Posts tagged ‘classroom ideas’

Conferences, expectations & ponderings #rscinspire13

attrition: CC Roland Tanglao

I think the way that I attend conferences is changing. Tutors on my Tech for Learning Delivery course were laughing last week at just how many conferences I’ve attended – and I suppose as an FE tutor, it probably is quite rare to have such opportunities.

Recently, I attended the RSC-YH e-learning conference in Leeds. I’ve been a fairly regular attender and presenter at this event over the years, and although I had the usual pre-conference nerves as I approached the venue, it was really lovely to walk in and recognise, and be recognised, by friendly faces.

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Collaborative Tech for CPD


Trying to organise the vastness of information on technology that I use for my CPD is proving particularly challenging. The first section of the new Tech for Learning Delivery course I am currently writing, and will be delivering from January, will be on technology to support CPD. Knowing that I sometimes struggle with the sheer volume of information out there, I want to be as prepared as possible to support the tutors with this, as I know it is going to be very challenging.

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countries and languages

Well that was a crazy busy 2 hours – I have been completely over planning queen today.

Spelling tests: these are taking up a good chunk of the beginning of the lesson and I need to think carefully about the how these can be done more effectively and efficiently. This has only been my fourth class with this group, and only the third week with a spelling-test opener.

Last week I introduced a tracker sheet that I have used in classes before, so students can see a record of their scores over the weeks and a record of the spelling they still need to practice. But it was a bit of a nightmare, I struggled to help them understand the purpose of it or how to fill it in, so didn’t even broach it today.

This week I created a differentiated sheet for the weaker students, I have two students who aren’t confident in knowing the alphabet and haven’t got any of the spellings correct this week. They had to identify the correct spelling and then copy this. I will certainly try this again.

I’d like to introduce peer spelling tests, and may think about how to do this next week.

Recap: making a link to last week’s lesson I had students find a partner by matching country-language and we drilled the sentence ‘In xxxx they speak xxxx, Then as a class I wanted them to stand in line for what they could remember about the common languages video. This took quite a while, and although there was some good discussions/disagreements the stronger ss did dominate here. Although it was a good opportunity for them to be repeating the countries and languages as vocab items.

After we watched the video again, I then confused things a little by asking them to write the countries down, but in alphabetical order. In hindsite, what I should have done was have them write them in the order of the video, and then use the cards to arrange them by alphabetical order.

The group are starting to work together a little more. I’m not sure if this is because I had the tables arranged differently this week (in groups rather than the horse shoe), if my encouraging is starting to pay off a little or if it’s just natural as they get to know each other that they can work together more confidently.

Really love this class.

CPD and reflection: a lesson

Liquid Gold By kevin dooley

Covering a session on the level 5 literacy and numeracy specialism this week I got to try out some of the ideas from the Lazy Teacher’s Handbook.

I started the session asking the new trainees to stand in alphabetical order by name, then by their original subject specialism. So far so normal – this was followed by numerical order by length of time teaching, then length of time since took cert ed/PGCE which showed a group of people at one end brand new to teaching, the other end a couple of people with 15 years experience and a mid range of 7-12 years.

The next task is the slightly adapted ‘Thinking Line up’  out of the Lazy Teachers Handbook. I split the class into two groups (a six and a seven) and asked them to rank order themselves in terms of how confident they are in defining CPD. There was one very strong reaction as someone headed for the door! (i.e., he felt very unconfident about this) There was a few rumblings from this, and the general feeling in the room was that people weren’t too sure about it.

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Lazy Teacher’s Handbook

Lazy Teacher's Handbook

front cover of the Lazy Teacher’s Handbook

Whilst scanning the book shelf in the library for ICT related literature in my quest to put a reading list together for my new course, I stumbled across this amusingly titled book: The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook by Jim Smith. I just couldn’t resist.

The bi-line reads: ‘How your students learn more while you teach less’ and sets the premise that if we teach less, the students will learn more (oh, and maybe reduce teacher stress at the same time) bonus.

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Sharing an ESOL class


Picture from @sandymillin


Woo hoo. Very excited about having an ESOL class again this year. I’ll be sharing the group with the fabulous @tferguson . She’ll be the personal tutor for the group and meet them three times a week, I will be the second tutor who meets once a week.


It’s the ESOL staff development day today & I gate crashed Sam’s session on ‘sharing classes’, where lots of great ideas were shared about how to overcome the ‘no time/not in the same office’ communication barriers. Thea and I have agreed that in the first two weeks it’ll be inductions, getting to know you activities and diagnostic activity & our first meeting has been arranged to them discuss how to move forward with the class.

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Reflections on the No.1 Ladies detective Agency

no 1 ladies detective agency

Having this class reader has been just the best idea for this final term. After preparing a bunch of stuff for the second class and then finding out that only one person had read chapter 2 I have since planned things that would incude those who hadn’t read it as well as those that had. I’ve seen the group twice since half term and have based both lessons around the book using minimal resources. Ideas for the lessons have come from my colleague, ELTChat links or a blog that I follow. Thanks to my PLN for some great ideas.

No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency – a class reader

no. 1 ladies detective agency

The way that I have undertaken having a class reading with my L1 group is such an example of my sunshine yellow-ness. With the start of the new, and final, term I decided we needed something to keep attention (and attendance) for the final 7 lessons that we had. So I created the ‘Final Term Challenges’. I presented this at the first class and the students got to vote on which challenge they would do for the first week.


Background to the choice of No 1 Ladies Detective Agency comes from discussion I had with my friend and fellow ESOL teacher, James McGoldrick, who used this book with his L1 group who agreed to read a chapter a week and spend 30-40 mins in the lesson looking at the chapter. I was pleasantly surprised when all the students enthusiastically and unreservedly agreed on a class book, and that this seemed a more popular choice than going to the library to choose a graded reader.

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I did my first lesson using dictogloss today with my level 1 practical skills group. I’m not quite sure how I’ve gone for so long not knowing about this, but I first came across it as my colleague did his DELTA project on this topic and then I saw a few tweets and blogs make reference to it. I’ve also been doing a lot of reading around the Lexical Approach and thought that it would fit in really well with the work we are doing with students bringing in their own words to class.

I chose 3 short texts that we’d used in class last week looking at collocations, and they answered comprehension questions on it, so they were fairly familiar with it.

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Reflections on formal observation of my ESOL class

reflectionI’m reasonably pleased with how the class went today. Pinching the warmer off Sam was a good move as it set the topic of the class, which was to review the words the ss have been bringing in every week. It was also a good introduction for the new student to the group as she got to look at all the new words on the board as well as an opportunity to chat with the other ss to find out why they chose their 3 words. Recording the feedback onto the WB also provided a reference point throughout the lesson, which helped to stress four main aspects to ‘knowing’ a new word (meaning, spelling, pron, usage). Read more ►