Thursday, 19 December 2013

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Simple or continuous?

This post is written especially for my 6th-graders. We've recently discussed the difference between Present Simple and Present Continuous, but they still need some help. How to decide which tense should you use in a particular case? Try this simplified "decision tree" (in Polish and English):



Sunday, 8 December 2013

How often do you...?

There are many expressions to describe the frequency of doing different activities. Let's take a look at 5 basic adverbs of frequency that most students learn on the elementary level.


It is easier to remember them if they are visualized. You can use coloured paper to make such visuals. Then you can use them with picture/word cards to create picture puzzles and sentence building activities.
Here's an example of 5 picture puzzles with frequency adverbs. 

Adverbs Puzzle by kakitis

Friday, 6 December 2013

Update



Do you remember my Prezi about the verb "to be"? It wasn't finished in September, but recently I've added the past and the future. Now you can enjoy the full version.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!



"Generally, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey", said President Obama. On Wednesday, November 27th, he pardoned not one, but two turkeys: Caramel and Popcorn, as a part of the White House Thanksgiving tradition.
I like the names, they're tasty ;) Fortunately, both turkeys are safe :)
Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays in the USA. If you want to know it better, you can watch this short video:






Happy Thanksgiving to my cousin, Andrew!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

At the moment



I've drawn another grammar mind map. This time it's about Present Continuous Tense. We use this tense when the time we are thinking of includes the present moment and is limited (temporary).





I hope you'll enjoy it :)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Every now and then

Students often complain that there are too many tenses in English. In fact, there are only two different forms of the verb we call tense: Present Tense and Past Tense. Tense expresses the difference between present and past time. Present and Past Tense can combine with Perfect and Progressive forms of the verb.

Here's a Present Simple mind map:


I hope not only my 6th-graders will enjoy it.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

What to wear?



How often do you wonder what to wear? For some of us this question is a tough one, but there are lots of people who love fashion and clothes. Here are six pictionaries with clothes and accessories.

Clothes by kakitis


And for my 3rd-graders a small handout on how to describe people:

Thursday, 14 November 2013

How to count the uncountable?

What are countable and uncountable nouns? It is easier to explain it in relation to food and drink.
Every food item that you can count (that has both the singular and the plural form) is countable, e.g. apple - I can eat one apple or I can eat ten apples. Every substance, such as water, meat or cheese is uncountable (it can't be made plural). Although there are some ways to "count" the uncountable nouns. We can measure the amount of a substance or put it in a container,  e.g. a slice of cheese or a bottle of mineral water.
Here is a little handout:
1) countable and uncountable nouns: some, any, how many, how much;
2) how to count food and drink;
3) quantities and containers pictionary.



 


All pictures come from: http://pixabay.com/

Monday, 11 November 2013

More than words


In my free time I like playing word games. They are the easiest way to practice vocabulary. If you Google "word games", you will find many results, but not all of them are worth your time. These are my personal favourites:


WORDSHAKE


http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/fun-games/wordshake

You have 3 minutes to make as many words as possible (3 to 7 letters long) from 16 random letters. Use your keyboard or click on the letters and then press Enter or click Submit.

SUSHISPELL


http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/study-break/games/sushi-spell


You have 2 minutes to make as many words as possible (3 to 7 letters long) from the moving sushi plates. Different letters score different points. You can only click on letters and click Submit.

POP WORDS


http://www.abcya.com/must_pop_words.htm


You have to type as many words as possible using the letters that drop into the game. Do not let more than 50 letters drop into the game or it is game over!

WORD REACTOR


http://www.mindgames.com/mindgame.php?mind=Word+Reactor&game=143

You have to connect falling shapes with letters to form words. Use the mouse to connect the words. Grab shapes to move them around.

What are your favourite word games? Please, write in the comments.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Listen, just listen to me

Listening is one of the most important and difficult skills. When we listen to various recordings in the classroom, my students usually complain that the speakers are talking too fast and it's difficult to understand them. And I always say that they have to practice more.  Nowadays, we've got plenty of opportunities to listen to English speakers outside a classroom.

One of my favourite websites with listening online activites is ELLLO.ORG, which stands for English Listening Lesson Library Online. It was created by Todd Beuckens, an English teacher based in Japan.


http://elllo.org/

Elllo offers a variety of free activities, such as Games, Scenes, Views, Videos and Mixers on different levels of difficulty. Each audio is accompanied by the audio script (which you can hide). 
For beginners I recommend Games (SixPix) - just listen to the audio and choose the correct picture :) It's a good exercise to practice listening for the main idea and key words.

And those who loves music and singing should try:
 http://lyricstraining.com/

How well do you know lyrics? Pick up a song, choose the level of difficulty, listen to the song and type the missing words.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Thirst for knowledge




I love teaching about food and drink. Most of my students also like this topic.
Here's a pictionary, a wordsearch and a crossword.


It's a basic selection of vocabulary items, so if you want to learn and pracitse much more, you can visit: http://www.languageguide.org/english-uk/vocabulary/
There are five sections about food: 

 

fruit
vegetables
food
drinks, beverages
sweets




You can choose the level of difficulty, listen to each word and check the spelling. I hope you'll find it useful.

PS. Have you heard of Freerice? Play a game and help end hunger.

http://freerice.com/#/english-vocabulary/2733

Thursday, 31 October 2013

All Hallows' Eve

On the first day of November, the Catholic Church honours all the saints, known and unknown. In Polish tradition it is a rather solemn holiday. We also celebrate the following day, All Souls' Day. 
At this time of the year it is common to visit graves of relatives, pray for their souls and decorate their graves with special grave lights and flowers (chrysanthemum is popular). This is my tradition because I'm Polish and Catholic.


I'm aware that people around the world have different cultural and religious traditions. It is very easy to judge other people and their beliefs, especially when they are different from ours. So instead of judging or copying traditions, learn more about them.

On October 31st many people celebrate Halloween. For the average Pole it's a ghost festival. It's the common misconception.
The names Halloween and All Hallows' Eve (the Eve of All Saint's Day) come from the Old English halga, which means "saint", but the origins of the festival trace back to the ancient Celts who celebrated the end of summer on that day. In the mid-8th Century it was christianised, as Pope Gregory III moved the date of All Saints' Day to November 1st. 

Between 1500-1800 Halloween traditions included bonfires (to guide Christian souls in purgatory), fortune telling (even of romantic nature) and souling (children went from house to house praying for the souls of the dead). By the end of the 17th Century the festival lessened in importance. 

Halloween came to the United States probably with the Irish emigrants during the Great Potato Famine in 1845. Of course, it was adapted to local conditions, e.g. turnips were replaced with pumpkins. Also the modern form of "trick or treating" was born in the US. It's worth remembering that Halloween celebrates the harvest season. It represents the beginning of autumn, the season that marks the transition from summer into winter (from life to death).

I think we don't have to worry that Halloween will replace our Polish traditions some day. I have no right to decide whether children in Poland should celebrate it or not, but they definitely should learn about it.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Irregular verbs

Recently I've been teaching this topic to different age groups. Many people ask me "How am I supposed to learn it?" The answer is: "by heart". Easier said than done, I know. 
Here's some help. You can play these online games.

1) Blast the rocket


2) Sentence Monkey


3) Irregular verbs hangman


4) Snakes and Ladders


5) Past Tense Memory


You can also check Macmillan Grammar Wheel: http://yourenglishfairy.blogspot.com/2012/07/grammar-games.html

And here's something from me. Tetrahedral dice (4-sided) with irregular verbs (be, do, have, make, take, get, give and see). Tetraherdon is a triangular based pyramid.



Can you share in the comments your ideas to use 4-sided dice with irregular verbs? Is this idea useful?

PS. My friend, Karolina, shared a video with me today. Listen to an American teacher rapping irregular verbs.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

To play or not to play

I may not be the greatest fan of computer games unlike my husband, but I like playing brain games. Today I'd like to present you three of my favourite games. I've already shown them to some of my students (9 - 12 years old) and they were quite interested. I'm aware that computer games keep children sitting in front of a computer screen for too long, but with games like these they aren't wasting their time.
Let me introduce game number 1.

Little alchemy


At the beginning of the game you've got four elements: water, fire, earth and air. You have to combine the elements to get 416 more, eg. human or even a doughnut. Sometimes the combinations are very tricky and not so obvious :) The names of the elements are in English, so in the meantime you can learn a new word or two.

10


I like Maths and the game seemed so simple to me. But believe me, it's getting more difficult with each level. The task is to slide numbers together to add them up (you have to make 10s). 

Electric Box


I'm not good at Physics, but Electric Box is one of my favourites. The goal is to connect power to the set target using different components from the inventory.

As you can see, the aim of these games is to figure out something and to think outside the box sometimes. But be careful, they can be addictive ;)

What's your favourite brain game? Please, share them in the comments.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Mind Mapping

I bet you've heard about Tony Buzan's idea of mind mapping. It's my favourite way of learning, planning, revising and organizing. Mind maps help me develop my creativity, although my drawings are very simple. Of course you can use a bunch of online tools and software, but I prefer pen and paper (or colourful pens and paper). 
How to make a mind map? Here's a mind map about mind mapping:

You can also read more here: http://www.tonybuzan.com/about/mind-mapping/

And here's another mind map I've made. I'm very proud of it.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Question words

It seems to be quite a simple topic, but I know some of my students have a problem with question words. As you may know, things or concepts are much easier to remember if there are pictures connected with them. Last year I made a little help for my 4th graders, but since then I use it with different groups. 
The worksheet consists of:
1) coloured version of Qword-icon connection
2) black-and-white version Qword-icon connection
3) question words dice template wih icons only
4) question words dice template wih words only
The first two can be used as a summary note, and the dice can be used to reinforce and revise question words. For example, you can play a game with the dice. I suggest using flashcards too. Students can work in pairs or in teams. A student rolls the dice and picks up a flashcard. Then they make a question with a word from the flashcard and a question word from the face of the dice. If the question is grammatically correct, they get a point. You can set a point limit, e.g if a student or a team gets 10 points, they win. If you have other ideas to use the dice, please share them in the comments.
You can make your own dice with this tool:
http://www.toolsforeducators.com/dice/


Monday, 7 October 2013

Indefinite and definite articles

Tomorrow I'm going to teach my 5th graders about articles. It's quite a difficult topic, so I've prepared a little help.



It can be used as a summary. If you have any other ideas, feel free to share them in the comments.
It's my first PowToon, that's why it's so simple and short. 
I was inspired by Karolina and her presentation. Thank you, Karolina.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Scratch is a match for ...

Would you like to learn a language to communicate with your computer? Would you like your children to "speak" that language?
Nowadays, children spend a lot of time using computers and other digital devices, but who exactly is in control? A child or a machine? Most of us would like our children to be a controller. You may ask how to do that. The answer is simple: children should learn another foreign language, a language of programming. Adults should learn it, too. Fortunately, programming is no longer available exclusively to professionals. Everyone can do it. 
Thanks to Samsung Electronics Polska, Centrum Edukacji Obywatelskiej, Ośrodek Edukacji Informatycznej i Zastosowań Komputerów and Stowarzyszenie "Rodzice w Edukacji", 34 schools in Poland can take part in a pilot programme "Mistrzowie Kodowania" (Coding Masters). The idea of the programme is to teach 4th - 6th graders how to code in Scratch. It's a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab, so it's child-friendly. Scratch helps children develop 21st Century Skills, such as creativity, innovation, critical thinking, problem solving, communication and colaboration. And what is more, every educator can teach Scratch.
Mitch Resnick, one of the developers of Scratch, describes it in this way:


I'm so happy and proud to be a participant in the pilot edition of "Mistrzowie Kodowania" together with my colleague and friend, Marysia. We spent last weekend in Warsaw, learning Scratch. It was an amazing experience. I've discovered new abilities I did't expect to have. I've always loved Maths, but I've chosen to study languages. And now I've found out how to combine both.
As the title of this post says,  
                              Scratch is a match for ... languages.

Here you can see print screens from what I've done in Warsaw:






Thursday, 26 September 2013

European Day of Languages

I started to learn English when I was twelve years old, but at that time I wasn't convinced that one day I would speak this language. When I was a little girl, I used to listen to a mixtape with Shakin' Stevens's hits. I couldn't understand a word, but I wanted to sing along with him so badly that it didn't matter if I knew English or not. For the first time, I was aware why I want to learn a foreign language. Then I fell in love with Elvis Presley, but that didn't help me to learn English at that time. Grammar seemed to be very complicated and I didn't try hard enough to learn the vocabulary well.
Everything changed in high school. I had ten hours of English a week and I studied at home a lot. The more I understood, the more I wanted to know. I also started to learn German and I really liked this language. Why do I tell you that?
Today is the European Day of Languages. Learn foreign languages! Although it may seem a difficult job, it's definitely worth it.

I promised my 6th graders to upload a little grammar help. They're currently learning how to describe a person. So here's a short revision of the use of the verb "have got" in Present Simple and Past Simple.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Konkurs Nauczycielski Blog 2013

Mój blog bierze udział w Konkursie na Nauczycielskiego Bloga Roku 2013 organizowanym przez Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Wspierania Edukacji Dzieci i Młodzieży „Omnibus” (http://omnibus.pless.pl/). 

Zaglądajcie tu często i zostawiajcie komentarze. Dziękuję!

Ogromne podziękowania dla pani Moniki Cieślawskiej za projekt wróżki z logo mojego bloga!

I take part in a competition Teacher's Blog of the Year 2013. I will be grateful, if you visit my blog and leave a comment. Thank you!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

eTwinning 3.0

I'm taking part in an amazing eTwinning Learning Event: "eTwinning 3.0". I've just participated in the IGNITE session organized by Arjana Blazic & Bart Verswijvel. I was lucky to meet them in Lisbon, Portugal this year. They are full of enthusiasm and they share it with others.


One of the tasks we were asked to do during the Learning Event was to design a learning activity using connecting tools. The teachers' responds were very creative, so if you want to be inspired, you can read them here: http://etinera.be/learninglab/learning-activities/
And here's the activity designed by me:

Friday, 20 September 2013

To be or not to be?

For most of my students English grammar is boring and tricky. They think it's difficult to understand, even the basic concept of "to be" and "to have". When I was their age, I could agree with that.
Can we teachers make it simple? Can we make it understandable?
Try out my Prezi about the verb "to be". I started with the present.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

I have, who has?

The English alphabet is not that easy for my 3rd grade students. They know the alphabet song perfecly, but they've got some problems with spelling. Last year I created the colour-coded alphabet set for them to practice at school and at home. This year I went one step further. Inspired by teacherspayteachers.com, I've created "I have, who has ...?" alphabet game.

Here's the colour-coded version (instructions included):

Hope you like it! :)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

eTwinning publication

The new eTwinning publication about 25 successful projects is finally online. One of these projects is mine :) I'm so proud of it. The project was awarded with the European eTwinning Prize in the special category: Mevlana Prize for Intercultural Understanding in March 2013.
The publication is in Polish, but you can learn more about the project on its website:
http://onceuponatimeineurope.wikispaces.com/
You can also listen to me talking about the project on the Polish Radio:
http://www.thenews.pl/1/6/Artykul/131779,Polish-teachers-winning-at-eTwinning-

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Back2School

It's September again and it's time to start a new school year here in Poland. I've already had two working days, but it wasn't just reminding the students about assessment and behaviour rules and expectations. I was inspired by resources on teacherspayteachers.com and decided to revise the verb "to be" using my own  activity. I've created a set of 16 questions and answers with missing forms of the verb "to be". They're quite easy. I've printed them on coloured paper and laminated them. Each student was given one random question and one random answer. And the task was to move around the classroom asking the question and trying to find the answer. It didn't go so well at first, but my students were quite keen to mingle.
Here are my Q&A cards: