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15 Things to do while waiting for students to show up...
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leeroy



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2003 9:25 am    Post subject: 15 Things to do while waiting for students to show up... Reply with quote

Hi there,

It would be nice if all the students showed up exactly on time - but... you know! I have a few ideas for "things to do while waiting for everyone to come", and I'd really like some more. The idea is to do something worthwhile (so the students who come on time feel they are gaining something), but not critical to the lesson (so people who are 10 minutes late won't be completely excluded).

This is for adults in an ESL environment, naturally what works for me won't work for everyone!

1. Hangman - Vocab to tie into the lesson, good stuff!

2. Battleships - As above

3. Horoscopes - Get horoscopes from newspaper or internet and then students in pairs, discussing what they mean.

4. Have a chat - Chat with students, keeping a piece of paper and a pen close by. Quietly record any mistakes / issues for improvement, then later put them all up on the board (but not saying who said what).

5. Review what we did yesterday

6. The memory game - "Yesterday I bought an apple", "Yesterday I bought an apple and a TV", "Yesterday I bought an apple, a TV and a guitar", etc...

7. Going over homework

8. Drawing games - Like, teacher shows student a word, student must draw it on the board, other student(s) guess what it is. Can be changed to orally describing instead of drawing. Nice to choose things which will be mildly relevant to the lesson.

9. Another one, students draw cartoons of what they did/were doing yesterday, swap around, others guess what it was.

10. Bingo - Assuming you have resource books with bingo in them! Good for pronunciation, minimal pairs, etc... There's an online bingo card generator somewhere...

11. Phonemic script - Translation stuff, what's the difference between /liv/ and /li:v/), write your name phonetically, can focus on specific student's pronunciation issues.

12. Just teach something - It figures that the on-time students are the keen ones. Sometimes they like it if you give them an extra "mini-lesson", or explain an obscure language point. For example, why don't we say "An university" - (because of the "y" sound when speaking), etc...

13. News review - (We have a free English language newspaper, but for those that don't maybe news printed from the internet?) - In pairs, choose an article, read so they can explain to class what it's about.

14. News headlines - Newspaper headlines aren't usually grammatically correct, get students to add articles, verb "to be" etc... to headlines.

15. Ask students - Ask if there is anything they would like to know about specifically, it's a nice "reward" for coming on time to get more personal time with the teacher.

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of for now. Any more suggestions?

Smile

Leeroy
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Glenski



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 164
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I disagree that a teacher should fill time like this. If students can't come to class on time, that's their fault. That may sound harsh, but what about the others who have paid for the time, too? If you have short classes (45 minutes), killing/filling 10 minutes of time is a real waste to valuable teaching time. This holds even in classes of an hour.

P.S. Homework????? Only in high school where I work. Never heard of it in a language school situation.
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claire73



Joined: 24 Apr 2003
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Glenski, I agree with you about the arriving on time thing, if they regularly arrive late then that's their problem and it shouldn't interfere with the rest of the group. But homework is essential even in a private language school. The students who do the homework are always those who make the most progress - the ones who don't do it are the ones who expect to be able to speak fluent English coming to class twice a week without any extra effort. It's very important for students to be able to review in their own time what they have learnt, a lot of very useful learning can be done in their own time.

Claire
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Glenski



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 164
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Claire,

Do you mind if I ask where you teach? I'm in Japan. Language schools here never give homework. Students come once a week, and they often come only for socializing, not for true learning. Of course, there are exceptions like businessmen and some college people, but the majority just want to pick up some casual conversation practice.

I agree that homework is necessary if one wants to learn, and I agree that anyone who studies outside of the class seems to learn faster, but that just isn't what happens in Japan.
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leeroy



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2003 11:03 am    Post subject: Waste of time? Reply with quote

Yep, I can understand how Glenski and others would disagree, or consider such activities as "wasting time" - in many situations this would be the case.

However, my classes are 3 hours long! I don't consider 10 minutes of something unrelated at the beginning of the class to be too much of a sacrifice - and the atmosphere in the school is a relaxed one, no end of term tests or anything like that... It can also be disruptive to start exactly on the dot, as when students drift in inevitably there is some hubbub.

This isn't too much of a problem with "relaxed" activities as above, but when the "real" lesson starts, with sequential stages leading towards a specific language point, new people constantly arriving affects the smoothness and general continuity of the lesson.

And with regards to homework, I set it if the students want it - which is pretty much the school policy. But as we are all in different situations, I expect what works for one person won't work for everybody.

Smile

Leeroy
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Lizardman



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 11:57 am    Post subject: Warmers! Reply with quote

I agree with Leeroy here. There are times and schools where students don't arrive on the dot of the beginning of the lesson. In fact in most schools I have worked there is often one or two students each day who don't come on time. Even if your entire class is always there when you arrive I would still recommend a short warm-up activity.
I would advise Leeroy to check out the warmers section on this website as it contains many such activities designed for the very reasons he(?) gave, i.e. warming up their English usage before embarking on more intensive study and allowing some stragglers to make their way in.
Remember not all English Language learning need be 'taught' in the traditional sense of the word; practice and exposure are as valuable.

The warmer I did with my class this morning was simply to read an article in the newspaper and sumarise it to their partner.

Other favourites of mine are:

The blub game: A student thinks of a verb and the other students have to ask yes/no questions to try and guess it, replacing the unknown verb with the word blub, e.g. Can you blub outside? Have you blubbed in the last 5 minutes? etc. (Great for questions/revision of verbs)

Talking word sentences: Cut up some sentences with recently covered grammar and give one word each to certain members of the class. Take the words back and say go, each student given a word must repeatedly chant that word while trying to put themselves into the right place in the 'talking word sentence'. Students without words can be in charge of moving the 'words'. (Good for pronunciation and grammar. Great for class atmosphere).

And the old favourite 'find someone who': This should need no explanation. If you have never heard of it then search this and other sites for 'find someone who' and you will find hundreds I am sure but it is much more fun and often more sucessful to make your own.

I am sorry not to give credit to the inventors of these games but I just don't know who they are at the moment. I am, however, very thankful to whoever they may be.
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Lizardman



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 30, 2003 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the way, I know you don't really have much of a choice, but 45 minutes is not a very long class. Outside of highschools classes tend to be 1.5, 2 or 3 hours and sometimes in imersion schools you have the little/big darlings all day. I agree that if you have 45 minutes you don't want to have a 30 minute warmer but a well chosen 5/10 minute warmer can make all the difference.
As for homework we all have our own opinion of when and what to give, I tend to give an optional homework twice a week if I can, which I mark quickly with positive comments.

Much better the carrot than the stick!
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Leo



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2003 1:00 pm    Post subject: Homework Reply with quote

Glenski, I'm sure you are thinking of NOVA. When I worked at Goes and ECC I always gave homework to all my group classes. It works if the Ss take lessons with the same teacher each week.
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claire73



Joined: 24 Apr 2003
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2003 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Glenski

I teach in Italy, in a small private school. Like you I have quite a few students who just want conversation and don't see the need or don't have time for homework, but I always give them the option and then those who want to do it, can. Then I usually correct it in my own time to avoid taking up class time.
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Glenski



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 164
Location: Sapporo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2003 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Leo,

I'm thinking of any eikaiwa that I've ever heard of in Japan. None have ever given homework to my knowledge. I have a friend who used to work for GEOS and never gave any. I currently have a friend at ECC, and he never does. I can't explain the difference between them you, and since it's not terribly important, I won't argue the point.
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baikinman



Joined: 03 May 2003
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2003 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lizardman, you mentioned a "warmers" section on this website, but I am having trouble finding it. Where is it?

Thanks
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pratyeka



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The head my department at University (Asian languages) made an interesting comparison today between language learning & learning an instrument.

He said that it was disgusting that when he asked a student who was learning an instrument how long they practiced each day, they inevitably did a bit (1/4-1hr), most days, or were aware of the need. However, when questioning language students, many respond with "what? practice language? what is there to practice?" or something similar.

He said that the best students in the department (Shocked) practiced as buddhing musicians would ... every day, for a few hours.

That, to me, makes a lot of sense.

In short, I would suppose that setting homework that's complementary to classes will probably improve students' retention, and thus improve the pace of learning. Cool

... motivated students will find their own practice activities (online chat, anyone??? Laughing )

Of course, in some environments and/or cultures, students wont have a lot of time outside of class, or wont be motivated ... so it should always be up to the teacher.
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Lizardman



Joined: 30 Apr 2003
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

baikinman,

I guess I must have been thinking of the ideas cookbook. You can find it on the home page.

One part I have used extensively is the games section.


Pratyeka

I agree that students need practiv#ce outside the class room. However I do think homework is often if not always written homework and of a form that is rarely used outside the English language classroom. What do you think?
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pratyeka



Joined: 14 May 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. Studying Chinese, I get much more out of ad-hoc chats or dabbling in calligraphy than rigorous rote learning from textbooks. Cool
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Karin A



Joined: 11 Mar 2003
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some activities I've done in the first few minutes of class include quote of the day and joke of the day. One of my colleagues likes to start class with a tongue twister.
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