Inside my classroom: Hello, Goodbye – a Beatles song lesson

This super catchy song is perfect for beginner ESL classes; it’s simple, fun and I warn you now it will get stuck in your head – apologies in advance…

Play the song to the class and go over the key vocabulary on the board;

  • hello, goodbye, high, low, yes, no, stop, go, I don’t know…

Then use this fill in the blanks lyrics worksheet and go through the song again a few times until the students are happy with their work.  You can keep the key words on the board to help them.

Finally go over the answers and have a good old sing song!  Students particularly like the video and often ask for it to be played as a reward at the end of a lesson – a sure sign of success for this activity.

You can also use this song to introduce simple rhymes and opposites, or just as a bit of fun.  Enjoy!

Teacher Tuesday: ReBeats NEW online learning resource

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ReBeats is an online game that aims to improve English language learning through listening to music.  Using a simple fill in the gaps format, users watch a music video and select the correct word from two options to complete the lyrics of the song.

Scores are awarded for choosing correctly, speed and streaks of correct answers.  Users can then enter a leader board or send a challenge to a friend’s email address.

At the moment the website is still in its early stages of development and they are asking for feedback.  I decided to give the website a test run, looking at its potential as a fun resource to be used in the classroom with students.

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Screenshot from ReBeats.tv

The website is very simple with minimal instructions but it all becomes self explanatory very quickly.  You have the choice of using the mouse of the left/right buttons on the keyboard to choose the correct word.  The latter is a lot quicker.  I would like to try it out on an interactive whiteboard, with students taking it in turn to be in control of the ‘magic’ pen (watch this space).  Students left to watch can shout out suggestions or sing along, karaoke style.  I would be singing regardless.

One missing feature that I immediately picked up on is that you are unable to select the song.  They are currently randomly generated, meaning that you don’t know if Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball video might pop up next to your class of 9 year old girls, or if the vocabulary in the next song might be too easy/hard for the group.  A representative from ReBeats has assured me that this is all due to the site still being in development and hinted at song choice and making your own playlists as developments in the near future.  An even bigger improvement could be to rank songs from easy through to hard, based on the language used.

The word choices offered give a good range of easily confused words, homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings/spellings), context specific choices and basic grammar rules.  Sometimes either word could be correct, requiring students to use their listening skills.  There is only one word missing for every few lines of the song and if a song is particularly high tempo or the class are struggling to choose the correct word there is the option to pause the video and go through the sentence with the students.

At the end of each game, points, accuracy percentage and reaction times are displayed, with the option to add this to a leader board or challenge a friend via email.  My students love competition so the fact that there are points and rankings is very important when trying to keep them engaged.

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End of game points review.

Also, once a song is completed you have the option to review all of the lyrics with the correct answers revealed.  This could be a great time to discuss why certain words wouldn’t work in certain sentences and to review any incorrect answers made.

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You can review incorrect answers at the end of each game.

During the time that I played, I had songs from artists ranging from Kings of Leon, Queen and Avril Lavigne to Olly Murs, Adele and Lana Del Rey.  Most of the songs are current and ‘cool’ enough to keep my students happy.

Overall I think it’s a good resource to use in the classroom as a bit of fun at the end of the lesson.  Personally I don’t think this is a tool for serious language learning, although the team at ReBeats are promoting it as a potential resource for making real improvements in English language learning.  The site has a slick, app-like appearance and is  ad free.  As it’s currently in the beta stages of development, expect further feature and game play developments to appear in the not too distant future.  I will definitely be checking back to see what improvements are made as they receive feedback.

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All reviews on this blog are my personal and honest review.  ReBeats is a product from Tonguesten, an education technology start-up based in London and currently incubated by Wayra UK and UnLtd.  I did not receive any payment, monetary or otherwise, to write this review.  If you have a product you would like me to review please get in touch – info@cornishkylie.com .

Teacher Tuesday: Following instructions FUN activity

One thing that I have stumbled across time and time again is that people rarely read instructions properly. (Note I said ‘people’ – this certainly isn’t limited to students…). With multiple tests throughout the year it is important for students to learn this skill and how important it is and this activity is perfect for doing just that.

I first came across something similar to this on a training course. It’s a bit of a trick but mostly a way of highlighting how so few of us actually read instructions fully and completely. Let me tell you, out of a group of twenty adults, we all fell for it.

There are many versions of this activity on the internet but this is one that I put together with language that I knew my students would understand.

The key with this activity is to not say too much. Hand out the worksheet (I have included a link to the PDF file at the bottom of the page) and simply say that students have to follow the instructions written on the paper, then sit back and see if any of them actually do that.

Read on to see the instructions that students have to follow:

Please read all of the instructions before doing anything, you are allowed 10 minutes to complete this task.  There is a prize for the student that fully completes this task.

  1. Find a pen and paper.
  2. Write your name at the top of the paper.
  3. Write the numbers 1 to 5 in a line with 1 at the top and 5 at the bottom.
  4. Draw five small circles next to number 1.
  5. Put an “X” in the 2nd and 4th circles next to number 1.
  6. Write the word ‘encyclopedia’ next to number 3.
  7. On the back of the paper multiply 7 x 9.
  8. Put an X at the bottom of the paper.
  9. Draw a circle around the X.
  10. Underline your name.
  11. Say your name out loud.
  12. Draw a circle around number 4.
  13. Count the number of words in this sentence and write the answer next to number 2 on your paper.
  14. Put a square around number 1 and number 5.
  15. Draw 3 small flowers anywhere on the paper.
  16. Write your first name next to number 4.
  17. Write today’s date next to number 5 on your paper.
  18. Circle every letter ‘e’ you have written.
  19. Stand up and say ‘I HAVE FINISHED’ out loud, then sit down.
  20. Now that you read all of the instructions, only do number one and two! If you have followed the instructions correctly, you should only have your name on the paper!

Did you figure out what the trick is? The instructions clearly state that participants are to read all instructions before doing anything. If the students actually do that then they will of course read the final instruction that states that they only need to do the first and second instructions and nothing more. In reality what happens is that most, if not all, will do each and every instruction as they read it. It’s funny to watch as they all work their way through the different instructions and even funnier when it gets to the end and you have the pleasure of telling them what they should have done!

If you have any switched on students who appear to have not been fooled, try your best to make sure they don’t give it away to the rest of the class – no one likes a smarty pants.

Click here to download a PDF of this activity.

Why not have a go at this in your classroom?  You don’t have to be studying instructions specifically, this works as a fun warm up regardless.

This is part of a weekly feature – Teacher Tuesday – make sure you come back next week for another lesson idea.  If you have an idea to share as part of Teacher Tuesday feel free to get in touch.  

 

 

Teacher Tuesday: Pack your bags camp warmer

It is part and parcel of the TEFL experience to take part in a school camp.   Sometimes over a weekend, usually involving some sort of overnight aspect and almost always never actually involving any actual camping, the school camp is a great opportunity to get to know your students outside of the classroom and have some fun.

The school camp will often involve bringing together different groups of students who wouldn’t normally study or socialise together.  We’ve all been in those situations where we are thrust into unnatural groups and forced to take part in activities and the beginning stages of shyness and awkwardness are magnified when those being thrown together are Thai teenagers.

Cue a not-too-challenging, on topic ice breaker!

I made this activity to open a school camp for Matthayom 1 students who I knew already had the basic vocabulary knowledge needed to complete the activity.

Students are required to match pictures and words of a range of items and then sort the items into ‘pack’ and ‘not pack’ .  The activity can be introduced by saying that we are all getting ready to go on a school camp but firstly we need to pack our bags.

Students can work in small groups or against the clock, with the teacher reviewing the answers at the end and awarding a winner.

-DOWNLOAD-

Click here to download the picture and word cards.  Simply print and laminate if you can – now you have your very own go-to camp warm up activity!

It’s just something nice and simple to get students talking and thinking.  You could also use this activity in the classroom if you were studying topics such as going on vacationclothing or as a general activity for more advanced students.

This is part of a new weekly feature – Teacher Tuesday – make sure you come back next week for another lesson idea.  If you have an idea to share as part of Teacher Tuesday feel free to get in touch