Sunday, September 21, 2014

ESL/EFL Discussion: Would you rather...?

This discussion activity is targeted to students who are aiming to increase their fluency through general conversation.  The lesson has pictures where the students would choose between two choices.  The lesson starts with 'Would you rather...? and continues with the choices the students would make. When I set this lesson up for the students, I explained that the pictures are merely a springboard to other conversations on the same theme.  The students seemed to understand that and followed my directions in that they did not stick to the topics.  I gave feedback on the chat box so there would be no need to interrupt the students.  This lesson can be used successfully in a virtual and a traditional classroom.  The following is a recording of the lesson I taught as a teacher at Verbling:  



Friday, September 19, 2014

Fluency lesson: When did you first...?

This fluency lesson allows for the teacher to tailor the conversation to the level of the student.  Each page on the PowerPoint has an image and the rest of the question of 'When did you first...'.  If a student or class are beginners, the lesson can be done fairly quickly and be used as a supplement to a grammar lesson.  If the students are at a higher level, the teacher can use these questions as a springboard to free conversation.  Ideally, the teacher should allow the students to lead the conversation and just be quiet and listen for errors so that the teacher can give proper feedback.  This lesson can be used successfully in a virtual classroom and a traditional classroom.  The following is an example of a lesson with a small multicultural group in google hangouts:




Thursday, September 18, 2014

ESL/EFL Lesson: Basketball

This ESL/EFL lesson on basketball allows the student to practice speaking and listening, learn new vocabulary and go though a reading exercise.  First, the teacher will have a warm up discussion to ascertain how much students like basketball and how interested they are in the sport.  Then the students will do a matching exercise with vocabulary words they will find in the reading.  The reading will be about a young student who forsakes his homework to go to a Harlem Globetrotters game only to find out that there is a pop quiz when he comes into class the next day.  After the reading, there is short excercise on basketball idioms and basketball vocabulary.  Then there is a fluency excercise for students to ask and answer questions about the topic.  Finally, if there is time, the students will do a web search and look for answers to the trivia questions on the final slide.  This lesson has been successfully taught in a virtual classroom and would work well in a traditional classroom as well.  The following video is an example on how this lesson has been used in a virtual classroom situation:




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Discussion Activity: Baseball

This discussion activity allows the students to activate their passive vocabulary about a popular sport in some parts of the world.  The students will match pictures with vocabulary words.  Then they will learn idioms associated with baseball.  Then there will be some fluency activities.  The first one will be with questions starting with 'do you like' and the final fluency activity will consist of questions of a general nature about baseball.  Finally, the lesson will consist of trivia questions where the students would either use their general knowledge or would go to a search engine to find the answers.  This lesson can be successfully taught in a virtual classroom as well as a traditional classroom.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Discussion Activity: Adoption

This discussion activity helps the students develop their fluency, learn new vocabulary and practice reading.  The activity starts with a warm-up discussion to see what the student knows about adoption.  Then there is a matching activity where the students match the verbs from the reading to synonyms.  Third, there is a reading about a family who experienced an international adoption. After the reading, there is another matching activity where the students would match word collocations from the reading.  Finally, there is a list of questions for the students to discuss.  This lesson can be successfully conducted in a virtual classroom or in a traditional classroom.  The following is an example of a lesson in a virtual classroom:





Sunday, September 7, 2014

Discussion Activity; Accidents at Home

This Discussion activity aims to increase the students' fluency by talking about a fairly familiar subject and at the same time activating their passive vocabulary.  There are four slides to this activity.  The first slide is general and the slides start to narrow down until the students get to discussion questions.  The first slide allows the students to describe pictures of accidents in general, for example, a person slipping on a banana.  The second slide are pictures of items found around the house and the students have four questions they would answer, which includes:

  1. Where are these found in a house?
  2. Why could they be dangerous?
  3. To Whom could they be dangerous?
  4. What could someone do to lesson the danger they present?
The next page gets even more specific.  The basic premise is that is asks questions starting with 'What do you need if...?  For example, "What do you need if you cut your finger preparing food?"  The final slide is a list of discussion questions based on the topic.  This discussion activity can be used in a virtual classroom or a traditional classroom.

Here is an example of this lesson being taught in a virtual classroom:





Friday, September 5, 2014

Vocabulary & Fluency Activity: Sickness & Health

This PPT is a vocabulary and fluency activity that would work well to supplement material dealing with sickness and health.  The first page is a matching activity where the students draw a line from one word to another to make a word partnership such as 'broken ankle' or 'stuffy nose'.  After the word partnerships are matched, the teacher can then ask the students to use these partnerships in a sentence or in a question and see if the students can have a conversation using these word partnerships. The final page is a list of questions dealing with sickness and health.  The students can choose the questions they like and then ask the other students or they can go through the list systematically.  The goals are for the student to activate their passive vocabulary while practicing speaking on a general topic that is actually needed.  The following is an example of this lesson being taught in a virtual classroom:


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Discussion Activity: Things that Annoy You!

The discussion activity Things that annoy you! aims to help the students increase their fluency as well as possibly activating passive vocabulary.  The first page is a page for brainstorming.  The teacher can ask the students to write  out on the whiteboard the many things that annoy them.  Then the teacher can ask the students to give examples and explain to the group why it is annoying.  The students can ask and answer questions.  Then the final slide is a list of questions.  The teacher can have the students choose two questions they can ask and answer.  In addition, the class can answer the questions systematically and follow the list.  Again, the purpose of this is to allow the students to practice speaking and develop their fluency on a topic that is easy to discuss.  This activity can be used successfully in a virtual classroom and a traditional classroom.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vocabulary Activity: Finance

This activity concentrates on developing financial vocabulary as well as discussing the terms involved in finances.  There are two slides for this activity.  The first slide is a list of blank spaces for the student to write the word based on the definition read by the trainer.  This allows the student to also practice listening. The second slide is a basic guessing game where the student chooses a word and gives the definition.  The other students guess which word it is. Alternatively, the student can choose a word and ask a question with the word that could facilitate discussion which could be led by the student or teacher. This lesson can be used successfully in a virtual classroom as well as a traditional classroom.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fluency Activity: Wishes & Dreams

This is a fluency activity that allows the students to talk about topics that are near and dear to their hearts.  On the first page, the students brainstorm wishes that people in general have.  For example, people wish to get married, to have a home, to have a family, to have a good job and so the students brainstorm all the wishes that people have in general.  The next page is a list of questions on this topic.  The first page is mainly a warm up for the questions.  There are many ways a teacher can use these questions.  First, the teacher can systematically go through questions.  Second, the teacher can ask the students to choose two questions they are interested in and to ask their colleagues.  Finally, one student can choose a question and ask the class and facilitate the discussion and see how long they can talk about that question.  This activity can be used successfully in a virtual classroom as well as a traditional classroom.