Advent Time is Near! WebEnglish.se presents FIVE Advent Calendars again this year. As each class is different, there is only an approximate language level for each calendar. The general idea is (in Sweden): A1.1.= yr 1-2; A1.2.= yr 3-4; A2.1.= yr 5-6; A2.2.= yr 7-8; B1= yr 9 and up.
Sorry for Early Birds: As the Calendar program is American and the calendar doors won’t open until the actual date, there is a delay in the morning. I hope it’s until 9 o’clock, but it may be 10. I’ll let you know on Sunday.
Precheck. The teacher who doesn’t like surprises is advised to take a peek before class for two reasons:
1. There is the same theme on each level for the day, so you may choose an easier or a more challenging one.
2. There may be an automatic advertisement that you wish to skip in the beginning.
Spoiler! This link takes you to a .pdf document that lists the themes for each day of the calendar: Advent Calendar 2019
1st Advent: This year, the 1st of December is on a Sunday, which means that there is no door to open in WebEnglish.se Calendar at school until Monday. As I know many students are longing to open the first door of the WebEnglish.se Calendar, here is an early peek to the first Advent Sunday.
The Swedish Curriculum is based on Communicative Language Learning and Teaching. According to most researchers within this field, grammar should be presented following one principle:
WHEN it’s needed and not IN CASE it’s needed.
To help argue my point I found this short article summarising a meta-analysis by Nina Spada and Yasuyo Tomita. This is an excellent article as it gives both the points that some teachers use to try to prove me wrong when I say they should skip grammar lessons, but it also includes exactly the points I rely on and relate to in my teaching.
When teachers read conclusions of research like
“explicit instruction was more effective for both simple and complex language features“, or
“most of the research investigating the effects of instruction on L2 learning indicates that a combination of language-based and meaning-based instructions works better than an exclusive focus on either one”,
they take this to mean that whole-class instruction of grammar rules with follow-up excercises and translations will do the trick. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
When reading current research, you should first clear your mind of your own school-time experiences of grammar lessons and interpret the text outside of that box. When you take the time to study the whole research process or even read the whole short article, you will find out:
“The study does not support teaching grammar in the sequential order in which most coursebooks present it.”
“Explicit instruction of grammar does not mean harking backing to the times of grammar translation, rote memorization of conjugations, or the focus on grammar McNuggets“
The Commentary Material to English for the Swedish Curriculum points this out clearly:
“Linguistic elements like grammatical structures and spelling should be presented only when there is a functional purpose, in order to clarify and enrich the communication.” (My translation)
Although in recent years Guy Fawkes Night has been somewhat eclipsed by Hallowe’en, it is still an important date on the calendar for many British people.
SymbolWorld Stories – Bonfire Nighthttp://www.symbolworld.org/archive/stories/stories/03/1_2/bonfire-night/bonfire1.htmA word-by-word illustrated text about the Fireworks Night. (yr 3-4)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This year, there are new Halloween Theme Pages in WebEnglish.se. There used to be just two, Elementary (1-6) and Intermediate (7-9). Now there are four, one for each level and the new level “B1” mainly for Eng5. If you have an advanced year 9, you can use the B1-level theme as well.
Have a Happy Halloween!
A Theme Page about beauty and physical appearance with lesson plans for intermediate (A2.2.-B1) students, year 8-9 in Swedish Compulsory School
Beauty and Physical Appearance – Vocabulary List : Vocabulary.comhttps://vocab.com/lists/700616Activities for this list: Practice Answer a few questions on each word on this list. Learn 50 words from this theme. To practise them you will need to log in.
Body ModificationBy: Jiaxin Ma ( Linda ) – A Slide Share presentation with pictures of teens with piercings and tattoos. The first 5 slides recommended more than the rest.
Yo, I’mma Let You Finish But Amy Poehler Has The Best Body Image Advice Of All Time – Upworthy (2:42)https://www.upworthy.com/yo-oprah-imma-let-you-finish-but-amy-poehler-has-the-best-body-image-advice-of-a?c=ufb4
All bodies are good bodies and there’s nothing wrong with yours just because it doesn’t look like someone else’s. Don’t believe me? Let actress and creator of “Smart Girls at the Party” Amy Poehler (“Saturday Night Live,” “Parks and Recreation”) convince you.
The earliest recorded tattoo was found on a Peruvian mummy in 6,000 BC. That’s some old ink! – A Ted-Ed video about tattooing; history, how it is made and how to get rid of one.
Eating disorders can be seen as excessive normative conformity to cultural body ideals, and although the practice is vocally condemned by many, our ideals and norms actually seem to embrace the bodies of disordered eaters.
English News Lessons: Free 27-Page lesson plan / 2-page mini-lesson – Snapchat Dysmorphia – Handouts, online activities, speed reading, dictation, mp3… current events.
“It’s not what they say to you, it is how you take what they say to you.”
News English Lessons | ESL Lesson Plans | Cosmetic Surgery http://www.newsenglishlessons.com/1102/110212-cosmetic_surgery.htmlThe number of people having cosmetic surgery is increasing. This could be a sign that the world economy is making a recovery. – A Short Listening/Reading text with vocabulary exercises
A survey of English schoolchildren shows boys and girls are worrying about the way they look.
Poster by Outi CC BY-SA 4.0
As the mouse walks through the woods, he encounters animals that want to eat him. He talks about the fierce gruffalo to scare them away. By Axel Scheffler, Julia Donaldson (scholastic.com)
Early Learning Resources ‘The Gruffalo’ Topic Cardshttps://www.earlylearninghq.org.uk/latest-resources/the-gruffalo-topic-cards/A set of word cards (many of which are illustrated) featuring keywords from The Gruffalo.
The Gruffalo – Narrated by Ollie Heath – YouTube (6:34)https://richmond-hill-school.primarysite.media/media/the-gruffalo-narrated-by-ollie-heathExperience the story of the Gruffalo like never before. This version is read like a rap. Easy to chant with the students.
Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal-winning picture book has become one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children’s books of all time. (TheLearningCircleOnline)
Maurice Sendak (1963). Opening lines from children’s books – to discuss your anticipations
Where the wild things are trailer
The book is read with the text on the page.
A downloadable pdf-file to let students read the story in groups of 5. Keep reading until every student has read every part.
Use Maurice Sendak’s wonderful story in your classroom by trying our enormous collection of free teaching ideas and related classroom activities.
FOCUS: The focus of this story is the imagination of a young boy. He uses his imagination to travel to a land of the Wild Things and become their ruler.
About the author Born in 1928, Maurice Sendak grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest child of Polish Jewish immigrants.
These resources contain our own artwork. The products are in no way endorsed by the authors or publishers of any related stories,
A reading comprehension worksheet to go with Where the Wild Things Are. Log-in required.
We hope this kit will provide everything you’ll need to start your own Wild Rumpus. Enjoy! Sincerely, The Marketing Department HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks
Mini Literacy Unit for “Where The Wild Things Are” Included in this Mini Unit: Wild About Colors: Mirrored Monsters Sight Words
Literature Games and Vocabulary Games are fun ways to expand your child’s knowledge of the English language, all while having fun. Kids learning ESL or kids just trying to expand their vocabulary…
The young protagonist of this beautifully illustrated book, Max, gets sent to his room without dinner for disrespecting his mother. He then takes a trip to the magical land of the wild things.
Let the wild rumpus begin! – Cross-Curricula Activities
Here are some fun facts that you may or may not know about Maurice Sendak’s classic.
This post was originally published on the Ditch That Textbook blog.
One day in 2005, my student Malin walked in looking for me just to tell me that she used to hate English before I became her teacher. The reason for the change, she said, was that she got to decide a little more herself and that she could learn more because she was interested.
That’s when I knew I was on the right track.
It all started in the 90’s, when I was teaching a 5th-grade class and there was a chapter in the textbook about King Henry VIII, who happened to be my favourite in the line of British monarchs. I told the story of his six wives the best I knew how with an amazing result: The class made a unanimous request to learn more stories like that!
I paused for about 5 seconds and said: “If you want, we can throw these textbooks out of the window”, while pretending to toss the book out, and continued: “and study only British history. I could tell you the stories and then you could write about what you have learned.”
They agreed and we started from Stonehenge; I collected the material into handouts with text and pictures, we discussed the stories in class and they wrote what they had learned as homework. The following lesson started with some students reading their stories before we went on to the next.
We continued even after the summer break until we got to Queen Victoria. That’s when they felt tired of history and we chose something else to study, but I never looked back at textbooks after that.
An added bonus was their history teacher who told me later that this class had a generally better understanding of history than his other classes.
In these 20 years, I have gradually developed the method and created my website WebEnglish.se to go with it.
5 steps to show your students that they are in charge
1. Ask your students what they can recall as having been the best and the worst activities in their former English studies. Let them think about this individually for a couple of minutes.
2. Make small groups, 3-5 students in each, where they share their ideas with each other and choose the ones they can (mostly) agree on. While they are doing this, you draw two columns on the whiteboard with the titles ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ on them. Of course, you can have this ready on a Google Doc that you project on the screen.
3. Groups report their lists. Each item needs to be checked with the rest of the class and written on the board only if the majority agree with it. You can also write them all and have a vote afterward, crossing out the ones that do not get the majority vote.
4. Surprise your students: draw a big cross over all the items on the ‘Bad’ side of the board, promising never to have them do any of those things. On the ‘Good’ side you can draw a big heart around the list and promise to bring all of those things to class.
5. Save the results! I used to take a picture of the whiteboard, but if you do this digitally, of course, it is automatically saved in your GDrive.
I always say to my students: “English is a world language. You can study anything in English.” If their wish is not in the WebEnglish.se list of topics, I still make it happen. One time, I learned a lot about the FBI, after one student suggested it and the others agreed.
5 steps to let your students do the planning
1. Give your students a list of topics either on paper or digitally (eg. in Google Forms).
2. Ask them to mark all the topics they find interesting individually for a few minutes. Collect their answers.
3. Have your students start writing a story while you count the results, or you can both take your tasks as homework. If there are too many winning topics to be managed in one term, have another vote in class.
4. Show the students the number of weeks they have and ask them to work in small groups to distribute the topics to suit the length of the term.
5. Collect their suggestions on the whiteboard and discuss till you reach a consensus.
When going through these steps, remember that the students only choose the topics to be studied. The teacher is responsible for the pedagogy and covering the curriculum.
I am sorry, but my coding skills were not enough to make the Theme lists available in Google Forms. I have now received guidance from some good people at Shake Up Learning and changed the links and the instructions in the Planning Page:
You need to COPY the answer sheet (in Chrome), then click on FORM and Edit Form to make a new questionnaire to share with your students. I sincerely hope it works now!
I apologise for the inconvenience this has caused you at this stressful time.