As it seems to happen every year in October and November, here at my school in Philly, I received a new student today. He’s a 10th grader who has been in the US for 15 days from Dominican Republic. I always feel terrible for these kids who have to catch up on so much language and curriculum. Secretly, for me though, I love it. I love the challenge of teaching these students. I love watching them on their first day be silent and knowing that in a year’s time, they will be coming to me and asking me all kinds of questions. I love knowing I have such an important job. Sometimes I wish I weren’t teaching anymore and want to do the admin stuff more, but on days like today, when I have a newcomer who so desperately needs me, I love teaching!
I am so embarrassed that almost a year has gone by and I have not written a single blog post! Ugh, I am terrible blogger. Oh well, get over it, Kim. You’re the only one reading this anyway. I think the reason I stopped writing was I had this amazing post I had created about which iPad cart to purchase. I had compared all the carts pros and cons, included pictures, prices, and websites to purchase. Sounds great, right? Wrong. It never uploaded properly and went into cyberspace, never to be seen from again. (Cue waa, waa, was music). I was so frustrated by that experience that I stopped writing new blogs. But, I’m back and better than ever.
Today, I’m going to describe some fun ways I’ve been teaching my beginner HS ESL class. We’re working on the past tense, including past simple, past and present perfect, passive and active voice. I have a SMART Board, so I found a great Passive Voice Review Connect 4game to play with the ELLs. This took 3 days to finish and they loved it. I find my ELLs are always super competitive with each other; I’m not sure why. Next we did a Zombie Passive Active Voice worksheet. If I were to create the worksheet again, and I just may, I would make up a zombie story and then have them change the active voice to passive voice to have the zombies doing all the action. This idea came from a viral tweet by Rebecca Johnson @johnsonr
I finally learned how to teach my guys to ID the passive voice. If you can insert “by zombies” after the verb, you have passive voice.
The other fun thing I’ve started in class is using lyrics for warm-ups. This all started when out of the blue, my students started singing “Call Me Maybe.” I looked on the internet and lo and behold, I found a lyric activity for simple past. I’m now going to do a lyric every day for warm-ups for awhile. Today will be “Dogs Days are Over” by Florence and the Machine. I created my own for “Everybody Talks” by Neon Trees. Neon Trees Everybody Talk lyric warmup I like that I’m hitting the listening and reading domains with high engagement from my students.