English #Outdoors Vol.2

**original picture source: http://www.resourcesgraphics.com/

 Some of my favourite classic word games with a bit of a twist for extra fun:

-‘Word Chain’
Age: 8+
Estimated time: 15 minutes
Players: 3+

A nice game to practise vocabulary.
Decide on the order of players. The first player continues after the last.
The first player says a word, for example ”dog”.
The next player has to say a word beginning with the last letter of the previous word- in this case ”g”. If the second player says ”grass”, the third player will have to say a word that begins with ”s” and so on.
Any word can be used and in any form; nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, etc.
If a word is repeated, the player who said it misses one round. Players are allowed three mistakes, after which they leave the game.
-As the game could take up a lot of time, it’s a good idea to decide when it should end, by setting a score board and awarding points for each word used correctly. I usually set the winning score at 20 points for young learners and 50 points for intermediate ones.
*Fun trivia: Words beginning with ”y” have proved quite challenging!

-”Sentence Surprise”
Age: 8+
Estimated time: 15 minutes
Players: 4+

A fun game to review structure and vocabulary.
Divide players in four groups, the ”Who?”, the ”What”, the ”Where” and the ”How”. Give each group a paper and a pencil and ask them to write relevant words one under the other. When they finish, a representative from each group has to come forward and stand in the correct position in order to form a sentence. Prepare for a lot of laughter, as sentences are usually something like ”An iguana hops quietly under the bed”! Do the same for all the words the players have come up with.
If you have more time on your hands, try playing more rounds and mixing up the groups so all players have been in all groups at least once.

Age: 8+
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Players: 2+

A quick game to build and review vocabulary.
One player says a word that has an opposite, for example ”day”.
The other players have to reply with its opposite, in this case ”night”. The first player to find the correct answer continues with a new word.
If, at any moment during the game, a player says a word that hasn’t got an opposite, e.g. ”pencil”, the first of the other players to realise it begins a new round.

**The ”Opposites” game is from a wonderful book I discovered about nine years ago, ”El gran libro de los juegos” (1998, Parramon Ediciones S.A.) which is full of amazing games and activities – not sure if there is an English version, though.

English #Outdoors Vol.1

It’s July! “Kalo Mina” as we say down here and a great start to a magnificent summer period!

**original picture source: http://www.resourcesgraphics.com/

Learning happens anytime, anywhere and, weather permitting, outside the classroom is the best place to start! I’ve been working in English learning summer camps for the past seven years and thought I’d share some of the funnest activities I’ve done with my students.
You might think they’re meant for large groups of young learners, but no. We’ve had the most fun trying them out with my colleagues; just the four of us, the young-at-heart teachers!

In this first post I’ve included three quick activities which serve as great ice-breakers and help teachers and students know each other better, remember names and choose leaders and team members.

“But, why are you?”
Age: 7+
Estimated Time: 10 minutes
Players: 7 or more

A fun game to get to know everyone in your class or team, while reviewing vocabulary on emotions. Everyone chooses an emotion. The coordinator helps anyone who struggles and ensures there are no repeats. Create a board (an A3 paper and a marker would do) with all the names and the emotion they’ve chosen under each. After the board is ready, give everyone five minutes to look at it and note names and emotions. Everyone then sits in a circle on the ground and when the coordinator gives the signal (best to set and explain what the signal will be before you start, especially if you have a group of young learners only) each player has to turn to the person on their  right and ask them the following: “But [name], why are you [emotion]?”. If they get the name and emotion right, both players leave the circle until everyone has had their turn. If they get one or both wrong, the other player has to ask them the same question. The game continues until all players have been asked the question.

*Make this more challenging by having players mimic the emotion they’ve chosen while they wait to be asked the question.

-“All aboard!”
Age: 7+
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Players: 7 or more

Learn and remember everyone’s name with this energetic game!
Draw the outline of a boat on the ground, jump in and inform everyone you’re the captain. Players shout their name twice and then stand around the “boat” waiting for orders. The captain starts with any player, saying “Sailor [name], on deck!”. That player has to jump in the “boat” and the captain asks “Sailor [name], are we all here?”. While the answer is no, the captain has to repeat the initial order for all names. When all “sailors” are gathered, the captain shouts “All aboard!” and further activities can begin.

-“Blind date”
Age: 7+
Estimated time: 2 minutes
Players: 7 or more

An easy activity to instantly create two random teams.
Draw two lines on the ground or use two ribbons, e.g. red and blue. The coordinator stands with their eyes shut while all players go around and touch them on their back. Every time someone touches them, the coordinator shouts red or blue and each player goes to  stand on either side, until everyone is in a team. Done!

Feel free to use them and send me feedback!

Next post coming up, with word games and observation skills activities.

**original picture source: http://www.resourcesgraphics.com/

Aesop’s fables – workgroup progress

ArtofEnglish have been quite busy and will soon be ready to share their work with the world. . .’till then, here’s a brief post on how we got here and their progress so far.

As I mentioned in the previous post (you can read it here) primary students set the mood for Aesop and “The boy who cried wolf” and workroup meetings were arranged for Saturday mornings at the school library. A wonderful combination of practicing and learning English in a really uplifting atmosphere – the library is buzzing with activity on Saturdays!
Decisions, designing and storyboarding were happening simultaneously and of course democratically; here are the first two charts my B1+ students created:

As for me, walking around the room while the workgroup got on with their job, I’ve managed not to get in their way and keep track of their progress – I was really excited while filling in my MidProgressReport (if you like, download and read it here) about all the students remembered and used and all the new vocabulary and functions they learned in the first month of the “Reversing Aesop” project.

Hopefully the next post will contain a sneak peek of their book . . .(!).Aesop - original picture source www.biography.com

Aesop’s fables – storytelling to practise English

We’re right in the middle of March and “ArtofEnglish” have reached a decision: looking at Aesop’s fables from a different angle!

This month our primary students took the lead, after watching the film Balto: Wolf Quest, following a lesson on nature and wildlife.
During the workgroup’s meeting, there was a lot of talking about how amazing wild animals are and what they know about them. With a little help from B1 students, the discussion was directed towards myths and legends involving wild animals and Aesop’s fables came up quickly, as they are well known among greek children of all ages. “The boy who cried wolf” instantly became the topic.
B1’s suggested flipping the fables a bit – “we know what happened with the kid who shouted “wolf” but was lying – what about the wolf in the story?” Younger students started coming up with stories about the wolf in the fable – what did he look like?, where did he live?, did he know the boy? how did he feel?

And so it was decided. They would tell the fable of Aesop from the wolf’s point of view. Brainstorming ideas is always the first task and as there were plenty, B1 students thought it best to have younger students draw the wolf as they’d imagined him while they talked about what would be necessary for the project – materials, information, related vocabulary, meetings’ schedule, etc.

At the end of the meeting, each B1 student became a leader for a mixed group of primary and A2 students; all drawings were collected and discussed and a selection of them was approved by all members. Storyboarding had begun . . .I’m really anxious to see what the following worgroup meeting will bring!