When September comes!

We start a new school year and we need to plan our goals, be sure you have new ideas to practice, this is the first step of innovetion. When I start a new group I always follow these steps:

  • Read the legal documentation it applys to your group
  • Be critical and check your course book
  • Prepare an inicial evaluation
  • Define your teaching objectives
  • Learn students’ name

Nowadays in Madrid, LOMCE is applied in Primary and Secondary Education and we have to be careful and kwow which contents we need to teach.

LOMCE

Royal decree 126:2014 28th February

Decree 89:2014 24th July Madrid

Be critical with your course book and check:

  • Does it have all the contents that LOMCE ask?
  • Which approach does it have?

I remember checking some Social and English books and it is a real bad feeling when you realise that there are some missing contents, you can’t think that the book is “the truth”, be critical and check in advance.

Another problem is the approach, every book has an approach. Do you want to follow this approach? Do you really need the book and how are you going to do it?

When you have cristal clear these two points, we have to move to the more important “students”. Take into account that our main point is to develop learning and we as teachers need to know what are our students can do or can’t do. It’s time to prepare the initial evaluation.

Finaly we need to create our teaching objectives, we know what our students can or can’t  do, what contents you have to teach and how you can reach then so let’s start.

Keep calm and memorice students name, it’s really importat to call studetns by their names and in this way you’ll start creating a good relationship.

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How to transfer from STM to LTM

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STM-LTMHow do we learn? First we should distinguish short-term memory from long-term memory.

Short-term memory stores all the information that has come from our eyes, ears… this is the input that we get from our five senses, taking into account that normally the more important is the visual input although according to Gardner “Frames of Mind: The theory of multiple intelligences” (1983) students have several different ways of processing information and these ways are relatively independent of one another.

The STM stores what are thinking at the time and it is easily displaced by new information.

On the other hand, the long-term memory is the contents of the STM those are passed on, these contents are structured and it takes time.

Bear in mind that it is impossible to remember something that you do not properly understand.

If you give information too fast, the student won’t have time to process it in the STM, relax and use the “silent and speak slowly” let student think and reflex about this new infromation.

Help students to understand and help then to pass on LTM. I remember when I used in my classes “Do you understand” and everyone said “Yes, we do”, It doesn’t work, better use content checking questions” (CCQ)

  • What is the difference between LTM and STM?
  • What do you need to pass on information from STM to LTM?
  • Will the teacher help talking slowly and giving time “silent”?
  • Can you transfer any information that you don’t properly understand to LTM?

As you can see, this is the first step to learn:

Get new input – Understand – Store in the LTM

Now it is time to “recall“, we only remember useful information so recall the information regularly. Use repetition, every first minutes in your class recall the information that you think important.

  • Don’t cover new material too quickly
  • Give “silent” after important information and time to students to process the information
  • Recall regularly, repetition

¿Cómo aprendemos? En primer lugar hay que distinguir la memoria a corto plazo de la memoria a largo plazo.

 

La memoria a corto plazo (STM)  toma toda la información que ha llegado a nuestros cinco sentidos: vista, olfato, oído,  gusto y tacto. Teniendo en cuenta que se suele prestar más importancia a información visual y la teoría de las inteligencias múltiples de Gardner  (1983) los estudiantes tienen diferentes maneras de procesar la información y estas formas son relativamente independientes entre sí.

 

El STM almacena lo que están pensando en el momento y se desplaza fácilmente de un estímulo a otro por la nueva información.

 

Por otro lado, la memoria a largo plazo (SLM) es el contenido de la STM transferido al SLM, estos contenidos están estructurados y se necesita tiempo para interiorizarlo.

 

Hay que tener en cuenta que es imposible recordar algo que no se ha entiende correctamente.

 

Si se introduce la información demasiado rápido, el estudiante no tendrá tiempo para procesarlo en el STM, es importante crear un ambiente relajado y proclive para transferir contenidos al SLM, utilizar el silencio  para dejar tiempo a la reflexión y hablar despacio puede ayudar a comprender, dejar que los estudiantes piensan y reflexionen añade un mayor significado. Por otro lado la introducción de la emoción y el sentimiento garantizan una mezcla correcta.

 

Ayudar a los estudiantes a comprender es crucial para transmitir LTM. Si preguntamos en clase “¿Lo habéis comprendido?”  Todo el mundo dirá: “Sí, sí”, y claro está habrá dudas, sería mucho mejor utilizar “preguntas de análisis de contenido” (CCQ)

 

Deberíamos preguntarnos:

¿Cuál es la diferencia entre el LTM y STM?

¿Qué se necesita para transmitir información desde STM a LTM?

¿Podemos ayudar hablando lentamente y dando tiempo “silencios” entre las expliaciones?

¿Podemos transferir contenidos qué no entendemos al LTM?

El proceso de aprendizaje continuaría esta línea:

Introducir contenido – Comprender – Interiorizar en el LTM

 

Ahora es el momento de “recuperación”, solemos recordar sólo información que consideramos útil, si queremos interiorizar algún contenido debemos de repetir de manera regular la información. Usa la repetición, todos los primeros minutos de clase inviértelos en recordar la información que considere más importante de la sesión anterior.

 

  • Permite tiempo en la introducción de nuevo contenido para su comprensión, reflexión e interiorización
  • Utiliza el “silencio” después de información importante y permite procesar la información
  • Repasa los contenidos trabajados periódicamente, utiliza la repetición

Think – Pair – Share Technique

Think-pair-share

Remember that no thinking no learning, I love this technique, you can use it in a plan activity or on the spur of the moment, it develops cognition. First you divide the class in pairs you can use it with:

  • Concepts review
  • Jigsaw reading
  • Brainstorming
  • Quiz reviews
  • Topic development
  • Discussion questions

This technique is divided in three steps:

  1. Think individually
  2. Work in pairs to solve a problem
  3. Share their ideas with the class

Imagine you give a text that students individual have to read, after reading you formulate a question, it has to be a “fat question“. You also give students time to formulate an idea.

Next students work in pairs, we are fostering the ability to consider other points of view and students discuss their ideas as the teacher circulate and listen to the conversations, we can perform formative assessment.

Finally students share their own ideas with the class with the teacher guide, at this point we perform other assessment and fix misunderstanding but take into account creativity, some answers aren’t right, but there are awesome.

 

 

English Profile

The English Profile is global research program developed by University of Cambridge, British Council and other important institutions. Their main aim is to help teachers and educational institutions to understand what is the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

It helps teachers to know what vocabulary, grammar, structure we need to introduce in order to achieve our students goals. In my case, I teach year six and in May they will take KET and PET exam. According to the CEFR, KET exam is a A2 so I can go to englishprofile.org and check what I need to teach, the same it will happen with PET that is B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference.

English grammar profile generate a excel file with all the contents that students need:

KET exam A2English Grammar Profile A2

PET exam B1English Grammar Profile B1

In the English Grammar Profile A2 there are A1 and A2 and in the English Grammar Profile B1 only the B1, bear in mind that students need their prior knowledge to reach the last stage.

Also there is an English Vocabulary Profile, you need to free login and you can check the vocabulary grade according to the CEFR.

Bank of activities

As teacher we use to develop our own material but have you ever thought about sharing? Here is the place, let’s share our work!

 

Activity

 

Educational purpose
Find someone who…

Learners use a checklist as they walk around the classroom trying to find a person who has a certain characteristic. When they find someone with those characteristics, they write that person’s name on their checklist and move on to the next person. The goal is to meet and talk to as many people as possible within the time limit in order to put one name by each of the characteristics.

 

(S.O.)

Ice breaker for the beginning of the course for helping students become comfortable with their new classmates

To foster communication

Find the English mistakes in the sentences on the board

 

To identify mistakes (grammar, word choice,
Rank words / sentences in order

Learners put a list of words/sentences in an order

To order, classify, compare
Look at the objects and decide how they relate to someone’s life (F.O.)To develop cognitive skills

Guessing, hypothesising

Ask the right question i.e. students have to get their partner to say the word on their paper without saying the word

 

To foster communication, to review previous knowledge.

Creative thinking

True / False game in two rows with two chairs at the end

To answer, sts run to the “True” or “False” chair.

To review previous knowledge

To form correct sentences

Jigsaw reading To foster communication (introduce speaking into a reading lesson)
Mark the stress of words with a box, beating the stress with your hands, humming To improve word stress
Role plays incorporating target language (S.O.) To develop creativity
Dance around room. When the music stops say something you have learned this week and explain its meaning

 

To reflect.

To take a quick energy break (brain breaks).

 

Story about someone’s life to practise two problem sounds To improve pronunciation
Mushrooming groups e.g. for a debate. Start off with two students, them form a group of four and then eight etc.

 

To reflect

To foster communication

Jigsaw listening

Learners hear different parts of a text, then exchange information with others in order to complete a task

 

To integrate listening and speaking skills

To encourage collaborative learning

Silently mouth the pronunciation of sounds to show how they are made and then students hold up cards when the hear the correct sound

 

To identify sounds mimed by the teacher
Dance to music and then elicit a word or phrase when the music stops

 

To have students come up with a word on their own

 

Self-correct homework using symbols

Teacher shows the learners where the mistakes are and what kind they are, and they try to correct them

To optimise learning opportunities from mistakes learners make in written tasks
Order words on a timeline To display information in visual form

To help students understand the chronology of historic events

 

 

Walk around the room and find someone with a matching answer to you or fill in the missing preposition and ask the question and get an answer. Then change partners

To work on prepositions

To make questions

Appoint a leader and timekeeper for group work and agree on the rules for an effective group before students begin To improve the effectiveness of collaborative group work

 

Art of questioning

Questions

Questions are powerful tools that develop understanding or other high-order skills. Questions help students to think for themselves and to create their own learning, to practise using their prior knowledge and to develp new understanding. On the other hand, teachers have the opportunity to check immediately and correct. Questions also help us to get feedback on the learning progress and ensure that students don’t get lost.

We are going to distinguish skinny & fat questions and introduce comprehension-checking questions:

  • Skinny questions: these questions only require that students recall facts, they are used to reinforce early learning, what the students can or cannot remember.

In the lesson plan “The little paper boat” if we ask:

T – What were Peter & Jack playing at the park?

S – They were playing football.

  • Fat questions: let students practise the high-order thinking skills, in order to answer them, students need the ability to sift through the memory and choose only the relevant information.

T- If you find a magic little paper boat, where will you go?

S- I will travel to the epic Monkey Island.

Finally comprehension checking questions (CCQ), they are really useful after instructions, have you ever used “Do you understand?” and everyone said “Yes, we do” but students don’t have any clue of what’s going on…

Imagine that you want students to read a text, look for five answer, and finally to check their answers with their groups. First you introduce the task and modelling an example, now it is time to start but before …CCQ!

T – Do we have to read the text?

S – Yes, we do.

T – Do we have to answer the five questions with our partners?

S – No, we don’t.

T – Do we have to answer the five questions by yourself?

S – Yes, we do.

T – Do we have to check the answer with our partners?

S – Yes, we do.

T- Ok, any questions? So, let’s go!

Bloom’s taxonomy

Bloom.png

Benjamin Bloom (1956) divided learning into tasks or skills, which he called ”taxonomy”. At the bottom the skills are relatively undemanding and they get more difficult, more connected and more useful towards the top.

He divided these six categories in “high order thinking skills” (H.O.T.S) and “low order thinking skills” (L.O.T.S). These skills are connected, only when you are completely proficient in one skill you can move to the next one.

  • Low order thinking skills (L.O.T.S)
    • Knowledge is the ability to recall something
    • Comprehension means you understand the knowledge, you can explain in terms of your existing learning and experience
    • Application means doing after being shown how
  • High order thinking skills (H.O.T.S)
    • Analysing is breaking a complex whole into parts, and then looking at the parts in some detail
      • You can divide the whole into logical parts and then consider each part separately or;
      • Looking at the whole, but only from a specific point of view
    • Evaluating is making a judgement about an activity. Evaluation includes learners evaluating their own work while doing it, or after completing it
    • Creating is using all the previous skills, the final process