“Story Cubes” dice have already turned out to be quite a Montsuarian tradition. Writing stories can be an amusing way of improving their writing skills. That’s precisely what the 4th of ESO 2nd language students have done: they have written original and even outlandish stories with the help of “Story Cubes“. Some stories are funny and some others are simply… well, weird. If you happen to walk down the 4th of ESO corridors maybe you can have a good laugh.
I guess it was about time we started to tell you about the latest news so far! We’ve been really busy at INS Manuel de Montsuar these last weeks… In fact, we’ve just made our debut with our “1st Foreign Languages Week” with loads of activities and workshops going on. It’s been a hectic week though very enriching and fun too and we’d love to let you know about it!
Prior to this hectic week, our Foreign Languages Department organised a logo contest so that our students showed their artistic and creative skills to helps us find the best logo that would introduce our “1st Foreign Languages Week”. This logo should highlight in its design the 3 foreign languages at our school: French, English and German as well as display any reference to the world of drama. We had one winner and also a runner-up. This is the poster we designed to invite the students to participate:
The 25th of October marked the launch of the “1st Foreign Languages Week” with 3 performances in English for all the students which took place in our “Saul Craviotto Pavillion”. The plays in English were organised by the English Theatre Company (ETC) and the plays were: “MonkeyBusiness” for 1st and 2nd cycle students and “Stand Up 2” for the Batxillerat ones.
Then, from Tuesday 26th of October until the 2nd of November all our “ESO” students attended “Step On Stage” woskhops, which were theatre-related activities in English guided by instructors form “Aula de Teatre de Lleida”. All the students had the chance to actually “step on stage” and rehearse and perform small sketches and scenes using English. Finally, on Tuesday the 26th there was a closing showcase for each course introducing the best performances from each class. The students assessed the workshop positively and we are convinced they improved their English a little bit more.
There were also entertaining activities in the French and German classes also connected to the world of drama. The foreign languages teachers organised active learning activities that fostered the students’ communicative skills in English and also broadened their knowledge on the world of drama and theatre.
We consider that it’s been a really successful week for the students. We could organise all these workshops thanks to a funding received by the European Community. We do hope our students have the chance of experiencing different ways of learning foreign languages like these the next course!
Today our 4th of ESO students have had a great time talking in English through different games:
B1 speaking practice: in pairs and for approximateley 15 minutes they had to ask each other questions regarding common pictures and talk about their views and opinions on topics related to the pictures. That exercise is very similar to what they will find in the real B1 test.
Story Telling Memory Game: players sit in a circle (in groups of 5 or 6) and one student begins a story with a single word they wish. The players take turns repeating the sentences and adding a new one. If someone misses a word, they are out. The student who is able to tell the story without a mistake is the winner.
2 Truths and 1 Lie: a student tells two personal and true anecdotes and an invented one which is by all means a lie. The other players will have to guess which one is the lie!
It was great to see them engaged and motivated! Thank you!
Of course it works! It’s an excellent resource for both teachers and students. The 3rd and 4th of ESO as well as the 1st of batxillerat students have devoted one session to play these board games in the English class.
How can you do it in your English class?
1- Organise the classroom in different corners, 1 corner per game (I tend to have 7 corners)
2- Make groups of maximum 3 students.
3- Use just 5 minutes to tell them the instructions to play every game.
4- Tell them they will have just 7 minutes to play every game.
5- Make heterogeneous and multi-level groups.
6- Walk around the classroom while they are playing and check their English (correct them when necessary).
7- Time their participation in the board games and tell them to move to a different corner once the 7 minutes are over. ONLINE TIMER
WHAT I HAVE LEARNT FROM MY STUDENTS
Students wish to play board games for a longer time. So: more time and less board games, maybe 15 minutes and 3 board games instead of 7.
Monitoring them does not necessarily mean correcting them all the time. Us teachers should do it just when they make a huge mistake because correcting them systematically may weaken their self-esteem and their confidence. It’s important to let them speak and flow at their own pace because what really matters is that they somehow communicate in English!
Using gamification in class is fun and practical but doing that once a month is more than enough.
Let’s see the mutliple benefits board games have when learning a language…
BOARD GAMES (click on the board games to get more info)
It is a conversation game based on questions related to a wide range of topics. It is suitable for all ages. It’s not a quiz and never about who knows most. Rather it provides the ideal blend of fun, interesting, thought-provoking ways to enjoy relationships as you get to know others, and yourself, better.
– Lots of varied questions on different topics (300) – For all ages – Excellent ice-breaker or warm-up before starting an English session – An opportunity to get to know their classmates better
– Some questions are for adults – Students find it boring – Not very dynamic
Both are used to tell stories (either fantastic or more realistic ones) and use one’s imagination. The game is simple: use images to create cooperative and inspiring stories.
– They foster creativity and imagination – They can be played both to improve speaking and writing competences – Many variations: fantasy, action, voyages… which can be combines – They can be played in any language – The stories are original and funny most of the times – Students like it – Easy to play – Cooperative
– Better for advanced English students (they have more vocabulary and a better command of grammar)
From your scenario card one player reads aloud a question and its answers (A,B,C). Choose which answer is closest to the truth for you. The other players will have to guess which answer you may have chosen. The one who gets more matches wins! A great game to prove how well you know the other player.
– Students talk about themselves – Students get to know their clasmates better – Students love it! – It may lead to spontaneous conversations among advanced students
– For all ages – Better to improve pronunciation and oral comprehension
Guess What (Tiger)NO LINK AVAILABLE
It’s a very easy and fun description game. Players take turns describing an image on a drawn card to their partner. The describing team gets a point for each card they guess successfully and the opposing team gets a point for each card they pass on or make gestures on. An excellent party game!
– Surprisingly it is one of the students’ favourite board games – Can be played in teams – For all ages (even for primary education students) – Easy images to describe – Everyone participates
– Sometimes they lack vocabulary to describe the image and they end up using gestures – Not many cards
It’s a visual memory game. The object of these fun little boxes is to study the card for 10 seconds and then answer the question on the roll of a die. If the question is answered correctly the card is kept and the person with the most cards at the end is the winner.
– Fun and fast-paced – Improves visual recall – For all ages – Small portable pack – The students’ favourite!
– Not very communicative – For intermediate or advanced English learners
– IDEA: Questions should be organised in levels of difficulty!
TeReo English (Tereo)
Great family game to practise and improve English. There are different cards with a wide range of selected activities like: reading, speaking, pronunciation, drawing, mimics, performing and guessing. It’s really complete!
– Family board game – 7 minutes are not enough to play this board game, you’ll need a whole session! – Varied and dynamic – Different teams can play the game – Different competences to work out – Adapted to all levels: beginners, intermediate and advanced – Creative and varied – Students think it’s cool because they can play it in big teams!
– Some activities may be too easy or difficult if the groups are homogeneous