- once I was sick and hadn't any lesson (or energy) to give to my classes. I let those that wished to do so make homework, and walked around the classroom for free-talk with anyone that wanted. They actually practiced more (spoke more) as they chose the topics and tried to convey questions and meanings to me.
- i let them teach me a song in chinese. Every two sentences or so, I wrote everything down (they had to use English to correct me) and then asked them to translate so I could understand the song. Pretty fun, even though (or because) I can't sing well at all.
- Let every group play in turn. Let them draw two random words from a small bag (or two bags, one with adjectives, one with verbs for example). The group (or student chosen to come to the board for this group) has to make the longest sentence possible using those two words. I advise them to use "but, and, because, so, although, ....." and to answer questions like "why? who? with who? when? where? ....". Some got 9 words, some got 20 words... In one class the first group took 25 minutes making a 65-words sentence. In all classes, the last groups to play always had the longest sentences (double from those that started), which makes it seem like a very educational game to me. Of course they should read their sentence out loud, i correct some minor mistakes. I suggest some (funny/silly) ideas if they don't know what to do...
What didn't work all that well :
- anything that requires a students or groups doing an assignment on paper
- draw a map of their city on the board, ask them to fill in their favorite places, let them explain why they would prefer to put one thing closer to another (for example, shopping center next to the school).
- read an article (only 8-9 sentences) about something strange or funny. Even when explaining vocabulary step by step, they seem to THINK it's too difficult and don't pay any attention... or maybe it really is too difficult even if going so slowly and explaining everything along the way?
- let them make a list of professions they know on the board. Then let students come to the front of the class, draw a paper with a profession written on it from a small bag, and let them mime it. (boys vs girls, or group competition) They're too shy, don't really enjoy it, except it I show all the professions (but even then many of them still prefer to sleep or play)
- write one word on the board (short, 3-4 maybe 5 letters). Each group can change one letter in the word to make a new word. Quite difficult for most, only a handful seem to play the game using their dictionaries (good!) but without really enjoying it.. can't blame them on this one :-/
- multi-Hangman group competition : it works with some classes but mostly they don't get the point until after it's finished. Every group choses a hidden word for the hangman game. I write the stripes (indicating letter positions in the words) on the board, for each group. Then randomly chosen students can give me a letter : this letter is matched against all hidden words. Groups lose as all letters are uncovered. Last group with hidden letters wins.
- when students, for one of the mentioned games, have to come up with a word or write down a word, I ask them to make a sentence using that word and say it to the class. Really hard getting them to do this, in most cases. "Repeat after me" is rumored to work well with many, but probably I'm not doing it right because that also never really worked for me :-/
- letting students read or perform a dialogue.. this is sooo boring (could be fun but their whole attitude towards the task makes it horrible even for me). This only worked a couple of times during free talk when female students were teasing one another concerning made-up boyfriends asking them out (to prove to me the others were lying and their scenario was more real).
- others that I didn't write down or can't find...
- the ideas of the previous list, but with classes that weren't in the mood to do anything....
- anything of the above list (things that work) that you have done once before.... !
Tomorrow I start teaching again. I am really nervous. The ideas collected above took me hours and hours each week of internet searches, talking with other new foreign teachers, etc. The difficulty is that the more lessons you teach, the harder it becomes to find something new.
I will have only Senior 2 and Senior 3 students (16-17-18 years old). I would really like to find some kind of guiding plan for preparing lessons. (based on dialogues, articles, anything....)
I was really sick the past week and am just getting better now. I don't have a clue about what I'm supposed to teach this week. I could make a list of English names, let them choose English names (most students don't have one yet), talk about the meanings of the names... I could talk a little bit about myself, many students won't know me (classes from last year will be mixed together this year). Talking about my holiday, their holiday... Not sure this can fill one hour.
But mostly, it's all the coming weeks that will be difficult. How could I make new lessons, interesting for those students that are interested (I'll try to stop worrying about the students that sleep or do homework..) without having to reinvent the wheel every week (or twice a week! some classes having two hours a week with me) ?
Some general guidelines, a framework, something else... ?[/i]