That was all I said to my students that day just before they started the activity.
‘USE YOUR IMAGINATION’
What was the activity? Well, the grammar point was ‘there is there are’. I handed out the worksheets, asked them to draw their ideal room and when they finished, they were to draw their partners’ ideal rooms.
They started. As the teacher I was pretty happy as they were speaking English and using the structure correctly. While monitoring the pairs, suddenly I heard something like ‘ There are 3 girls in my room. Two girls is striping and a one girl is fanning me.’ Mistakes spotted! I wanted to give instant feedback.
ME: Listen, X. Two girls and is? What’s wrong here?
X: Oh, right. Two girls are.
Me: Yes. A one girl? And what’s wrong here?
X: A girl, or one girl. Okay teacher I get it.
ME: Good! Now keep going.
As soon as I said keep going, something finally hit me. Did he say two girls were stripping and one was fanning him?
I was so busy trying to hear the correct structure from the students that only after a couple of minutes later I realized the imagination that was going on in his ideal room..
Why did I say ‘USE YOUR IMAGINATION’ if I was not going to pay attention to it anyway? Why is it always grammar I care most but not the talents they have or their dreams and desires? Have you ever asked these questions to yourself? I’m still working on the answer
Here are some pictures they draw.
PS: They are 20 years old university students.
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A lot changed in my life since October. I moved to Istanbul and started a new job at a university. So far I love what I am doing..
This quarter I taught English to Level 1 students. This was something new for me as I’ve never worked with L1 before. Some of them were true beginners, some were false beginners and all were great young people. Seeing them enthusiastic about learning the language made me more and more enthusiastic about my job. But of course there were some exceptions.
Leaving no child behind is one of the things I try to accomplish paying equal attention to everyone in my class. I believe I achieved this. But at the end of the quarter which is 2 months, I felt sorry when I saw some grades. I also felt responsible.
I can understand me feeling sorry but there is something wrong with me feeling responsible. I will tell you why.
There were about 6 true beginners in one of my classes and I could see 4 of them were really trying to catch up with the others. They came to me and asked for help. I gave them some books, showed them how they can study more online, did tutorials, and so on. And the other 2. Well, as you can guess, they were not really interested in doing something for themselves. They were like they accepted the failure.
Almost the end of the quarter and those 4 kids did so good that I felt satisfied as a teacher and happy for them as a friend. Then I saw the grades of those 2 students. The first thing I asked myself was ‘What else could I have done to help these kids? Should I have done some more and more tutorials with them? I kept asking what and how questions during the last week. Then finally I had an answer. I totally paid the same attention to these kids and the reactions I got were also totally different.
Then I said to myself, ‘ You did everything you could.’ 10 minutes after this, I saw this Chinese Proverb online by chance.
‘Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.’ Chinese Proverb
As teachers we have high expectations of our students and this is very normal. We want them to succeed. But sometimes you can’t make it on your own. I guess it happens when they want it more than us.
If you want to share your experience or feelings, you are more than welcome!
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Here in Turkey and I guess in some other countries as well, we say good-bye to school and welcome the summer holiday on Friday. We all had a tough year and ready for the summer! But before they start enjoying the holiday, I want my students to enjoy the last days of the school.
So I’ve collected these ideas some time ago and already began carrying them out in the class. They work just fine, and I wanted to share my favorite ones with you.
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Here it goes:
1. Write a ‘Top 10′ List
Making lists is a great way to get kids writing. Younger students will benefit from making the list in no particular order while you may want to require older students to rank their choices. Choose one page, such as Top Ten Books or Top Ten Ways to Help the Planet and have every child complete it. Then bind the pages into a class book so that students can see each others’ lists. If you require students to use their best handwriting, this could be a fun handwriting activity. I you have time for that, A Top Ten List makes a great jump-off point for further writing or discussion. Students can write or talk about why they choose what they did or take one of thing from the list to explore further.
2. Let the Students Become the Teachers
Something that can be done on the last days of school is to have the students teach themselves. They suppose that each are an expert in something and it is their job to teach the rest of the class how to do it. They need to write up directions as if they are a recipe ( which some of them are).
3. Make graduation arts& crafts
Paint paper plates and drew on facial features, fringed some construction paper the color of their hair, and cut and glued on a grad cap. These might decorate the walls the graduation program or simply the walls of the classroom.
4. Memory Booklet
A ten page book for students to fill in personal information, such as current favorites of all categories, goals made and met in the past year, friends, etc. A great way to encapsulate the past year, as well as create a lasting memento.
5. Make Posters
Make a poster about your school year. Highlight the fun activities, and happenings in your room.
6. Advice from Grads
At the end of the school year, you may have your fifth graders write a paragraph offering advice to incoming fifth graders for the next year. When the new school year starts, you can read their advice to the new students.
7. Goodbye Game
This activity is great for last lessons of a course, but could be used in other contexts too. Click for the lesson plan.
8. Write a poem for your students.
You can personalize the poem with “To Child’s Name” at the top, and with your name signed at the bottom.
I’m glad I was your teacher
I’ve come to love you so
I can’t believe the end is here
I hate to see you go!
Remember all the fun we had
In all the things we did
But most of all remember…
You’re a very special kid!
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You’re a very special person, and
__name of student__ you should know
how I loved to be your teacher,
how fast the year did go.
Please take the time to think of me
as through the years you grow,
try hard to learn all you can,
there is so much to know.
The one thing I tried to teach you,
to last your whole life through,
is to know you are special
just because,_______,you are you.
9. Compliment Party
Sit in a small circle. In this circle, tell the person next to you one wonderful thing you learned about him/her this year. A good way to help others feel good about themselves and to help each student remember how special he/she is.
10. Teach Them a Good-bye or Graduation Song
You can find lots of good-bye songs for kids when you google it.
Just as I was about to publish this post, I saw a friend’s blog post about the same topic. Check out her ideas on A Journey in TEFL by Ev Büyüksimkeşyan.
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Have a good summer holiday!
Lindsay Clandfield is a teacher, teacher trainer and international author from Canada. He is the main author of award-winning and critically acclaimed adult course Global (2010) and was a part of the author team for the popular Straightforward Series. Lindsay has won prestigious recognition for his writing, most notably for Global and Dealing with Difficulties (with co-author Luke Prodromou) both of which earned him a visit to Buckingham Palace to receive an award from the Duke of Edinburgh.
After teaching in Mexico, Spain and the UK Lindsay began his writing career with the website Onestopenglish. He became a regular after winning the Lesson Share competition three times in a row.
Lindsay has addressed teachers and given workshops in more than 20 countries. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals relating to ELT and he has written a column on language teaching for the Guardian Weekly newspaper. He was the founder of Pecha Kucha ELT (a form of short presentation) and creator of the popular blog 6 Things, a collection of miscellany from the world of English Language Teaching.
taken from English Raven – Lindsay and another rather admirable fellow we all know, Luke Meddings, have just officially launched The Round, ‘an independent collective of creative individuals in English language teaching’ which ‘arose from a series of conversations about bridging the gap between blogs and books – and about the difficulty of placing innovative, niche or critical materials with the big ELT publishers.’
Lindsay still teaches and trains teachers in the small town of Elche in southern Spain, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
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It was in 2010 that I had the chance to listen to Lindsay Clandfield’s talk for the first time. It was about Critical Thinking. He really got my attention with both the theoretical and practical stuff in his speech.
As soon as I heard he was going to be at the IATEFL SIG conference in Istanbul, I knew it was the right time to interview him.
Even though he didn’t have much time as he had to catch his flight to Cyprus, somehow he created the time for the interview and made me the happiest girl at the conference. Such a gentleman!
The name of the post was inspired by Lindsay’s blog ‘6 Things‘…
I hope you like it!
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Special thanks to Devrim Özdemir for helping me with the recording.
Yeditepe University in Istanbul will be hosting the With or Without Technology conference in a couple of weeks’ time and I’m very pleased to have been invited to give a talk there.
I have been lucky enough to make working visits to Turkey more than a dozen times in the last ten years. Most of these visits have been to ELT conferences and I am constantly amazed at the friendliness, enthusiasm and openness to new ideas shown by Turkish teachers – well, the ones who come to conferences, anyway.
Here are the 4 songs me and my students love the most!
I Love Mommy
(To the tune of: Are you sleeping?)
I love Mommy, I love Mommy.
Yes, I do. Yes, I do.
And my Mommy loves me,
and my Mommy loves me.
Yes, she does, yes she does.
(To the tune of: B-I-N-G-O)
I love her and she loves me
And mommy is her name o
and mommy is her name o
You Are My Mommy
(To the tune of: You are my Sunshine)
You are my mommy, my only mommy
You make me happy everyday
I hope you know mom, how much I love you
So please don’t take my mommy away.
Happy Mother’s Day to You
(To the tune of Happy Birthday to You)
Happy Mother’s Day to you
Happy Mother’s Day to you
Happy Mother’s Day to my Mommy
Happy Mother’s Day to you.
TEACHER: Millie give me a sentence starting with ‘I’.
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie…. Always say ‘ I am’.
MILLIE: Okay. I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.
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When you look at the dialog above, you can easily say that the teacher made a mistake not listening till the end what Millie had to say..
This short dialog got me thinking and I felt the need to share it with you guys.
I questioned myself. Did I ever do this to any of my students? Even if I didn’t like the answer I got, I had to be honest. The answer was a YES. As teachers we are so concentrated on the perfect sentence that we sometimes become impatient and interrupt our students immediately and correct them. It’s not like I do this all the time, but still.. Feels bad to know that I did it couple times. But thanks to this dialog a friend shared with me, I’ll be more careful with it in the future.
I am wondering if any of you experienced something like this. I can’t be the only one
If you did, would you please share it?
I started blogging in late November in 2011 and have been blogging since then whenever I have time..
I knew that it was gonna take time for me to have some followers and some comments.. So I was ready to wait. But I didn’t need to wait as much as I thought I would. I shared my ideas, feelings, and experience and people liked it. This encouraged me to do MORE.
One day dear Ken Wilson offered me to write a post on his blog as a guest blogger. This blog post idea turned out to be an interview and he encouraged me to interview Luke Prodromou and Jeremy Harmer as well. I sent them the proposal e-mail and it was very kind of them to agree. Thank you all! It was such an honor to meet you in person!
A week before the interview, my mother came to visit me. When I told her about this interview thing, she started talking. And between us, she likes talking.. While she was sharing some ideas and feelings with me, all of a sudden, something she said gave me the inspiration I needed and I wrote the post ’3 in 1′ which has earned my blog a nomination for a Fascination Award: 2012′s Most Fascinating English Teacher blog. And.. I just found out that I came the 4th!!
Well, maybe some of you might say, ‘ You came the 4th, why do you make a big deal out of it?’. Well, as a new blogger this means a lot to me! It definitely will encourage me to do better!
Anyways. To cut it short, I am writing this post to thank to those who voted for me!
And also to those who made comments on ’3 in 1′ which helped me recognized in the first place!
Dear Brad Patterson, Yeşim Çakır, Julie Raikou, Marian Steiner, Vicky Loras, Rakesh Bhanot, Graeme Hodgson, Canan Eliçin, Cecilia Lemos. Thank you very much for the comments you made!
I also want to thank Dear Shelly Terrell for helping me to spread the blog post!
And finally special thanks toVijay Krishnan, Dinçer Demir, Emrullahn Sedat Sudan, David Kapuler and Sophia Mavridi for retweeting me and spreading the voting webtise
Thank you all! Teşekkür ederim
For us- teachers- they are a piece of cake but for our students they might be…
When I am teaching Idioms and Phrasal Verbs, I always hear things like,
‘..But teacher, they are difficult to remember..’
‘I understand it here but forget it the next day..’
‘Oh, this is boring!’
…… It goes on and on like this.
Meanings that Idioms & Phrasal Verbs have can cause serious misunderstandings and confusion. My students were right. They were not easy to remember, and maybe we shouldn’t also forget the differences we have between English ones and Turkish ones. That is also an another challenge for them which makes things a little bit more complicated.
So I had to find a way to teach them in a different and enjoyable way so that they wouldn’t hate the Idioms & Phrasal Verbs sessions we have during the lessons and they would become more competent learners.
So here in this post I will share what we have been doing with my adult learners while learning Idioms & Phrasal Verbs.
We used it for online brainstorming. They chosed an Idiom they liked and shared it with the others. You can do this after teaching some Idioms and can ask your students to find some more or related ones. Or you can do it before the lesson asking them to find Idioms or Phrasal Verbs you want to work on. If you have connection in the class, you can use your students assignments as a source. They love it!
At the beginning of the term I encouraged my students to do writing practices via blogs. They have their personal blogs only for writing assignments. I asked them to search for English Idioms and put their favorites on their blogs. Here is an example..
If your students don’t have their own blogs, you can do it on FB as well. Easy.
This is also a very good one! You can either choose a conversational video or do it with songs.
Lately I really like watching and taking Jason R Levin’s videos to my classroom. Go to youtube and write Fluency MC. I like his teaching style a lot. Check out this video.
In our course book, we have the Idioms & Phrasal Verbs sections which are quite dull with the definitions and fill in the blanks exercises. To make it more memorable and at the same time more enjoyable, I show them pictures like below.. They read it and try to guess what it means.
I assign my students with an Idiom or phrasal verb I want to work on or the ones in the book, they draw it and the others have to guess which Idiom or phrasal verbs it is. (I didn’t take any picture of this activity so I’ll use one I found online)
Drama & Role Plays
If you have actors and actresses in your class, you can also do some drama or role playing in your lessons. They pick an Idiom or a phrasal verb from the book and act it to the other groups. And the other groups have to guess what it is.. We LOVE this one. It’s fun and it gives them a chance to practice their writing and speaking skills as well. The groups watch the performance, guess the right Idiom or phrasal verb and additionally make peer-correction. Here are some examples. 1st one is Break up, 2nd is Bring up. What about the 3rd one. Any ideas?
I am sure you have your own tricks to teach Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. I would be very happy to find them out!
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Before you go, check out these websites. Shelly Terrell shared them in a webinar. Really cool ones!
Idioms by kids This site has over 1000 pictures of Idioms. They do not illustrate what an idiom means, but show the literal meaning. Some of these idioms are defined and can be found here. These pictures were drawn by children who did not know what the idioms meant and drew pictures of the actual real meaning. When you draw the literal meaning the results are often funny.
An Idiom a day A Daily Updated Dictionary of English Idioms.
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Okay it’s not me in the picture but it really reflects how I feel at the end of almost each day..
The other day I was having a chat with a friend of mine and when he asked me how things were, I told him how tired I get at times.
And he said. ‘You get tired? Doing what? Teaching? You call that tiring?‘ And he went on saying his work is way more tiring than mine. Actually he thinks his job is the most tiring one in the whole world. What’s his job? Well, he is a reporter. Anyways.
I am not saying or claiming that being a teacher is the most challenging and tiring job one can do. But I just CAN’T take it when people underestimate the things we- teachers – do..
In addition to everything we do at school, outside the school maybe we do even more!
Don’t you think so ?
I mean even when I’m enjoying a song, a video, a movie, a poem or anything.. After the very first second, I stop watching it for myself and try to find ways how to use it in the classroom.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one doing this..
We leave our schools in the afternoons or in the evenings or whatever.. but we bring our students, our lessons with us to our houses, don’t we?
So.. I am so proud to say…..
I AM SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST A TEACHER
Much more than a teacher? Well, the poster below will tell you more about it..
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Nice poster isn’t it! It really motivates me when I need it..
I know most of you will agree that we teachers do a great deal of work.. We know it, our students know and feel it..
At the end of the day.. that’s what counts..
And before I go, here is a video I watched today in the morning.. I really liked it.
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