It was our third day going to Sagunto for our English Alive! classes. Everyone was feeling so cold… but then Tim arrived, he told everyone to stand up, and we started with the warming up… nothing similar to what one can be thinking of for an English lesson, but really useful to get in touch with your students!!!
The activity goes as follows: The teacher gets an object (in this case first it was a pen, and then a chair!). The students, and the teacher, stand in a circle. The aim is to find a different use for these objects… a pen can be a toothpick, or a microphone! And a chair can be a formula one car, or an umbrella!
Next, as everyone is standing up, we did an exercise we were already familiar with. This can be useful with students, they can identify what they are going to do and feel more confident. We did some sentence ordering, each one of us was a different word, (the teacher whispers the word to the student) and we had to order the sentence but without saying the word, guessing where our place might be. This was the first contact with miming this lesson…
Continuing with miming, the teacher cuts up a story which they have previously studied in class, in this case we met “Willy the Kid” again. Each student is given a piece of this story and without speaking they have to get the story in order (lining up in chronological order). Once they are in order, the first one will mime the scene he/she has, and the person on his/ her left will tell the story, so that they practice some grammar -for instance, past tenses-.
And finally we sat down! The class continued with putting things together… a poem by D.H. Lawrence was the material, verses had been cut apart by the teacher, now the students had to rearrange them, and more than one order was possible here, so students have to think of the reasons why they put one verse first and the other one next.
We had not used the overhead projector (OHP) yet… it was time for a story, A lot To Learn. So working with the OHP, the story was revealed little by little, and we were guessing what could come next, surprisingly (or maybe not) we guessed practically all of them!).
Think about INFERENCE for a moment: thinking of what will come next.
Next, we jumped to the past, to the Phoenicians, and we had to barter, that is, exchange our goods for something we need, without money. We had a text (in pieces, of course!) and were divided in groups. The teacher gives out, at random, 10 paragraphs to each group. The game consists of bartering with the other groups so as to complete your text, but there are two different texts going around, so one must be careful and only get those the group needs. Here students will practice speaking and listening.
To finish up with the exercises, we did some more miming. Imagine you are in a Hotel reception and you are the customer, but you are dumb. You need to communicate some very important things to the receptionist… you need to mime the actions! Two groups, one representative from each group will mime each sentence. The competition is on!
To end the class we discussed a little how we could apply these techniques with our students, some of us have already tried, and we have been really successful!
And remember, whenever you feel cold… you need to move your whole body, so stand up and jump, run, clap your hands…MOVE!
*Inference (From Wikipedia): Inference is the act or process of drawing a conclusion based solely on what one already knows. Suppose you see rain on your window - you can infer from that, quite trivially, that the sky is grey. Looking out the window would have yielded the same fact, but through a process of perception, not inference.