Last year I changed my classroom arrangement, so my students could easily work in pairs and in groups. At first some of them didn't like it, and their behaviour was disruptive but I was persistent. I wanted them to talk in English, so I tried to prepare attractive speaking activities for almost each lesson.


This speaking activity was inspired by my post "What's in your fridge?" from 2015. This time I gave my students ready-made cards. They were divided into groups of four and each group was divided into two pairs. Each pair was given a picture of a fridge but there were some differences in the content of fridges. The task was to ask and answer some questions, such as "Are there any apples in your fridge?" to find out the differences.
You can download and print my fridges here:
1) front:


2) back:


You can use it to practice different grammar structures: to have got, there is/there are, some/any etc.
Do you have any other ideas how to use my printable fridges? Please, share them in the comments.
http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/
Do you know Vashti? She's an inspirational character in the book "The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds. "The Dot" is a story of a little girl who doubted in her own abilities, but encouraged by her teacher she put a small dot on a piece of paper and discovered her potential. The story is so powerful that teachers around the globe share it with their students and celebrate creativity and courage on the International Dot Day (September 15th).
For the last two years I've celebrated this day with my school community. This year I will do it at home with my daughter :)
I have also a few ideas for the next school year. One of them is an art activitity - mixing colours. Last year my 1st-graders were given plates with some yellow, red and blue paints. They mixed colours on the paper using their fingers (wearing protective gloves). Then they drew the primary colours they used to make the secondary colours.


A few days ago I got a wonderful gift from Mamania publishing house - "The Dot" in Polish ("Kropka"). Polish teachers who are members of a group called Superbelfrzy Mini prepared a short booklet with ideas on how to celebrate the Dot Day. I can proudly said that my ideas are in the booklet too. The booklet is in Polish, so it will be useful for speakers of Polish.


You can download the booklet here: Przewodnik po Dniu Kropki
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I love flashcards! I use them with both young learners and teenagers. That's why I've recently bought a new set of flashcards with all the vocabulary from "Bugs Team 1" by Macmillan. The set contains 110 full-colour cards printed on thick paper (the flashcard sets for the previous editions of "Bugs" that I own are printed on even thicker paper). The thickness is very important - it makes flashcards durable. That's why when I make my own flashcards, I print them on plain paper and laminate them.

Why do I need flashcards? I love to play with them in the classroom. They are perfect to revise vocabulary and to practice speaking. Do you want to know my TOP 5 flashcard games and activities for young learners?

GAME No 5 - MEMORY

Everyone knows Memory. In the 1st grade I usually use pairs of matching pictures, and with older students I use picture - word pairs (up to 12 cards). Randomly selected student points at two cards I should turn over to find a pair. Each flashcard is identified by a letter and a number so that everyone knows what cards were chosen. If the two cards match, they stay uncovered. If they don't match, I turn them back over. I always ask my students to name the pictures in English, when I turn the cards over. The game is finished when all the cards have been matched.


GAME No 4 - TIC TAC TOE

You know it as a paper-and-pencil game but I use my blackboard and flashcards to play it. I divide a class into two groups, usually girls and boys (X and O). I put nine flashcards on the board (face down) and number the spaces. In order to mark a space with their symbol, the students have to choose a space and say its number in English. Then I turn the card from the chosen space over and they have to name the picture in English. If they do it correctly, I remove the card and draw their symbol in the space. The first team to place three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game.


GAME No 3 - PICTURE GO!

This game doesn't require a blackboard. It requires some space. What do you need to do? Give each student a check list with words and ask them to write the numbers in the boxes in a random order. Hang the matching flashcards around the classroom. Then tell the students to go quietly eg. to number 5. They have to find the number on their list, quietly read the word and go to the card that matches the word. In this way there will be groups of students standing under each flashcard. Ask one student from each group to name the picture on the card in English. Then tell them to go to another number.

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GAME No 2 - DISSAPEARING CATS

This activity is taken from "Oxford Basics for Children - Starting and Ending Lessons". I draw two cats on the board (or any other creatures or things). One cat belongs to my students, one belongs to me. I usually revise six words with my students, showing them flashcards. Then I shuffle the flashcards and pick one without children to see it. They have to guess which picture I have chosen. If they are correct, I rub out a part of my cat. If they are wrong, I rub out part of their cat. I make the rubbing part very dramatic, eg. "Oh no! My cat lost his eye! He's a pirate now." It usually makes children laugh. They are also very happy, when my cat dissapears first.


GAME No 1 - THE FLY

It's definitely my favourite flashcard game! It's an activity for the whole class or for pairs/small groups. At the beginning, I write directions on the board (up, down, left, right). If we play it for the first time, I have to pre-teach them the words. Then I pin a flashcard with a fly on the board and eight flashcards around it. I choose one of the students to give directions for the fly, eg. "The fly is going up. The fly is going left. The fly is going left.". When they finish, they ask the question: "Where is the fly?" and choose another student to answer it. If the answer is correct, the next student guides the fly.


* BONUS GAME - PICTURE MATHS

When I revise vocabulary with young learners, I often use basic arithmetic operations (such as adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing numbers). I pre-teach words like: plus, minus, times and divided by. I put 6 flashcards on the board and I number them 1-6. Then I ask, e.g. "What is 2 + 2?". My students calculate it quietly and instead of saying the right number they have to tell me what is in the picture. So their answer is "mouse" not "4".


What are your favourite flashcard games? Can you share them in the commnets? Do you like my ideas?

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What are your goals this school year? Have you set any yet? Well, it's about time. When we start New Year, we make New Year's resolutions. So why not make resolutions for the new school year?
I know that New Year's resolutions are usually unsuccessful. That is because most of us set unrealistic goals, don't keep track of the progress or simply forget about them. But don't be discouraged. I'll give you some tips how to stick to your goals this year.

1) Let's start with a list. You can download and print the list I've drawn:

2) People usually set too much goals, so I suggest you should apply KISS principle: Keep it short and simple. You don't have to write a bucket list. Choose, let's say, three goals. Then it would be easier to achieve all of them.

3) Make your goals SMART:
S - specific
Target a specific area for improvement, e.g. fluency, pronunciation.
M - measurable
Define an indicator of progress. How will you know when your goal is accomplished?
A - achievable
Make sure your goal is possible to achieve, given available resources. If you want to speak English fluently in a month, it's rather unrealistic.
R - relevant
Is reaching your goal relevant to you? Why do you want to reach this goal?
T - time-bound
Specify when you want to achieve your goals. It's better to do things step by step, so you can define small steps that will lead you to success and follow them. Remember to set deadlines for each step.

What do you think? Do you make new school year's resolutions? Do you keep them? Please, share your thoughts in the comments.
Good luck!