Classroom Community Builders: Book Review

Introduction

I was kindly asked a few weeks ago by Alphabet Publishing to review a recent publication, “Classroom Community Builders: Activities for the First Day & Beyond“, written by Walton Burns. After a few weeks of waiting, the book finally arrived along with a personalised letter from the publisher.

The publisher, Alphabet Publishing, is one of those small independent organisations which specialise with practical ideas for teaching and lesson ideas. The first book that I reviewed for them was “50 Activities for the First Day of School” as a video book review. You can watch the video below or find out a bit more from a previous blog post.

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Why Should Teachers Blog?

The-Beginners-Guide-to-Blogging

Last week, I was inducting some new teachers into our school: preparing them for their teaching career for the year ahead. We looked at various areas about teaching: classroom management, get to know you activities, games in the classroom, etc. The final area we looked at was about continuing professional development (CPD). We looked at formal and peer observations, attending workshops, contributing to workshops as well as blogging. All teachers with varying years of experience, including a teacher who had just completed her CELTA (or equivalent), had only come across the mainstream websites related to English language teaching (TEFL.com, Dave’s ESL Cafe or Teaching English) yet had not really considered blogging a tool for CPD.

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Teaching Ideas for Word Stress

pronunciation-practice-activities
Pronunciation Practice Activities” by Martin Hewings

So the past few months, I have been focusing more and more on pronunciation for all levels of learners, no matter whether they are young learners or adult learners of English. Anyhow, I tried out a new lesson idea today which was partly inspired from the wonderful book, “Pronunciation Practice Activities“, written by Martin Hewings. I would recommend any teacher worth their salt to purchase this book, as it offers some great pronunciation lesson ideas which could be incorporated into class immediately.

Most teachers would identify word stress with the teaching of new vocabulary or as a technique to support pronunciation for problematic lexical items. This is all well and good but it reminds me of a teacher reacting to issues rather than proactively focusing on areas of language learning. Personally, if a teacher is able to develop a lesson based around pronunciation and developing learners’ awareness of pronunciation, so much the better. There is by no means anything wrong by reacting to pronunciation issues as they arise but I think it would be a nice change of focus when we remind learners that there are some basic principles that they can learn no matter how large or small the lexical item. Nevertheless, lets look at one lesson idea which is published in “Pronunciation Practice Activities“.

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Improving Spelling with Elementary Learners

Hello all. It is almost the Lunar New Year, so a huge congratulations to those readers from China and the Far East who will be commencing their celebrations soon. Today, we are looking at how to improve spelling with elementary or low-level learners, particularly if they are from an Arabic background.

It is notoriously difficult to improve or develop an Arabic learners. There are some important things you could consider incorporating in class such as unscrabbling letters to make the words, removing the vowels from words and students have to write them in words and, one of my favourite activities, using Scrabble tiles in class. Watch the video below to see how I use them in class by getting learners to review spelling and vocabulary.

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