Here are few tips how to keep your students awake:
10. As you are teaching, you notice many blank stares, open-mouths, and droopy heads. (Either A. Your lesson has fallen into the rabbit hole, or B. You have lost them.) Quick, have them stand up and give you ten jumping jacks or push-ups.
9. Require students to give answers in their best British accent. (Ok, we have heard enough about the Royal Wedding, but the students love it!)
8. When responding to a writing prompt, have the students drop their pencils on the ground when they have completed the task. You won’t believe how MANY giggles and guilty looks you will get.
7. Have Chuck Norris randomly appear in one of your Power Points roundhouse kicking a wolf. For some reason, students are obsessed with him. See, it got your attention, didn’t it?
6. Play a sound clip of the Mission Impossible theme, have them act as 007 until the music stops. Then, whoever they end up next to, that is their partner for the activity, or that is the person that they share their Think-pair-share answer with.
5. Place random discussion or reading comprehension questions on sticky notes underneath a handful of desks. When you are ready to ask questions, ask them to peek and read-aloud the questions. This works really well for introverted or shy students. Plus, they LOVE secret note passing.
4. Gift of a lifetime. On a large piece of tag board, find a snappy, powerful verb and write it down. Wrap it like a present. Set it in the middle of the room, and ask the students if they know what it is all about. Tell them that it is a gift-of-a-lifetime, a powerful verb they can add to their vocabularies. Give them twenty questions to figure it out. (I cannot take credit for this activity. I learned it at a seminar for Interactive Writing Lessons to Teach With the Smart Board.)
3. Have each student call on the next student to answer your lesson questions. This motivates them to stay focused, and they enjoy calling on others! (Inspired by my student teacher)
2. At the beginning of class on Mondays, ask if anyone has any crazy stories to share from the weekend. Explain that these are important narratives that need to be told!
1. Paste Calvin and Hobbs comics on tests or quizzes. Even though they are ridiculous, students look forward to, and sometimes ask, for them.
If anyone has more ideas to capture the wondering, daydreaming, (hormonal) minds of middle school students, I would love to read about them.
About the Author
Michelle Doman is a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Brandon Middle School in Wisconsin's Rosendale-Brandon School District. She is currently studying at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to obtain a Master's in the Reading Specialist program. You can connect with Michelle by visiting her blog, Save the Drama for your...Middle School Teacher?!
The following is a guest post from Michelle Doman, a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher at Brandon Middle School in Wisconsin.
We all have been fresh, hurried teachers at some point in our professional life. There are some times when an exercise turns out to be shorter than we thought, or we discover that our students have suddenly become desperate for "one more" activity.
What ever the cause might be, even the most relaxed professional checks the clock in panic from time to time. Rather than panicking, we should treat the five to ten minutes left as an opportunity to give our students extra doses of motivation. Here is an opportunity to play, review and show the students why you love English.
Here are some few ideas, fun ideas how to deal with these time gaps :
1. Always keep a picture, comic strip, or drawing at hand. You can use them for multipla activities, as a discussion about the subject, or imprompt role play of the situation etc.
2. Play a short session of an oral game like "animals,vegetable " /yes-no questions/, mime the word, I spy game, Simon says...etc
3.Recycle a topic you used for revision. Write a list of verbs, nouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions or any topic covered in previous lesson and have students to formulate sentences.
4.Taking to consideration the class level, vocabulary and structures already taught during the course, write 10 headless sentences /.......is used to water plants/ or 10 tailess sentences / A vase is a used to......../ Have two or more teams complete the sentences in three or four minutes. Finaly ask the students to read out loud the sentences and correct.
5.Write a simple sentence like "Today is a beautiful day ". Your students will have to expand it, by adding one or two words together. If someone suggest a sentence is incorrect is out of the game.
These are just few ideas collected by my experience, you may heard of them through another source, but the real issue is to try them out.
Start a list of your own activities, keep it in hand and make it grow. Maybe you will discover gaps in time are worth creating after all.
Compositions that your students have written themselves can lead to conversation practice. You will not want to have students write them during the lesson, but you can make compositions focal points around which conversation is centered. Here are some useful techniques along these lines :
1. If students write compositions in their regular English course work, they can meet in small groups during conversation class to discuss what they want to write about, their plan of action etc.
2. Have the students bring their corrected compositions to the conversation class. Each student can read his material aloud to the class, with other students questioning him afterwards on points mentioned in his composition.
3. Read a student s corrected composition and have the class take notes. Then ask someone else to make an oral summary of the composition, talking from the notes.
Because the student often has difficulty in thinking of a subject to write about, here are some good topics you can use in your conversation class :
My brothers and sisters
How I spent my childhood
How I met my husband / wife
My wedding day
How I think children should be raised
What I want to give my children most
My best friend
A happy couple I know
What I like / dislike about people
A person I will never forget
The person I admire most
The proudest day of my life
The greatest mistake of my life
An interesting dream I had
A typical day of my life
The teacher I liked the most
The subject I like best/least in school
My first job
What would I do if I had a lot of money
What do I do in my spare time
My favourite sport
My favourite movie
My favourite book
What would I do if I had 3 wishes
Food I like/dislike
Traditional dishes in my country
Where can I see myself in future
The musical instrument I would like to play
The best party I have attended
Effective Techniques for English Conversation Groups by Julia M.Dobson
The more English you can use in the class with the pupils, the more progress they will make. Your pupils will mostly understand the meaning of what you say from the context, particulary if you repeat the same phrases several times. You can reinforce understanding by physically demostrating the meaning as you say a word, for example, by holding up your class book and pointing to the page number as you say : Open your books. Look at page / 4/. For a complete list of classroom phrases for use during lessons, see below.
All of the following flashcard games are excellent ways of reinforcing vocabulary in a stimulating way.
Furthemore all of them are ideal ways to start a lesson to revise lexical sets which you have already
presented. Any one of them would make a useful warmer routine in classes. Consider this section
as a bank of flexible Warmer resouces.
LITTLE BY LITTLE
Cover a Flashcard with a sheet of paper and hold it up in front of the class. Start to move the paper very slowly and ask the pupils "What is it?" Carry on slidding the paper further down the flashcard,stopping now and then to ask the students What is it? and to allow the class to offer their ideas.
Put a Flashcard to a large envelope and show the class the envelope. Ask the students to draw what they think is inside the envelope. When everyone has finished, open the envelope and slowly reveal the mystery flashcard to show the class.
FIND THE FLASHCARD
Ask five pupils to leave the classroom. Then ask the class to help you hide five flashcards somewhere in the classroom. Bring the five pupils back into the room and ask them to find the missing flashcards and what they are.
All Players except Two form a circle holdong hands with their arms outstreched. One player is chosen to be the mouse, and one the cat. The mouse begins on the inside of the circle and the cat on the outside.
The cat chases the mouse in and out and around the circle until the mouse is caught. The player who make the circle can help or hinder the cat by raising or lowering their arms
For this Game sit in a circle and one player is chosen to begin. Player 1 says to Player 2 "This is my Nose", but points to his or her knee. Player 2 says to Player 3 "This is my Knee" while pointing to his or her nose. The two statements are passed round the circle until someone makes a mistake by pointing to the right part of his or her body. Anyone who makes a mistake is out.
If the group is small or has even number of players, reverse the statement at the beginning of the second round or add a third statement - for example : "This is my Knee " while pointing to the shoulder. Then " This is my Shoulder" while pointing to the nose...