неділя, 24 травня 2015 р.

10 Habits for successful English language learning


Learning any language can be a challenge and we have to accept that making progress takes time and effort. To be a really successful language learner though you need to make the new language part of your life and part of what you do each day.


Here are some tips to help you build good learning habits and make your lessons more productive and to make English language learning part of your life.

1. Plan your learning
Learning any language doesn’t just happen. You need to make time for it and plan how and when you fit it into your life. Small regular chunks of study tend to work better than less frequent long chunks, so it’s not necessary to have lot of time, just try to spend five to ten minutes each day to review your vocabulary or do an exercise. This along with a regular lesson with a teacher should soon help to improve your level.

2. Use the language for something you enjoy
You will be able to learn more quickly if you actually use the language as you learn it. There are lots of ways you can do this, but one of the best is to use it to do something you enjoy. Whether your hobby is travel, sport, music, fashion, art or even reading the news, try to do it in English. Find an online English magazine or website where you can find out more about your hobby or interest and choose a specific time each week when you combine developing your interest with improving your English. You can find lots of free online magazines at: http://issuu.com/

3. Listen to songs
One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to improve your listening skills is by listening to songs in the language you are studying. You can find lots of music videos in English on YouTube or use services such as Spotify https://www.spotify.com on your computer or mobile phone. Listen on your phone or audio player while you commute, while doing household chores or even while you are at work and soon you’ll start identifying new words and expressions as your listening skills improve.

4. Watch films and TV
Watching films and shows in English is a great way to improve your level. When you watch films you get exposure to a wide range and variety of accents and vocabulary. If you watch contemporary films and TV shows you also hear the kinds of authentic English expressions that are used in everyday conversation. Film can also show you a lot about the culture of the language you are studying and how people interact within that culture. This is particularly important if you are thinking of visiting an English speaking country where some cultural aspects of communication and life may be very different from your own. You can find lots of English films and TV clips on YouTube just by search ‘English movies’ or ‘English TV shows’.

5. Don’t worry about mistakes
Everyone tells us that mistakes are part of learning and that is especially true when learning a language. The best learners take risks with the language and try to express themselves even when they don’t know the exact words or grammar. A good teacher will be able to understand what you are trying to say and then they can help you express yourself more accurately. If you don’t make those mistakes then they can’t help you improve.

6. Record and listen to yourself
Good language learners are self-critical and try to assess their own level of improvement. You can do this by regularly recording yourself and listening back to your recordings. There are lots of ways you can do this. You can use the webcam on your computer, or the video camera on your mobile phone. Record yourself saying a short text or talking about a topic. Once you have made your recording, watch it immediately and think about how you can improve it. Record it again and then watch and compare to your first recording to see if it is better. Save the best of the two recordings and then watch them again a week or a month later and record yourself again and see if you can improve your recording. Keep doing this and save all your old recordings and after a few months you should be able to see some clear improvement.

7. Try to imitate
Everyone has an accent, even in their first language and only a tiny minority of people are able to eradicate this in the language they are learning. However, it’s good to try to train your ear to hear different accents and to try to imitate them. You can do this by listening to very short extracts from audio or video and then trying to copy them. Try to copy the expression of the voice too, if the speaker is angry, sad or happy. You don’t have to do this perfectly, but listening carefully and trying to hear how the different accents sound can really help to train your ear to hear more accurately.

8. Take notes
Most students go to class with a notebook and when they finish the class the notebook is still empty. Make sure that you use your notebook during your lesson. Organize the way you take notes. Have a specific part of the page where you add new words you have learned during the class and use another part of the page for grammar notes. When you add new words to the vocabulary part of the notebook be sure to add information about the word such as a translation, the part of speech (whether it is a noun or verb, etc.), make a note of any specific pronunciation features such as silent letters or sounds that you find difficult and remember to add an example sentence that contains the word.

9. Revise your vocabulary
Increasing your vocabulary is one of the fastest ways to improve the level of your English. In order to remember the new words you learn during the your English lessons, you must review them regularly. Research shows that you will remember more if you review the words you learn at regular intervals after the lesson. Start by checking through new words 10 minutes after each lesson, then 1 hour, than 1 day and then 1 week. This will help you to remember more of your vocabulary.

10. Share your goals
People learn languages for many reasons, whether it’s to study abroad, for work or to travel, and the purpose for learning can impact on how you approach learning and what you study. If you tell your teacher why you are learning they should be able to help you and adapt their lessons to make sure you reach your goals more quickly.

I hope you find these tips useful and soon start to develop some rewarding study habits.

Action Verbs Game

Action Verbs Game

Building Fluency through the Repeated Reading Method

Useful article for teachers

Connecting People, Cultures, and Countries Through English Language

Connecting People, Cultures, and Countries Through English Language

POSTED BY HEIDI HOWLAND


"English language is a critical component to creating a stronger and more peaceful world." Do you agree? Read the article. At the end of the article, write your comments!

I don’t remember much about my French class. I know I had to memorize vocabulary lists and conjugate verbs, but few of those words remain in my memory today.
I do, however, remember how to order a strawberry crepe, how to ask for directions to the National Museum of Fine Arts, and how to explain the location of my high school. Why did I retain this French more than anything else? It was a trip to Quebec City, where I met new people, shared culture, got lost, and found my way. In navigating the city, I did so with the help of other people.
Without a human connection, language has less meaning and purpose. From my trip, I remember not only certain sentences in French, but I remember the people who listened as I bungled my way through finding the correct words, who gestured when I couldn’t understand, and who laughed with me as I mispronounced fraise ten times in a row.
With a human connection, learning a language becomes more than a tool; it becomes a space to build bridges between people, cultures, and countries; it becomes a realm where we can transform the world.
Since 2010, the United Nations has officially recognized the importance of English, with UN English Language Day observed each year on April 23rd. As English becomes the modern day lingua franca, learning English impacts not only individuals and societies but also the world. Current estimates indicate that about one billion people are learning English, with the number to double to two billion by 2020. “It's just amazing the way we can communicate with one language,” one English language learner states. Indeed, with English -- the common language for travel, commerce, and technology -- opportunities for meaningful discussions, cultural understanding, and positive connections abound. 
English language is a critical component to creating a stronger and more peaceful world. As individuals connect and communicate through this shared language, relationships are built, biases debunked, and differences of opinion more deeply discussed. “I've dramatically expanded my perspectives to the world,” writes an English language learner. Individuals learn English, learn through English, and learn with English. We learn through the interactions with one another using this shared language. We learn about other places, ideas, cultures as we communicate with this shared language. And with the human connection, we learn more about the language itself. The effects of meaningful individual relationships formed via English ripple through communities, societies, and nations. “If we know English, we get a new world.”
This is the reason the U.S. Department of State’s Office of English Language Programs works to increase access to English language learning and teaching materials to people around the world. Within our Facebook community alone, we’ve reached over 1 million people. This UN English Language Day, join us on Facebook and Twitter as we celebrate the human connections and communities formed using English at #WeLoveAE. 
About the Author: Heidi Howland serves as a Senior Program Officer in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Office of English Language Programs.

пʼятниця, 15 травня 2015 р.

SPEAKING PRACTICE ACTIVITIES



MY FAVOURITE SUBJECT

Level: Intermediate+
Aim: to practice fluency; to practice word order; to revise vocabulary
Tim: 20 minutes or more
Language skills: speaking (in variation – writing, reading)
Types of learners: auditory, kinesthetic, visual
Materials for the students: none (in variation – material needed for the presentation)
Materials for the teacher: none
Classroom management: group/pair work

Procedure:
1. Ask students what their favourite school subject is. They should give the reason, too.
2. Group students according to their answers, i.e. all chemistry lovers will form one group. If there are too many students in one group, they can break into pairs.
3. Ask them to recall what they have learnt or found interesting about a topic done recently (e.g. Climate of Southern Europe).
4. Each group prepares and presents their topic orally for the rest of the class. You are free to decide how long and thorough the presentation should be, depending on their level of English and time you have in the class.

Variation:
1. Students (the whole class, a group or a pair) can prepare the presentation of their topic in advance. Most of the students find it easier and more interesting to use pictures, maps, course books, encyclopaedias, and other resources which are easily available.
2. The teacher can write down what he/she had found interesting in students' presentations and ask them comprehension questions later.
3. The students can write comprehension questions on pieces of paper. Each group (except the presenters) takes it in turn to give answers. This can be a competition or a quiz.

Note: Advanced students can be given homework - to put in writing what they were talking about in the class or to pick another group's interesting topic and write about it.

Maja Hadzic, Belgrade, Serbia


ASK ME LATER

Level: Elementary +
Aim: to practice forming questions; to practice fluency; to practice word order; to practice vocabulary / grammar
Time: 15 minutes or more
Language skills: speaking, writing
Types of learners: auditory
Material: one blank A4 sheet of paper per group
Classroom management: in pairs / groups

Procedure:
1. Group students in fours or fives.
2. Ask one student in every group to make up a sentence imagining that it is an answer to a question (e.g. 'At the bus stop' or 'Because it was cold'.). They must keep the sentence to themselves.
2. Now in their groups each student tells his/her 'answers' and others give possible questions. They write it on a paper.
3. In their groups they come to a decision which question is the best or the most appropriate. They read it to the class.
4. Now some other student makes up an answer and the activity goes on until each student has made up one answer.

Notes
1. During the activity, the teacher monitors their work and writes down incorrect questions for later discussion.
2. You can practice some specific grammar points in this way (tell the students to use only present tense).

Maja Hadzic, Belgrade, Serbia


WHAT A SILLY THING TO SAY!

Level: Elementary +
Aim: to practice word order; to practice specific grammar points; to practice vocabulary
Time: 15 minutes or more
Language skills: speaking, writing, reading
Types of learners: auditory, visual
Material for the teacher: one blank A4 sheet of paper per group
Classroom management: in pairs / groups

Procedure:
1. Group students in fours or fives or ask them to form pairs.
2. Write this table on the board. Ask them to tell you 3 items in each of the categories. For example:

Name
Verb
(Object)
Place
Time
Bob
play
a pen
on a bus
every night
Alice
watch
a bunch of roses
in a drawer
last winter
Jane
go
trousers
under the bed
now

3. Write numbers 1,2,3 randomly next to each item.

Name
Verb
(Object)
Place
Time
Bob 2
play 2
a pen 1
on a bus 3
every night 1
Alice 3
watch 3
an armadillo 3
in/ into a drawer 1
last winter 2
Jane 1
go 1
trousers 2
in a shop 2
now 3

4. Now 3 sentences can be made:
v  Jane goes into a drawer every night. (all number 1)
v  Bob played with trousers in a shop last winter.(all number 2)
v  Alice is watching an armadillo on a bus now. (all number 3)

5. Now the students get together and make their tables. Tell them to pay attention to the concord of verb form and time preposition. One more thing they should be careful about is the necessity of an object (intransitive verbs do not have an object), but they are allowed to add prepositions if needed (e.g. play with trousers in number 2).

Variation:
1. You can add or remove categories.
2. You can practice specific grammar point in this way.
3. Students who draw well can draw a picture based on the sentence made. The other students can try to form a sentence.

Note: I noticed that this activity is useful not only when practicing specific vocabulary or grammar. It helps shy students speak their own minds, co-operate in a team, boost self-confidence. And everybody has a good hearty laugh!

Maja Hadzic, Belgrade, Serbia



A FOUR-WORD  STORY

Level: Elementary +
Aim: to revise vocabulary or grammar; to practice word order; to practice fluency
Time: 15 minutes or more
Language skills: speaking, writing, reading, listening
Types of learners: auditory, visual
Material: an A5 blank piece of paper for each group
Classroom management: group work

Procedure:
1. Divide the class into groups of four or five.
2. Give each group an A5 blank piece of paper.
3. Tell the groups to elect the student who will start the activity.
4. This student writes down an English word that first comes into his/her mind when you say 'start' (it is not association on the verb 'start', but any English word he/she can think of at that moment).
5. The student sitting to his left side writes the next word which comes into his/her mind, but which starts with the last letter of the previous word (e.g. raceelephant).
6. When each student has written a word, they prepare to tell a short story containing words from the list. Every student in the group must say at least one sentence.

Variations
1. Depending on the level of knowledge of the class, you can have students write a story or use the words from the list in their story in alphabetical or some other exact order.
2. You can give points (e.g. one point for every word). Students' attention is at a high level here, because they all have different words, thus different stories. What's more, advanced students tend to make their stories funny, so you can all have a good laugh!
3. When the group tells their story, other students try to guess what were the four initial words.

Notes
Students can revise some grammar points by using specific elements in their stories (e.g. use two comparative forms, one past simple and one question tag).

Maja Hadzic, Belgrade, Serbia


AS GOOD AS A NEW COMPARISON

Level: Elementary +
Aim: revising 'as...as' comparisons; revising vocabulary; revising adjectives
Time:
Language skills:
Types of learners: auditory, visual, kinesthetic
Material: None (if you want them to write – a blank A4 sheet of paper per group / pair).
Classroom management: Group / pair work.

Procedure:
1. Ask students to tell you about 10 adjectives.
2. You write them on the board, in a column.
3. Group students into fours or fives or tell them to form pairs.
4. Each group / pair picks one adjective. They make a comparison (e.g. big – 'as big as a plane'), orally or write them down.
5. Students read only the last part of the comparison ('as a plane').
6. The others try to guess what adjective they have chosen.

Note
For the kinesthetic learners you can have students act out instead of read / say their sentences.

Variations
1. You can practice other grammar categories in this way (e.g. write – 'I wrote a poem' in which case they would read only 'a poem').
2. You can practice rhyming pairs (e.g. fine – 'nine').
3. You can practice almost anything!

Maja Hadzic, Belgrade, Serbia


EAVESDROPPING

Level: Elementary +
Aim: to practice forming sentences; to practice vocabulary or grammar points
Time: 15 minutes or more
Language skills: speaking, listening, reading, writing
Types of learners: auditory
Material: none, or you can prepare some sentences before the class
Classroom management: in pairs / groups

Procedure:
1. Divide students in pairs / groups.
2. Say a sentence that sounds like taken out of a dialogue, e.g. 'But this is all I've got!'
3. Students make up short dialogues imagining a situation in which a person might say something like that.
4. They act / read their dialogues for the whole class.

Variations
1. Students can be asked to make up a dialogue concerning specific topic, e.g. sports.
2. Students can be asked to make up a dialogue using superlatives, adverbs, ordinal numbers, etc.


Silly Language Games for Kids
Silly Language Games
It's one of those odd facts of life, but first graders love the ridiculous! Silly language games are just what you need to tickle kids' funny bones while (secretly) teaching them valuable language and reading skills. The best thing about using games to practice language is that it can happen literally anywhere. The only materials you will need are already around you. And once you tap into kids' silly language selves, you will have your hands full getting them to STOP playing these games! Object Stories Look around the room and find 6 or 7 small objects. Since these will be used to tell a story, try to get an interesting variety: a flower, a plastic dog, a tea bag, a toothbrush... you get the idea. Put the objects into a paper bag. Plastic Toy Start a story any way you like. Pull out one of the objects and use it in your story. For example: Once upon a time there was a little boy who was 6 years old. You pull the flower out of the bag. He found a magic flower that that would give him three wishes. Pass the bag to your child. He pulls out another object from the bag and tells a few more sentences of the story. Continue like this until all the objects are gone. (Tip: Kids at this age love silly, ridiculous, or magical stories, so feel free to ham it up!) I'll Marry My Cat Some language games are perfect for waiting in line, or on a long car ride. This is one of them. Tell your child you want to play a rhyming game. You will pick a simple word to rhyme, such as cat. Say, I'll marry my cat! Your child then has to think of a rhyming word to put in that sentence: I'll marry my hat, or I'll marry my rat! When a person can't think of any other rhyming words, switch to a different group of rhyming words. Note: Your sentences do not have to make sense! First graders will love language games that border on the ridiculous. If the silliness gets to be too much for your adult self, get a competition going between your child and a friend. You can also mix it up with other rhyming word sentences: I can eat a (house), I love my (pig), and so on. Say It Like a Cow Silly Kid Think of a phrase, or find one in a book that you like. For example, strawberry bubble gum has an interesting rhythm to it. Tell your child to say it loud. Say it in a whisper. Say it with eyes closed. Say it with lips closed (just do the rhythm). Say it like a cow (moo moomoo moomoomoo) or like a snake (sss ss ss ss ss ss). When you have played with that phrase for a while, pick a new one. I Took a Field Trip Tell your child, I took a field trip to the BEACH and I brought a BROOM. Why would you bring a broom to the beach? Because they both start with 'b'! Have your child say the sentence, I took a field trip to the beach and I brought a ---. After a couple of turns, change the location. Take a field trip to the mountains, the desert, a tree, a house, the forest, etc. and think of things with the same letter. Everything In Its Place Categorizing is an important language skill. Sorting and classifying train children to think in terms of groups and patterns, a skill that they will need in math, reading, science, etc. Give kids practice putting things in order with these sorting and categorizing activities: Sort things that float and things that don't float. Sort clothes by color (a good laundry activity). List things you would buy in a grocery store. List things you would take on a camping trip. Think of words that start with 'b'. Really Fun Games to Teach Reading Games to Teach Reading Looking for some fun games to teach reading? Want to help kids practice and improve reading skills in a way that feels like play? Then you are in the right place. Here are some things to keep in mind as you choose which games to play: Most of these games can be easily adjusted to different reading levels. Begin with words or phrases you are sure your kids can handle, then gradually make things more difficult to keep it challenging. Play just one game at a time, and pay attention to kids' energy levels. When children are learning to read, these games can be hard work. Keep it fun. Be playful and silly. Laughter is a great way to keep kids excited and interested in learning to read. Bean Letters Materials and Preparation: You will need large, dry beans, like lima beans. Write a letter on each bean with a permanent marker. Include extra vowels. Put your letter beans in a bag. How to Play: Have kids take one handful of beans from the bag and make words with their letters. How many words can they make? Note: You can choose whether or not to insist on correct spelling. If you do, you will have kids constantly asking you the right way to spell words. My preference would be to make words that make sense and not worry about spelling at this stage. This will help kids think about their own spelling rules and be more creative in making words, which is a more useful skill in the long run. Silent Orders
Materials: Index cards or pieces of paper. Play money is optional. How to Play: Tell the child you are the big boss. Every time they do what you say, they get a (fake) dollar! The catch is that your mouth is glued shut and you can't tell them what to do--you can only write it down. Games to Teach Reading Write simple sentences at your child's reading level. For example: Go get a small ball. Find a green thing. Jump ten times. Hug me. Run around the room. Tickle mom! After your child has completed each task, make a big deal of paying him. You can give a dollar of play money, or put imaginary money in his hand. (This can be just as much fun.) Since you can't speak, play up your facial expressions! Variations: If your child is like most first graders, he may want a turn at being the boss. Let him write things for you to do. Don't worry about spelling--just respond to the meaning. Do the action and let him pay you. Treasure Hunt Materials: Paper, pencil, and a small prize. Treasure Hunt How to Play: Write 5-6 simple notes with instructions that will lead your child to a prize. For example, you might give her a paper that says, Look under the couch. When she looks under the couch, she would find a note that says, Look behind the TV. She would continue following the instructions and reading notes until she came to the prize. Note: Kids love treasure hunts like this! You can easily make your notes harder or easier. Write on top of TV for early readers, or in mom's coat pocket for more advanced readers. With a little observation and a playful spirit, you can make up your own games to teach reading. Make a game out of finding words around you, sorting them into groups, acting them out, or anything else you can think of! I Spy Materials: None. How to Play: Look around the room. Say, I spy with my little eye something that starts with a 'b'. Try to be sneaky. Kids will try to discover your word by finding things in the room that start with 'b'. Repeat with other letters. Variations: Make this game a little harder by saying, I spy with my little eye something that starts with a 'b' and ends with 'g'. When kids make their guesses, point out ending sounds. "Ball" starts with a 'b', but what does it end with? "Bug" is a great guess; it starts with a 'b' and ends with 'g', but that's not the word I'm thinking of. Word Bingo
Materials: Paper, pencils, list of words your kids are learning, paper bingo chips (optional). Games to Teach Reading How to Play: Show kids how to make a large tic-tac-toe grid on their paper. Give them a list of at least 20 words they are learning to read. Tell kids to write a different word in each box on their paper (they can't use the same word twice). Call out a word. If a child has it on his card, he can cross it out with his pencil or cover it up with a bingo chip. When he gets three in a row, he yells bingo! and wins the round. Variation: You can make the game go longer by playing blackout, filling up the whole card instead of just one row. The best thing about using games to teach reading is that kids just keep coming back for more! When they discover a favorite game, they will ask for it again and again. As their skills develop, you can easily increase the difficulty and keep things challenging, so kids won't get bored. One final paradox as you look for games to teach reading: Kids don't have to be actively reading to practice reading skills. Language development is just as important as learning to read (or decode) words at this stage. As you look for games to teach reading, mix up traditional reading games like the ones on this page with spoken language games. Language and reading skills will work together to help kids pull meaning from printed words.

"Four Corners" Strategy
How it works: Choose four aspects of a topic that your class is currently focusing on. Assign each of these aspects to a corner (or an area) of your room. Present the topic and the four related aspects to the whole group and give the students some "think time." Students can then choose a corner to discuss the topic. Representatives from each corner can share what their respective groups discussed. Why I love this: Student Choice: Students LOVE when they are given an opportunity to choose. They feel more empowered and respected, and thus take far more ownership over the outcome of the assignment. Various Perspectives: The students are exposed to many different view-points in their corner, which can lead to great discussion. Easily Prepared: This activity requires very little preparation on the teacher's part. The teacher simply needs to think of four (+/-) areas that he/she would like the students to discuss and then send them on their way. Easy Implementation: This activity can take as little as five minutes and requires no advanced set-up (e.g. chairs set up, group formations, etc.), so teachers can use it instantaneously and then quickly return to the lesson.

The Fish Bowl Strategy
How it works: Divide your class in half. One half will form the center circle, facing inward. The other half of the class will form the outer circle, facing inward as well. The students in the inner circle will discuss a predetermined topic. The outside circle will be listening to the discussion, making note of interesting, new, or contradictory information. They are not allowed to say a word at this point. The inner and outer circles can then switch positions and repeat the steps above. Why I love this: Eases Discussion Management: Since only half the class is discussing at a time, this makes it much easier to manage than a whole-class discussion. Promotes Active Listening: Half the students have the explicitly given job of listening to the inner circle. They understand that their turn to talk will come, which is more likely to free their attention from trying to get a turn to share, and focus it on attentive listening. Great for Debate: I love this arrangement for classroom debates. The physical position of students makes it very clear when it's time to listen and when it's time to talk. You can switch through the roles a number of times during debate, and students have more incentive to listen when they are in the outer circle so that they can appropriately counter the points made from the inner circle. Peer Evaluation and Modeling: This model presents a valuable opportunity for students to evaluate their peers. Successful student presenters also serve as wonderful models to other students who are not as skilled at class discussions.

"Expert Groups,"
Group your students into 4 equal "Expert Groups" (e.g. Group A, Group B, etc.). These groups should be strategically organized in heterogenous groups in regards to student ability. Each of these groups will have cover a unique topic or have a unique task to accomplish. For example, you could divide a reading selection from a social studies or science textbook into 4 equal parts. The students in these groups are responsible for becoming "Experts" in their topic of study. You will also need to think about how you are going to organize the "Numbered Groups" (e.g. Group 1, Group 2, etc.). Similar to the "Expert Groups," these groups should also be varied heterogeneously. After the "Experts" have gathered to learn their assigned topics in-depth, they can then be dispersed into numbered groups, which will contain one "Expert" from each group. During this time, "Experts" will present to the other members of the group. The number of "Expert Groups" and "Numbered Groups" are totally flexible depending on the topics you are studying and the number of students in your class. I have used the strategy successfully with a class of 36 students (4 Expert Groups and 9 Numbered Groups). Why I love This: Less Overwhelming- The students can focus their learning on one aspect of a topic, which allows for greater understanding of a concept. Student Accountability- The students understand that they will be responsible for presenting this information to another group of students. Responsive to Student Learning- As you observe these groups in action, you will quickly see who is and is not "getting it." If you see students struggling to present the information in their "Numbered Groups," then you can always have the "Expert Groups" reconvene.
"Q&A Match-Up."
Create a set of questions and answers based on the topic your class is studying. Each question will be placed on a separate card and each answer will be placed on a separate card. I made all of my answer cards pink and all of my question cards green; this makes it easier for students to "match-up" during the activity. If you are covering a vast topic (for instance a chapter in a social studies or science text) then you could easily make enough questions and answers cards so that each student has a unique card. However, you can also make several copies of just a few questions and answers so that some students have duplicate cards; this works best when your topic is more focused (e.g. a lesson within a chapter). Randomly distribute the question and answer cards to your students. Give them a few minutes to read their cards and think about what might be the corresponding answer or question that would match their assigned card. Then allow the students to "mingle" as they try to "match-up" with their correct question or answer. Once students start matching up, I have them stand shoulder-to-sholder with their corresponding card/partner along the perimeter of the room. Unmatched students are still floating around the center looking for their counterpart. Once all students have been matched up, each student can read his/her question and matching answer to the group. If the group feels that the match is incorrect, then the students can do a little reshuffling to find a better fit. Versatility: This strategy can be used with almost all content and with varying size classrooms. For some lessons, I would make 17 different question cards and 17 matching answers cards so that each of my 34 students had their very own card. However, if I taught a lesson that perhaps only had 4-5 worthwhile questions, I just made duplicate cards for the students and the activity was just as successful. Engagement: Students love mystery and games and this activity incorporates both elements. Discussion Opportunity: When the matched-up students present to the group at the end it creates a perfect opportunity for discussion. Did the question and answer match? How do you know? Who can elaborate? Why are X and Y a better match? etc. Built in Review: This strategy is a great way to review for a test or reinforce a lesson that you just taught. Longevity: Once you have made a set of these cards, you can use them for years to come, adding and changing certain questions/answers as you see fit.

"Circle Chats," today's cooperative learning strategy, in another great way to get your students out of their seats and interacting!
Divide your class in half. One half will create an inner circle; the other half will make up the outer circle. Students in the outer circle can ask a question of the students in the inner circle. These questions can be self-selected by the students or you can make your own question(s). After a set period of time, the teacher signals and the inner circle rotates and pairs-up with a new student. Once the group has completed a full rotation, the inside circle and the outside circle trade positions and repeat the steps above. Listening and Speaking Practice: This activity allows students to practice active speaking and listening skills. Active Engagement: Students are constantly moving and/or switching roles. This variety keeps students engaged and on task. Safe/Comfortable: Talking one-on-one with each other is far less intimidating than talking to a small group or to the whole class. This is a great activity to help build confidence in students who are reserved or afraid to speak in front of others (ELLs). Ownership: One option for this activity is to have students create their own questions (which they LOVE doing). They really take this task seriously and become quite invested in the process.