Halloween is nearly upon us
so here are some ideas & links.
This is a variation on the game consequences where you circulate
papers in turn adding a bit of information, folding them
over & then at the end opening out the paper & reading
out the wacky result.
Here you design a moster. All students take a piece of paper & describe the monsters head at the top - this could
be drawn. They then fold the paper & hand it to their
neighbour to their left. Then all describe the body &
do the same - fold & hand on. And on like this with
a scary feature, the food it eats, something about its habits,
a noise it makes & a name for the monster. At the end
each student opens the paper & reads aloud about their
Instead of folding the students could see the previous things & have more of an idea of the monster & a description
is being built.
Students write a list of scary movies & explain what
happens in their favourite one. Then, each group designs
a new monster for a new scary movie. They decide on its
name, eating habits, likes& dislikes, physical description,
(idea from www.lessonplanspage.com
Start you own business - rent-a-ghost
People rent hosts from your company to scare others at Halloween.
Design a brochure of available ghosts for hire, including
a picture & description of haunting characteristics,
special talents & hourly rates. Students then roleplay
sellers/customers looking for an appropriate ghost. Give
the customers a role card before with ideas.
(idea from www.lessonplanspage.com
You have a Rent-a-Ghost business which is going well &
need to hire more ghosts. Interviewers prepare suitable
questions to interview ghosts .g. ways of scaring people,
special talents, why they would be good for the job etc.
Ghosts also prepare mini-CVs containing previous experience,
special haunting skills, ghost courses completed. They need
to ask about conditions & pay at the interview. The
interviews take place & the best ghosts are chosen.
Like Ghost Busters, the film, these people get rid of ghosts.
All students draw a ghost & the teacher takes them in.
Std A - has spotted a ghost in their house - one of the
ghosts that has been drawn, & they must describe the
ghost, what it does, when it arrived, conditions in the
house when it arrived etc.
Std B - works for 'Ghost Hunters' & will interview the
house owner about the ghost. Also give advice on what to
do to get rid of the ghost.
(idea taken from Password 2 - OUP)
Radio Show - interview with a vampire
Students write down everything they know about vampires
- two groups.
Grp A are the presenters on a radio show - they interview
about the vampire's daily routine, clothes, habits, likes
Grp B - are the vampires who prepare details about themselves.
Could record the interviews.
Design a potion
Students design a new potion & the advert that sells
it. They need to decide on its magical properties, who it's
for, what it contains, the packaging, name & slogan.
All mingle selling their potions to each other, persuading
each other they need this new magical potion.
You need a tape of a series of scary sounds. Play the tape & students work out a story that fits. If no tape, you
could make the noises!
Horror story writing
Students first plan the story deciding on the time, setting,
characters, plot etc. (background-problem-solution-outcome)
Could also look at specific vocab they might need - scared,
terrified, scream, creaking, gloomy, chains, etc.
Act it out
Students discuss fave scary movie & choose a sketch
to act out. They write a dialogue & then could write
it as a radio play with background scary effects.
Students decide what costumes they would wear & what
these character live would be like. Students then act out
the party. Could use role cards to smooth things along.
Thanks to Samantha Lewis for
most of the ideas above taken from her recent seminar handout.
From a brief look around at sites dedicated to Halloween
it seems quite a commercial time. A lot of the sites have
something to sell but keep looking & youll also
find lots on information to use with all ages & types
A cauldron full of Halloween links
Lots of personal experiences of Halloween
Reading about werewolves & links
to related site
Lots of links
Clipart for all things Halloween
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With the academic year just
underway in a lot of places it is interesting to see the
continual drop in beginner students. From the students'
perspective things might look very different in that very
low level stds might well consider themselves beginners.
They might feel that they know nothing when in fact, with
the exposure in most countries to English, most people know
something. This would obviously depend on the country of
origin of the students, some languages are nearer to English
than others & some have greater exposure to English
Here are a couple of ideas
to show the students that, in fact, they may know quite
a lot more English than they think.
- Take in lots of board pens/chalk & give them to the stds & they just write all the
English words they know on the board. You'll have to be
on hand to point them in the right direction as they might
not realise that some of the words they know are English
words. You'll soon have the board covered with English words.
- Put up English things you
find in their country on the walls - adverts from magazines,
film titles, songs. Discuss which they have seen, bought
etc.. Also ask the students to bring in as many things that
they can find with English on them - works well with the
- Get a tape together with
snippets of half a dozen languages being spoken. Play & ask the stds to identify which is English.
- Put a series of obvious
conversations together on tape & ask the stds to only
identify the situation from a given list of situations.
Make sure the conversations have giveaway background noises.
If they are forthcoming you could also elicit a bit about
the content of the conversations & they'll probably
Don't forget that praising
your learners for what they know will boost their confidence
no end. So give your beginners a chance to show what they
are capable of from the beginning & start on a positive
There is a very good activity
book on teaching beginners called 'Beginners' by Peter Grundy
(OUP). To buy this:
Other Tips for teaching beginners:
Honeymoon Is Over
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A balance of power
I suppose this is more of
an observation than a Tip. Have you ever felt that you can't
really give your own opinion in class discussions because
sometimes when you do, you find the students agree with
you, as if you had the last word on the subject. This could
well be because they are too polite to disagree with you
or they genuinely think that your opinion is the right one
A teacher's reaction to this
authority can be represented on a
cline, going from the accidental to the unthinking to the
intentional. Occasionally, I have seen in lessons I have
observed, a teacher use this power to 'win' discussions
in the classroom. He thinks the student's opinion is wrong & tries to win them over, using this power that he automatically
has. More commonly, in the middle of the cline it is the
student responding to a teacher question & the teacher
then replying with 'yes, that's right', when it is a matter
of opinion, & not a language matter, as in the example;
Teacher: So, how should we
reduce the greenhouse effect? (asked in an attempt to get
a discussion going)
Student: Put pressure on businesses.
Teacher: Yes, that's right.
It does happen - the teacher's
response reinforces this idea that the teacher knows best.
We do know best about language but I don't believe we have
the right to know best about other things.
It's an interesting area -
the power that the teacher has as the authority figure in
the group. I suppose it comes down to how sensitive the
teacher is to picking up & responding to this. Also
realising that it doesn't really matter what opinions the
students hold, so long as nobody is offended.
I know some students who won't
give an honest opinion & prefer to play devil's advocate.
Maybe some students don't want to disclose opinions in class.
Fine - so long as all get lots of speaking practice. We
can sometimes get involved with both the subject & the
students to the extent that it is the actual content that
becomes more important than the practice & the quality
of this practice. Of course, there is the very valid argument
that the more the students give their real opinions the
more genuinely they are using the language, which in turn
has an effect on the depth of learning. Fair enough, but
perhaps we should be more sensitive to the students & our reactions to their opinions.
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the Past Teaching Tips