When it comes to teaching in a really interesting and attractive manner for our students, more and more teachers are looking for good strategies and activities to engage their students in a different manner from one lesson to another. It is all about allotting the necessary time to do your research, to take part in different workshops and webinars in which you can find out more about what you can do in order to make your lessons more successful.
One example of an activity that my students felt great taking part in was based on using PHOTOS – you select those photos that appeal to the students, that connect to their feelings and emotions and that make them want to express their opinions. There are several questions that can be asked when dealing with photos: What is happening? What will happen next? What do you think happened before? Why do you think it happened like that? Students can work in pairs or in small teams in order to answer the questions and then present in front of their classmates, observing what is similar and what is different in their answers. Next, they can work in the same manner in order to establish a title for the picture. They negotiate in their teams and come with one answer and then all answers are analyzed and they can choose the best version. They can also have a discussion based on the feelings of the photographer: What was he/she feeling? What were they trying to capture through this photo? After, the same pairs or teams can work on writing a caption for the picture using a specific vocabulary or element of grammar of interest for that period. Also, you can ask them to write bubbles for the characters in the photos – they have a lot of fun and they learn how to listen to one another and respect other people’s points of view.
Using STORIES is also another way of making your lessons more interesting for different age categories. For example, I like asking my students to fill in a form in which they choose favourite topics. In this way, I have access to their interests and thus choose pieces of writing that they find easy to relate to and that they can easily understand. Using stories means giving up on using the traditional way of teaching; it is more engaging and allows students and teachers to work in a different manner. They can take turns in reading, they can read in pairs or they can listen to another classmate reading. Another amazing thing about stories is that they also have a cultural component and thus students can also learn something new from cultural point of view. They can also share from their own culture and encourage peer learning concept. Stories allow us to teach vocabulary and grammar in a different way. Teachers can bold words that represent key elements for the topic of interest and start from those structures when teaching an element of grammar for example.
I also find using different DIGITAL TOOLS as being a challenging and interesting manner to deal with different topics especially in the online educational environment which is characteristic of this period. I discovered that Mentimeter is easily accessible and that students can use it to express point of view or to vote for a different option or answer different surveys. They can also create their own mentis in order to challenge their classmates to take part in activities. They worked exceptionally great together when they had to create games. We used QUIZIZZ in order to create two games, Pollution and Plants. The students worked in teams in order to create 10 multiple choice questions regarding the topics above. They used different sites to collect information and check the right answers. Then, they chose the photos that best fitted the questions and they created the games. Later, we used the games as vocabulary bits in European projects like eTwinning, Zero Pollution is Our Planet’s Solution. The students played the games in competition mode and they were very interested in giving the best answers. They improved their vocabulary and also they learnt new things about nature and environment.
Taking everything into account, I would say that we live times in which we have access to a lot of information and a lot of teaching methods. It is true that sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by this quantity. It is a matter of taking some time and analyzing and later choosing the best versions for the subject you teach. Also, it depends on how the students react to a certain activity and you can choose to improve it or to replace it with something they like and feel connected to. It is a matter of working together and deciding upon the best versions for the class – this also brings success into the classroom.