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Teaching Tips 111

The little things in life...
Colourful teaching
A grid, clues: down& across (9) - part 2

pattern

The little things in life...

A couple of days to plan lessons around this week:

Material for lessons about May Day from the past Tip, May Day Transitions:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips66.htm#may

World Red Cross Day is on the 8th May. Material from the bottom of the past Tip, Scribbling Away:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips66.htm#away

It's the little things in life that make everything come together & this is true of our lessons. The more together we make the little things the more effective the overall lesson becomes. A basic essential area is that of classroom management. You can have the best intentions & lovely material but without clear & concise management, all becomes much less effective. Here are a few guidelines for giving instructions, a key area of classroom management:

1. Get everyone's attention. If not, you'll find yourself re-explaining during the task, & it all gets messy.

2. Be clear on instructions. Think about them when planning, not as you make them up on the spot. For complicated instructions, write them out & then reappraise them to get rid of all the unnecessary language that will get in the way when giving them.

3. Stagger your instructions if there are several tasks ahead. Rather than tell the students everything at the beginning, split the instructions up, giving new instructions at the different stages. If not, they'll forget them & all will get more complicated.

4. Check your instructions, clearly not to the point of being patronising, but if unusual, a new activity, then elicit back from a student so all can hear the instructions again. Be careful not to put a weaker student on the spot by eliciting back from them, or a strong student who will know it & not let you see that the majority have 'got' the instructions, but choose a mid-level student.

5. Give the students time to read any handouts before starting the activity as they might have vocab problems & you might find yourself answering the same questions six or seven times, interrupting the task for everyone.

6. For those tricky tasks, do an example with a student for all to see. Don't worry if this gives the game away of the activity, better that than the students are confused & irritated.

7. Follow through on your instructions - if the students are not doing as instructed, stop them & clarify the instructions again, rather than bumble on through the activity. If you want a speaking activity & they start writing, clarify it. If not, a three minute activity turns into a six minute task as the writing takes longer, & this then pushes the rest of the lesson out of sinc.

8. Give any handouts after giving the instructions. If you give out a paper & then tell them what to do, you might well find half of them already reading the paper & not listening to you.

9. If you're going to give out any different papers to different students for an activity, make sure you have planned how you are going to hand them out & to whom. An activity can quickly fall flat if this is handled badly.

10. This also relates to moving students into different seats. Think about it carefully beforehand. It's easy to move all around quickly so that they sit next to a new partner, or in a new group, only to find they are with their original partners again!

11. For instructions for a mingle activity, ask the students to talk to someone who they're not sitting next to, or from the other side of the room. If not, they'll stand up & talk to the person they were sitting next to, negating the point of the mingle.

12. Try to be clear, in your instructions, about why you are asking your students to do the task. They'll usually do anything without questioning you as they trust you, if you chose it, it must be good for them, but all becomes 100% more effective if they know why it is useful for their language development.

If your students know what they are supposed to do then all will flow, but if not, frustration & dissatisfaction will set in. Get it right at the beginning.

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rainbow

Colourful teaching

It's St George's Day, the patron saint of England on the 23rd & there is some lesson material in a past Tip at:
http://www.developingteachers.com/tips/pasttips65.htm#sla

This week we're taking 'Colours' as the theme. Colours come into the classroom in many ways, the most obvious being the more colourful the actual room, the more cheerful & interesting the learning environment is. Here are a few ideas on the theme of colour:

1. Cuisenaire rods are a very useful, colourful tool. Here are some links to follow up on the site:
Uses for the rods:
http://www.developingteachers.com/newsletterplans/cuisenaire_rods.htm
Rods for rhythm:
http://www.developingteachers.com/phonology/rhythm_rods.htm
Cuisenaire Rods and Silence by Tim Hahn - article:
http://www.developingteachers.com/articles_tchtraining/cuisenaire_rods_
tim_hahn.htm

Rods lesson plan:
http://www.developingteachers.com/articles_tchtraining/cusrods_plan1.htm

2. Language consolidation - students use a colour code in their writing to highlight particular structures & vocabulary. Eg. as a consolidation of narrative tenses, students write a short story & every time they use the past simple the sentence is in green, for the past continuous they use yellow & the past perfect they use red. Good for really helping students to think about the choice of language.

3. Visuals in general are essential - catch the eye & reach the brain - so it's certainly worth making the effort to track down some visuals to lift any stage of the lesson.

4. Board work - colours help a lot to provide clear attractive boards. Try to be consistent with colours eg. all word stress boxes in blue, all titles in green etc.. And encourage your students to use different colours in their notebooks for easy, attractive referencing. If it's attractive on the board, what goes in the students' notebooks is likely to be tidy & useful as well. If it's not - garbage in, garbage out!

5. As a classroom management tool eg. for grouping students - give each student a colour - 'All red students form a group, all yellow another group etc...'

6. Speaking warmers
- students persuade their partner that their favourite colour is more interesting.
- students discuss which colour might sum up their day, week so far, & why.
- students discuss what associations different colours have for them & discuss why, what happened etc..
- for adults, you could have a colour a week/fortnight as a theme running from lesson to lesson, with activities around the chosen colour - things that are that colour, foods, moods etc..
- for younger learners, especially the very younger ones, the whole syllabus could be based around diferent colours, each fortnight using a diferent colour to base everything around.

7. Vocab - out of the blue, green with envy, in the red, black out, black humour, green fingers, black market, into the blue.. One of the units in the excellent Meanings & Metaphors' by Gillian Lazar (CUP) deals with colours.
Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521774365/developingteac0b
Amazon.co.uk:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521774365/developingteache
Amazon.ca:
http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521774365/developteache-20

8. Correction colour-code - when assessing your students' writing, which colour do you use on their work? Red has connotations of anger & is traditionally used so how about changing to green? And then you could use a few colours to code your corrections.

9. Songs - Purple Rain, Yellow Submarine, Blackbird, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Blue Bayou, Fields of Gold, Red Red Wine, Pale Blue eyes amongst many.

10. Material for looking at colours:
- Theory of colours - http://www.abelard.org/colour/col-hi.htm
- What colours mean - Find your favorite color and see what it means around the world. http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0769383.html
Give students a different colour to investigate on the web & they report their results back to the class.
Moods & colours - 'Color Psychology: Do different colors affect your mood?':
http://www.factmonster.com/spot/colors1.html
- More links on ideas behind colour choice:
http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/color/a/symbolism.htm
An extension for the business student is to discuss the choice of company logos & the impression they give through the colours used.
Also see - What Color is Your Business?:
http://sbinformation.about.com/cs/advertising/a/colors.htm

11. An interesting tangent:
'Chromotherapy, sometimes called colour therapy or colourology, is an alternative medicine method. It is claimed that a therapist trained in chromotherapy can use colour and light to balance energy wherever our bodies are lacking, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental.'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromotherapy

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first crossword

A grid, clues: down
& across (9) - part 2

It's Crossword Puzzle Day on the 18th April so here are a few ideas for incorporating it into your lessons.

Firstly a review of a past Tip on this with ideas on using crosswords in class:

A grid, clues: down & across (9)

Crosswords can be lots of fun at any time & there are any uses from them in the classroom. Here are a few:

- Collaborative Crossword: a normal crossword that reviews recently taught vocabulary or is leading into a theme, done collaboratively with the whole class - it's fun to do it together. Encourage them to give further clues rather than shout out the answers when they have them.

- Pairwork Crossword: give half of a completed crossword to each person in the pair. They have to make up the clues for their set of answers & then they tell each other until both have a completed crossword.

- Class Crossword: give out a crossword to each student but with a different answer filled in on each. The students think of the clue to their answer & then mingle telling each other their clues & listening to each other until all have completed the crossword. Good for revising vocab.

- Advanced Crossword: give out the crossword, with all of the clues about the vocabulary that is going to come up in the next two weeks. As the fortnight proceeds the students can do a bit more of their crosswords - the first to complete it gets a small prize. Then use the crossword to review the vocab covered.

- Invented Crossword: in pairs, get your students to make their own crosswords up based on the vocab recently covered. When finished, swap them around for each pair to do a new one. Lots of vocab reviewed in both parts of the activity.

- Coursebook Crossword: at the beginning of a course when you are showing the students what is involved in the coursebook, instead of a list of questions that asks them to look through the book for the answers, design a crossword to fill in.eg. 3 across: the section near the back with lots of verbs (9, 4, 4) (Irregular Verb List).

- Comprehension Crossword: As in the above activity, when students are looking for information to answer comprehension or scan reading questions in a text, they can be presented in the form of a crossword.

- Picture Crosswords: for the younger learner, the clues are in picture form instead of definitions.

- Phonology Crosswords: design a crossword that reviews vocab but instead of putting in the letters for the words, the students put in the phonemes for the words. For word stress, choose the pattern you want to look at & for each clue give three words, the right answer being the one that fits the pattern.

Don't forget about the logistical language the students might need to do the above activities & deal with it beforehand to maximise the effectiveness of the tasks e.g.- have you got the clue for four across? - the language of dis/agreement - the language of negotiation

Most people find crosswords interesting & if integrated into classes, they can be motivating & fun for your students. And for the teacher in a non-English speaking country, normal newspaper crosswords are a great way of trying to keep your English vocabulary from diminishing.

I recently came across a History of Crosswords. Here's the text:

Brief History of Crossword Puzzles

Crossword puzzles are said to be the most popular and widespread word game in the world, yet have a short history. The first crosswords appeared in England during the 19th century. They were of an elementary kind, apparently derived from the word square, a group of words arranged so the letters read alike vertically and horizontally, and printed in children's puzzle books and various periodicals. In the United States, however, the puzzle developed into a serious adult pastime.

The first known published crossword puzzle was created by a journalist named Arthur Wynne from Liverpool, and he is usually credited as the inventor of the popular word game. December 21, 1913 was the date and it appeared in a Sunday newspaper, the New York World. Wynne's puzzle(see below) differed from today's crosswords in that it was diamond shaped and contained no internal black squares. During the early 1920's other newspapers picked up the newly discovered pastime and within a decade crossword puzzles were featured in almost all American newspapers. It was in this period crosswords began to assume their familiar form. Ten years after its rebirth in the States it crossed the Atlantic and re-conquered Europe.

The first appearance of a crossword in a British publication was in Pearson's Magazine in February 1922, and the first Times crossword appeared on February 1 1930. British puzzles quickly developed their own style, being considerably more difficult than the American variety. In particular the cryptic crossword became established and rapidly gained popularity. The generally considered governing rules for cryptic puzzles were laid down by A. F. Ritchie and D. S. Macnutt.

These people, gifted with the ability to see words puzzled together in given geometrical patterns and capable of twisting and turning words into word plays dancing on the wit of human minds, have since constructed millions of puzzles by hand and each of these puzzlers has developed personal styles known and loved by his fans. These people have set the standard of what to expect from a quality crossword puzzle.

http://www.crosswordtournament.com/more/wynne.html

This would make an interesting reading, & afterwards you could present the students with the very first crossword - see below - there is a link to the solutions. You might let them have a go first & then give out the answers, mixed up, to choose from to make it all manageable.

The world's first crossword puzzle

By Arthur Wynne, December 21, 1913
from The New York World

(Solution)

2-3. What bargain hunters enjoy. 6-22. What we all should be.
4-5. A written acknowledgment. 4-26. A day dream.
6-7. Such and nothing more. 2-11. A talon.
10-11. A bird. 19-28. A pigeon.
14-15. Opposed to less. F-7. Part of your head.
18-19. What this puzzle is. 23-30. A river in Russia.
22-23. An animal of prey. 1-32. To govern.
26-27. The close of a day. 33-34. An aromatic plant.
28-29. To elude. N-8. A fist.
30-31. The plural of is. 24-31. To agree with.
8-9. To cultivate. 3-12. Part of a ship.
12-13. A bar of wood or iron. 20-29. One.
16-17. What artists learn to do. 5-27. Exchanging.
20-21. Fastened. 9-25. To sink in mud.
24-25. Found on the seashore. 13-21. A boy.
10-18. The fibre of the gomuti palm.

And then there's an interesting article about how a crossword nearly gave the game away:

The Crossword Panic of May 1944

During World War II the daily newspapers were at their most popular even though they consisted of only a few pages. People throughout Britain could find out what was happening in the parts of the world where our troops were engaged in the fight against Hitler and the Nazis

At the beginning of the war, the news was mainly bad with the German blitzkrieg advances throughout Europe, but as the years rolled on, the news slowly became better …and in October 1942 British morale was greatly bolstered by General Montgomery’s famous success at El Alamein in North Africa.

But it wasn’t just the news that was eagerly sought in the papers; there were other matters of interest. Nearly all newspapers had crossword puzzles in them and they were very popular as they helped fill in the hours spent in the Air-Raid Shelters, waiting for trains or just simply engaged in that great British tradition of queuing.

One of the popular ‘Dailys’ of the time was the Daily Telegraph, and so too was its crossword puzzle.

It was in January 1943 that the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D Roosevelt met and agreed that the future of the war must include an invasion of northwest Europe or a ‘return to the Continent’.

Planning for the invasion started almost immediately, and after extensive research it was decided that the sheltered Normandy coastline with its wide sandy beaches presented the best option for the surprise attack that was to be the D-Day landings. The assault was code-named Operation Overlord by Churchill himself.

The US General Dwight D Eisenhower was made overall commander of Operation Overlord in December 1943, with the British hero General Bernard Law Montgomery assuming control of ground troops. It was in early May 1944 that Eisenhower decided that D-Day would fall on 5th June 1944.

A huge security blanket had been thrown over all aspects of the operation, including the place and exact date of the landings, in order to maximise the element of surprise and minimise casualties. One US major-general was even demoted and sent home for simply speculating at a cocktail party on the date of the invasion.

But while some members of MI5, Britain’s counter-espionage service, were whiling away their spare moments in May 1944 by doing the Telegraph Crossword, they noticed that vital code-names that had been adopted to hide the mightiest sea-borne assault of all time, appeared in the crossword.

They noticed that the answer to one clue, ‘One of the USA’, turned out to be Utah, and another answer to a clue was Omaha. These were the names, given by the Allies, to the beaches in Normandy where the American Forces were to land on D-Day.

Another answer that appeared in that month’s crossword was Mulberry. This was the name of the floating harbour that was to be towed across the Channel to accommodate the supply ships of the invasion force. Neptune another answer, referred to the code-name for the naval support for the operation.

Perhaps the most suspicious was a clue about a ‘Big-Wig’, to which the answer was Overlord. This was the code-name given for the entire operation!

Alarm bells rang throughout MI5 …was the crossword being used to tip-off the Germans?

Two officers were sent immediately to Leatherhead in Surrey, where a man called Leonard Dawe lived. He was the crossword compiler, a 54 year-old teacher.

Why, the officers demanded to know, had he chosen theses five words within his crossword solutions?

“Why not?” was Dawe’s indignant reply. Was there a law against choosing whatever words he liked?

MI5 eventually became convinced of Dawe’s honesty and he managed to convince them that he had no knowledge of the coming D-Day invasion.

His crossword solutions it appears were perhaps just another of life’s astonishing coincidences!

http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/England-History/Crossword.htm

Crossword maker:
I also came across an excellent free crossword generator. They say: 'EclipseCrossword is for Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, and XP. .... EclipseCrossword is free. It contains no advertisements, spyware, or viruses. It is not a trial version.'
It's simple to install & very easy to use. Not only does it produce printable versions but also web page versions of crosswords that you produce. Check it out:
http://www.greeneclipsesoftware.com/eclipsecrossword/downloadfull.html

So after you've looked at the one or both of the readings above, you can present your students with your very own crossword, based on the lesson, or based on vocabulary that has been recently covered.

********************

It's Earth Day on the 22nd. Check out:
http://www.earthday.net/

'Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide.

Earth Day Network is a driving force steering environmental awareness around the world. Through Earth Day Network, activists connect, interact, and impact their communities, and create positive change in local, national, and global policies. EDN's international network reaches over 15,000 organizations in 174 countries, while the domestic program keeps over 5,000 groups and over 100,000 educators coordinating millions of community development and environmental protection activities throughout the year. As a result, Earth Day is the only event celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a half billion people participate in our campaigns every year.'

More links on the dedicated Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth_Day
&
http://www.worldwildlife.org/earthday/

Earth Day crossword:
http://www.abcteach.com/wordpuzzles/onlinepuzzles/earthday.html

Earth Day teaching stuff from edHelper.com
http://edhelper.com/EarthDay.htm

 

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