Do the evolution!

I decided that for this lesson I would get the class moving about a bit and try to make the class a little more dynamic. I had come across this lesson from Sandy Millin,, and thought it would be a really interesting and thought-provoking lesson for the students.

I started the class by showing four large pictures of the Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Tuenti (Spanish version of facebook) and eliciting the names and ‘social networking’ from the students. I asked who used what and it seemed the whole class used at least one if not more of them. All except one. “I don’t have the time” he said. Perfect. In pairs I asked them to write down the three main reasons why they use social networking sites, and for the student who didn’t use them, three reasons why not.

Sharing photos, catching up with old friends, talking for free and gossiping were some of the main points, while simply not having the time and preferring to talk on the phone were reason enough to not use the sites. I went back to the gossiping point and asked if the students thought this was a good or bad thing. Surprisingly some of them thought it was one of the best things. I asked them to list three good and bad things about social networking. More floating about, providing vocabulary and checking spelling. The pairs then compared with another group and we did class feedback. One of the good points that came up, was that we could follow famous people by using Twitter. Now was the perfect time to use Sandy’s lesson. I mentioned that I used Twitter frequently, but not to follow famous people. I talked about how I used it to help me solve problems such as grammar points, technology in the classroom or simply asking for advice on certain issues. I quickly showed them what Twitter looked like and how the feed worked.

The idea of the lesson was to create our own twitter feed to give advice or suggestions for problems or situations. I decided to demo the idea with my own problem, which was that I keep forgetting the names of my students. I wrote this on a small piece of paper and placed it on the floor. The students could now take a piece of paper and add their suggestions. I could throw in a response to their suggestions in order to keep the feed moving and to promote further suggestions. The students loved it! Some great suggestions came up;

I can never remember the names of everyone in class. Help! (me)

You can take photos and you can put it in the wall.

I don’t have a camera (me)

You can borrow a camera from a friend.

Before class you can write in the forehead of people in class his name.

I don’t think my boss will let me. (me)

You’re right (my boss)

Everyone could be named about something who describe him/her.

My name is like a flower, so it’s easy to remember. (Rosa)

It was going great. I picked up on the use of modals for giving advice and suggestions and boarded a small list, half elicited from the students and half supplied by me, that we could use in the next activity. I didn’t want to lose the pace of the lesson so I launched back into it and mentioned the wishes that the class had made in the previous lesson. We chose one of each and I asked them if they could supply suggestions to make these wishes come true. A selection of some of the best ones are below.

I wish that Santander had the AVE station.

The politicians should meet to try and find money from the banks.

Maybe it will get done if ‘Revilla’ (local politician) get chosen again.

We can’t build the AVE station, but we could invent teleporter.

I wish that the economic crisis would end.

We could steal money from other countries

Politicians could reduce their salary,

I think it should be legal to photocopy the paper money.

Lot’s of new vocabulary had come up, we had practised giving suggestions and advice and more importantly the students had really enjoyed the class. The class was a little language light and I could really have built on that, but I guess I was enjoying the flow of the lesson too much to want to break up the momentum. Something to add to the growing list of things to work on. On a more positive side I now have a stack of about 30 sentences to use for some sort of error correction exercise later in the term.


The beginning!


Welcome to Five against one: teaching against the odds.

After spending the last couple of months trawling through various other blogs about teaching, stealing their ideas and actually working out how wordpress works,  I’ve decided to start my own. I guess with two months free before I actually go back to teaching, it would be a good way to waste time,… err, I mean capture my thoughts on all the reading I am currently doing and to generally talk rubbish for anyone who cares to read this, i.e not a lot. Still perseverance is the key and maybe someone will take pity on this uneducated fool who thinks he can mix it with the big boys and girls. So if you have got this far, thanks! Please stick with it, I promise it will get better.