Starting secondary school: icebreaker ideas

Starting secondary school can be a nerve-racking experience for students. These are some suggested activities you can use on the first day of your English/literacy classes with year 1 secondary students.

  • Shonny’s first day at secondary school: the day before (Newsround). This British girl describes her feelings when making the jump from primary to secondary school, something most of your students can relate to. You can download the worksheet with some questions based on the video, as well as the transcription.

As a follow-up, you can also use Shonny’s video describing her actual first day at school.

  • What to expect when you start high school (Newsround). Some year 7 students (11-12 year-olds) who have been in a secondary school in the UK for some weeks now are asked about how they feel now. Based on the questions the kids on the video are asked, you can ask these questions to your own students:

    • How do you feel on the first day of high school? (elicit adjectives from your students, and suggest synonyms using a thesaurus).
    • What is the hardest thing about starting school?

Further ideas: Secondary school struggles: captioned video and article

Screenshot 2019-09-04 at 16.18.16

  • Time-capsule: one of my favourite activities to start school. Ask students to answer these questions individually. Nobody else will read their answers unless they want to share anything with their classmates by reading them aloud. Then, a ‘digital time-capsule’ can be created, which can, in turn, become the first element in a digital portfolio. Their worksheets can be scanned and then uploaded, for example, to Seesaw. That way, they could also record their voice explaining some of their answers.

What I did back then was to scan all the answer sheets as pdf files that I have kept on my drive. The students I did this activity with are in their year 4 secondary this year: it would be a nice end-of-year giveaway to show them what their thoughts and hopes were on their first days at secondary school.

  • Finally, another possible nice activity is for students to write a letter to their future selves. The website https://www.futureme.org/ allows you to write text, and schedule it to be sent to your email inbox at a given point in the future. The letter can be scheduled, for example, for the last class of the year, and it can describe, for example, students’ expectations, hopes, fears, and/or resolutions. Then, by the end of the school year, they can check what they wrote in the letter against what actually happened.

Tips for speaking tests (EEOOII Aragón) (B2-C1)

If you’re going to take the speaking test at any of the Official Schools of Languages in Aragón, you can watch this video with tips for the exam. Good luck!

Cleft sentences to emphasise part of the sentence

Sometimes, you need to give special emphasis to a specific part of the sentence, either because you want to make a contrast, or because it is new information you want to highlight. The so-called cleft and pseudo-cleft sentences, or it cleft and wh-cleft sentences can help you achieve those ends.

Watch this video to see some examples of how to use them and to what effect:

vocabulary to talk about charts, graphs and diagrams

If you need to describe charts or graphs, for example, from an infographic, or relay information as part of a mediation activity, it might be useful for you to know some of the language related to this field. You can watch the video to get some more expressions to indicate “increase” or “decrease”, paying special attention to pronunciation, and the differences between some of these expressions.

 

You can view the slides here.

Some examples of how data can be relayed in real contexts (news):

A government report says a sharp rise in the use of crack cocaine in England is being fuelled by aggressive marketing by drug dealers and shrinking police numbers. The Home Office and Public Health England examined what lay behind the increase, which has been blamed for a surge in knife crime and serious violence. Our home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw has been looking at the findings

(Source)

Conditional clauses: further ways of expressing hypotheses

Watch this video to find more ways of expressing hypotheses in English:

 

If you simply want to have a look at the slides, you can do so below:

World Teachers’ Day (5th October)- some ideas

World Teachers’ Day (October 5th) has been held since 1994. It is a day celebrating teachers and commemorating teacher organisations around the world.  You can also celebrate it with your own students. Here are some ideas and resources:

Goofy (Walt Disney)- Teachers are People: 

In this short film, Goofy becomes a teacher, who has to face a rather trying classroom. One student in particular drives him up the wall.

(H/T to I.L. for sharing the video with me)

  • Click here to watch the video with subtitles.
  • Presentation with some of the actions shown in the short film.

Matilda, by Roald Dahl: Miss Honey vs Miss Trunchbull:

The text below describes Matilda’s teachers, Miss Honey and Miss Trunchbull. Students can compare and contrast them by using the graphic organiser below:

You can listen to the text being read by Kate Winslet here:

Kidvice- What kids want you to know about their teachers: 

Some American kids were asked by ABC’s Today show these questions:

  • Tell us about your favourite teacher
  • What do you think makes a good teacher?
  • If you could give your favourite teacher a gift, what would it be?
  • What do you think teachers do for fun?
  • If you could say one thing to your favourite teacher, what would it be?

You can find their answers on the video below (H/T to T.F. for sharing the video with me):

Click on the picture to watch the video

You can ask those very questions to your students, to see what they think, and ask them to write their answers on a mindmap (see below).

 

The Perfect teacher: 

You can ask your students to reflect on and discuss what makes a “perfect” teacher, by answering the questions about the Kidvice video, and writing their answers on a Mind Map like the ones below.

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Then, they can write a short text describing their perfect teacher, following a suggested model.

Finally, why not read some of these stories about the World’s Worst Teachers by David Walliams?

(Post updated on October 5th 2019)

Día europeo de las lenguas (26 Septiembre)- Quelles sont les langues les plus parlées dans le monde?

Quelles sont les langues les plus parlées dans le monde? Fuente: https://www.1jour1actu.com/ 

Subtitulado francés: https://amara.org/fr/videos/YaZ1ECyl0RO0/fr/2267822/