Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas sudoku

It's Christmas time. Today I had my last lessons before Christmas break. I've prepared a surprise for my younger learners. I've made a large picture sudoku board (60 cm x 60 cm) to teach them Christmas vocabulary (Santa, reindeer, present, sledge).

At first we did the puzzle together, so they could get an idea what sudoku is. Then I devided them into small groups of three and they solved more advanced puzzles with the same pictures.
Here's a printable that you can use with your students.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Spot it!

Revision, revision, revision...
Young learners need variety of games and exercises to revise and consolidate vocabulary. Last week I played Spot it! with my 6- and 7-year-olds. At first I had some doubts about using this game in the classroom with very young learners. Fortunately, it worked perfectly!
I've prepared 4 sets of cards. Each set consisted of 13 cards with 4 different pictures.

I divided class into groups, 5-6 students per group. Each group was given one set of cards. Each student in a group took one card, the rest were placed face-down in a pile. Then one player took the first card from the pile and place it with their card on the floor. As soon as they found the match, they had to call it out in English. If the answer was correct they took both cards. If not, the card was placed under the pile. The winner was the player with the most cards.

Here you can download my cards:
The cards were generated with Dobble Generator.
You can find the original game with instructions here: http://marbles-curation.s3.amazonaws.com/instructions/SpotitBasicEnglish_Rules20cards.pdf

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Class survey

How to engage students in speaking activities? Let them do a class survey.

The task was meaningful, as the students had to find out how often their friends do different activities. We use it to practice Present Simple, adverbs of frequency and indoor activities vocabulary. My students worked in pairs. Each pair got a chart and a question they had to fill in accoring to the picture. Then each pair had to ask other students the question and to mark the answer on the chart.

Here's the chart template:

And here are the questions:

Thursday, 5 November 2015

In a restaurant

Last Tuesday my 5th-graders went to a pizza restaurant. Of course, it was an imaginary restaurant in our classroom. They acted out small scenes to practice ordering food. Some of them were waiters and waitresses and the others were customers. Everyone was involved and even shy students could shine.

Monday, 26 October 2015

What's in your fridge?

What kind of food is countable? What kind is not? To help my students talk about countable and uncountable nouns, I've prepared a speaking exercise "What's in your fridge?"
Each students got a fridge outline to cut, fold and stick into the notebook.
Here you can download fridge front and back. You just have do print it double-sided.

Then I asked my students to choose 10 items from food vocabulary list and to draw them in the fridge. I divided the students into pairs (student A and student B) and one group of 3.
Students A were supposed to ask students B about the items from list A and vice versa. They also had to write down any items that were missing in the fridge.

As you can see, my 5th-graders enjoyed the exercise.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Hide & seek - reading comprehension

Are your students bored with reading comprehension? You can make this activity more engaging if you "hide" the questions in the classroom. This way students have to move around to find them. I always tell the students to read the text first and then to go seeking.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Maths in EFL

When I revise vocabulary with very young students, 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 "crayons" not "4".

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Stars and stripes in my classroom

Thanks to my cousin Andrew who lives in the USA, I've got a US flag in my classroom! It came via mail at the beginning of September, but our janitor has just hung it today.
My students were very excited about the parcel from the USA. They were surprised that the flag was made in the USA not in China. The flag is huge and made from very good material.

Thank you, Andrew! You've made our day!

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Running dictation

Sitting at the desk for 45 minutes can be really tedious for students. My teacher in secondary school had this saying: "Move your 'bottom' and your mind will follow". Last Thrusday I decided to try running dictation with my 5th-graders. Most of them were very enthusiastic about this exercise. 
I have to admit that I was enthusiastic, too. Running dictation combines: reading, speaking, listening and writing. It also develops vocabulary and grammar skills.

How did I do it?
  1. I divided my students into two groups. I asked them to stand in two lines.
  2. The first person in each group was the runner and the second person was the writer.
  3.  I put two copies of a short text on the wall opposite two desks.
  4. The runners in each group had to run to the wall, read the first sentence of the text, run back to the writers and quietly dictate what they remembered. Then they went to the end of the line.
  5. When the writer wrote down the sentence, they became the runner and the next person in the line became the writer. 
  6. When both teams were ready with the text, I swap their worksheets. They had to check them for mistakes.

We had so much fun with this activity. Next time we will try to do it in smaller groups or we will do it in the hall, so they will have to run.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

It's school again!

After almost two months of summer holidays it's quite difficult to go back to school routine. But at the same time it's so exciting to start something new. In this case, a new school year.
It will be my 10th year of working as a teacher, so it will be special. I have so many plans and so many hopes. I will work hard to achieve my goals this year.
Have a great school year!

Monday, 6 July 2015

A week in the Future Classroom Lab

Last week was a real blessing. I can admit that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. My dreams simply come true.

One of my dreams was to visit the Future Classroom Lab in Brussels, Belgium. And I got that opportunity thanks to eTwinning National Support Service in Poland. I attended a 5-day course "Interactive technologies for the future classroom" (29th June - 3rd July). Everything was amazing. We had the best teacher trainer - Gert Lemmens (with a soft "G") and the best group of wonderful teachers from Italy, Portugal, Poland, Spain and the Northern Ireland. It was a real pleasure to work with them. Once again I felt being a part of an awesome community.
I arrived to Brussels at midnight, as my plane from Cracow to Warsaw was delayed and I didn't make it for my plane to Brussels. At least I had two hours to "explore" Warsaw Chopin Airport ;) 
On Monday we started classes at 9:30 a.m. We were welcomed by our teacher, Gert (his name was difficult to pronounce), and Elina Jokisalo, who works at European Schoolnet. We started with an ice-breaking activity "Animal farm". The first person I met was Susan from the Norther Ireland. She is a beauty therapy and hair-dressing specialist. Then we had a funny dancing exercise ;)
It turned out that our group is very creative and eager to learn new things. The first tool we were shown was Mentimeter. It's a cloud-based tool for real-time interaction. It's really simple yet powerful tool. You have to sign up at Mentimeter website and then create a question. Your audience goes to the specific website, enters the code and sends their answers. They can use any device connected to the Internet. If you don't have computers or tablets in your classroom, you can ask your students to BYOD (bring your own device).

First our teacher showed us this tool and we used it as students. Then we signed up and created our own questions and shared them with the group. We had a lot of fun.
Another tool we learned was Socrative. We used this tool to create online quizes.

On Tuesday we worked in groups planning eTwinning projects. I worked with two primary teachers from Italy. At first it was a little bit difficult to communicate as they barely spoke English, but they were so nice that we made it :) We designed a project about butterflies. It's an outline of a project for now.
Next step was FCL tour. Elina showed us every Learning Zone and explained their functions. FCL is formed by six different zones: create, interact, investigate, develop, present and exchange.

It would be wonderful if my classroom looked like this.
After coffee break we explored Kahoot - a free game-based platform for creating quizes. We had a lot of fun, as most of the quizes we created were humorous.
This busy day ended with a QR-code game. We were divided into groups and we had to do 8 activities (e.g. sining "Help" by the Beatles, dancing to "YMCA" or "Macarena", taking unusual group selfie etc).

On Wednesday we explored two tools: i3learnhub and Stop Motion Studio.
i3learnhub is an online collaborative learning platform (IWB software). It doesn't require installation, and it works with any device connected to the Internet. Once again we worked in groups and our task was to create a lesson. I worked with Magda and Salvador from Spain. We had a great time using this tool.
Next tool was Stop Motion Studio - an app for stop motion moviemaking. We worked in different groups - I was in a group with Isabell from Portugal and Thomas from the Norther Ireland. We had to create a short movie. The topic was "Friends".
Here's our work:

On Thursday we learned another tool for creating interactive quizes - Quizziz. It's quite similar to Kahoot and very easy to use. My friends prepared very challenging quizes.

Prowise is another online tool that looks like IWB software. It also can be used to create quizes, but it is not as intuitive as other tools. This time I worked with a Polish group. We prepared a lesson and a quiz about the UK. 
I was very good at maths games that our teacher made for us. I was the winner of the first game ;)

DAY 5  
Friday was a very emotional day. In the morning we had to say goodbye to our friends from the Northern Ireland, as they went home early. It wasn't so much fun without them.
Before a coffee break we learned how to create instruction videos with Educreations. Unfortunately, the Internet conection wasn't good that day. It was a mission impossible to do anything.
Our last task was to do something creative using the tools we learned during the course. We worked in groups for the last time. I worked with Carla from Portugal and two Italian teachers. We decided to use Stop Motion Studio and a box of Lego bricks. We've prepared our own version of "Wrecking Ball" video by Miley Cyrus.
Here it is:

Friday, 26 June 2015

Summer holidays with QR codes

For me it's time to begin another summer holidays. Last week my students asked me to prepare a lesson with smartphones. It wasn't easy, as the Internet connection in my classroom is very poor (Wi-Fi doesn't work). Yet we tried really hard to make this lesson happened. Some of my students were familiar with QR codes, but for most of them it was something new. 
I've prepared four QR codes and printed them in four different colours. The students scaned the codes and solved the puzzles linked with them. Then they had to put the words in the right order to make a holiday sentence.
Here are my QR codes (in a random order). Have fun!
My students at work:

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Creating comics

It has been a very busy month for me. And June is going to be busy too. Yet my 4th-graders and I keep being creative and in love with ICT. Today we worked in our computer lab using Pixton to make comics. My students had a lot of fun with this tool.
Here's a comic strip created by Gosia:

Monday, 4 May 2015

Secret Code

Coding and decoding can be a lot of fun. Especially, when it is in English. The weather is beautiful lately, so it is difficult to be productive in the classroom. I have to make my lessons more interesting than the spring weather. My idea is to use a secret alphabet code. You can easily find a lot of examples online and choose whichever you like. 
I like the pigpen cipher:

Yesterday I wrote 8 sentences (e.g. It's Saturday. We don't have to go to school.) and then I rendered them in ciphertext. I cut them into pieces (each sentence had its own colour). I scattered the pieces in the classroom, so the students could decipher them and put them in the right order to make sentences.

As you can see, my students were very focused (despite the weather). They even worked in pairs and groups willingly.
BTW, I've tried a new app: Pic Collage to create the photo collage above. It's my first attempt. I have an idea how I can use this app with my students.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Pi Day 2015

Happy PI Day!

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Visual grammar 2

Here are very simplified models of sentence structures with the present simple forms of the verbs "to be" and "to have got".

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Pancakes vs. doughnuts

British and Polish cultures seem so different, but there are some celebrations that are related. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in Christianity. Lent is a time of fasting, so we spend the last days of Carnival on feasting. 
In Poland we celebrate Tłusty Czwartek ("Fat Thursday") on the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday. Pączki, full-sized doughnuts filled with rose marmalade, are consumed in large quantities. It's believed to be a bad luck if you don't eat a doughnut on Fat Thursday.
In the UK people celebrate Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) on the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The name comes from "shrive" which means "confess", as people used to confess their sins before Lent. The other name comes from the tradition of eating pancakes on that day.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Telling the time

My 6-year-old niece is in the 1st grade. Recently, she has learned how to tell the time in Polish using an analog clock. It's a very challenging task for such a young child, but she's a quick learner.
A lot of my students can't use an analog clock, so it's diffucult for them to learn how to tell the time in English. I think it's just a matter of practice. So to help them I have made an animated clock in Scratch.
I have also found a nice speaking analog clock that can be used in class or at home:
You can also find three online exercises here:

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Wh- questions

Another wonderful year has just begun and here I am again with my blog entries! It's been a while since my last post. Sorry for that.
This school year I'm lucky to teach amazing 4th-graders. For those kids I would go the extra mile.
This week they learned about question words and wh- questions with the verb "to be" in Present Simple. Here are some online exercises:
(Use them in a full-screen mode.)