IATEFL 2014–so many brilliant ideas, so inspirational, so many great discussions about teaching, I can’t wait to get back into the classroom. Oh wait-you mean I actually do have to get back in the classroom the Monday after conference?! What in the world am I going to teach?!
Well, that’s where Ken Lackman‘s session was a saviour. After last year, (see this post) I knew it would be worth sticking around for the last session on Saturday, and he didn’t disappoint. He presented a few activities from his activity book ‘Getting Students to Do Your Prep‘ which were really useful and, quite importantly after a week away, required no prep whatsoever.
I did a variation of his ‘Assuming Identities’ activity the first day back. I’d been away, so the first thing I did was get my students to brainstorm the language they learnt the previous week in 4 groups (we have 4 different coloured board pens). Then they had a competition to run to the board and put more expressions up than the other teams. This was easy to count because each group had their own colour. After we had a good list of language, I gave them each a paper and they wrote their name on it. Then I mixed up the paper, giving them one with a classmate’s name, and they had to write examples using the language on the board about that person. Then I read them out and they had to guess who it was about and if it was true, and who wrote it. This lead to great discussion and I was able to check their mistakes and doubts in their writing and use of new language.
I have also done his ‘Find Someone Who.’ I have spent hours of my own life writing personalised ‘find sb who’s, when really, as he said, it’s the students who need the practice contextualising the language. So obvious and yet so simple. At first my students had trouble understanding the task, but once they got it, they wrote some really interesting prompts (much more interesting than I could ever have come up with) which lead to very relevant discussions, both when they were finding someone who fit each prompt and questions for me about how to use the vocabulary. When I set it up, I gave each pair two cards and told them they had to write 5 prompts for ‘find sb who’ (using our recent vocabulary and grammar, if they wanted) and also said both cards had to be identical. I modeled an example first on the board. Then I took their cards and mixed them up, giving them someone else’s card. After the speaking mingle, they had to find their new partner with the same card and compare their findings.
Both these activities were so successful and really got my students talking. I can’t wait to try his ‘Paper Strip Test’ and adapting backs-to-the-board (‘Hot Seat’) to include getting students to write whole sentences first. Thanks Ken 🙂