Creative Commons License.  If you’re interested in joining the venture, check out this post on Sandy Millin’s blog

English Attack is a great site where your students can learn English watching short video clips and music videos

• The onestopenglish article Teaching English Using Video also provides very detailed plans for teaching different levels and looks at the different activities you can do with video

June 20

You’re like a dictionary…

…you fill my life with meaning.

Ha, what a corker.  That has to be my favourite TEFL-related chat-up line!  As my students did their FCE exams last weekend, we wound down a bit this week and did more fun stuff, after nine months of exam preparation!  I think chat-up lines are similar to jokes in that the humour is not always easily understood, but a couple of the following amused my students.  Can you pair up the lines?

Are you a parking ticket? you fill my life with meaning.
Do you have a plaster? When you fell from Heaven.
If I said you had the perfect body, or is it just you?
If I could rearrange the letters of the alphabet… Because I cut my knee when I fell for you just now.
Did it hurt?  (What?) I believe you’ve been looking for me.
Do you believe in love at first sight… Because you’ve got FINE written all over you!
You’re like a dictionary… I keep getting lost in your eyes.
I’m Mr. Right… would you hold it against me?
Do you have a map? I’d put U and I together.
Is it hot in here… or should I walk past again?

Following the matching activity we chatted about whether people still use chat-up lines, where and when people flirt and for homework they did a reading activity about Speed Dating.

June 7

What a planker!

Here’s a fun lesson plan for teens which gets their creative juices flowing and includes authentic listening from the other side of the globe.

To begin, show your students the following pictures, which can be found on facebook’s Planking Community page, and ask them what they think the person is doing.  My students came up with some great ideas, as you can see from their comments below…

PlankingThen explain to them what planking is…if you’re not sure yourself, check out the video below.

Show the video to the students, then ask them to watch again and answer the first four questions on the handout, which can be found on my Activities for your Classroom page.  Correct the handout and discuss the next three questions, before asking students to do the gapfill activity, adapted from a BBC news article, at the bottom.  You can then show them a second video of the news report following the young man’s death.  I think it’s important to see both the fun side of the activity and also the dangers, I certainly wouldn’t want to encourage students to try stunts like these.

May 2

What am I? I am a classroom.

We’ve got exams next week at school and as I was looking throught the exams this weekend and writing the Answer Sheets, I marvelled at the English in the Cambridge YL exams.

I’ve tagged this in “authentic English”, but really it should be “authentic English?”

March 22

Why ‘International English’ leaves a bland taste in my mouth…

One of the plenaries at TESOL-SPAIN was a talk by the great Penny Ur on English as an International Language in which she raised some interesting points about “users” of English rather than “learners” and asked where the model for an International English would come from.

Perhaps I’m extremely biased as I’m a confident English user and have never had to go through the experience of learning English, but the idea of an International English does leave me with quite a few doubts.  I think one of the beauties of any language is its eccentricities and often not being a fully-competent speaker of one variety of the language can open up a world of possibilities and encourage further communication between people.  I speak Spanish well (that’s to say I speak Castellano well) but I have no doubt that if I went to South America some of my phrases would be met with strange looks.  It could be embarrassing, it could be enfuriating, but I imagine I would enjoy the experience of learning new vocabulary and communicating with local people in the process.

What do you think?