Balloon tennis- a fun word game

This fun game, comes from Olha Madulus’s Blog!

When Olha, first mentioned the game on her facebook page , I told her that I loved the idea and asked her if I could try it in my class! She agreed and  was kind enough, to promise me to write a blog post about the game, as soon as possible!

I adapted the game ,a bit, to suit my classes ,but the main idea worked really well with my students , therefore, it is highly recommended to any other colleague, wishing to give it a try, too.

I have to thank Olha, again, for her generosity ! She is one of the most inspiring Teacher Trainers I know!

ma2

This game is suitable for all ages and levels
·       Blow up one balloon
·       Divide your class into two teams (once the students have got used to the game, you can organise them into smaller groups of 2 teams each, each group needs a balloon – but consider the space you have available. You could use the playground for this).

 

ma3

 

·       e.g. with younger learners explain that they have to remember vocabulary for food

 

·       One team starts with a member hitting the balloon across to the opposition team and at the same time shouting (so all can hear) one word for an example of food e.g. chocolate

 

·       Next a member of the opposition team has to hit the balloon back shouting a different food word

 

·       If no one can think of a new word or repeats a word – that team loses the point (this encourages the learners to listen carefully)

 

·       If the balloon drops to the floor – the receiving team loses the point

 

·       You can score the game like tennis

 

·       You can change the lexical set whenever necessary

 

ma4

 

·       With older learners you can review a topic prior to a writing task e.g. the advantages and disadvantages of the internet

 

·       Nominate which team should shout advantages and which disadvantages

 

·       Play as above

 

This game has a number of advantages

 

·       It is kinaesthetic and can energise the class

 

·       It’s a team game and promotes a sense of community

 

·       The focus is on the balloon and shyer students feel relaxed and more likely to participate

 

·       You can change/play with the rules to suit your class and any language you want to practise

 

·       The balloon is quite slow and easier to keep in the air than a ball
ma5
ma7

“Hippo and friends”-a guest blog post by Margarita Kosior

14441141_10154145818621888_5192880043271904078_n

Margarita Kosior is an amazing educator from Thessaloniki! I truly admire her work on storytelling !

I am so grateful that she accepted my invitation, to share one of her stories, on my Blog! Actually, she has been my inspiration to try similar activities with my junior classes and I wholeheartedly thank her, for that!

Enjoy!

MARGARITA’S POST:

Every storyteller has their own style. Some use music to convey the mood and the emotions, some use puppets, others rely mainly on their own voice, gestures and mimicry. I want my storytelling sessions to stimulate all the senses and engage all types of learners; a song for musical learners, a game for the kinesthetic type, flashcards for visual learners and so it goes. My storytelling session can start with sounds, involve arts and crafts, and end with baking bread. Variety is one of the main ingredients and each session needs plenty of it.

With a touch of imagination, any story, a classic or a reader, can turn into a fascinating journey.

Each one of my storytelling sessions has a variety of goals including improving linguistic competence, artistic and creative expression, involving participants in group tasks, but also allowing time for personal reflection. All these contribute to increased levels of self-confidence of young learners as English language users.

One of the stories I often use in my storytelling sessions is Henry Hippo by Jenny Dooley and Virginia Evans (Express Publishing).

m-1

Photo credits: Magdalena Baca

Together with Henry Hippo and his friends I have visited libraries and schools, I have travelled to other cities and even countries and wherever we went, Henry was a great success.

m-5

Storytelling with Margarita at Sztuklandia, Lublin, Poland

Photo credits: Kinga Łaszcz

As a guest of the English Teachers’ Association of Larissa, Greece, I had the pleasure to entertain groups of children between the ages of 4 and 9 at a local library and a bookstore.

Storytelling with Margarita at the Central Library of Larissa, Greece

m-by-vassiliki

Photo credits: Vassiliki Mandalou

m-by-aphro-2

Storytelling with Margarita at Bookstore “Παιδεία”, Larissa, Greece

Photo credits: Aphro Gkiouris

m-by-aphro-1

Storytelling with Margarita at Bookstore “Παιδεία”, Larissa, Greece

Photo credits: Aphro Gkiouris

The storyline is engaging and fun. Henry Hippo gets stuck in mud. Peter Panda, Millie Monkey and Zara Zebra take turns and try to pull him out; in vain. Finally, Zara Zebra has a brilliant idea. The three animals pull together and manage to get Henry out of the mud. A joint effort brings results and the four friends understand that they are more successful if they work hand in hand.

m-195a7875

Photo credits: Magdalena Baca

Before the students arrive, I set the scene for the story. I use a long piece of blue fabric for the river, a piece of brown fabric for the mud and a piece of yellow fabric for the sun.

Every storytelling session starts with a “Hello” song (it can be any “hello” song, the choice of the instructor). It is good to develop routines. They make the learners feel more comfortable and more self-confident right from the start.

Another routine is opening the Magic Box which hides different treasures every time, usually flashcards or realia which appear later in the story.

m-195a0054

Photo credits: Magdalena Baca

In case of “Henry Hippo”, I create head bands with the four protagonists in advance and I place them in the Magic Box. With the use of a magic star and on the sound of the magic words, the Magic Box opens.

m-dsc_2148

Photo by Margarita Kosior

Every time the group shout: “Magic Box, open!”, one head band is taken out.m-henryHenry Hippo

m-peter

Peter Panda

m-14265068_10154130334391888_1108849046345497662_n

Millie Monkey

m-zara

Zara Zebra

After ample repetition, the participants know the names of the protagonists and are ready for the story. But the truth is that, especially in case of Henry Hippo, the students participate throughout the story. They take turns to wear the headbands, repeat the lines and play out the content of the story as I am reading the lines out. Depending on the age and level of the student, I ask them to repeat either complete sentences, phrases or single words. At turning points in the story (right after Henry Hippo asks for help), I ask the students to anticipate in what way each animal is going to try to help Henry Hippo. This practice creates suspense and builds the atmosphere of anticipation. Curiosity plays an important role in preschoolers’ lives. Young children ask many “why” questions and all the “why’s” have a purpose of getting to the bottom of things.

If the time is enough, I encourage my students to make their own sequel to the story by adding more jungle animals willing to help Henry Hippo get out of mud.

No good storytelling session goes without a song or a chant. I like simple songs; simple enough for the little ones to learn it in five minutes and sing it so loud that people up on the next floor and out in the street can hear them A good song or chant is a good way of revising target vocabulary. The repetitive rhyme and rhythm make it possible for even the youngest learners to join in.

My follow-up activities usually include arts and crafts projects. For Henry Hippo, I would recommend making a hippo magnet.

m-dsc_2164

m-dsc_2163

Photos by Margarita Kosior

I finish my storytelling sessions with a simple goodbye song, easy for even the youngest participants to join in and sing along.

Storytelling provides plenty of benefits to (very) young learners and there is plenty of research to prove it.

The benefits can be divided into three groups: mental, social, and educational. In terms of mental benefits, storytelling boosts thinking capacity; it is an activity for the brain. It provides opportunities for sharing thoughts and ideas as a group. Also, through enjoyable experiences while listening to a story, children will develop their individual reading tastes.

Stories from different cultures help children develop an awareness of the similarities between ourselves and others as well as highlight differences, which can then be explored and discussed in the classroom. Thus, children develop empathy and concern for others in order to understand the concept of social equality and justice. This will motivate them to become active citizens and take on social action in the future. Storytelling also conveys important values: bravery, respect, tolerance, teamwork, patience, generosity, fair play, forgiveness, peace, and other values which, when cultivated systematically, will make your students better people.

Also, through active participation in a storytelling session children internalize the language in a natural way within the scope of the thematic units discussed in class. Analyzing questions, retrieving details and associations triggered by the story, and deciding on answers – all these engage children in active learning.

Overall, storytelling has been shown to build intrinsic motivation and self-esteem.

Personally, I know one thing for sure: an engaging storytelling session creates magic, cultivates a love of reading at an early age and adds variety to your lesson. And these make it worth the effort!

 

dscn9092

MY COMMENT:

Well, I tried this amazing story telling activity with two different classes of 1st graders, in a small state school with basic facilities, in a timy  classroom and… it really worked!! My kids just loved both the story and Hippo!

This school year, our class mascot is actually a… Hippo hand puppet  therefore,I just told them that Hippo would like to share one of his adventures in a London park, with them!

They ALL wanted to take part in the story!

Our special friends!

Our special headbands!

I followed Margarita’s suggestions and I had them participate throughout the story. They took turns to wear the headbands, repeat the lines and play out the content of the story as I was reading the lines out.

They actually found it really easy to remember specific lines and expressions!

Even today , a month later, they use them in class and.. surprise me!

They say:” Oh, dear!” when I tell them  there’s not enough time for a second game or ” What’s the matter?” when I look sad or angry..They also say ” Help” ,”Pull”, ” Hip-hip Hooray” and so many more, in unpredictable moments during our lessons!

Here are some photos from my class…..

dscn9066

 

dscn9071

dscn9086

dscn9088

dscn9090

dscn9674

Thanks, Margarita for your creative work and all the inspiration on storytelling!Keep amazing us!

 

 

Speaking and storytelling

Lizzie Pinard

In a recent post, I outlined a collaborative writing activity for consolidating past simple and past continuous tense use. In that post, I briefly mentioned a possible follow up activity, using learner generated content and focusing on selected elements of spoken narrative. Since then, I’ve done just that with my pre-intermediate learners, and found it worked well, so I thought I’d share what I did with it here…

Time: 45 minutes (depending on class size/group size)

Materials: Cut up structural elements of spoken narrative and their linguistic realisations. (See example here ) (With higher levels, previously, I’ve cut up all the chunks individually but with my pre-ints I cut the chunks up in groups, so they had to match groups of chunks with the function rather than individual chunks, to provide more scaffolding)

Focus: Chunks of language used to structure stories when told orally (rather than…

View original post 760 more words

What kind of language teacher are you? (Yes, one of those quiz things)

Quiz fun!

The Steve Brown Blog

 1)   It’s your first day in a new job. You ask your manager about the syllabus and she hands you a coursebook. What do you do?

a. Smile to yourself – you’ve used this book before, so planning will be a piece of cake.

b. Go straight to the contents page at the beginning of the book, identify the language items you’ll be focusing on, and start looking for supplementary materials.

c. Sigh deeply and wonder if you made the right choice    accepting this job.

 

2)   How important is lesson planning?

a. Less important now you have a bit of experience. If you follow a book or have some worksheets, planning is really just a question of getting everything together and making sure you know the answers.

b. Very important. You need to know exactly what language you’re going to teach and how you’re going to teach…

View original post 1,269 more words

Reposting: New Year ideas

blogchristmas

Loved this blog post and I’m sharing  it with you! It’s Maria Theologidou’s blog New post!
http://mariatheologidou.blogspot.gr/2014/01/back-to-school-again-new-year-ideas.html

“At last, the new year has come and 2014 is now officially here! Nothing compares to that feeling of excitement and anticipation that a new year brings along, that’s why I feel our first back to school lessons should focus more on retrospection, reflection and decisions. Obviously, most of us will focus on new year resolutions and what our students hope to achieve this year, but we can also opt for alternative ways to celebrate the start of a new year in our lives!

1. My super power! – Ask your students to imagine that from 01/01/2014 all of them possess a super power that no one else knows about! The reason they were all given these powers though is so that they can use them to become better people and change the world! Give me them a superhero template (you can find some great ones here: http://jchriscampbell.com/2011/05/ ) ask them to create the superhero version of themselves, but most importantly explain why this special power is important and what is the thing they can change about themselves or the world.

2. New Year/I’d like to have 2014 – Acrostic poems. Ask them to write an acrostic poem using the first letters of “New Year” or even better the numbers of 2014. In case you choose the number version, tell them that each number should refer to something they would like to achieve/change/have (or not have for 0) this year. For example:

This year, I’d like to have
2 large pieces of chocolate cake every day of the week
0 worries and problems
1 big brown bookcase
4 months of vacation!:)
3. My 2014 infographic – Instead of working on a worksheet ask students to create their own infographics about their hopes/ambitions for the new year. (Use http://www.easel.ly/. Totally worth giving it a try!)
blogfortuneteller
4. Fortune teller – Print one of this amazing fortune tellers here: http://www.thepartyartisan.co.uk/article.asp?article=32&pID=5. Ask your class to write down 3 new things they would like to try this year and test whether their wishes will come true afterwards – great for a warm-up!
mos2014games

Fortune teller!

5. Year in review (inspired by Facebook) . Ask your students to choose their favourite -or even least favourite photos- of the year that has just passed and create their own collages of 2013 moments. Upper elementary students can write short paragraphs about the things that made last year special or difficult/challenging for them. For intermediate or upper intermediate ones, you can ask them to focus on the mistakes they made last year and the lessons they learnt from them.
6. New Year message to the world. I love the free printables from makebeliefscomix , and this one in particular http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Printables/print.php?category=Holidays_and_Celebrations&file=347_Print.GIF  would be great with advanced or proficiency level students.”
blogchris