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April 18, 2011 by k. liz

So, I really went off track in my goals for blogging this week. Sorry!

I still don’t really feel like I’ve gotten this semester rolling smoothly yet, but we’re working on it! If any of you have taught students that are repeating the same information for the second or third time, and have any advice, I’d really love to hear it.

So, last week we started classes. I feel I had some successes and also some failures in my activities last week.

For example:

1. Let the students choose their consequences: success.
I felt that this worked well. It felt easier to enforce the rules after that first day when I could refer to them on the corner of the board and remind the students that they had chosen them. Also, in one of my classes, I had the students sign the bottom of the sheet, so I could also refer to that. The one, no two cons – only about a third of my students showed up on the first day, the cleaning people took down my rules sheets.

2. Bitstrips of themselves: failure.
Okay, so this was a little bit fun, but not all of the students brought their laptops, and some of them just did not find it interesting. Sadness.

3. Vocab competitions: success.
As I’ve mentioned, my students are almost all second or third time repeaters. This makes things a little tricky as I still have to teach the same curriculum that they’ve already failed twice. They want to insist that they already know the information, when obviously they don’t! But, this week, I put my students in groups, and just played a series of games – who can tell me the vocab word first, who can finish the worksheet first, etc. My favorite part of this is that the first class of easy exercise games led into our week one Jeopardy review game. I like to throw in a few twists to Jeopardy. For example, I usually have all of my students in teams. Then, I have them write their answers on a piece of paper, so that every group is thinking and has a chance to answer. However, this does tend to make the game start to drag on for a little while, so I then switch it up again. For the 10 point questions, they write the answers, for the 20s they shout out the answer, and the first team to answer gets points. For the 30s we go back to writing, for the 40s shouting, etc. This helps liven up the game, get them excited again (and also prevents one team from losing points EVERY question!) I also don’t let my students choose the point values anymore, because invariably, they choose the 50 point values first, and then they all get demoralized when they are deep in the hole later on in the game! Just a little of my philosophies of Jeopardy. I’m sure you wanted to know.

4. Speaking activity: failure.
So, I am teaching level C speaking this term (the highest level I have taught yet!)

And I am excited becausethis term for them is all about presentations. So, on Friday I had this brilliant idea to help them get some ideas about doing research for a speech. I gave each of the groups (2-3 students) a piece of paper with a group of people at our university on it. For example “Students not in Class,” “Teachers,” “Security Guards,” and “Canteen Workers.” I then gave them one question as a prompt, and had the students think of two more questions. I then gave them a 15 minute time limit to go and interview their group of people. They were excited, I was excited . . . until I found the “Canteen Workers” interviewers just sitting in the canteen. I found one of the girls with the “Students not in Class” sitting with her boyfriend right outside of the room, and then I opened the window and saw three of my boys smoking outside. Now, I did give some motivation to the students I found, and I will say that I ended up with four out of the 9 students that benefited and completed the exercise. However, we will be doing more local research from now on.

Anyhow, maybe this will explain why I’ve not blogged as much lately! I’m not sure many people want to read all about my failures! On a side note, I finished three more books recently, so I’ll head over and write my reviews on them here. Also, I visited Antioch with a group from our University. That was a nice little getaway – saw some beautiful waterfalls, an ancient church, and ate some wonderful kunefe.

So, that’s where I am right about now! How about you? Hope you’re doing well! I’d love to hear any advice you have for me! Thanks!


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