Thursday, December 1, 2016

Skype Exchange, Picture Book and Mind Mapping, and Board Game

I hadn't been a homeroom teacher for three years when I took on the position as full-time advisor of the English Advisory Group, and I found this job was quite demanding but also rewarding. I tried some interesting activities in this class that I used to think they were only for more advanced learners. However, my NORMAL students have already proved they can be as motivated and willing to learn to USE English as their gifted counterparts.

1. Skype Exchange with A Japanese English teacher
It was totally on a whim that I decided to invite Toshi to be my guest and interact with the students, but it turned out incredibly well. The Internet connection really sucked, and I actually had to restart Skype from time to time in the beginning. Luckily, we managed to get it back to normal and my students were also waiting patiently.

Toshi introduced his experience of visiting Taichung, along with the food he had tried and places he had been to. After that, I encouraged my students to ask some follow-up questions. Of course, they tend to be very shy and intimidated, but still some of them also tried very hard to speak English in front of others. They asked questions like: "Have you ever tried stinky tofu?", "Do you like Taiwan?", some really typical questions. Then, some began asking questions about Japanese pop culture, animation, tourist spots and so on.

Based on their reflection and feedback, like "I could understand most of what the teacher said though my English is poor.", "This is by far the most interesting English.", I think this very first attempt of me trying to Skype foreigners in my normal class was a success. I should definitely try to do more Skype exchange without a doubt.

2. Creating mind maps for "The Giving Tree"
With the online animation, I introduced this renowned and touching story to my students by getting them to predict the plot first. Following that, I read the story in a SENTIMENTAL mood and paused frequently to elicit some insightful thoughts by getting them to answer some higher-order thinking skill questions. They were amazing.

Even to my surprise, I was so surprised that my students had created so many fantastic mind maps for this story. They used different shapes, colors, icons and so on to clearly lay out the main idea and plot of The Giving Tree, which really encouraged me to try something more with them. 

3. The Plural Noun Board Game

It was an easy and ready-made game that I found online, and it did work really wonderfully that even those really slow learners were engaged. Also, with the Team Game Torment technique, I put all of the groups in a competition that the loser had homework waiting for them while others had to need to do that at all. That really made the game even more exciting and I could hear loud laughter from the winners from time to time.

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