Showing posts with label classroomactivity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label classroomactivity. Show all posts

Monday, November 17, 2014

Google Docs and Interaction

I have used google docs as a means of collaborative document for quite a while, but never thought of using it with my students.
After a meeting with Carla Arena, she inspired me to think about something I could do with my group. Something simple, yet challenging.

I decided to invite Teacher Henry on this journey with me. We have a Teens 5 group at the same time. My students are struggling with question forming using the simple past tense. So, here's what we did:

1. We created a document with some instructions for students. In class we gave them a bit.do shortened url as homework (each class had a different url).
2. They were supposed to make a question (using the simple past tense) to another student in another class. So, my students would be making questions to Henry's students and vice-versa.
3. On the following class, we opened the document in class and reviewed all questions. We corrected the ones that had mistakes and talked about how to make questions using their own examples. 

After the questions were all made, we gave them the other class's url, so that they could answer each other's questions. This was also done as homework. One of the challenges we faced after doing the activity was that some of the students weren't able to edit the document and add their contribution. So, we found out that goggle docs can only be edited through a mobile device (cell phones / tablets) if the person is logged on, otherwise he/she can only see it, not edit. However, if the student access the document on a computer, it requires no login. 

As a follow-up, many ideas came to our mind. Some of them are:
- print questions and answers and have students match them.
- have only the answers on a slideshow and then students have to come up with a correct question.
- pair-work where students would use the questions and answers as a conversation.

We decided to gather students in the school gallery. We printed the questions and randomly handed on question to each student. Then, we asked them to ask the question they had in hands to at least five students from the other class. It was fun and very meaningful! They had a very good time! 





As a whole, students got engaged and we felt this practice added value to their learning. It was a meaningful task and involved students in their own learning process, linking the subject with students' own realities. We were able to spot which aspects we still needed to work further on, creating an opportunity for students not only to gain knowledge, but also to be able to apply and use what they have learned in a different yet valuable way. Since students were exposed to the content in a surprising way, the language was possibly more vividly experienced and, therefore, better remembered. 


Here are the pages students worked on:

Click here to watch a nice video about Google Docs. 


 

     Lilian Marchesoni                           Henry Silva

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Simple Prep iPad Activity - Creating Movie Trailers

Slide shows are definitely are good way to tell a story using pictures or videos. The web is populated by a vast amount of slide show services. As an educator, I am a subscriber to many of those services and have frequently used them whenever I want to display pictures in an animated fashion followed by music. However, many of the services available on the net require an internet connection and that might make it a bit challenging for creating such artifacts in class if you do not have a connection or the one you  have is too slow. 
One of the solutions to this problem is to use iMovie to create movie trailers. Such trailers look like slide shows and are quite easy to create. All you need to do is to open the iMovie app, click on the + sign and choose the trailer option. As I said previously, you can do it without internet connection, save and later export to YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, etc. It is very intuitive and your students can do it themselves. Another thing our teenage students can also do is to create movie trailers for the graded readers they read in class every semester.
Here is a short tutorial





Here is a movie trailer I created with our English Access students. Before creating it, I showed to them the theme we would work on. I divided the picture frames in terms of their experience as students so far asking what they had done, what they liked best. They wrote down their ideas and I gave them my iPad and my iPhone and told them to take shots. This is the final result.





Monday, May 26, 2014

Simple Prep iPad Activity - Power up Motivation in the EFL Classroom

 


    Have you ever been surprised by how creative our students can be? This post is about a task I asked my Teen 3 students to do that required no prep and surprised me a lot because they came out with outcomes that were way more creative than what I had imagined.

    I was teaching vocabulary to describe feelings, and I gave groups slips with some vocabulary related to the lesson. I asked students to take pictures to illustrate the words with the iPads. .
Students then had to make a short video using Educreations asking the group to guess what feelings their photos related to. We had a lot of fun, and they wanted to play the game over and over, which I did not mind at all because they got lots of personalized input.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Simple Prep iPad Activity: TELLAGAMI - Giving Life to Students´ Avatar and their Language Production


Tellagami is one of those multi-purpose free apps that will give an extra boost to your classroom activity, with lots of student production in English.

Here´s an overview of the app:



In the classroom, use Tellagami to:

  • let the avatar tell a story about a specific place (you can change the background there)
  • review a concept. Students have to summarize what they´ve just learned
  • do a follow-up activity in which students tell their own views on the topic
  • drill basic structures in a young learners´ class ( I like; I don´t like; I have; I don´t have)
  • practice physical descriptions when students are creating their avatar; then, they record about their best friend´s physical appearance
  • work on clothing by changing the avatar´s outfits; the avatar can record why he chose that specific outfit
Students can record their own voices, or even use the text to speech feature (they write the text and choose the accent of their avatar. Warning: this feature only works when there´s Internet connection).

GOING THE EXTRA MILE: there´s an editing feature on YOUTUBE that you can put your students´ Tellagami videos altogether in one single Youtube video. Here´s an example from a training session we had about high performance class. First, we used this poster as a discussion springboard.


Then, the groups created their avatars and recorded their main ideas about highly performaning classes. Finally, I edited them, using Youtube editor, after having uploaded all the gamis.




Ready to begin? We´d love t know what you´ve been doing in class with Tellagami. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Starting Afresh with Ipads in the Classroom

Yesterday I taught my very first class to a lovely group of upper-intermediate teenage students in one of our many outposts. I'd made up my mind to try something different and fresh this semester so I went for an ice-breaker activity using Ipads in the classroom. Here's how it went.
My PicCollage
We used an app called PicCollage, which allows you to create posters with photos, stickers, and text, among other cool features. I had previously used it to prepare a poster of my own, so I began the lesson showing it to students so that they'd get to know me a little better. I then asked students to pair up and, inspired by the imagery, come up with some questions they'd like to ask me about the poster and about my life.
After about five minutes, students began asking me questions, which were, at first, mostly prompted by my poster, but once they began feeling more at ease with each other (and with the teacher), they began asking me other questions, such as "what does your tattoo mean, teacher?" (They never fail to ask me that one, I tell you.)
Sharing time!

Now it was time for the fun part. Each student got an Ipad to make a poster of their own - a small snapshot of who they were, so that later they would share it with everyone else in the group. I could literally see their faces light up the minute I unzipped the two suitcases and began handing out the Ipads. That in itself already gave me such a heartwarming feeling. They were truly engaged! So off they went, and began to work on their posters. I set a time limit of 10 minutes and made myself available throughout, walking around and monitoring. Some took a little longer to get started, as they were figuring out how they'd add their photos to the app and some ideas began to came up. Pairs were helping each other and English was being used for an authentic purpose (how delightful!) right off the bat, on the very first activity of the very first day of class.
A couple of students used
their own devices.
Once they were finished, it was time for them to share. I asked them to stand up and walk around the room, showing each other their posters, asking each other questions. I did, however, give them one very specific piece of instructions: they had to first talk to people they didn't know so well or had never met before. I also gave them a clear goal: in the end, they'd be asked to share something interesting, funny, or surprising about someone they had talked to during that stage of the acitivity. This stage lasted for about 10 more minutes. There were 12 students in the group so they could talk with absolutely everyone. We rounded up by sharing interesting things we'd found out about each other. 
The entire activity lasted for about a half hour and it was worth every minute. Students were using the language authentically at all times, they were curious and engaged, and were fully energized for the rest of the afternoon. They got to know me a little better, they got to know each other a little better, and I have a feeling they actually enjoyed themselves in their very first English lesson of the semester. Talk about good first impressions, huh?
Students showing off their posters!

How about you? Would you be willing to try something like this? I certainly hope so!
Clarissa Bezerra




Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Song Activities for the EFL Classroom


Music is undeniably a great and effective tool for language learning. We can use songs to encourage language awareness in many different levels, from semantic aspects to grammar structures. It can also lighten up our classes and motivate our students to practice English in fun ways.

Our CTJ teachers Jorge Alexandre and Cleide Frazão presented a while ago in one of our seminars about different ways to use songs in the classroom. The presentation became a project and now teachers can retrieve ready-to-use musical resources in their classes with just one click!

Check the wonderful activities and artifacts that Cleide is constantly creating and sharing with our Educational Community.

http://songactivities.blogspot.com.br/

http://songactivities.blogspot.com.br/2013/10/subject-x-object-pronouns.html

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Appitivity - Young Learners and Educreations


http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7008/6660141777_f3c5978a8e.jpg
The young learners we have in our classrooms nowadays are digital natives. It means that they were born during or after the general introduction of digital technology.  They are familiar with computers, mobile devices and internet from an early age.  I have been using the Ipads in my Kids group and they simply love it!
For the first activity I used Educreations. We were practicing vocabulary related to the beach, but the teacher can adapt and use this activity for any kind of vocabulary practice. 

Here is the activity:
  -  Take the Ipads beforehand and open the app (Educreations).
·         - Make it ready-to-use (click on “new project” and you’ll see a blank page).
·         - Make sure Educreations is logged in (branch’s account). So, it’s easier to access the students’ projects later and share or embed it on the web.
·         - After doing the activities you have prepared for the Circle Time (songs and chants) use the Ipads to review content. In this case: vocabulary.
·         - The children are already on the floor.
·         - Divide them into pairs and explain they are going to work together, taking turns.
·         - Open your Ipad (before giving the kids their devices) and show them how they have to proceed.
·         - Tell them you’re going to speak up a word and they´ll have to draw it. (model)
·         - After drawing they have to touch the REC button and say the sentence using the word. (model)
·         - They have to pause touching the REC button again. (model)
·         - On the bottom of the page, right side, they touch the arrow that goes to the next blank page. (model)
·         - Everybody waits for the second word.
·         - Use the same procedure for the rest of the words.
·         - After the last slide you have to save their projects. (Ask your aid for help)
·         - Save the project with the students’ names and the class. (e.g.: Maria and Julia – K02)
·         - Save it public.

EXAMPLE:
·         - Teacher: “It’s a bucket.”
·         - Students: draw the bucket.
·         - Students record their voices saying: “It’s a bucket.”
·         - They pause.
·         - They go to the next slide.

Educreations puts the slides all together and makes a short video. They really enjoy watching their project and their classmates’ projects. Below you can see one example:




After class, the teacher can access the branch’s account and click on ‘Welcome, CTJ’. You’ll see all the projects saved. Click on the project you want to use and you’ll be able to share or embed it.

I have created a digital portfolio using the free pbworks WIKI - http://kidsteacherika.pbworks.com. On the WIKI, I created a page for each student and embedded their projects there. In the end of the month, I sent the link to the parents. Another idea (from Carla Arena) is to create a page for each project and send the link through “Registro Escolar” to all parents at once. This is a screenshot from one of my student’s page:





Sunday, May 12, 2013

IATEFL 2013 - Pronunciation for Listening



One of the talks I attended at IATEFL was Pronunciation for Listeners – Making sense of connected speech, by Mark Hancock. I already knew Mark from his blog and his published materials, so I made it a point to attend his talk. It was certainly worth it!




The best part was to know that I wouldn’t have to copy anything or take pictures of the slides. I already knew that Mark is all about sharing his materials and his talks and was certain that, later on, I would find everything online.

Sure enough, in his ELT page with Annie McDonald, Mark has posted the handout and the recording of his talk.  Thus, rather than reading my summary of his presentation, you can experience it first hand.

Mark’s talk was useful in demonstrating to the audience that pronunciation is also a listening skill and that it isn’t always easy for students to know where one word ends and the next begins when they listen. Thus, we need to train our students to listen, and to do so, we need to develop in them an awareness of the supra-segmental features that come to play in natural speech, such as elision, assimilation, and the like. To this end, Mark suggests a series of what he calls micro-listening activities that are really fun.

Among my favorite ones presented at IATEFL was the –ed = t maze. Students have to work their way through the maze by going from one –ed = t combination to the next. The interesting thing about it is that he presents the verb and an object that starts with a vowel so that they can practice the elision that is so common in verb + object combinations such as “booked a room”.






Check out the recording of his talk and his handout. He also has an article and an interview on this topic. Make sure you also explore his website full of rich resources for effective pronunciation teaching.



Monday, February 04, 2013

Icebreakers - Ideas for the New School Year

We asked our teachers about their favorite icebreakers for the first class. Everybody agreed that icebreakers are an essential element to bond, to establish an inviting learning environment, to start connecting and getting to know our students. Here´s what CTJ teachers revealed: 

 I really believe in the importance of bonding with the students, so I prefer ice-breakers that involve the exchange of personal information. Two "oldies" that my students always enjoy are: 
The best lie: Write four sentences on the board about you. It can be general information or specific, such as what you did on your last vacation. Among the four sentences, one has to be wrong. Lie as best as you can! Students have to talk in pairs and identify the wrong sentence. Then it's their turn: they write their own sentences, one of them being wrong, and their classmate has to spot the lie. Finally, debrief the activity, asking students who the best liar in each pair was and perhaps to tell you and the group something they learned about their peer.
Numbers in my life: Write a set of numbers on the board: your apartment number, your shoe size, the age you had your first date, the age you lost your first tooth... Be creative! The less obvious the better! Students then have to try to guess what the numbers mean by asking questions (Making this also a nice opportunity to do some needs assessment!) . Then students do the same in pairs. Again, debriefing is always beneficial, for it shows your interest in the students' personal information and students get to know a little about their other classmates, too.



Lately, I have been using wordle a lot on the first day. 
I show students many key words and ask them to make guesses about how they relate to my life . Depending on the level, I ask students to ask me questions to confirm their guesses. I have them do a word cloud like mine on sheets of paper and interact in pairs. I save their work and use what they wrote to understand who they are, and what they like. I use these sheets as name cards throughout the semester.

I found an interesting pdf with some suggestions that might be worth a try.
http://www.cylc.org/jrnylc/curriculum/pdf/classroomActivities_Facilitation.pdf

I also came across a blog post by one of the teachers in the Electronic Village Online session Neuroscience in Education - http://sasasirk.blogspot.com.br/2013/01/i-feel-you.html

The link takes you to Dan Pink's tip to discovering and nurturing our inner motivation. A simple answer to 2 questions: What's my sentence? (the thing I want to be known for) and...Was I better today than yesterday?http://seltechnology.weebly.com/whats-your-sentence.html


Simple, sweet and fun.

I like the one we pass sweets around (jelly beans, M & M's) and tell students to help themselves and take some but not eat them yet. Then we tell students that for each piece of candy they have, they are supposed to give a piece of information about them (like favorite color, movie...).


This icebreaker can be adapted to different levels and can be used even if the students know each other (you ask for pieces of information the colleagues don't know yet).

This one is listed on Dani's pdf above, among many nice others!


During the new teachers' workshop, one of my colleagues did something that I found really intersting: we drew our hands on a piece of paper and wrote five informations about ourselves inside the drawing. Then, the papers were mixed on the floor, and we had to get a hand that wasn't ours and find the owner, by asking him about the informations written. It was really dynamic and it doesn't put the student in the spotlight, which makes them more comfortable to speak.
Victória

I like to play true or false using slides on the first day of class. 
Each slide has a sentence such as "The teacher is an excellent cook". 
They have to discuss in pairs and come up with a conclusion. Then, when I change the slide, there is a picture of me cooking at home or something like that. The slides begin with simple information (age, favorite soccer team, how long I have been teaching) and get tricky towards the end (what's my opinion about something). This gets them to know a bit about me and usually generates nice conversation topics about movies, books, videogames, music and so on. As soon as we finish this part of the game, we swap roles. I give them some slips and they have to write - and present! - five true/false sentences about themselves. Of course, if you have larger groups, you can cut back on the number of slides/sentences.

I believe students feel safer and bond better with their teacher when they get to know who we are and a little about our lives, so I usually show a slide with words and numbers that relate to my life and have them guess in groups how they are related to me. Next, I show them a slide only with one of the words or numbers and have them tell the class how they think it is related to my life, ex: "Colombia", then I show a picture related to the word or number, talk a little about it ex:" I was born in Colombia" and tell them to ask me about that topic specifically. Students usually love it and end up asking lots of personal questions, sometimes I ask them questions as well. Be careful though not to overdo it or they may get bothered, choose 6 pieces of information that you would like to share. When they have finished talking about you, ask them to share 6 things about themselves with their groups, then open to the whole class. This activity is not only good to bond with them, but also to get an idea of their speaking skills.

One of my favorite ice breakers is this one: I hand each student a piece of paper the size of a badge. On the board, I draw a square and in the center, I write my name. On each corner of the square, I write: "my favorite song/band", "my favorite food", "something nice that happened to me last year" and my favorite movie". Students should write their answers to these topics on the corners of their piece of paper and their names in the center. Next, they stick it to themselves (like a badge) and stand up. I play some music and when it stops they start talking to the nearest person about the information in the cards. It's very dynamic and fun. Finally, they sit down and share something interesting or surprising they found out about their peers. Of course the topics can be adapted.

Could you suggest other interesting ones?

Here are two that I do every semester:
1) Tell students they can ask you anything they want about you. As they ask you the questions, don’t answer them at this point, but write the questions on the board. When you have a good number of questions, tell students that first they have to answer those questions about themselves in pairs. While students work in pairs, write your answers to the questions on the board, but making some of them true and some of them false. When they are done, ask students to report one thing they learned about their partner. Finally, tell students your answers are on the board, but that they have to guess which ones are true and which ones are false.


2) I divide the board into two big columns: YES | NO and I divide the classroom floor into two sides as well with scotch tape. Then I say a few sentences and, for each one, ss have to walk to the "yes" or "no" side of the classroom. For example, if I say "I practice a sport regularly", ss who do that have to move to the "yes" side, and ss who don't do that have to move to the "no" side. Then they have to ask a follow-up question to someone standing next to them. I usually say sentences like "I love to study English", "I was born in Brasilia", "I can play a musical instrument", "I traveled on my last vacation", etc. At the end, each st has to tell the whole class something they learned about a classmate and I take this opportunity to ask more follow-up questions.



I cannot say I have a favorite one, I usually have a few I like to use depending on the level I am teaching, but one that never fails is the word cloud icebreaker, where I write some words on the board. Some are true and some are false information about me and have the students discuss in pairs or groups to find out which are true and which are false.





A great icebreaker that I love to do and helps me remember everybody's name is throw the ball and say your name. It only goes in a crescendo of difficulty. Remember, the teacher always starts.
1. Ss stand in circle and throw the ball to anyone in the circle and say their own names. Until everybody in the circle has said his.
2. They throw the ball and say the name of one person whose name they have just learned. They have to memorize who they have thrown it to because they will do it several time around and throw the ball to the same person.
3. As they are throwing the ball around, you introduce a second and a third ball, it becomes a little hectic, they need to shout people's names because they have to be heard over the other two names, which are being shouted out as well. We all have a great laugh, and then you can check how many names they can remember (the ice has been broken).



I´ve used many of those activities my friends above mentioned. No matter the activity is, it will all depend how open and willing to connect you are. Our students, just like us, have mixed feelings when they come to the first class, a blend of anticipation, excitement and anxiety. So, if you show you care for them, you are ready to be there with them, it is a crucial first connection with your learners. You are connecting emotionally to them, and this is tremendously beneficial to their learning process. 

Well, I´m always willing to give a try to a new icebreaker, a new beginning, so I just came across this wonderful Going to the Moon first-day activity that seems perfect for the group I´m going to teach:
http://expateducator.com/2013/01/28/a-new-school-year-in-the-southern-hemisphere/ . In the same post, there are other interesting ideas to start the school year. 

Throughout the years, CTJ´s Ed Tech Team has been compiling a comprehensive directory of Icebreakers that might suit you and your students. Check them out at:
http://pinterest.com/ctjonline/icebreakers/
http://www.scoop.it/t/warmers-fillers-icebreakers-for-efl-classrooms (Visual collection of ideas for EFL teachers)


Any other suggestions that we might have missed?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rethinking Test Reviews - A Digital Twist


Final tests are just around the corner. It is that time of the year that teachers, before starting thinking about their well-deserved vacation, have to focus on how to better review the content for the tests. Though we always feel compelled to try something new and exciting, we are in a period of intense tiredness, so we always go for the simple and easy. And, we, the CTJ Ed Tech Team, feel it is the best approach. However, we´d like to invite you to re-frame your review classes, to think of how you can actively engage students in reinforcing what they´ve been learning, but, mainly, how you can have an exciting grand finale for your students, a memorable time together of practice and interaction. 

Our general approach to reviewing is generally asking our students to do the review handout at home and correct it in class. Or just do the written activity in class. Here´s how you could re-purpose your review class, making students active producers of their own review for the test:

- Use your students´ cellphones:

  • Take advantage of notetaking apps. Ask your students to open their notetaking apps and give them an instruction card with what they should add to their note page. Invite them to flip through the lessons and add vocabulary notes, grammar points, writing their own examples to help them remember what they´ve been studying. 
  • Ask them to take photos with their cellphones of objects and situations and write sentences to highlight vocabulary or grammar. They can use an app to add the image and the sentences (and trust us, if they have a smartphone, they know how to do it!), or they can use the photos and write their sentences in their notebooks. 
  • If you have adult students with Smartphones, ask them to download the app Evernote (http://evernote.com ) before class. With Evernote, the students can open a page, add images, sentences and voice to make their own review. Then they can share a link to their final review page with peers. 
  • Students can go through the book and create a short quiz in their cellphone for their peers to answer.
- If you have a set of iPads available:
  • You can use the same ideas above we shared for the cellphones
  • Use simple book creators apps for students to create their own reviews. After students create it, they can share their review pages with peers and teacher by sending the ebook via email, dropobox, Evenote, as a PDF file.  Here´s an example with the app Book Creator (The Ed Tech Team like it because it is super simple to use it!)

  • In apps like Notability and Penultimate, students can make personalized review pages, recording their voices, adding photos and text to their pages. 
  • Students can also open the Pages app to create a page with the main review points
  • The Keynote app lets the students produce well-designed reviews that can be shared with peers. One idea is for teachers to give different tasks for different groups of students (some groups are responsible for the vocabulary review, others for the grammar). Once their review is ready, they can plug the iPad to to the projector and present to the whole group. 
  • Students can also create a listening quiz for peers. Then, they can exchange iPads, or the teacher can plug the ipad in the classroom loudspeakers and have students answer the audio quiz. (this activity can also be adapted for smartphones) 
  • For the younger ones, they can use very simple tools, like Skitch, to write sentences or practice vocabulary. 
- If you have an iPad and a projector in your classroom:
  • ask your students to prepare a quiz on a blank sheet of paper, then take a photo of the quiz and project on the board for their classmates to answer the quiz. 
  • Take photos around the class to practice certain vocabulary items/expressions/grammar points and do a photo dictation by projecting the images on the board. 

- If you have a computer and a projector in your classroom:
  • Here is a nice way to review vocabulary with intermediate and advanced groups using the laptop and the projector in the classroom. It requires no preparation, all you have to do is open a Word document to type in the vocabulary words that need to be reviewed
>> Divide class into 2 teams. Explain that the teams are going to play against each other.One member of the team (at a time) should sit at the front of the classroom with the back facing the board. This way, that student will not see what is going to appear on the projection on the board. The teacher then should type in a vocabulary word. The only student who doesn`t see it is the one sitting at the front. The group , then, should explain the vocabulary so that the student sitting on the chair can guess it. Explain that the group has 3 chances to give an explanation (in other words, up to 3 different students in the group can raise their hands and explain the vocabulary using their own words). The group gets the point if the vocabulary word is guessed correctly.  
Tip: the students can be given the power to choose the vocabulary words used in the game if you assign each team a unit in the book. This way they can pick the words they want to test the opponent team. If you decide to play the game this way, then have them choose the words beforehand.

Remember that the most important aspect of spicing up your review class with digital tools is to make your students active participants in the review activity, in which they are producers of content. By doing that, you are helping them to personalize learning, organize their strategies for learning, and truly understand how they can become autonomous, self-directed learners. 

Remember, however, to keep track of time for students' tasks so that all the main points are reviewed. Also, the paper review is always an important focused practice. Thus,  assign it previously as homework, and be sure to check the main points with students or  let them check their answers with the answer key. Students need a tangible learning object for extra practice to feel safer and more confident when taking the test. So make sure they have either a handout or a digital page, or even better, both!

You might also want to check what teacher Dani Lyra has done with her students to review for the test:

http://tryingoutweb24ed.blogspot.com.br/2012/11/interactive-reviews-2-phrasal-verbs.html
http://tryingoutweb24ed.blogspot.com.br/2012/11/when-assessment-meets-mlearning-phrasal.html


Any other tips or ideas that you´ve tried in your English classroom?

The Ed Tech Team



Vini Lemos, Sílvia Caldas, Carla Arena and Fábio Ferreira

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

QR Codes Treasure Hunt for Beginners

Learn more about QR Codes

I have a group of teens 1 at CTJ South Lake Branch with few students. For this very reason, I'm always looking for extra activities which can keep them motivated. I heard about QR codes last year. I was teaching at Maristao (a high school in Brasilia) with Dani Lyra, and she mentioned how she had used it in one of her classes and how engaged students were trying to find out what the codes were about. Since that time, I wanted to develop an activity in which students depended on the codes to solve a problem. That's how I came up with the idea of the treasure hunt.




LEVEL: Teens 1
When: After all unit 1
Objective: Ask personal questions (third person)
People involved: teacher, students and staff

Preparation:

  1. If you are going to use students´ device, one class before the activity, ask them to download a QR reader app (there are free QR readers available for iOS and Android).
  2. Think of the person you want to be your "secret" one. Look for information about this person. In our case, it was Romero Britto. 
  3. I did the activity in the second part of my class, so in the first part, I had the the opportunity to revise all the questions they were supposed to ask. This was of undue importance because I asked all people involved not to answer students questions if they were incorrect.
  4. Create the codes which contain the instructions. I created mine on a site Carla Arena suggested -  qrstuff.comGive the Qr Codes to the other people involved with the questions students should ask and  the answer they should give. In  my case, I wanted students to practice the questions orally, so the codes just led them to where they should go.
  5. Students were to find out who the secret famous person was. So, they had to go to the places I indicated in the secret messages (QR codes) and follow all the instructions given. For example: The first code was in the classroom. They had to scan it, using their mobile devices,  and it said, "Go to 'Secretaria'. Look for Juliana. Ask her if it is a man or a woman.After asking the question correctly, students would not only receive the answer but also another code which guided them to the next person. For example, after asking Juliana, they received the second code, that was:Go to the library. Look for Dalva. Ask her how old he is.
    The process was the same until the last code, which was in class again. In this code, I led them to a google page where they saw Romero Britto's paintings.

Follow-up:  I asked them to create a page in Skitch (a mobile app), including Romero Britto's picture. They were supposed to make sentences with all the information collected.

Conclusion: I loved the result! Thinking of all the steps and procedures was hard, but my job during the activity was just monitoring them and check if they were speaking English all the time. I love when I can integrate other skills in my classes. It wasn't just another language practice activity. They had to download apps, learn how to use them, include photos and text... They were autonomous. I was there just to help. That's it! They were responsible for finding the clues, the answers, writing the text. They were responsible for their own learning process, and it was magic!



Our contributor for this post


The Ed Tech Team RESOURCES:
Here´s a QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator you might want to try: http://www.classtools.net/QR/
40 ways of using QR Codes in the classroom 


Friday, September 30, 2011

No homework today!!!



It is not that difficult to play the role of a nice teacher. Everybody knows that the word “homework” does not go with “thank you very much.” Students, however, think that homework is directly related to workbooks and that anything apart from that can cause them no harm. Here follows something that happened to me last week. My students, who had been talking about rules for two weeks, asked for “no homework.” They were really surprised and happy when I gave them a positive answer. There was just a little condition: they had to go to http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/teens6 and post one of the rules they had at home and make a comment about it. Take a look at the result. Isn’t it homework? They don’t think so! =D
By Fábio Ferreira