Be my Valentine!

1 paperclip, 2 pieces of paper, 1 small blob blutack… Er, maybe not that cheap…?

Lifehacker (again!), this time pointing me to "how to date on the cheap, without seeming cheap". I bookmarked that one — well, Valentine's Day is coming up, isn't it?

Valentine's Day is one of those days of the year on which you can have a spot of fun in class, not to mention some writing or speaking practice.

You could, for example, discuss precisely that topic — how to date when you're skint. Or get them to write a love story… Or discuss what makes a good love story?

Or discuss how to date a hopelessly unromantic person

A school I know gets some of their youngest kids to make Valentine's cards which they put in random envelopes and give to each other (so everyone gets one!), to provide you with another example.

More ideas here on developingteachers.com.

Christmas lessons

Happy (Lego) Christmas!

Christmas lessons
In my mailbox this morning, from the excellent DevelopingTeachers.com weekly teaching tip, some ideas for Christmas lessons.

How was your term?
I also liked the idea (same source) of "assessing how the different courses that we teach have been going & how to tackle them in the next term", together with some suggestions for questions you might ask yourself.

Playing with Lego
The image shows the crib my son and I created with Lego Men. For a fun class activity, if you just happen to have some small Lego models plus their instructions lying around, take them into class, give one student the instructions, their partner the pile of bricks — and the partner has to build the model. What you want is the kind of Lego model that comes in a little box, with very few parts (around 25) — a dumper truck, that sort of thing, or a police motorbike.

Works best if you specify that only the builder can actually touch the bricks.

See also
More lesson ideas for special days of the year.

More stuff in your mailbox.

Halloween project

Halloween in IH… and probably celebrated in some way in many language classrooms

I came across this list of 100 scariest movies the other day and thought, "That might make a good blogging project".

A rough outline of a project

  • In class, brainstorm, talk about "scariest movies", to see if we can produce a list of, say, 10 to 20
  • See if we can agree on a rough ranking for them
  • Turn on the PCs, and use a collaborative process writing approach to produce a plot summary plus what makes them really, really scary
  • Go through various drafts, getting the other learners to commit on each others' work, and saving as Word documents
  • Post the final version on a blog
  • Get students to read the finished products, and use the "comments" feature to "vote" which they now think are most scary

Time sitting facing the PC screen…? I'd estimate it at under 30% of the total — as it should be, I would suggest.

More resources
More Halloween lesson plans on the BBC, and on DevelopingTeacher.com.

More lesson plans for other days of the year.

Today is…

Because it's Valentine's Day or Halloween or the anniversary of some historic event — or because you just want a change from your coursebook — "Today is…" can sometimes make for a topical lesson, and out there is cyberspace there are some great resources:

1.– Calendar events
Below, some examples. For other events, you could try searching on either DevelopingTeachers or OneStopEnglish.

DevelopingTeachers also has a list of days, and resources for them.

2.– Bizarre calendar events
On bizarrenews.com you can get a list of (bizarre) "today is…"

  • February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day
  • October 9 is Mouldy Cheese Day
  • November 19 is "Have A Bad Day Day"
  • November 28 is "Make Your Own Head Day

3.– Holiday (etc) orgins

4.– Historic events