Sunday, April 9, 2017

5 Easter Pins for your YL Students

1:53 AM


With Easter a week away, this next week will be filled with spring lexis and all sorts of crafts. I have an adorable group os pre-starters that have just learned animals, one of them being rabbit. Perfect timing to bring out some crafts and work on following instructions, developing cognitive skills, improving hand-eye coordination and just having some darn fun.
I've been going crazy on Pinterest, looking at adorable felt or yarn bunnies, paper-plate chicks, paper hyacinths and crazy Easter egg hunts.
I've picked 5 super-doable activities for you guys to try out this week. Or this spring for that matter, since, hey, who doesn't like a nice bunny party hat??


1. The Bunny Party Hat
The image is self-explanatory but I might add that you could use this activity with any age YL, given that you help the little ones with the cutting (prepare it beforehand) and ask the older ones to give their hat a name, invent a story, draw details, etc.


2. The Plastic Spoon Bunnies
This is by far the simplest activity with Easter bunnies I could find. It still involves some manual skills but overall it should be less than 20 minutes. So if you're short on time but still want to do something bunny-ish, give it a go. By the way, I saw another Pin where the bunny was inside a double sided paper egg that had been dutifully decorated, with the front side half the size of the back side, and the spoon's handle serving as a hold. Adorable!


3. Button Extravaganza
Now when I saw this, I instantly knew this was what I was going to do with my students this week. Here they've made birds, but can you already see it? Button bunnies!!! Again, a super simple activity where little preparation is necessary, perfect motor skills are irrelevant, creativity can run free, and the back of you wonderfully original card can be filled with English!


4. Fingerprint Art
Great little activity for YL where they get to get their hand dirty and maybe help each other create different characters (hey, we all have different fingers). Again wonderful little activity for following instructions (since most YL will need help with drawing faces) but I guess you would need to do this activity in 2 phases. Phase one, you make the cards with the fingerprints and put it somewhere safe to dry. Phase two, you draw the faces, extra detail and messages. If you have a long 2 hour lesson, you might be able to do both, but I doubt you will be able in 1 hour.


5. Eggstremely Surprising Card
A short little activity with minimal preparation and minimal drain on classroom time. I would use this with slightly older YL (from 9-10 onwards) that are a little bit more confident and able to draw. Why? Because my experience with little people has taught me that some are naturally better at drawing while others not. But all are acutely capable to discern between a great drawing and a not so great (albeit I think they are all absolutely adorable) drawing. So they mope or bicker or ask for my help more than I would like them to (hey, it's supposed to be their drawing, their moment). So if you plan on doing it with tiny people, show them a "how to" video about how to draw a chick, there are plenty on youtube and it can save you a lot of grief after. When they've mastered (this is highly relative as we all know) the chick drawing, then we go to the do a card on your own part. Mind you, you might need to ask them to draw it multiple time (hence you might need to prepare this project several lessons before). For everyone else, go ahead and do this 15-20 minutes craft.



The Sound Easter

Friday, April 7, 2017

To CLIL or not to CLIL?

12:00 AM


I've just finished my first teacher training course. I was extremely happy to get this opportunity since it is something I would like to do in the future. My school organised a TKT CLIL exam prep and my group consisted of 11 Italian state school teachers.

When I said yes to doing this class, I had to brush up on exactly what this TKT CLIL exam and CLIL itself was all about. As a bilingual child, I've basically gone through CLIL myself and can't speak highly enough of it but in reality, it all bubbles down to the teacher's own agenda, willingness and knowledge. Having had a very positive experience, I felt it was imperative to communicate my enthusiasm for this way of teaching to my "students".

Now, what is the TKT CLIL exam?
The TKT CLIL exam is a Cambridge provided exam, part of the TKT scheme which Cambridge describe as

"TKT is a flexible series of modular teaching qualifications, which test your knowledge in specific areas of English language teaching. You can take as many modules as you want, over any time period. You receive a Cambridge English certificate for each module you complete."

TKT CLIL is one of the offered specialist modules which should be taken after the original TKT Module 1,2 and 3, but can be taken on it's own as well. It all depends on the teacher's willingness and prior knowledge. It obviously contains a mountain of methodology terms and challenging practices that need to be assimilated and reasoned on.

The test in itself is not overly complicated, a multiple choice paper-based test with 80 questions that are worth 80 points and you have 80 minutes to do it. Your results place you within 4 bands(1 being the lowest and 4 being the highest), with an average of 45-50 points placing you in the 3rd band.

But, why take the TKT CLIL exam?
That was the first question I considered when I said yes to dong this course. Why are my students coming in for a 2 hour class packed with tongue-twisting methodology terms, laborious teaching practices and anglo-saxon new-age logic?
My answer was: to better oneself and hence to better prepare ones students. 
Highly idealistic you would say...but throughout the course I noticed my initial assumption was right. My students were there to learn new tricks, experiment new things, challenge themselves and ultimately get a certificate that proves this new acquired knowledge.
So why do it? Because it will make teaching fun and new and rewarding. It's a bit like experienced Celta without the assignments, deadlines, sleepless nights and overload of info.

Last but not least, why CLIL?
CLIL is a world. A magical, difficult, challenging, gratifying world. It means offering our highly globalized kids a real chance, a higher competence, more realistic expectations when deciding to study abroad, a wider cultural spectrum, a classroom that most times levels the playing field and yields surprising results. CLIL is all about giving non-native kids the chance to feel and employ the language, whatever language that is, while at the same time developing their cognitive, learning and coping skills through learning subjects. The focus is on the subject, not on the language. Great mathematicians will need help from great language speakers, and viceversa. You might be the best in History, but will it be the same once you have to use French or English to learn it? You might be a great player, but can you be a great team player? You might have an excellent memory, but can you analyse the information you are given and give your opinion on it? This is what CLIL aims to do.


At the end of my class, we all felt empowered, proud, positive. I was proud of my students for all they had achieved and they were proud of themselves. I felt like I had laid the cornerstone to something great for my future as an ELT teacher, and they felt more confident about their teaching. 
I can honestly say I can't wait for the next class.
In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed for my students taking their exam mid April!




The Sound Eater