A web site for the developing language teacher

Teaching Tips 34

Elephants never forget! And younger learners?

But don't you mean....
If there's time...

Elephants never forget! And younger learners?
World Wildlife Fund logo

Here's a Tip for the Younger Learner teacher from a colleague, Samantha. She's carrying out a 'Sponsored Spelling Test', with her ten & eleven year old students, & linking it to the theme of animal welfare. The money from this is to go to the World Wildlife Fund. If you e-mail the WWF, they'll send you a pack of information that includes a WWF info book, sponsorship forms, WWF stickers etc. To contact them to request a pack, click on the e-mail link on the front page: To get started, explain what you're going to do to the students so that they can get some sponsorship together - family & friends - who will give so much per word that they spell correctly in the test. The amount for each word spelt correctly will be small so the more sponsors the better. Careful not to make a thing of this as some children might find it more difficult than others to get sponsors. Samantha is using 50 words from the last month's work - the test could focus on any area. Set a day for the Test - the students could test each other in class beforehand to help prepare & to make more of the whole sponsored event. In the build up to the test carry out a project on the WWF, using the materials they send you so they get to know the worthy cause. The money collected as a result of the test is then sent off to the WWF. Any money raised is useful, & as they say in the WWF covering letter: 'It's amazing but true - 10 pounds will supply two patrols in Indonesia with food & transport for a month so they can get out there & save rhinos. Just 4 pounds could buy an anti-poaching ranger's rations for a day. And a mere one pound can buy a seedling to replant a forest. Here are some reasons why we urgently need your help: • Black rhinos have gone from 60000 to just 2500 in 20 years.
• There are only 1000 cute & cuddly wild panda left in the entire world.
• Those wise & gentle beasts - the Asian elephants - are threatened by loss of forests & trade in ivory - yuk!
• Scary but amazing - the tiger is also endangered - 100.000 down to just 5000 today.
• Hairy & orange but oh so cute - there might not be any orang-utans left in 10 year's time if we don't help them now.'
This focusses on ten/eleven year olds & the WWF but there are lots of different sponsored projects with other age groups & other worthy causes!


Back to the contents

But don't
you mean....


A few weeks ago I mentioned the value of spot the difference activities in helping to develop an awareness of corrective prominence. See the Tip 'More than Meets the Eye'

Here are two more ideas:

When you have dealt with the overall understanding of a text, tell the students that you are going to recap the story & they must correct you if you get it wrong. For example;

Teacher: So, Nacho goes along to the restaurant.
Student: No, he goes along to the BAR.
Teacher: Oh yes, that's right. There he meets Josh.
Student: No, he meets BEN!

And so on. The students could then take over. It makes a good student-student check on the comprehension of a text as well as practice of corrective stress. Once you start this with students you can always slip the odd mistake into the classes which you know the students will pick up on - lots of fun.

The other idea is to give out sentence stems & as you read the stem out the students then choose from three possibilities. The choice depends on which word you have stressed. For example;

Ben went to the party yesterday....
- not the museum
- no Josh
- not last Friday

BEN went to the party yesterday .... not Josh.
Ben went to the PARTY yesterday ..... not the museum.
Ben went to the party YESTERDAY .... not last Friday.

Again, do a few with the students & then, in pairs, one reads the stem & the other says the continuation. You could then ask them to write some new stems & continuations which they hand to other pairs to practise with.

Back to the contents

If there's time....
if there's time







On with the Tip - A skilful part of planning lessons is in
anticipating how long the different stages will take. I'm sure you've found yourself at the end of lessons with either too much or too little time. I have a tendency to overcompensate & plan far too much so I'm not caught short but I don't really think this is the right way round. Instead of just adding on other activities, a better way is to think about how the well-planned activities & stages can be further exploited. As the you move from stage to stage you might decide to exploit an activity more or less depending on time & how the students are finding it.

Here are just a few ideas on exploiting stages to get you thinking:

- when presenting a language area, have an extra written task to hand.

- with new language you could ask the students to write a dialogue with the target language in it. They think of the context, making it a further test that they are on top of it.

- with listening texts have the tapescripts for some noticing activities. If you already have them planned for this already, think of another noticing activity - any tapescript can be used for some area of phonological analysis. See the 'Sounds in Combination' phonology page.

- the same with reading texts, some more noticing tasks to hand. Also think about what extra follow-up activities you could do with texts - an extra role play or discussion.

- with speaking activities, you could ask the students to repeat the activity with a different partner. If it is a controlled practice activity, then take away the prompts & get them doing it again in a freer mode. Have an extra controlled oral activity ready in case the students are finding it difficult. And don't forget about the feedback & analysis of their output - easily extendable.

- reflection tasks are always a good idea but sometimes we don't have time for them - after an activity get them talking to their partners about how they found it, the difficulties they had & any strategies they could share. Good for activities that take you by surprise ie. the students found it difficult when you didn't expect it to be.

It's all about material & activity exploitation & by having extensions like these up your sleeve you are more able to go with the students rather than ploughing on with the lesson plan relentlessly. The more you can anticipate the better but not all of us have the amount of experience to be able to do that. Even then things are not always plain sailing. If we could programme our lessons then it might be time to give up.

To the Past Teaching Tips

Back to the top

Tips & Newsletter Sign up —  Current Tip —  Past Tips 
Train with us Online Development Courses    Lesson Plan Index
 Phonology — Articles Books  LinksContact
Advertising — Web Hosting — Front page

Copyright 2000-2016© Developing