Thursday, 10 January 2013

Funny Reading!

We think that stories can teach a lot, because children can feel identified with the characters, they feel their happiness and sadness, and they feel that the goals of the character can be the same for them. But sometimes although they like so much stories they don't read because they don't like be quiet, so in many cases resource like this video can be useful.

This story is easy to catch and the picture helps a lot to the meaning of the words. Also this videos use the drills, so some structures are in many cases the same. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Multiple Intelligences Theory, by Howard Gardner

Do all the students learn in the same way? Do the teachers provide the same opportunities of developments to all of them? Is assessment always fair?

According to Gardner's theory, there are different intelligences. Regarding to that, the intelligence is a combination of skills that allows to solve problems. Each person has a different capacity in each area of intelligence and it's can be influenced by biological development and by the environment. So, he says that each pupil has some interests and facilities to resolve the problems in a way. In order to assess in a fair way, the teacher would have to take into account all the intelligences and he or she would have to provide the children opportunities to show what they have learnt in different forms, attending to the multiple intelligences, and not only through the traditional written exam (the same for all the class as we see in the picture). This could be more time consuming for the teacher than traditional approaches methods, because teacher would have to prepare variety and dynamic activities and tests (using TIC resources, role-plays, debates, portfolios, diaries, moving activities, … ).

This is an explanation about in what consists each intelligence:

The following information is a video in which we can watch how Gardner explains their theory. The video also gives examples of known people that have developed some intelligences a lot.

These are some examples of activities to take into account all the intelligences in our lessons:

Readings (stories, simplified books, comics,...), debates, role-playings, words games (like Scrabble), writing comments about the readings, ...

Classifying words by categories, problem solving activities, ordering words or pictures in a logic structure, inventing titles for a reading or listening text, making hypotheses about how could end a story, ...

Explanations by power point with pictures and mind maps, videos and films, recording activities, imaginations games, constructions projects, activities with maps, …

Role-plays, Total Physical Response activities, objects constructions, moving activities...

Listening, rhythm or stress activities, songs (for example, a rap to remember specific vocabulary), poems to work intonation, rimes to remember grammatical rules, ...

Organizing an environmental discuss, classifying the animals depending on their characteristics, inventing and describing their ideal pet, describing naturalistic scenes, ... 

Playing games in teams (for example a taboo words activity), doing role-plays, jigsaw tasks about readings or listening, ...

Through self-assesment, diaries, learning portfolios, writing a comparison between he or she and the protagonist of a story and saying what would he or she do in their role, ...

We have tried to present this information attending to Multiple Intelligences Theory.
We hope that you like it!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Communicative Activitites

Develop of activity:
In this communicative activity we give to the children images of one small boy and one small girl but they are naked. The groups must find out their clothes for win the game.
For getting the clothes, children have to guess a question for each garment, that the others groups have, the others groups will give to their classmates the garment that they demand.
The group that achieves to dress it more quickly will win the game.

We have to analyze our activity according bloom because it´s so useful in the way of know how we develop the cognitive process of pupils with the task.
We have thought about it and we believe that in this activity children will get some possible achieves into the Bloom´s taxonomy like:
ü  Remember: pupils have to looking for information in their memories for the answers.
ü  Understand: they make a list for clothes that they need and they make a way to achieve their aims. We have to develop a strategy.
ü  Apply: in this case we think that we give a material and instructions for them and they use the material and we apply the way to play that we have said. They are able to work with the instruction.


–                    The learner will be able to ask about possession using the structure “have you got a... ?”
–                    The learner will be able to manage the vocabulary about colours and clothes that they have seen in class.
–                    The learner will be able to use different strategies to understand and to make himself or herself understood in a conversation (non-verbal language, rephrasing, ask for repetition... ).
–                    The learner will be able to express ideas applying his/her knowledge about animals in verbal and non-verbal ways (to pass the requirement proof to get the clothes).

Communicative competence

According to the communicative competences, this activity works sociolinguistic competence because the children can speak in a simulated real context. Regarding to this, it develops specially discourse competence because they have a purpose and they must negotiate with their classmates to get it.

Notions and functions

They would use notions regarding to the clothes topic and colours and the referential functions of the language with the structures “have you got a... ?”, “can you give me a...?” talking about things of the environment (clothes) and asking about possession.


In this activity, in relation to the skills, we develop the “interaction”. Students need interacting for play and for achieve the different goals. We believe that “interaction” is basic because, in real life, they must interact each other. Of course, the other skills (listening, speaking and writing) are included in the activity too, but not in a significantly way.

Multiples intelligences

With the big head boys and girls activity we can develop some intelligence like; linguistic, musical, and bodily kinesthetic.
Why we work with these intelligences? Because during the activity our peers have to move around the class, doing some proof like touch and say some parts of your body, or sing a song about fruits…
We think that work with Gardner’s theory is one of the most important parts in the class, because we give them the opportunity to express themselves. 

Classroom language:

Come on class! Please, pay attention! We’re going to play a funny game! For this game, we need four groups. One. Two. Three. Four. Please, each group in a corner… Well. Each group has a “Bighead boy” like this. Look! It’s nice, isn’t it? But… I think they have a problem… They are nude! They need clothes! And you help their to get their clothes. You must go to the other groups and question to your classmates for the clothes you need…But you need pass a proof! Your friends tell you what you must do to get the clothes… Well, remember use the structure “Have you got….?”. Any questions? Ok, Let’s see who dress up their Bighead first!


We really enjoy with our presentation in class. In our opinion, our classmates enjoyed the game and they were very active and motivated.
Obviously, we need to improve some aspects. Overall, we need to improve the “instructions” that we give to our students. Maybe some instructions weren’t so clear and there were some problems to understand the activity, even giving examples we saw some classmates a little confused. Anyway, we think that the activity worked well in class, and we felt that our classmates were much implicated. 

The first activity we have chosen is called tabu. In groups one member of it will be looking toward the group with the blackboard in his or her back. The other members will decide a definition of the word without using the words of the list.

Here we have some examples of the words:

Our students will have to guess the word computer and blood, without saying the words in the arrows

Thursday, 29 November 2012

"What have we got in common?"

“What have we got in common?” is a group dynamic for our FL class. This activity consists on fill up the gaps and finds someone with the same answers. The student must complete the column “YOU” with his/her own answers. When the column is completed, all the students must stand up and search another classmate who has the same as theirs. They will go around the class asking the other pupils for the things they have in common, and taking notes of the name of that person.

In one hand, we consider that it is a good way to help our students to meet each other and to feel more comfortable. With this activity pupils can find a lot of things in common with the others, so they will feel more confident and integrated in class. In a way, it is a good methodology to create a better atmosphere.

In other hand, this activity is very useful for practice the communicative skills. Our students must ask each other, give an answer and participate in a little conversation. We give their notions, and “find a similar person” is their function.

The best of “What have we got in common?” is the possibility to adapt it for every level, course and class. The questions could be more (or less) difficult and the vocabulary more (or less) specific. Also, we can choose a topic and make an activity only with questions about, for example: food, travel, family… And it is the same for the pupils’ different needs. We can simplify the structures, even we can include some pictures for make it easier to understand.

By the way, we have made this activity in some of our English lessons at school and we think it is a very motivating task. Find a similar person into the whole group makes our students feel that they are not alone and it is a good opportunity to develop the trust and the empathy between our pupils.

This activity could be integrated in every part of the curriculum, because with it we can promote every topic and develop all the skills (all of them are included in this task).
One of the most relevant characteristic of it is the need of talk that the students have when they are playing this game.

Now we are going to show some materials which we designed. We have tried to adapt this task depending of the level and the topic we want to work. Exists a lot of possible variations and all of them are completely right. It depends of the teacher’s approach and the aim which the teacher could achieve.

Here, some examples.

Sunday, 18 November 2012


The other day we had a master class of stories, Malin Glimäng tell us the importance of telling stories to our pupils.
Stories are essential in these ages because children use them every day as a strategy for their communication.
Stories involve cultural aspects because children can travel to places that they never have been, and we can create a lot of motivation when we say we are going to tell a story because in the tails there is something magic. It’s like the stories have their own world with other rules, in which fly is something normal and happy endings are true.
But there is something more inside the tails, one strategy that we can use is the meaning who gives the pupil confidence because they can understand the opinion of the character, they can identify with someone else.
But we have to be careful with the stories: we can’t lose the magic of the story, we should keep the balance between demands and supports, and we should keep in mind that we have to adapt the tail for the age of our students.

Here we put a mind map of the main ideas:

Now we are going to explain with a mind map, how we can work with the stories in the five skills

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Speaking with a Song

This activity is appropriate for any cycle of primary education because is very simple to adapt, but in this case, we work with children in 3rd grade of primary education (8 years old). It consist in practice the expressions and vocabulary learned in the unit in a funny way.

The teacher put in the touch board or black board, these expressions they are going to use, for example, "greetings": "Hello!, How are you?, What is your name?, How old are you?..." and the answer; "Hi!, Fine! And you?, Not bad, My name is... I´m 10 years old..." 
After this, the teacher turns on the music and all the children have to walk around the class. When the music is stopped, they stop also and they ask the questions on the blackboard to the partner. Then, when the music continues, they continue walking in the class. 
This game has different rounds, for example, the fist time the teacher stops the music, children have to say: "hi, hello!, how are you?"; the next time, they ask about the names and the age; one more time, when the music is turned off they can ask about hobbies or favorite food... 

It is an activity that allows many possibilities for practice the vocabulary. And also they are using the speaking and interacting between each others.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

English Lesson in Finland

In this post we are going to comment and relate an experience of a member in the group with the theory given during the subject till now.

Our classmate Carolina is studying now in Finland in Erasmus Program and there, she has practices in a school. She has told us that she assist only to English lessons so we think it is a good experience to comment and share with you.

First of all, mention an essential feature of the Finnish education. The education and all of related to it, is free: school, meals in it, books, material, transport… They haven´t private school, they don´t know what it is. It is just a data to reflect about it.

Also, we have to take into account that children start the school, so, writing and reading with 7 years old, in the 1st grade.

After we talk with our partner and we share experiences, we would like to comment how Finnish Education treats these two skills: listening and speaking. For us, these two skills are very important in class, and they should be the first ones when you are learning a foreign language. The Finnish’s teacher said to Carolina that first, children have to learn listening and speaking, and then they start to reading and finally writing. It´s reflect the importance of these two skills and also, we can conclude that is a good method because as Carolina has said to us, Finnish students with 11-12 years old speak English very well according to their correspondent level.

So, now, we explain in general the implementation of these skills in class. 

According to the listening, it is one of the most practiced skills in class. Maybe in one lesson around fifty percent is listening. Our partner said us that the teacher is used to use TPR in class as a common strategy. For example, when the teacher gives order to the students.

Another interesting situation to comment that our partner has told us is when the teacher is going to explain an activity. She always explains the activity in English, with a basic language, visual support and using vocabulary known for students, it is “Classroom Language”. The importance she gives to Classroom Language is very high. It is good, because children are in contact every time with English and they are used to listening those words and expressions.
One thing that Carolina has told us, it is when the activity is very difficult or the teacher sees they aren´t understanding it, she explains it in Finnish, but just after explaining it in English.

Regarding what kind of activities they do, the most commons are: “listen and repeat”, they spend much time repeating aloud, vocabulary, expressions and dialogues; “listen and discriminate”, for example, in almost each lesson they sing a song; and “listen and sequence”, for example they listen a sequence of acts and they have to put in order the pictures.

On the other hand, with the speaking skill, according to what Carolina has said to us, in Finnish lessons there are many opportunities to speak during the class. The teacher organizes between an average of 4 or 5 speaking exercises per each lesson, so it’s a lot compare with English lessons in our country. These activities are usually in pairs, because of this, all the students have the opportunity to speak in class. We think it is a good way to practice oral skills for young learners because they are practicing speaking but they don’t have to speak aloud with all the partners. So it is also a way to reduce the children anxiety when they speak in English.

Our partner has told us more things about the development of the speaking in a class. She says that in lower levels for example, 3rd grade and children with 9 years old (in Spain also 3rd course but children with 8 years old), and in 4th grade (children with 10 years old), the teacher usually start with repeating and drills activities and then in higher levels, 5th grade and 6th grade she tends to use more role plays.
We can relate to these with the theoretical issues dealt with in class the last session. It is a good example of the natural way and logical sequence of teaching the speaking. First, she starts with “controlled speaking practices” in lower levels, with tasks like reading dialogue aloud, question/answer exercises or simply repeating words. When they have improved their level she continues with “semi-controlled speaking practices” like question/answer questions but with pictures; and finally she introduces “free speaking practices” in higher levels like 6th grade, with role plays activities and conversations.
We think it  is a good opportunity to learn more about other countries, and specially from Nordic countries, where the foreign languages are so important.

Here some photos of the school: