Online English lessons and coding with YL (Part Three)

January 2021 – This is the last part of a three-post serie, giving suggestions on how to use Scratch codes in teaching English to Young Learners (above all in online lessons). In the first part, I describe simple animations to revise numbers and prepositions of place, while in the second post, mazes were proposed to practice giving directions and question-answer animations. This time, I invite you to adventure into the Scratch world of quizzes and stories.

Online English lessons and coding with YL (Part Two)

January 2021 – In my previous post, I suggested that teachers giving online lessons to YL try out some alternative tasks using the programming language Scratch. This coding program was customized for elementary school students to introduce them to the universe of algorithms, sequencing, variables and others. So the main aim of the Scratch project is to teach coding to pupils. However, Scratch could come in really handy when giving online English lessons to Young Learners. In Part One, you can read about how to practise numbers and prepositions of places with Scratch animations. In this post, I’d like to propose ways to practise giving directions and asking vs. answering questions – hidden in coding.

Online English lessons and coding with YL (Part One)

January 2021 – As many of my colleagues, I ended up teaching completely online nearly a year ago. With teen and adult classes, the switch to online lessons was surprisingly smooth. However, things were not as easy with Young Learners (YL). Mainly, because parents – among them myself – were worried about how much time their children spent in front of different screens and secondly, because my students were used to lessons full of movement and games. We desperately needed inspiration. It came from one of the many Future Learn courses.

ESL-BRAINS – B1-C1 video worksheets from Poland

December 2020 – When I started teaching online, I first stuck to the course books I had been using for years. I had been familiar with the online extensions, I had already worked on the Cambridge LMS and used all multimedia materials available to my favourite course books. I had even had experience with e-books. However, very soon I realized that online teaching offers way more possibilities than only a digital copy of a face-to-face lesson.

CONVERSATION: ROLE-PLAY CARDS

December 2020 – Conversation is an important part of nearly every lesson, at least in the Warm up or the Wind down section. Sticking questions onto the classroom walls and sending students in pairs around to discuss them is one way. Giving them situations with roles is another engaging way to encourage students to use the target language. Here is a set of a great variety of situations you can use for your next role-play exercise.

WUP: TWO THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON

December 2020 – THIS IS a Warm-up/Lead-in exercise you can print and use in your next grammar/conversation lesson. The task is to complete the questionnaire (by giving two answers to different questions) and then mingling around in the classroom to find someone who has these two things in common (which is not as easy as it seems).

SPICE UP YOUR LESSON WITH A SONG – Grammar & Vocabulary through Listening

November 2020 – Songs are an evergreen possibility to lead into a new topic or introduce a new grammatical structure, they can be an excellent exercise to wind down a lesson and even in between two exercises, they are good for making students relax and prepare for the next task. In this post, I would like to show you some interactive worksheets to do while listening to some great classics and also some newer hits – with embedded YouTube videos.

SPEED UP YOUR ONE MINUTE

Students often need to express their opinion in 1-2 minutes, by responding to some questions, analyzing problems and/or proposing their own ideas. They don’t only need to do this, but should do it with adequate fluency and accuracy. Still, they waste time by looking for a word or try to put together a complex grammatical form. More than ever before an exam they need to understand what it means that they need to analyze and comment about a topic while the clock is clicking.

IMPROVE YOUR VOCABULARY – EVERY DAY

Nobody likes long word lists to memorize, it is monotonous and demotivating. Nobody has time to set up word cards, nowadays. However, it is essential to improve vocabulary in some way on a daily basis. Reading anything is an excellent way to widen one’s vocabulary, but not everybody likes reading. Listening to songs might work, but they require background knowledge of the songwriter’s intention and might become tricky.So here is a quick tip to introduce a new lexical item every day to your students with explanation and comprehension check:

PRONUNCE WELL AND LISTEN TO VARIETIES

Students often struggle with listening because of their pronunciation. Since they mispronounce words, they expect a different pronunciation and cannot recognize words because they are pronounced differently. It is not unusual that they don’t recognize words because the speaker’s pronunciation is different from the one they are used to (usually the teacher’s pronunciation). Students very often prefer one variety of the English language, e.g. British, only because they have had British teachers in English. However, English has many varieties.So, it’s essential that you approach pronunciation and varieties from the first lesson at A1 level.

LESSON TIPS – WHAT TO DO IF…

Teachers are always supposed to write a lesson plan, to know what they are going to do in their lesson. However, the biggest part of the job is ‘on the stage’. Your authentic interest in your students, your skill to improvise, your sense of humor, your problem-solving skills will weigh more in your evaluation than the perfection of your lesson plan. However, to be good at problem-solving and improvisation, you need to prepare mentally (anticipating problems). Here are some questions for you:

HOW TO GET 5 MINUTES TO THINK?

If you have back-to-back lessons or are sent to cover a sick colleague last minute, you might find yourself in the situation that you have your class in front of you, but you still haven’t cleaned up your materials from the previous lesson or don’t really know what to do in this class.

VOCABULARY – KEEPING TRACK OF THE CLASS VOCAB

About a year ago, I started to use QUIZLET to keep track of all vocabulary items we discussed in our lessons and it turned out to be really useful for both, online or face-to-face lessons. Quizlet is a platform where you can create flashcards to help your students memorize lexical items. The site does not send you any marketing mails or newsletters, but the free version has some banners (for all ages) on its pages. So, I set up a simple Teacher account and started to create my sets, one for every course.

10 TIPS HOW TO PAIR UP STUDENTS

The dynamic of a lesson depends very much on the variety of used social forms (individual work, pair-work, group-work, whole class discussion, etc.). However, students often get stuck with the same partner. Asking students to work in pairs is good, but without swapping pairs, it is not as efficient as expected. Here are 10 ideas how to put students into pairs: