Author Topic: Fun and educational activities for high level  (Read 3409 times)

Offline OxO

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Fun and educational activities for high level
« on: January 10, 2012, 11:51:02 AM »
Does anyone know of any?

All I can come up with is fun or advanced (well...intermediate, advanced would be so much easier...). I just can't seem to figure out a way to get the two to mesh. Games by their nature are simple and more about the fun than learning stuff...
I just can't seem to get it, either the kids are bored and mostly not engaged or the teachers will be upset.

Gah. How I envy those ALTs who get their lessons handed to them on a plate and are told exactly what to do.
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2012, 11:54:44 AM »
Try thinking in term of units.  A unit on poetry starting from comparatives to simple interpretation, or a unit on explaining Japanese culture starting with habits/customs around the world which could expand into a debating unit.
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Offline K-Bear

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2012, 11:55:28 AM »
Can you be more specific? Like the level of the students (elementary, J.H, HS, adult, etc.), as well as what you are trying to teach them (Weather, social issues, pronunciation, etc...)?
What is your goal for the lesson?
What should students learn?
What will it build on and lead into?
I teach in an academic HS and plan my own lessons too, so I might be able to help with more information  :-)

Offline OxO

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2012, 12:13:14 PM »
Quote
Can you be more specific? Like the level of the students (elementary, J.H, HS, adult, etc.), as well as what you are trying to teach them (Weather, social issues, pronunciation, etc...)?
What is your goal for the lesson?
What should students learn?
What will it build on and lead into?
I teach in an academic HS and plan my own lessons too, so I might be able to help with more information  :-)
Its first year HS.
Its just teaching anything really.

Try thinking in term of units.  A unit on poetry starting from comparatives to simple interpretation, or a unit on explaining Japanese culture starting with habits/customs around the world which could expand into a debating unit.

That requires some major long term thinking though. Since there are only about 14 lessons in a year (complete guesstimate) to devote so many classes to one thing seems...iffy.
I have done some two part classes but its best not to overdo it.
And I've only got the one class left this year before the new first years.
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Offline K-Bear

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2012, 12:18:43 PM »
And I've only got the one class left this year before the new first years.

So what you need is ONE final lesson to wrap up the year? Or u only teach one class of students and need a few more lessons before the year ends?

Just trying to figure things out better

Offline OxO

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2012, 12:22:33 PM »
Yeah, one lesson plan left (for a bunch of classes).
Well..There's one which only half the classes have done and another which only one class has done so those two are set in stone but after that there's the one that is open.
The way I have to do things is to teach the same lesson plan to every class for two weeks then move onto the next lesson plan with every class; due to holidays and whatnot though some classes are ahead of others though.
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Offline K-Bear

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2012, 12:49:57 PM »
One lesson? And it’s the LAST lesson? Not sure how educational this can be, but it sure could be fun.  You could spend the first half (or whole class) of the class doing review Jeopardy style (with candy prizes), and the last half as just an end-of-year party. You could plan some games that involve English speaking and listening, but I cannot help you there because I’m not sure how big your classes are. Big game difference between 12 and 40 students in a class. Also I am not sure what they have learned so far.
I did one lesson for my classes (of 40 kids) that was a review filler type, but let the kids have a laugh from the skits performed at the end.  I took pieces of `target language` from what they had learned so far and put them on random pieces of paper. The target language was super random as well like, `I like that`, or ` The pharmacy is on the right`. The students were put into groups and had until the last 15minutes of class to make a skit using this TL somewhere in an original skit of their own imagining and had to perform at the end of class, also ALL students had to speak during the skit performance, and they also had to say complete sentences, not just one word responses like (yes, no, hello,bye bye) to count as `speaking` during the skit. The fun factor really depends on your students. Most skits were great and had you crying from laughter and however some skits were so boring (lack of effort) you could hear a cricket in the background.
But again. As a last class, I do feel that candy, movies and fun games that HAPPEN to be in English is more appropriate. Also leaves them with a happy feeling about The English before they have to actually learn stuff in it again next semester.
Jeopardy review with prizes almost seems like a middle ground here, so could a 3 round completion prize type lesson. (Sample lessons of this type are posted all over the lesson section on the forum)
Hope this helps

Offline Josiah

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2012, 02:57:27 PM »
what I generally do each week is think about a theme. My students aren't nearly as advanced as Kelly's or Brian's or some others, so units don't do anything, and the chances they will retain anything I teach them are quite slim... Although it sounds like I'm just a bad teacher, it's not true. I spent 3 weeks teaching the difference between how much and how many and they still don't know it because they don't care. I doubt you have students like mine but if your students are anything at all like that, then this is the system I use:

pick the theme: graduation, parts of the body, at the restaurant, things to do in England, etc. Anything will do. "when playing video games" even.

Make an example conversation for pairs where each student has about 2 lines of speech. ideally each portion of the conversation example should have blanks, with options that they can chose between. Today my lesson was about graduation and they have 6 different options answering for each of two questions for them to talk about what to do after they finish school.

spend the first 15 minutes of class going over the meanings and translations of the key words in the sentence, as well as how to pronounce them properly. Most students just pay attention for that part, for fear of test. After that, give them 15 minutes to work on making their own conversation. Spend the rest of time in the class getting people to volunteer to present their conversation and then play hangman with time left over.


the benefit of this system: when the work is too difficult my students will zone out and refuse to participate or verbally abuse me for making the work too difficult (haha, it's kinda cute actually). When the work is too fun, they participate for about 5 minutes and then quit because they feel too juvenile. With the system of "creating conversations for dummies" they only have to pay moderate attention, give moderate effort and receive maximum hanko points. Generally I'll give a hanko point every time a student says anything - and I ask them tons of questions like, "can you make a guess at what this word means?" and sometimes we might have 10-15 keywords and sometimes as little as 2 or 3. After that I give even more hanko points for groups that will agree to do the conversation. I usually say 2 hanko points for reading the conversation, 4 if they reverse roles and do it twice and I've been known to give 5 or more for students who complete work diligently when I want them to shut up and work. When I notice student participation is waning, I bring in chocolate. I call this the Jody D School of Teaching.

I remember the teacher during Tokyo orientation who said he'd worked as a teacher for years and didn't believe in a system of rewards. Frankly, in retrospect he's a moron. Maybe that's true for a real teacher back home, but in this role of random-game-and-culture generator, it's pretty much the best way to go. Ask a Japanese person in their late 20's\early 30's if a) they remember their ALT b) if they liked them and c) how they liked OC. It's pretty much yes, so-so, and no. I'd like my kids to answer yes, yes, and yes.


HOWEVER, for emergency purposes

Othello! Every single class I did this with absolutely loved it. Make a grid on the board that's 6x6 and number the blocks off. Make a copy of this grid in your notebook, numbered off in the same way with a specific question assigned to each block. I know there are some people like Carlos who can whip up questions off the top of their head, but I find it quite difficult to find appropriate questions without time to think about it... Divide the class into 2 halves, or make it boys vs. girls (if I have transgendered students I just draw a line. Otherwise its boys and girls).
The questions can range for difficult to hard. Ask the youngest teacher you know in your school who speaks decent English to give you some questions. For instance, I had no idea who the most popular girl in AKB48 was or who's the strongest baseball team in Japan - but you'll want questions like this. Don't make it into a test, but teach grammer when possible - for example, "after Mt. Fuji, what is the tallest mountain in Japan?"
(it's Kitayama, actually... which is also in Minami alps <3 )

Additionally, I put in two "battle questions" whereby I'll ask a question like "name a disney movie" and they have to rally back and fourth until one team runs out of anwsers. This is a total bloodbath and it's hysterical. make the battle questions quite easy for maximum pleasure. I also used "name a colour". I never expected to see kids fly out of their desks and scream things like "EMERALD GREEN!" and "SHOCKING PINK!"

if you don't know the rules of the game, basically once one team gets the answer right, use one colour of chalk to circle the number indicating that team as the point. However, if two adjacent (horizontal, vertical or diagonal)  blocks are captured by the opposing team, then the one(s) in the middle change to the other side. It's highly strategic.

This will EASILY take the entire class, and even my absolute worst classes (the lazy and uninspired) were cursing out their opponents and pounding fists and desks. So delightful. Takes a while to prepare though, cause you have to write down 36 interesting questions beforehand. although, you can probably make it as low as 21 or 25

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2012, 08:43:41 AM »
thyanks for othello Josiah...I'll play that after today's dry "what did you do during winter break" lesson....man, my classroom is COLD!
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Offline devilwoman

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2012, 12:04:25 PM »
I dont know if this is any use this time round, but these are fantastic. Interesting, will really get the students talking, and very little preparation needed. Thats my lesson planning til the end of the school year sorted!

http://bogglesworldesl.com/survivalESL.htm

Offline mattclough

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2012, 03:02:25 PM »
thyanks for othello Josiah...I'll play that after today's dry "what did you do during winter break" lesson....man, my classroom is COLD!

Plum, what was your plan for this lesson?  I want to do that but I can't think of any good way to do it for 50 minutes.

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2012, 03:57:13 PM »
reviewing the past tense of verbs, (to do with New Year's)  as well as new family vocab/review...then worked on expanding answers to the question "What did you do during winter break?"  Reviewing and enforcing the policy of answering at least 3 wh questions in a sentence.
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2012, 11:33:03 AM »
I'm doing a lesson on pranks, memes and new traditions and whatnot...so far, all I can think of is the time loop, planking and flash mob....perhaps rick-rolling 

can someone help me out with what the youth are doing in the west now--I need to give the students more examples.
:(

I'll post the unit as soon as I'm finished...
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Offline K-Bear

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2012, 11:38:07 AM »
I'm doing a lesson on pranks, memes and new traditions and whatnot...so far, all I can think of is the time loop, planking and flash mob....perhaps rick-rolling 

can someone help me out with what the youth are doing in the west now--I need to give the students more examples.
:(

I'll post the unit as soon as I'm finished...

http://knowyourmeme.com/blog/meme-review/best-memes-of-2011

Offline Croninokehige

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 11:50:55 AM »
I doubt they'd really understand rick-rolling. Some of the funnier planking pictures might work, and the time loop and flash mobs probably... but a lot of people back home don't understand rick-rolling and I'm not even really sure how you'd explain it. Memes are strange like that.

You could maybe tell them about older pranks, like prank calling, or maybe slightly newer variants like celebrity soundboards. Or the kinds of things kids would pull in elementary school when you were younger. It's not the most straightforward unit to teach...

Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2012, 12:00:16 PM »
True...the lesson is more traditions, customs and festivals (that old bag)  I just wanted to collect a bunch of photos and videos to show them in one of their classes that will get them talking about viral videos, twitter movements

It's a 4-5 class unit.
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Offline Josiah

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2012, 12:51:25 PM »
Matthew, the lesson will easily last 50 minutes. Every class I've played it in is 50 minutes long and we can never manage to finish it - its usually whoever has the most points at the end is the winner.

Someone e-mailed me asking for more specific directions so here goes:

1) make 36 different questions. Some are as easy as "please introduce yourself" and others are as difficult as "what are the coldest capital cities in the world?" It is very important that you write out the questions first, and have them numbered off.

2) Draw a 6x6 grid on the board with white chalk, and then write a number inside each box also using white chalk. I usually start from the top left corner and go down and to the right, 1, 3, 3... with 36 ending up in the bottom right corner.

3) Divide the class into two halves and ask them to nominate their capitan for the Janken-off, where the winner decides what colour of chalk their team wants to be and whether they want to go first or second.

4) first team picks a number. Depending on the number of students in your class, or the number of students on the team (this only works with 2 teams) you can go through the students one-by-one or you can let them work as a team. I alternate my methods depending on the class. They pick a number - "I'd like number twenty-five please"

5) look at your list of questions and read question 25. If they get it right, circle the number with the colored piece of chalk they picked (usually red, blue or yellow) and ask the other team their first question. If the students get the answer wrong (which usually doesnt happen, because I'll give them endless hints, you move to the next team. They can also chose the same question, or chose somethnig else.

6) The object of the game is to get as many circles on the board as possible. You can steal circles from the opposing team mate if you can "bookend" 1 or more of their circles in a straight line. So for example, if you get both squares adjacent to a single one of their squares, or a line of their squares, draw a line through the entire connection with the opposing team's colour, announcing that they have now been stolen or converted to the other team. Most often it isn't possible to convert these squares back, but it has happened before.

7) the Battle Questions take up the most time. The ones I used, as stated before were Name A Disney Movie and Name a Colour. you can be the judge of which anwsers are acceptable. These questions usually take up the most time and students will get very competitive. Other things would be, name a country or name a language or something. The team with the last word wins. You go back and forth in a rally.


This will almost definitely take an entire period. Hangman or other games I've played have been surpsingly short, but this one really does take the whole class. Especially the first time you play it, you'll probably spend about 10 minutes explaining it to your kids anyway. I don't have my list of questions on me today, but tomorrow I'll bring in my notebook and I can write down the entire list of 36 questions I used if you want.

cheers.

Offline K-Bear

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2012, 01:10:48 PM »
Matthew, the lesson will easily last 50 minutes. Every class I've played it in is 50 minutes long and we can never manage to finish it - its usually whoever has the most points at the end is the winner.

Someone e-mailed me asking for more specific directions so here goes:

1) make 36 different questions. Some are as easy as "please introduce yourself" and others are as difficult as "what are the coldest capital cities in the world?" It is very important that you write out the questions first, and have them numbered off.

2) Draw a 6x6 grid on the board with white chalk, and then write a number inside each box also using white chalk. I usually start from the top left corner and go down and to the right, 1, 3, 3... with 36 ending up in the bottom right corner.

3) Divide the class into two halves and ask them to nominate their capitan for the Janken-off, where the winner decides what colour of chalk their team wants to be and whether they want to go first or second.

4) first team picks a number. Depending on the number of students in your class, or the number of students on the team (this only works with 2 teams) you can go through the students one-by-one or you can let them work as a team. I alternate my methods depending on the class. They pick a number - "I'd like number twenty-five please"

5) look at your list of questions and read question 25. If they get it right, circle the number with the colored piece of chalk they picked (usually red, blue or yellow) and ask the other team their first question. If the students get the answer wrong (which usually doesnt happen, because I'll give them endless hints, you move to the next team. They can also chose the same question, or chose somethnig else.

6) The object of the game is to get as many circles on the board as possible. You can steal circles from the opposing team mate if you can "bookend" 1 or more of their circles in a straight line. So for example, if you get both squares adjacent to a single one of their squares, or a line of their squares, draw a line through the entire connection with the opposing team's colour, announcing that they have now been stolen or converted to the other team. Most often it isn't possible to convert these squares back, but it has happened before.

7) the Battle Questions take up the most time. The ones I used, as stated before were Name A Disney Movie and Name a Colour. you can be the judge of which anwsers are acceptable. These questions usually take up the most time and students will get very competitive. Other things would be, name a country or name a language or something. The team with the last word wins. You go back and forth in a rally.


This will almost definitely take an entire period. Hangman or other games I've played have been surpsingly short, but this one really does take the whole class. Especially the first time you play it, you'll probably spend about 10 minutes explaining it to your kids anyway. I don't have my list of questions on me today, but tomorrow I'll bring in my notebook and I can write down the entire list of 36 questions I used if you want.

cheers.

It was me, and thanks for explaining it more (I get it now!)
If you have spare time, please write the questions out. (def. don't have to if you don't want to)

Thanks again, I will def. use this one day!

Offline OxO

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2012, 03:47:33 PM »
The trouble with othello and quizzes and the like is that though it would certainly cover the fun part it wouldn't really cover the high level learning part. That's the problem really, I can think of fun stuff, I can think of dreary stuff that covers what the teachers would want the students to learn, but can't really reconcile the two.
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Offline Khaleesi

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2012, 03:50:32 PM »
why not use the questions for othello to review the boring parts of the lesson?
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Offline Josiah

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2012, 05:56:48 PM »
Originally when I came up with the game I had the intention of putting in questions related to class material but all my JTEs told me that if we did this as a lesson, we're basically just killing time and giving the kids a break and no new material should be introduced and nothing to difficult.

Keep in mind, what my kids are learning at the 3rd grade high school level is equivalent to 2nd year jr. high, so being incredibly easy for them is pretty much required. For your students, as Plum suggests, you should probably just use it as a review.

for example, since we've been doing comparative sentences in class for a while, I did put in some questions like "who is taller? Mr. Mochizuki or Mr. Watanabe?" "who is cooler? Morning Musume or AKB48?" "where is the lowest country on earth?" (focusing on the use of ER and EST). Also, if you set the questions up so that they will have to respond using full sentences you can coach them through it.

"What's the tallest mountain in Japan?"
"It's Fujisan"
"No, no, full setence please"
"Mr. Fuji is tallest mountain in all Japan"
"Yes, have a cookie"

etc, etc.

Offline K-Bear

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Re: Fun and educational activities for high level
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2012, 09:47:39 AM »
The trouble with othello and quizzes and the like is that though it would certainly cover the fun part it wouldn't really cover the high level learning part. That's the problem really, I can think of fun stuff, I can think of dreary stuff that covers what the teachers would want the students to learn, but can't really reconcile the two.

Why can`t there be a warm-up, then the HARD learning and instructing, followed by an activity/game to help re-enforce what the students have learned (wake them up)?
So warm-up with review from last class (hangman or what not), even a fun clap and snap followed by the morning greeting is what I sometimes do, even a stretch while they are standing (before they bow) to change things up a little bit and make the class start out differently. (I teach a high level SHS and even my bad classes like this, it’s a nice break from the constant monotony of structure and studying I think…and it’s just kinda stupid fun)
Then TRY (I know it’s hard) and be Genki while instructing some solid information, like –Er vs –EST, REVIEW, Mouth positions for pronunciation, or the structure for responding to emotions/ illnesses with proper advice and empathy. (Having the students follow along on a handout, and calling on some students to read examples, and do demonstrations with you, keeps the class slightly above snoozing.)
Then the activity. Even a short version of the Othello game (less squares) could work depending on the lesson. If you do emotions/illness the students would have to give advice.
Example: I feel sick, I have a sore throat.  Answer: That`s too bad, you should get some rest.
Example: I feel very depressed.  Answer: That`s too bad, do you want to talk about it?
But as the last lesson, I still see review as being the trick if you can’t have a party. Even a really BORING review that looks educational to your JTE, having you REVIEW concepts, and then give the students a short test on them. (A, An, The……-er, -est……advise for emotions/illness). Then a fun review game like Jeopardy or Othello at the end.
Even having students write down questions on scrap paper, then throwing them at each other (snowball fight style), and having to each pick up a `snowball` and answer the question on it. Can be educational/ review yet still stimulating.
IDK. Does any of this help you at all? I feel like nothing is really what you are looking for or what your JTE wants. :/ It’s just hard because all our schools expect something different from us. I completely plan my own lessons. My school has about 4-5 different English classes, so I tend to focus mine more on ORAL COMMUNICATION as they learn grammar in their other classes in a far easier manner (being explained in Japanese). My lessons are not a play time, but they are more focused on forced English interactions and movement, which might not seem very educational to your JTE which might think that quite reading, is the best way to learn English.
I just hope that some combination of all our attempts at helping you prove fruitful for your final lesson!