Find-your-match reviewing game 總複習遊戲-句型篇

It’s that time of the year when everything is chaotic and you need to find a way to wrap up the semester with efficiency and a bit of fun! Find-your-match can help your kids to revisit those learned material AND have all 4 skills covered. The review game I’m going to introduce here is pretty straight forward. Nothing fancy but it does the work. 微笑

Grade level: basic- intermediate

Teaching props:

  1. Summery page of the textbook
  2. scrap papers for each student
  3. stickers
  4. hats or similiar containers as sentence collectors, in my class, I use a hat and a box

Teaching goal:

  1. Students can read the sentence slips they have and find the one who has a matching question (or answer) slips.
  2. After the pair is located. They go to the teacher to replay the dialogue again.

Game plan

  1. Have students to read through the index page, or summery page, depends on your textbook layout. I have them read through the page and ask a few questions as a warm-up.

2014-01-06 19.24.06

Index page

2. Then I have boys to pick 4 questions from the page and girls to pick 4 answers and write them on the paper slips.

Untitled-0-00-00-03-2_thumb2

3. I’ve had my new camera projector ready this time and promptly did the show-and-tell. You’ll need to leave a fair bit of time here to make sure they know what to do.

 Untitled-0-00-00-02_thumb1Untitled-0-00-00-02-2_thumb1

4. Have your sentence collectors ready! I’ve got a cowboy hat to collect questions and a box to collect answers(See the pictures below). Send two of your kids to collect the paper slips from everyone. You may also want to write down the hint on the board.

2013-06-14 09.47.25

Make sure they don’t mix the Questions with the Answers.

Untitled-0-00-00-03_thumb1

5. Now you have two sentence collectors full of paper slips. Send two kids to start dispersing Question slips to girls and Answer slips to boys. You may have each pupils to have 2-4 slips as a start. Leave a few minutes for them to examine and practice the sentences they received. Usually I make sure each of them have at least 3 paper slips in their hands.

6. Have children mingle with the others and find the one who has the answer of their respective question, or the one who has the question that lead to the answer.

 2013-06-14 09.47.13

2013-06-14 09.47.22

7. Once they find their partner, they should report to you as a pair. They replayed the dialogue in front of you again. If they pass, I give them a sticky dot.

2013-06-14 09.46.13

8. Have them recycle the paper slips in another container. Once they’ve used up all the paper slips in their hands, they go to the hat or the box to have more paper slips to practice.  

2013-06-14 09.51.22

This is a fun and engaging activity and kids get to listen and speak numerous times in the target language.

Later on, you can even have a quick fix-the-problem writing activity as a follow-up.

There are a few things note-worthy in this activity:

1. It seems to motivate lower-level kids to learn/imitate from their peers.

2. The sticky dots can be the ticket to fit in your classroom management scheme. They love it.

3. They love digging their hands in the hat/box to try their lucks! It’s really nothing mysterious but the gesture itself gives off a fun vibe.

4. While the drill obviously has it’s own merit in terms of reading comprehension, it does help kids to familiarize matching Question sentence & possible replies.

Caution: Be prepared for a classroom with lots of constructive noise. 微笑

國小英師的逆流而上- 從培養英語閱讀品味開始自我提昇並保持英語戰鬥力 PART 2

 2013-12-22 19.30.07

身為老師的人生情調似乎很容易和這2種形容詞劃上等號,1是安逸, 2是無趣, 若你不幸是公立國小老師, 那麼再加一條, 3是聽話。

因此當有個知名雜誌業務說 ‘ 我們雜誌都會為老師精選國內外雜誌期刊的必讀文章或書籍,讓你不用費心就得知天下事又追得上社會脈動’, 我想當然爾冷冷回應 ‘不必,我並不喜愛也不須要別人幫我過濾書籍’。

但我倒很喜歡搶在台灣出版社之前看出一個故事的價值與潛力,那種’哈我就知道’的快感稍稍補償我完全沒有偏財運的失落。

有一年在雪梨機場候機時隨手買了本封面很酷書名很吸引我的書, 沒想到就深深陷入其中了,我一向喜愛犯罪小說, 等到下機時已看了約1/3; 後來在新加坡機場又買了第2集, 最後3集全部看完時, 台灣剛好開始引進他的書,也就是之後相當轟動還拍成電影的千禧年系列Millennium-龍紋身的女孩。不幸的是,作者Stieg Larsson寫完這3本書後就暴斃身亡英年早逝。Larsson本職為新聞記者, 千禧年系列也相當程度忠實的反映瑞典犯罪與社福體系畸型的共生關係。身為女性又是新聞主修, 我對Larsson的世界開始著迷。附帶一提,我們家總愛在餐桌上東扯西聊一番,罵完政治人物後接下來八卦一下辦公室裏學校的人事物,最後update一下最近看得書情節到那裏了; 我爸爸因為被我的書評介紹的心癢難耐,因此發奮圖強抱著字典啃完這3本大部頭的書!

有些書開啟了你對異國的想像, 千禧年系列就是這麼領著我在深冬踏上瑞典之旅。在斯德哥爾摩舊城區裏的一個小小雜貨店裏, 和異常熱情的瑞典主人聊天時, 她也有些訝異的問我 ” So why do you come here in this season? Most tourists would steer away from this part of Europe. “ “ I like to visit places where most people don’t.” 我沒說出口的是, 還有跟著一本書按圖索驥的傻勁。

image

選擇冬季是因為千禧年裏的主角在職業生涯最低潮時接下了瑞典首富家族的案子,書中大部份的場景多是冷得要人命的零下低溫。沒有在遊客稀少的冬季,怎麼能體驗Stieg Larsson筆下冷酷中帶著執著熱血的瑞典精神呢? 斯德哥爾摩市政府觀光局因應推出Girl with the dragon tatoo’ 的城市遊行程, 於是, 我就拿著這張地圖, 一路回味書中風景。

P1070938P1070941

我先去作者生前寫作時常去的咖啡館小小的朝聖一下, 這同時也是書中女主角出奇不意的向男主角借貸一大筆錢的地方。其實只是個很不突出的社區小咖啡館, 但是能走進我最喜愛的作家平日思考寫作的地方, 實在很讓我滿足!

P1070939

龍紋身的女孩行腳地圖

P1070940

我也沿著書中主角的行動路線觀察這個城市, 這是我開始注意北歐作家的起點.我一向很喜愛犯罪小說, 看完千禧年系列讓你會忍不住鬆了口氣, 也許還未高度工業發展的台灣在某一方面仍是相當淳樸的, 至少台灣是相對而言治安良好的國家, 犯罪層次也還相當低。

另一位新興的北歐作家Jo Nesbo則來自挪威。我看得第一本 Jo Nesbo的作品是The leopard。第一頁就讓人倒足胃口的描述2名女性受害者口腔中24個針孔痕跡讓警方百思不得其解兇手犯案的方法與動機。爸爸沒看幾頁舉手投降, 他實在受不了這麼血淋淋的故事。嗯..我並不嗜血, 但是, 我喜愛 Larsson 和 Nesbo一樣, 人性刻劃深刻, 女性角色多元, 是最佳的床邊故事啊!

image

最新消息

Larsson 的千禧年系列為他賺進3千萬英磅的版稅, 可惜他本人沒能活著享受。千禧年全球性的成功也是他和出版社編輯始料未及的。為了延續這燒得正旺的千禧年系列, 一位瑞典作家也打算用Larsson遺留下來的部份散稿創作出第4本千禧傳奇; 對此Larsson的多年親密夥伴Gabrielsson 強烈反對, 並聲稱任何藉由稀釋/仿做的方法重新複製藝術創作者的方法都是過度商業中心, 下流且不堪的。Larsson 從未迎娶Gabrielsson, 因他的記者背景過去曾揭露許多弊案而樹立相當多的敵人, 同時他也害怕Gabrielsson因此成為瑞典親納粹組織的目標。在這篇文章中還說在Larsson 年方50身亡後, Gabrielsson 下咒語願那些在Larsson生前設計陷害他的敵人都永不安寧。看來,作家的真實生活與筆下人生一樣精采刺激!!

image

我一直覺得台灣充斥了過多速成的,功利主義的外語教/學書籍, 卻少了些自主的熱血的外語學習引導。學習的目的,對我來說, 樂趣與放鬆多於實用價值, 但當兩者能攜手並進, 這不是最棒的動機了嗎?

本篇顯然為歐洲篇,下篇來寫澳洲非洲篇:-)

國小英師的逆流而上-從培養英語閱讀品味開始自我提昇並保持英語戰鬥力 PART 1

會寫這一篇是因為陸續有人問我英語寫作的訣竅(好啦,其實只有2個人問我:-)。所以我想不如寫一篇來分享一下,而且,我也想知道其他厲害的英師是怎麼保持英語戰鬥力的?

對外語書市完全不了解的一般讀者,如何開始選書呢?

205736_10151398116084925_1222043547_n

身為英師我們有先天上的語言優勢,雖然如此,最簡易的選書方法當然還是從電影原著開始。有了熟悉的情節,再回頭看文字的描述,更容易有深刻的體會。

我覺得閱讀品味就是從看過踩到各種地雷書開始! 就是這樣才會慢慢堆積出來自己的選書原則和第六感。記得我看完的第一本原文小說是A window with a view窗外有藍天,也是電影小說。到現在我還留著這本已經泛黃的書做紀念, 並且曾帶到學校和我的社團孩子們分享這本書對我的意義。有些書你永遠都不會忘記,因為他們就像你平凡生活中的亮點,清楚標示出在這個時刻,你又翻過了這座山頭, 超越了過去的自己。

我看的書很廣,但若真要說馬上跳入腦海中的卻是少有。因此接下來每一本我提到的書我都可以清楚記得買書的地點,書籍陳列的地點與擺設,這書發生過什麼事兒, 當時身邊還有誰, 看這本書時是在什麼季節什麼國家。這些書紀錄著生命裏的高潮與低潮,從困惑到領悟的歷程。沒錯,我真的是隻書蟲。

像是澳洲媒體大亨的Murdoch (美國福斯電視就是他的)的Rupert’s Adventures in China(中國歷險紀,我自己亂翻的)就很有趣,,2007出版時就已陸續有多起台商在中國經商紛爭的新聞出現,對照在書裏這個家財萬貫的媒體大亨也一樣裁在中國手裏,當時我心裏想,怎麼台灣都沒人想到翻譯這本書, 這裏頭談了太多中國官僚體係層層相疊,迷宮式的自利機制; 沒有任何一種外力,即使是強如梅鐸,也難以打入這個謎樣的紫禁城體系。書中提及梅鐸也在這遠征中國的過程中娶了個年輕幾十的中國太太,但不幸也在前陣子離婚了。

當然,若你喜愛旅遊,可以看看Bill Bryson的作品,包準你邊看邊笑,所以很有可能在捷運上被人側目。舉幾個我覺得很妙的僑段和大家分享。

‘England was full of words I’d never heard before – streaky bacon, short back and sides, Belisha beacon, serviettes, high tea, ice-cream cornet.’

關於這一段我太有感覺了,因為自認英語能力不差的我在澳洲唸書時也發現處處是生字,每句話都要至少問3遍! serviettes= napkins, lollies = candies 連點個咖啡也在研究什麼是flate white and long black?

‘More than 300 million people in the world speak English and the rest, it sometimes seems, try to.’

‘I always tell people there’s only one trick to writing: You have to write something that people are willing to pay money to read. It doesn’t have to be very good, necessarily, but somebody, somewhere, has got to be willing to pay money for it.’

他的書充滿著自嘲與對幽默的世界觀, BrainyQuote裏他就有滿滿的3頁! 你也可以先去看一看,有些實在很有喜感但又有些卓別林式淡淡的哀傷啊!

另外,還有幾個我很喜愛的作家,像是Ken Follett, 專長中古世紀歷史, 若你對基督教歷史與建築很有興趣,你會成為他的書奴。雖然台灣並未發展出以血統為主軸的社會階級文化,但是誰說我們就沒有階級呢? 這個社會到處充斥著以官階,外表,財富,專業或家族而定義的階級。人性的各種面向不分語言與彊域, Ken Follet緊湊的筆法將中世紀歐洲的生活情調,一般百姓的困苦與面對各式來自教會與貴族階級的欺壓精彩呈現。我的第一本Ken Follet的作品Pillars of the earth實在太引人入勝,於是接著買World without end, 都是大部頭的呈現中古世紀的歐洲歷史。這其中我陸續買了The Modigliani Scandal (有關價值連城的失竊名畫),The Key to Rebecca (有關納粹的情報間諜戰)等較輕的小說,但是最讓我相見恨晚的是那豐厚的Fall of Giants, 如果我讀世界歷史時搭配這本書,相信高中時那難以消化的一次/二次世界大戰誰打誰誰聯盟誰,我會更有概念!

越寫越多, 先在此暫停! 以下為我喜愛的書單, 參考一下嘍!


  1. A window with a view 
  2. Rupert Murdoch’s China Adventures: How the World’s Most Powerful Media Mogul Lost a Fortune and Found a Wife
  3. Books by Bill Bryson
  4. Books by Ken Follett

Finding tranquility through chaos-2 classroom management schemes

Classroom management hasn’t been an big issue for me for years until this school year, which marks the 10th year of my teaching career, that I decided to change my role to a homeroom teacher.

I then realized that I need to come up with a plan that cope with my new scenario, that I’ll have to stay with the same group of kid every day for a year. Unlike my prior 9 years of 40-minute management scheme, this new ‘battle field’ requires new strategy.

Clip chart system

So I finally put the ‘Clip chart’ system into practice and I’m so glad how it turns out! You can take a look at the original Clip Chart manual here (downloadable). You can also find the Clip Chart pinterest board here.

I then made my own Clip Chart

This is how it looks like in my classroom

The inventor of this system, Rick Morris, is apparently an experienced educator. His attention to details including, advising teachers to write boys numbers on different sides of the clips from girls. The reason is simple, so that kids can easily find their clips and make this act a less interruptive movement during the class.

So how does it work? To put it simply, MOVE-RECORD-REWARD

1. MOVE- Everyone starts from the GREEN ZONE (READY TO LEARN) everyday.  my kids get to move up a baby step if they get the answer right, clean up their desk without being reminded, show signs of great improvement…etc. They get to do the giant leap, meaning to move up to the next color, if they can present their ideas in a complete sentence, if they’ve been innovative in problem solving, if they got caught doing something great! I have them move down their clips when they don’t hand in their homework on time, or being disrruptive in the class…etc.

2. RECORD- to make the system a long-term sheme to encourage good behaviour, I have a trust-worthy kid to record their daily score on a sheet and public it in the classroom bulletinboard. They learn two things from here, 1, you can always start fresh in the next day. 2. success is built on long term engagement.

3. REWARD- I prepared a box of stickers. They’ll get to choose a sticker from the box once they accumulated to 90 points. That sounds a lot but they get the idea of keeping up the good work. On top of the sticker indicates the benefits they earned, such as 50% off homework, free nap time, free choice of lunch partner.       Tt

The result in my class? Marvelous! I didn’t know that every kid, regardless of how he/she performs usually, they all long for the moment to move up and surpass theirs/peers records. Additionally, it visualize rewarding and punishment in a rather postive way.

I FORGOT folder

I forgot folder

I have those forgetful kids to fill in the form of the I FORGOT folder so we have a reference when discussions needed. You know how often they claim innocence even they knew what they’ve done for the entire semester!

I usually leave it on the counter so kids get easy access to it. Last Saturday during the school carnival, a dad of a boy in my class came in and browse through the classroom, without being prompted, he picked up the folder and saw his boy’s name on the record sheet more than ten times. He then realized that I haven’t been espeically strict to his boy and immediately he took the parental responsibility to discipline his child on-site.

So here are my two helpful classroom management sheme and I’ve been keeping up my promise of writing every Tuesday! Let’s hope I get to blog routinely!

For your eyes only- online reading apps for teachers

For your eyes only

Do you read a lot online? Do you find your ‘attention span’ decreases just like your students? Reading online is something I do a lot but often found it quite tiring until Readability and Evernote came along. Since then, they’ve become my inseparable reading tools.

Here I use James’ newest article to demonstrate these two lovely apps. By the way, if you haven’t familiar yourself with iTDi community, you can start with James’ article about getting inspired and motivated as an educator. We all know these are the keys to happy teachers!



Readability: DECLUTTER WEB PAGES, READ, SAVE, SHARE

image  

Both of these add-ons are light and user-friendly. Readability offers you a quick magnified version of the web page with a click. So that instead of reading this…

image

You get to read this…

image

Readability also allows you to save your web pages to other mobile devices.



image

Evernote Clearly: DECLUTTER WEB PAGES, READ, SAVE, HIGHLIGHT,  SHARE, SYNCRONIZING

image

Evernote Clearly is also part of the Evernote product line, which you probably are an addicted user already. I’m a long time supporter of Evernote and have been using it to catogerize and save all interesting pages/pictures online. Like Readability, you can also grab its booklet to your browser menu bar, but what’s more about Evernote is, you get to customize your ‘reading preferences’. You can choose the font size, highlight key phrases and also save the web page to your desinated folder/devices.

image

Additionally, If you haven’t tried Evernote, do have a closer look at this wonderful app. It’s like a memory jar for your online footprints and it makes searching so much easier by ‘tagging’ and ‘notebooking’.

You can also share your Evernote notebook with others. I’ve got a notebook contains many inspiring and intriguing pictures for ELT uses, mostly from FACEBOOK. Click my Picture Archieve to take a look and maybe we can collaborate the notebook together!

Changing lanes and marching on- what I have learned from working with YLs

In my opinion, there are two kinds of people that work like mirrors and oftentimes they unknowingly help us learn more about ourselves. Our partner can do that, he or she reacts on our thoughts and actions and in a way, they reflect our image. Our students can also do that, they are the great reminders of ideas and concepts you’ve taken for granted as time goes by. They help you realize what you are good at and areas you need to work on. Be it adults or children, what we teachers can learn from our students are usually the key for better teaching and learning.

I’m undergoing a transitional phase in my career since this semester, walking away from my comfort zone as an EFL teacher for 10 years and start fresh as a homeroom teacher is no easy step. It’s a bazzar feeling to start learning to teach like a NQT after 10 years but the experience is truely amazing. I learned more about these ‘little people’ and in a way my students taught me how to fit in the new role. I felt like seeing teaching from fresh perspectives and learned quite a lot from my children. So to celebrate my halfway up to the first year as a homeroom teacher, I’d like to share some thoughts about teaching little devils young learners.

Remix teaching material

Textbook is usually the last thing I have kids to put out at the end of the class. I believe that textbook, regardless of its formality and quality, is supposed to be a guideline, a tangible object for students/teachers to fall back on; while real learning takes place in a more ‘untangible and messier’ way. I often remind myself to embed at least three different teaching medium in a 40-minute session. The combinations can be various; they can be good-old-fashioned blackboard drills, interactive whiteboard games, or individual writing games. It’s the teachers’ interpretation of the language material that connects the textbook with real life. The ritual of opening the book at the end of the class serves the purpose of organizing/rephrasing prior ideas into clear concepts and logics. At the meantime, it’s also a good idea to do some individual quiet work so children have the time to reflect on learnt material.

Embed learning strategies in teaching

clip_image001

Have children organize teaching material with graphics and diagrams. You can always start from a simple T-chart then gradually progress to more complicated charts such as a Venn diagram. The practice not only reinforces vocabulary but also personalize the language material. Moreover, learning strategies were embedded so children can start developing their own learning system. And it’s all part of the scheme of nurturing successful learners’ autonomy. Visual clues should be put out all year round and update them in an appropriate manner.

Having fun is always the best motivation

Little people learn from doing, they learn from enjoying the sense of achievement. For children, singing and dancing is always the best trick to get them involved in the class, however, it’s the ‘extra mile’ you lead them to afterwards decides if the fun part compliments the learning. Even the roll-calling task at the beginning of the semester can lead to a meaningful and active learning process(Read sample lesson plan here and here).

Step back and wait for it

For many Taiwanese EFL teachers, the challenge we face everyday is that true beginners sit side by side with advanced students, yet they share the same classroom, under the guidance of the same teacher in the same time frame. Our long tradition of cramming school system, meaning after-school English education, makes sure public school teachers have a hard time setting reasonable goals and make effective lesson plans. After years of battling with the reality, I finally realized that teachers also need to step back and let the material sit in for a while. Not just for the students, but also for the teachers, to have time to do individualized learning activities. This is especially important if the routine learning hour does not meet the requirement of sufficient language exposure. Patience and keen observance can help you pick up the holes and patch them up before they got too big.

Helping them to take ownership of the language

Needless to say, this is where language learning started to make sense for learners. However, for YLs, especially in an EFL country, taking the ownership of the language material may require a long time. In this case, try customizing the available material. I’ve had my kids grouped in teams made their own team songs AND draw matching posters (Read OUP project here). We end up creating 5 different lyrics and accompanying posters from 1 song. My children even claimed, ‘It’s MY song!’ Additionally, making alphabet books with local themes also encourages applying the language plus easier to do differentiated teaching (See alphabet books sample here).

clip_image002

Teachers need to experience the ‘FIRSTS’ as well

After years of teaching in the same context/position, we all need a break from fixed routine and maybe a couple of new thinking caps. If changing lanes is too dramatic for you, try to do experiments in your class. Try out the methods/projects you’ve long known exist but never get to put them into practice. Engage in local/international-wised projects so you can do your lesson planning from a new angle(See my International Exchange Project here). I’m especially fond of this interview of Jamie Lee Curtis’ , where she said that we adults should have our share of ‘firsts’ to ‘celebrate the everyday bravery’. So I’m embracing my journey as a new teacher start from 2012. I was reborned again in that sense! Haha!

Jamie Lee Curtis Interview