Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Earlier today, I gave a presentation to 25 6th grade students about the brain. The presentation was centered around the 5 senses and, as a big finale, the kids got to touch a real (calf) brain! This presentation was held for the 2012 international Brain Awareness Week. A week where local student-run organizations go to primary and secondary schools and give presentation to raise awareness about brain-related science. I’ve been involved with Brain Awareness Week or BAM (Brain Awareness Montreal), for two years and this was the first time I gave a presentation. It was really fun to explain the brain, try to explain how my research is related to the presentation and answer questions. One of the kids said she’d like to be a brain scientist when she grew up. Awesome! I can’t wait to do it again next year!

For obvious reasons, this experience reminded me of my students in Korea. I also realized that large classes (I had one class of 41 students, if memory serves) make a huge difference when it comes to teaching and discipline. It’s way easier to manage a 25 student class than a 40 student class. It also seemed like the students weren’t as spread out because the actual room was smaller. Plus you can really focus on answering more questions if you have 15 students less to worry about. Thinking about my old students put me in a very nostalgic mood. I might watch a few kpop music videos and send them emails later.

Speaking of science, my first article came out this week! That’s seriously awesome news. I wasn’t as involved with this article as I would have liked (most of the actual testing was done before I joined the lab), but I’ll be able to make up for that in the next articles. The article is titled Audiovisual segregation in cochlear implant users and I think it’s a pretty neat research, though I’m super biased. The article is published in one of the only peer-reviewed Creative Commons journal, so you don’t need an expensive subscription to the journal! If you want to read something before bed or if you want something to knock you out, I highly recommend you check it out.


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Anglo Kings (ESL card card)

I had to come to work this week and teach for 3 days despite exams having already taken place. Since it’s the last week for the semester and it’s wedged between two long (3 and 4 week) holidays, I decided to play a game in my regular classes.

I created a game borrowing heavily from Kings (a drinking game) and many other party type games. I figure if a bunch of drunk college kids can play this game, middle schoolers shouldn’t have a problem. It’s worked pretty well for me in 8 classes, even in the lower level classes.

Basically, you’ve got a deck of cards where each card designates a task. A member of a team picks a card and if they perform the task, the team gets a point.

Here are the tasks I had.

2- Animal sounds (Because animal sounds are different in English and Korean, I do the English sound and they tell me the animal.)

3- What time is it? (Take the clock off the wall, set it to something simple and get the student to tell you what time it is.)

4- Charades (I have a list of words they learn through out the semester. I pick one and get the student to act it out while their teammates try to guess what it is.)

5- Categories (I give them a category like foods, colours, animals or things in a school and each member of the team give me one related English word.)

6- Pictionary (Simple enough. Pick a word from a list of words they know  and get the team to guess what their team member is drawing.)

7- 7 game (They count with one number each, but when it’s a number containing “7” or a multiple of 7, they need to say “next”) this was a little hard so I changed it to Colours, a game where I just point to something and get them to tell me what colour it is.

8- Mixed Word (Take a word from the list of words they know, mix up the letter and give them a minute to figure it out and spell it.)

9- Teacher Questions (This one is just for my own vanity. I ask them dumb questions about me. Things like “Who is more handsome, me or every member of Big Bang put together” or “Do I think Hyori Lee is beautiful or old?”. The answers are fairly obvious, but it gets a good laugh from the class)

10- Body parts (Point to a body part and ask what it is.)

J- Simon Says (This is harder to explain that I thought it would be, so I changed it.) Directions (Get everyone to close their eyes, say a direction. Give a point to the team with the most correct.)

Q- Rock Paper Scissors (I was running out of game at this point. Get them to play RPS again a member of another team for a point.)

K- What’s This? (Point to something and get them to say what it is in English.)

A- Free Point!

Joker – Lose your turn

Every kind of card has an attribute too.

Heart – Student that picks the card plays the game.

Diamond – Student next to the picker plays the game.

Club – Picker chooses which student will play the game.

Spade – Teacher chooses which student will play the game.

Of course, you can always change what cards do what based on your ideas. It’s not a brilliant game, but it’s fun and easy. Let me know if you have any comments or improvements!

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Soccer/Hockey Game (ESL game)

This is the English game I made up last week. I tried it a few times and it seems to work fine with a group of 15 to 20 kids. I like it because it takes very little preparation and the activity takes about 45 minutes (a class) or more. The kids like it because it’s a game.

Here is what you need: A white board (though a black board will do fine), three different coloured markers, a small magnet, enough small sheets with words the students know for every student.

To make the word sheet, I just looked at the words the students had seen in class over the year, picked 40 and made two word lists. I printed these lists out and cut them into individual servings. The reason I’ve got two word list is to add some variety in the vocabulary. I guess you could make unique word lists for each student if you wanted.

On the board, draw a soccer field/hockey rink. Basically a square with nets at the end. Draw circles representing the players in symmetrical fashion on the board (goalie, defence, middle, offence). Every red player must have a blue counterpart. Make the circles big enough so you can fit the magnet (ball) in them to indicate possession. Now you’re ready to explain the game to the kids.

Hand out the word banks to the kids. Explain that they knew these words. Because I have grade 1 and 2 in my class, I made two word banks. The rules are simple. To complete a pass, you must make a sentence with one of the words on the list. These sentences much be 4 words or more and be perfect. If there’s an article missing, it doesn’t count. When the students make a perfect sentence, they can pass to whoever they want that is close to them. If the student is on defence, he can’t pass to offence without going to the middle first. So if the sentence is perfect, it’s a pass. If it’s not, the opposing player who is paired with that student gets possession. When an “offensive player” makes a shot at the net for a goal, give one word that isn’t on the list. If the attacker make a perfect sentence first, it’s a goal. If the goalie makes one first, it’s a save and goalie gets possession. I make the goal sentences one word longer, just so it’s more of a challenge.

When you give them the words, you can give them a few minutes to look at the words and make sure they know what they all mean. I do this because it takes up a bit of time and give everyone a chance to have a few sentences ready.

At first, I had troubles with the other team members helping goalies and correcting “pass sentences”. To fix this, I get them to stand up when they “take a shot” and everyone else needs to be quiet. Same with taking a shot at the goal. Because shots at the goal require rapid sentence making abilities, the second either the attacker or the goalie gets up, everyone is quiet and the student immediately gives a sentence. Otherwise, it’s not fair to the other team because they’ll take more time to think of their sentence without the threat of being on the clock again the other student. So “when you get up, everyone is quiet and the person standing up says his/her sentence immediately.”

If you have an odd number of students, you can pair the two poorest students together as one player, put two for goalie and have one do the saving sentence and the other the passing sentence, simply get two of them to take turns as a player, or anything else you can think of.

I realize this may sounds a bit confusing, but it’s not. It’s good fun and I like to think it helps the students apply what they see in class to “real life” sentence making. These rules aren’t set in stone, it worked for me, but if you want to switch it up, by all means!

If you have suggestions on how to improve this game, please let me know!

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