Updated: Jan 18
Whether it's a to-do list or a well-organised closet, structure always makes life easier. The same goes for a lesson. Having a certain structure helps you avoid extra stress and facilitates classroom management. Of course, this does not mean you may not break the order and do things differently every now and then. Below is the structure I follow in my lessons.
Get Them to Talk I don't know about you, but I often teach up to ten hours a day, with groups following each other without breaks. When a new group walks into my classroom I need a breather to shift my focus. For this reason, I ask them questions such as: "How was your weekend?/What are you going to do this weekend?What's your favourite subject and why?". This helps my students revise past simple and going to and gives me time to post the homework for the previous group, open their register, change the books and look into their homework. You may also ask them to do pairwork telling their partner and not you about their weekend, etc. Check the Homework I know that if I don't do this at the beginning of the lesson, I might fail to do it completely (which I sometimes do, unfortunately). My students receive stickers for completed homework. Once everyone in the group has twelve, we have a tea party. While checking the homework, try to make it more fun by asking additional questions and making jokes about their mistakes. Remember to use the relevant colour code in the google sheet.
As an incentive for my students to pay attention while we are checking the homework I have come up with a new idea. Once we are done checking I use a random wheel on wordwall.net to select a person who's workbook I'm going to check. If there are no mistakes, the owner receives an extra sticker. Likewise, I motivate them to study the assigned Quizlet sets. We revise the set with the whole group and then I pick a student to say the words alone. This time, the entire group receives an extra sticker provided that the chosen one says ALL the items right. My hope is that this will increase their sense of social responsibility. Teach the Lesson Obviously, you will also need to teach a lesson, following the steps of a specific type, whether it's a skill-based, language-based lesson or something else. Assign the Homework and Post it on Edmodo One important thing to remember about homework is that you should only assign something you have taught in class. You may not pick random pages from the Workbook if you have not explained the material. If you have been busy doing something else at the lesson, send them tasks from British Councils Learn English Teens website. You can choose from Skills, Grammar or Vocabulary section. Other options are online exercises on a topic you want to revise, making sentences, copying and learning a Quizlet set or watching a story on youtube and retelling it. In any case, do not leave them without homework.
I used to post the homework on Edmodo. Lately, however, I have come to realise that it is much easier to simply create a group on Viber. The reason is that it saves you the trouble of creating an account for your students and dealing with constant complaints about them not being able to log in. Give them Stars Stars are both a classroom management tool and the way to show my love to students. The person with 40 stars gets to be a teacher for at least half a lesson. To give stars, I simply draw a star on the inner side of the book cover and ask them what they want. The options are: *kiss *hug *high five *dzzz (touching with fingers and pretending to be struck by lightning) * boom (fist hit) * deb * weird dance The most popular ones are hugs and high fives. Not all of my groups get stars, some consider themselves too mature for such silly things :)
To save time I now ask them to draw the stars themselves. Also, since the beginning of the pandemic I haven't been giving them many hugs, although I probably should consider reviving the tradition. P.S. With my young learners I also have spelling dictations at the beginning of the lesson. This is why. At the end of each level, my groups take international ESL tests. I have come to realise that they make certain mistakes in the listening section because they do not understand when the speaker spells a word or a name. Hence, I found the wordlist for those tests and now spend 5-10 minutes dictating 6-10 of those words. However, I do not simply say the word and ask them to write it. Instead, I spell the world allowing them to figure out which word it is. I do discuss the words at the end to make sure they know the meaning as well.