Wednesday, 21 July 2010

5 Fun End of Course Activities

The 2 week intensive Teachers' Refresher course has sadly come to an end. The blistering heat of the wilds of Abruzzo now beckons, and today I have been busy preparing for my homeward journey tomorrow morning. It's been a very exciting and productive time and I have had the most wonderful and amazing students at the Lake School of English, Oxford. I can't believe how fast it has all gone!

I would like to share 5 fun end of course activities that went down well.

The Gifts Game
I handed out some cutouts of a gift with a space for writing on and asked the participants in groups of 3 - 4, to write down a word or phrase that they especially liked to present to the members of their group. For example, one teacher wrote the word "brolly" in the space and then presented it to her clasmate by saying "I'd like to give you this brolly as a gift, because you will need one when it rains." Another wrote "A pint of lager", and gave it to a classmate saying "Here's a pint of lage, as I know you appreciate English beer". The students milled around and it was a great fun activity, recycling expressions learned, but at the same time it was a very positive way to end the classes.

My Front Door

Blue door to O'Connell House via Flickr

This idea from Mario Rinvolucri, seen in Arena Issue 24, is one which always works a treat. The transition from here to there is made in a positive fashion. I asked the students to visualise how they felt approaching their house in their country. They then had to visualise their front door. What was it like? What colour was it? Who would open the door? Describe the feeling. What would be the first thing they would do as soon as they arrived home? They were then asked to describe everything to their partner.
I know the first thing I am going to do once I have greeted the menagerie is to check on how K has managed with all the watering of my vegetable plot and flowers. Will my flowers be flourishing or wilting in the excessive heat of the last few weeks? I know I will notice every little change that has occured while I've been away. There will be sooo much catching up to do!

The Five-step Strategy to Implementing New Ideas
This is an idea I have picked up over the years on teacher training courses.

Stage 1: you ask the participants to think of a couple of new ideas they will definitely want to put into practice as soon as they get back to school. Usually they say that it's impossible to only choose a couple as there are so many new ones they have learned.
Stage 2: Ask them to choose only ONE idea they are keen to embrace as soon as they get back to their working environment. Get the teachers to concretise the actual moment they will put the new idea into place. Who will they use it with? Ask them to imagine the specific class and level of students. Who will support them in implementing this concrete example? Their Director of Studies? Someone from school, maybe a mentor? A colleague?
Stage 4: The participants are asked the following questions: How will you know if the idea worked? How will you get feedback on it?
Stage 5: They find a partner and tell them the answers to their thoughts. The partner must listen very carefully and pay attention. Reverse roles and listen to the partner's thoughts on ways of implementing one concrete idea.

I like this 5-stage activity because it is nice to focus on a concrete idea with a specific class. The motivation to try it out is thus greatly heightened.

Pyramid Reflection on the Qualities of Survivor Teachers
I asked the teachers in pairs to brainstorm 10 qualities of a "Survivor Teacher". All the words had to begin with the letter "c". As a whole class they managed to come up with 20 qualities within a set time limit and they are listed below in the Wordle. We voted that to be a "survivor" teacher, probably one of the most essential qualities was to be competent. It was nice to take part in the discussion as peers. I enjoyed the act of sharing our views as educators.

Wallwisher Good Luck Messages

This is a great activity. Hopefully the participants will add their messages over the coming weeks when they can. It will be a lovely memory of the happy times spent together as a group.

Goodbye Lovely Teachers via Youtube
A first for me! My co-teacher on the Secondary Teachers' Refresher course, Jane, kindly suggested videoing each other saying goodbye to our students and then uploading the film onto Youtube and then in the Wallwisher above. It's really strange watching myself in action! I didn't realise that I gesticulate so much. One day, I'll look back on this short piece of film and it will bring back wonderful memories of a fab time.

Thank you to all the participants for making it such a special two weeks, and thanks to my lovely colleagues Jane and Catherine, and everybody at the Lake School.


Beatriz Alonso said...

Hi Janet! I have received your messages, I am now on holidays in Portugal (Algarve), sunbathing and eating lots of chocolate hahaha
I will use all of them (your blog is great!) when I am back in Madrid, so no doubt all the information you are providing us with is useful! I will do my best to carry on with my blog and try a wiki, of course! I will keep you informed on them.
Thank you so much for all your kindness, it was definitely a great course, the most useful I've ever had.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Bea

How lovely to see you here! Thank you very much for dropping by.

I hope you continue to have a wonderful and relaxing holiday in Portugal.

I also enjoyed the Teachers' Refresher course very much and the days flew past so quickly!

Take care