Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Learning French flashmob

A lot of people around have been talking and writing about podcasts. Every resourse/blog on personal development topic says at least a few words about podcasts and audio books - sources of information that I have been denying for several reasons. But the joy of using them has finally found me and I can't wait to share one particular podcast that I have been trying out for the last week or so.

A short paragraph on how I came to it first though. I wanted to spend the time I usually waste in subway or on the bus somehow usefully. And on average I have about 15 minutes a day to spend on such an activity - to learn something new. Now, I;ve tried taking up Frnch several times but it never went any further than saying hello, goodbye and 5-10 verbs. So I thought I should try out French podcasts or something like that. And after 2-3 days of listening through several French teaching channels I discovered Coffee Break French on iTunes. These are 15-20 minutes lessons, and there are four seasons of 40 lessons each.

Being a teacher, it's very interesting for me to try a new approach - a way I never used to study something before. Audio-lingual method is completely new to me as to a student, and I am not an audial at all I must say. So the more interesting this experiment is.

Everyday I listen to an episode of the podcast (sometimes two episodes a day, but only if I'm in the mood) and that's all. I'm very interested about where it can take me and how much I can achieve listening to some French speech (well with English explanations, of course) for 15 minutes a day. I have 10th of June as my milestone - it will be 30 days since I started listening to the podcast - and I'm planning to revise everything on that day.

Besides that I also have Mr.Petrov's lessons on my plan. He uses grammar-translation method as a base, but he's become very popular in Russia and has his own TV show where he teaches different languages using his technique. His students aim at achieving simple speaking level by the end of 16 lessons. These lessons usually cover present, past and future tenses of the language, main 50-60 verbs and some basic topics like introducing yourself.

I want to combine these two ways of learning French and see what happens. Mr.Petrov's course is going to be just supplementary for me, I'm not going to plan any schedule like lesson a day. Whenevr I feel like I want to do more French and have 40 spare inutes, I'll start watching, but mainly my experiment is going to be focused on audio-lingual approach.

Bonne journee, mon amis! :)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Speaking Club on American Culture

So I've been progressing with my Speaking Club project. Thanks to my methodists' support, we are going to have the first and second meetings repeated and I'm also about to start writing the third plan. At this point I want to share with you the second meeting plan which was devoted to American culture! We had a native speaker joining us, thanks to one of my colleagues, and were able to make it even more fun for the kids. Here is the link to the plan, I uploaded it to busyteacher.org, which I use myself very often - http://busyteacher.org/22514-speaking-club-on-american-culture-lesson-plan.html. I would love to get your feedback in the form of comments or a heart (on busyteacher) or like through any other social media.

I also want to share with you one of the ways wee used to divide students into groups.This cute cards with pizza slices on them will help you to divide your class into three (or two if you eliminate one of the pizza types) groups quickly and in a fun way. Afterwards you can also ask to create a name for their pizzas and add some extra and unique ingredient to it - http://busyteacher.org/22515-devide-into-three-groups-cards.html

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

3 Games for English Young Learners

Last autumn we had a seminar at Unium, devoted to playing games at our English lessons. It was organised by one of the teachers - she arranged everything, shared some of the games herself and it turned out to be a great event, like any gathering at Unium to be exact. Truly, I'm not exaggerating or something, I just really love my company and absolutely objectively - people who work there are great.

So today I got the video recording of the master-classes that our teachers gave at this seminar, and I thought I should share mine. At was aimed at young learners students and I provided three games, two of which are vocabulary drilling exercises and one is a speaking practise.

I hope it will be useful and I would really appreciate comments on whether you liked it or not and why. It's 9 minutes long, and here is the link in case the Blogger player doesn't work - https://youtu.be/G-QIhuyNudc :)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Primary Colours Week

I have so many things to write about and I haven't written anything for so long!
Let me start with something that has just recently ended. We had a Primary Colours Week at Unium and it was awesome!

When I was in America, I remembered a Crazy Socks Day at school as something great that we don't have and as something that would make school life more fun and enjoyable. I always ask this question - why not have all different sorts of fun while studying if it doesnt' interfere with the actual learning process but what is more contributes to it?!

Teachers Crew on the Violet Day
And having special days seems to be one of those fun things. So at the second Speaking Club meeting (a bit later about that) we came across the topic of these special days and I offered our students to come with ideas of their own special day or rather a special week as we are not a usual school and our schedule is different. So while just one day wouldn't work for us, a week would suit perfectly. Students were encouraged to send their ideas to me by e-mail. After a week I created a poll to vote for the best idea (got three ideas from them but still it's an achievement, I think, since it was for the first time). And the idea of Primary Colours Week when everybody wears clothes of the colour assigned to a particular day won. So we went from red Monday down to violet Sunday following the rainbow order and it was awesome!

Kids that had me as a substitute teacher on the Blue Day
Since I have lessons only on Saturday and Sunday I was preparing for indigo and violet, but at some point suddenly a substitution came around and I went to one of our centres on Friday and brought every blue accessory I had with me and made the girls wear it and take a photo =))

It was so much fun! I'm sharing with you photos of my groups, not all of them followed the colour rules despite my request but still it was great and quite team building.

My Elementary group

So this upcoming Sunday we are going to reward the girl whose idea of Primary Colours Week was implemented and we have also made a competition for the most active educational centre and yesterday all the winners were chosen and now their prizes are on the way as well! :)

me, my student and two colleagues - Indigo Day
I'm glad that this idea came to my and my colleague's mind as we were writing the plan for the second meeting! I hope we will be able to do something like that next semester as well! I also think it will be fun to make some kind of quest/flashmob in summer so that the kids satay tuned over the brake.

Do you have any special days at school? Please share, I'd love to hear about your experience!