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Super Simple Summer Activities Series: Pt 1

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Super Simple Summer Activities Series: Pt 1

1

3 activities to whet your appetite – more to come!

It’s that time of year again when many of us TEFLers are off at a summer camp or summer school. Our goals tend to be more communicative, the atmosphere more relaxed, our learners more energised. We may also have additional activities like sports afternoons and drama clubs etc.

Are you teaching YL this summer?

Do you have…

  • Large classes?
  • Mixed Ability?
  • High spirited kids on “holiday” with energy to burn?
  • No time or energy for anything that isn’t super simple and super easy to prepare?

I’ve got you covered with these no-fuss, low(to no)-prep, faithful old favourites.

Port – Starboard 

starboard_port_1_large_320wide

Picture source: https://www1.toronto.ca

 

What: Listen and do game

Who: Great for 7-11, but any age really

Resources needed: None, just space

As a kid this was one of my favourite games at summer camps. The basic premise is that a teacher/leader calls out prompts. The students do the appropriate action. E.g. leader calls out “port!” and the students run to the left of the room. Leader calls out “Starboard” and the students run to the right of the room etc. Last one to do the action is out. Last person standing is the winner. Simple. Adaptable. Fun. Super!

Upon googling this fabulous game I stumbled across this amazing resource , a list of different actions and extra ideas for the basic game.

I love the original game, but I love how the basic premise is so adaptable. Last week my 8 year old learners were doing animals and habitats but had so much energy to burn they could have run a marathon. We played our own version of port-starboard with connected animal and habitat vocabulary. It was a real hit!

Zombie

zombie

What: Vocabulary drilling with a difference

Who: 3-8 love it, but no reason you can’t go older.

Resources needed: Flashcards*

*Don’t have flashcards? No problem. Students could draw the pictures. Students could write the words on a slip of paper. No paper no pens? Also no problem. Students could choose an action and act out the word they are allocated (or choose).

The first time I did this with my pre-schoolers (as they were zombie obsessed) I had no idea it would become such a hit.

  • All students stand in a circle facing other (but could equally be scattered around a room or garden). Each student has a flashcard.
  • One student in the middle is the Zombie.
  • The student in the middle holds their arms up like a zombie and walks toward any other student. But, they must chant the word for the card that student has over and over in a zombie like voice. e.g. “appppplleee….apppllleee…apppllleee”
  • The child holding the apple card needs to say the name of another item being held up by another student.
  • If the student says another word before the zombie reaches and touches them, the zombie must change directions and head for the new word, again, chanting the new word. If the zombie touches the student before they say one of the words another student is holding, they become the zombie.

Super easy. Super adaptable. Super fun.

Enjoy!

Fruit Salad

fresh-fruit-salad-11284477825iWun

What: Vocabulary or grammar game

Who: All ages depending on how it’s adapted

Resources needed: Chairs

I think everyone knows this game, right? But maybe by a different name? It’s an oldie but a goody. and SO so easy to set up, play, adapt.

Students sit on chairs in a circle. There should be one fewer chairs than students and the student without a chair stands in the centre of the circle.

In the simplest version of the game the teacher would allocate different fruits to the children. e.g. walk around saying pear, banana, apple, orange, pear, banana, apple, orange until everyone is given a fruit. The child in the middle then calls out a fruit. e.g. “banana” and all the bananas must stand up and change seats. Meanwhile the child in the middle runs to an empty chair. The child left without a seat is the next to call out a fruit. for added fun, if the centre child calls out “fruit salad!“, EVERYONE must stand up and run.

I like to use this at the beginning of summer programmes to work out what learners can and can’t do. I get them to say anything at all about themselves and students, for whom the information is also true, get up and change. e.g. “I have a brother” “I like chocolate”. 

It’s so easy to adapt. Anything from “Stand up if you’re wearing blue”, “I’ve never been to Paris”, to “This time next week I’ll be on holiday”. Vocabulary and structures practices are only limited by the teacher’s imagination.

Enjoy!

Extra

If you do have time for a bit more prep, here is a summer school/camp idea from last year. Especially good for dog lovers!

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Writing, the forgotten art. Or is it?

A post prompted by this tweet from Jonny Ingham:

@IHWO_YL_Ts Any suggestions for what to do with a painfully shy teenager who on paper is good but never says a word in class?

My first thought was ‘hmmm, how to get him speaking..‘ then suddenly I thought ‘Why? Why does he have to speak?‘ .

We seem to be obsessed with getting students to speak and teachers and students alike seem to believe this is the most important skill for communication blah blah blah but the ‘communicative method’, whilst perfectly fine, wasn’t really designed for today’s world was it?

OK, exaggerating, but my point is, I’m not sure teenagers actually ‘speak’ much to each other any more do they? My 13 yr old niece texts her friends during class while they are sitting next to her! and does she spend hours on the phone to her friends like I did as a teen? Hell no, she’s far too busy ‘facebooking’ and ‘inboxing’ and whatever the verb is for posting things on her tumblr to ‘express herself’.

I’m not suggesting we don’t bother teaching teens how to speak. In fact, I rather think they need this life skill more than anything to stop it becoming extinct! What I am suggesting is that speaking is perhaps not the channel teens are most comfortable and familiar with…so…to motivate them to ‘communicate’ in English, why not go with what they do in real life? I also think that ‘writing’ is something teachers think  students will hate and avoid at all costs, or set it as punishment, but maybe what we need to do is rethink how we perceive ‘writing’ and how we present it?

So, after a rather lengthy preamble, here is my answer to you Jonny…

During the IH DOS conference I had an interesting chat to David and Dianna about writing, teachers attitudes and beliefs about teaching writing, and our own ways in which we bring today’s teen world into the classroom. So here is my idea, followed by David’s even better idea, which is simple and simply fab.

Paper-based Facebook
Laughable at first thought, isn’t it? A paper based facebook, but, kids love it.! I tried this out on summer camp as a way of getting kid’s to ‘mingle’ with others that they didn’t know. I made some ‘campbook’ sheets (that I will add at the bottom of this post if I can work out how) and each student and teacher filled one in. They were then hung around the campsite and each day the kids were given time to comment, respond, write to other students. Teachers also made an effort to write and comment on the pages. We found that even the quietest of students were writing things even if it was just ‘How are you?’ or ‘Your favourite colour is pink? Me too’.

David’s idea

David encourages his students to email/ sms/inbox (whatever lingo) each other during allocated times in class. He acts as the server and all notes go through him. The only rule is that it is English only. I think this idea is great and there are so many ways it could be utilised/ adapted. How about instead of a ‘pair check’ students ‘inbox’ someone else around the room and ask for their opinion on certain answers? How about they ‘inbox’ a friend to make predictions before a reading/ listening task?

So…after all that…this is my suggestion for Johny to try with his ‘quiet’ teen 🙂

All comments welcome. I’d love to hear anyone else’s ideas for Jonny OR ideas for bringing writing back (it sounds more fun if you sing that last line JT style…I’m bringing writing back….I’m bringing writing back….).

P.S. Still planning a Puppyme post…one day soon!

campbook

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