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It’s free! It’s online! It’s fabulous!

Come and join me and 20 other speakers at the International House World Teachers Online Conference.

Friday November 2nd – Saturday Novemebr 3rd


I’ll be talking about Social Media and YL.


Facebooking without facebook

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy. I’ve been lazy. I’ve been having babies! (no really!), but that’s not what I want to talk about. I have something else to tell you. A confession of sorts…..

My name is Kylie, and I am a facebooker!

I message my friends and family back home in OZ, I message my friends who live only minutes away here in Prague, I post events, I post photos, I look at other people’s photos, I share memes and articles, I post meaningless status updates, I ‘like’ lots of things, I have a wee bit of a George Takei obsession, I DON’T play games (so please don’t send me any more farmville or whateverville requests) and I generally spend far too much time facebooking. I tend to have a facebook tab open whenever I’m online and it’s become a part of my life. I wake up, make coffee, check facebook, check email, shower, check facebook…

I recently read an article (posted on facebook to one the TEFLy groups that I ‘like’) called 100 ways to Use Facebook in your Classroom and another article (on yet another group I ‘like’) titled ‘School Use Facebook Timeline for History Lessons‘. This got me thinking….

I think it’s a great idea to bring something that our students use every day, like social media, into the classroom, but what if;

Our YLs are under 13? (which means that technically they shouldn’t be on facebook, but probably already are, and let’s face it, they often aren’t as interested in the ‘kiddy’ versions of social media sites)

You don’t have internet access in your classroom?

Technology makes you nervous?

Power cut? Internet down?

Can’t be bothered reading the impressive but somewhat excessive 100?

Well, never fear, I have a list just for you….

5 ways to facebook without facebook

All you need is pen, paper, and a little bit of imagination.

1. Paper profiles
OK…I’ve mentioned this before. But it’s really a goodin. Get YLs to create paper based profiles which can be stuck around the room for other learners to read and comment on. (Click on this campbook link to see the version I use each year for internetless Summer Camp and read more about it here). Each time the page is full, another page is added (leaving the top half visible).

Alternatively, students can create a paper facebook page for a celebrity or fictional character.

2. Get ‘liking’
Put projects, homework, any work up on the wall for other students to ‘like’ and/ or comment on (encouraging and modelling positive comments).

3. Messaging
Again, I’ve mentioned this idea before. Students write each other messages on paper. The teacher acts as the server and hands them to whomever they’re addressed to. All notes must be in English. Message could be anything from social chit chat to peer support e.g. ‘Anna, What’s the answer to question 5?’ You might even want to stipulate certain vocabulary or structures for that day’s messages?

4. Interest groups
In groups (or individually), students create a group interest page (poster) which can be added to through the term, liked, commented on.

5. TEFLville
Create your own Farmville type games. Students can earn money/ points by completing tasks, good behaviour, helping others, doing homework, speaking English in class etc and use this to build farms/ cafes/ intergalactic empires or whatever you think your class might enjoy. Get the class involved in creating the game.

This is only a basic list that I came up with very quickly. The possibilities are endless! and only limited to your imagination. I’d love to hear your ideas for using facebook without facebook?

Interested in reading more about Social Media and ELT? Try this link to a fabulous post shared with me recently on yep, you guessed it, facebook!.

Happy Facebooking!

Until next time….

Czech out the chat with Cesca

My last post was a skype conversation with YL newbie Anne. Keeping  with my theme of nosing around in other peoples YL world

Rats, books and school.

Rats, books and school. Three of Cesca's favourtie things.

, this time I spoke via email with experienced YL teacher, IH CYLT Tutor and Rat (and all round animal) lover Cesca K.

How long have you been teaching Young Learners?

This is my eighth school year – I spent a couple of years in Poland and have been in Prague ever since. I worked with young people as a volunteer in M.I.N.D (a mental health charity in the UK) before going into teaching.

What is your favourite age group to teach? Why?

Although I like teaching VYL, I would say my favourite age group is 8-12. They are young enough to still be keen but old enough to be able to produce some amazingly creative and imaginative work.

You were one of the first people to choose YL for DELTA. What were the biggest challenges for you?

Resources. I found that most YL books were aimed at new teachers and thus I found it hard to find quotes to back up my justifications for what I was doing in the classroom. I also found it hard at times to ‘tick’ all the boxes as far as Cambridge were concerned but my tutors were very supportive and I got there in the end!

Do you have a favourite lesson up your sleeve for emergencies?

Not really – I have a lot of books and games to turn to if it’s a real emergency and I don’t have any planning time.

I know you have a particular interest in getting kids writing. Have you got any tips you can share?

I think the biggest problem in teaching YL writing skills is that they tend to see it as a punishment. Once you make the process fun, even the most reluctant students tend to get into it. I found that using resources designed for primary schools works well – so the students really get the chance to plot out the stories and to find new and exciting language to use (there’s some really helpful stuff on Sometimes you’ll need to grade the language on the worksheets to make it more accessible to ESL students. I also find that giving students a reason for writing helps – they don’t want to spend hours on something that gets shoved at the back of their folders – offer to publish them in the school magazine or website.

What websites do you like to use with your classes?

I love – creating cartoons that can be used to revise pretty much any language point and I use as a treat for my classes every couple of months, there are lots of interactive games you can use with the whole class.

Question to all. Do you do writing with your YLs? Do they find it a chore/ punishment? What do you do in class to get them writing? Leave your comments below.

Big thanks to Cesca for letting us see a snippet of her YL world.

Until next time….

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