Academic challenge 1: Implementing the Lexical Approach (Notes 1)

Hey everyone. It's been so many years I wanted to read this book and I've finally started it this week. So here are my notes on Chapter one and some ideas on how to go about it.

 

Implementing the Lexical Approach by Michael Lewis

Chapter 1:

What to remember about:

Collocations

  • Collocations is the phenomenon whereby certain words co-occur in natural text with great random frequency
  • Some collocations are more common and co-occur with the same words (fixed collocations) such as make/do a mistake, chase/ miss the bus e.t.c
  • Some others are not fully fixed but can be filled with a limited number of partner-words. 

 Fixed expressions and Semi-fixed expressions

Types to take into consideration.

  • Fixed expressions are rare and many are short, verbless expression in everyday situation Not too bad, thanks
  • Almost fixed expressions, which permits minimal variation It's/That's not my fault. 
  • Spoken sentences with a simple slot: Could you pass…….. please?
  • Expressions with a slot which must be filled with a particular kind of slot-filler. Hello. Nice to see you. I haven't seen you + time expression with for or since.
  • Sentence heads which can be completed in many ways. What was really interesting/ surprising/annoying was. . . .
  • More extended frames such as those for a formal letter or the opening paragraphs of an academic paper. For example, There are broadly speaking two views of. . . . 

(See page 11)

 The significance of Lexis 

' Language consists of grammaticalised lexis, not lexicalised grammar' Raf Erzeel, review VVLE Newsletter 3/96

Checklist of some changes in content and methodology:

More attention will be paid to:

  • Lexis- different kinds of multi-word chunks
  • Specific language areas not previously standard in many EFL texts
  • Listening (at lower levels) and reading (at higher levels)
  • Activities based on L1/L2 comparisons and translations 
  • The use of the dictionary as a resource for active learning
  • Probable rather than possible English
  • Organizing learners' notebooks to reveal patterns and aid retrieval  
  • The language which learners may meet outside the classroom 
  • Preparing learners to get maximum benefits from text. 

My reaction and how to go about it. 

I decided to set the next academic goal and implement this approach in my teaching. First I will draw my students' attention to chunks and also find ways to help learners achieve the three highlighted above (A) talk about what is probable in English and not what is possible (B) organize their notebooks (C) and get maximum benefits from texts. 

(A) Organised notebooks:

  • Encourage learners to write down chunks  and avoid writing single words. Example: Instead of writing down the word 'lack', write 'lack of' and common words that follow 'lack of food', lack of money' e.t.c. 
  • The lexical Notebook should be personalised, learners should free to write down lexis that are particularly helpful to them.  
  • Train students to use a dictionary and look up more expressions related with the target word. For example, as seen in Oxford Advance Dictionary, Idioms with lack – not for want/ lack of trying. 
  •  Ask them to formulate their own example, it can be personal or something they made up.
  • Get them to find more examples at home (using the web) or write down more examples. 
  • Give students pre-designed pages to encourage the recording of particular patterns. I am planning to start with the following:  

 

 

(B) Probable English than possible English:

  • Take notes when students are speaking; write down common expressions students usually translate from their L1  but don't sound natural in English.
  • To encourage them do that I adapted the 'Thought-Speech-Bubble from the book (as seen in page 82).   

    
Download the document here  

(C) Get maximum benefit from the texts:

  •  Start of with a discussion related to the topic, a debate or a role play. Write down interesting words,expression or collocations on the whiteboard. Students schematic knowledge will be activate and students learn from one another.
  •  After reading, get students notice patterns, collocations and expression and WRITE them down in their notebook. 
  • Another activity is 'Find the expression that means…..' from the reading texts. In this activity ss work on synonyms and scan the texts to find the answer.  

THE IMPORTANCE OF RECORDING AND REVISITING

New lexical items should be recycled by students.We therefore, have to encourage ss to look back and do something with the language they recorded. Make sure you ask questions such as:
– What was the word you recorded for……?
– Can you put three expression you put in your notebook last week?  

 To be continued :D………..

 

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Writing: First Certificate – Check list

 

Are your students lay back and quite lazy? Well, mine are. So after thinking of an idea to get them spend more time when writing essays I came up with this Check-list to help them make the most of their writing. 

 DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLISTS HERE

Check-list

Once you are done with your essay, re-read and make sure you have done the following:

ESSAY-CHECK LIST

  •   1st paragraph: re-write the topic sentences by rephrasing it (writing it with your own words, or by changing it a bit)

  •  1st paragraph: say why is important or mention both opinions (Many people believe….. Others, however….)

  •  2nd paragraph: develop the points given in the question. – Include relevant details to support the main idea: these might include examples, rhetorical question or surprising statements… 

  •   3rd Add your own idea (ALWAYS a different idea). Don't forget to give an example.  If you include a drawback, give a possible solution. 

  • 4th Summarise and give your personal opinion

Also remember to:

  • Use a semi-formal tone.

  • Use linking adverbials or expressions to link ideas.

  • Organise your writing clearly into paragraphs.  

 How to use a Check-lists 

IN CLASS
1. After collecting the essay and before doing any corrections get students to swap writings. 
2. Hand-out a checklist sheet and get students to read and tick.
3. Then ask them to take back their writing and help them edit and add the missing points.

HOMEWORK
1. Hand-out the checklist sheet and assign homework
2. Remind SS to check the list while writing the essay
3. Collect essays, correct and check if students have used all points.
4. Give essays back and encourage students to add missing points. 

I hope you've found this idea helpful. Give it a go and let me know how it goes. Also, if you have more ideas on how to get them revisit and spend more time on writing please feel free to comment below 🙂


 

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Back to School : Getting to know your students.

So this is it! Back to school.. 🙂 I am pretty excited about it, let's be honest, educators have such a big break 😀 and I do miss teaching. So these are my top ideas/activities on getting back to school, mainly related to new groups, adults and teens.

1. Find someone who (A2 and above/Adults): love this, just because I get them to stand up, mingle, move around and get to know each other.

  • Hand out the sheets (attached below) and demonstrate the first example by asking  the question to a student. Ask students to fill up the information at the same time.

Teacher – Have you got a pet?
Student -Yes
Teacher -Is it a cat or a dog?
Student – Dog
Teacher – What's his/her name?
Student – Klio.

  • Ask students to think for a minute on how to formulate the questions and then elicit. 
  • Then, get them to stand up, mingle around the classroom to write as many names as possible. Also remind them to ask more question to fill up the 'more information' section.
  •  Elicit feedback with students telling you about their findings. Example: Yiannis speaks more than three languages. Persian, Greek, English and Spanish and his favorite language is Persian.
  • Adapt this game by making your own questions depending on the level and age group.

PRESS HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE HANDOUT 

2. True or False.

  • Write five statements about you on the whiteboard and tell students that 4 statements are True while one is False. 
  • Students make their guesses in an open class discussion. 
  • Get students to do the same by writing 4 true statements about themselves and one False. Then, get them to work in two's or three's and play the game.

3. About me (A2 above/works well with teenagers)

  • Write a set of questions on a handout or the whiteboard related to hobbies, interests, music, sports, holidays e.t.c.
  • Give out some empty pieces of papers and ask students to answer each question on a different paper and then folder it. 
  • Collect the paper, add it in a box or a jar and get students to pick and guess who's paper might be. If right then he/she gets a point.
  • Encourage students to ask a question to find more information and get an extra point. 

PRESS HERE FOR THE QUESTIONS I USE.  

A different way of practicing asking personal and getting to know your students is 'The Best Friend's Challenge'. This game however, can only be successful if your students already know each other really well. Here how it goes:

How to play: write the following questions in different cards and cut them down. Place them in a box. Student A draws a questions and tries to guess how Student B would have answered the question. Student A and B write the answer down and show their answers with the count of 3. If the answers match they get a point. 

 
1.   What’s my favourite colour?
2.   What are the place I would like to visit?
3.   What’s my favourite food?
4.   What’s the food I hate the most?
5.   How many minutes do I take to get dressed?
6.   What are the things I carry with me all the time?
7.   What my favourite subject at school?
8.   What my worst subject at school?
9.   What annoys me the most?
10. What’s my favourite sport?
11. What’s the craziest thing I have done?
12. What do I usually have for breakfast?
13. What my favourite song at the moment?
14. Where am I going on holiday this Christmas/Easter?
15. What’s my favourite TV show?
16. What do I do in my free time?
17. What’s my favourite kind of sweet?
18. Which is my favourite type of film? Horror, Comedy, Action etc..
19. If I could meet anyone, who would it be?
20. What would I do if I won the lottery?
21. What's my favourite kind of sandwich?
22. What's my favourite hobby?
23. How do I spend my free time? 
 
After finishing the game we worked on fluency. So I asked my students to answer the questions, expand their answers and I recorded them.  In that way, I had the chance to listen to the audio again and correct some basic mistakes.  To avoid making them feel embarrassed I gave them the corrections in handouts and we practised again. This activity is great for students preparing for exams. 
   You can also get your students to come up with more questions and play the game again 🙂


4. Jinx Challenge. (For all levels and ages.)
This can be played after getting to know your students to add a bit of fun. I've attached the YouTube video here that I get the inspiration from. Enjoy it!

 
 

 

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Say or Tell: FCE Common mistakes


Complete the sentences using say or tell.

  1. She said to me that she’d just been made redundant. 
  2. Why don’t they …….. something, instead of sitting there in silence? 
  3. Carl is always ………. me how hard he works, but I don’t believe him.
  4. Don’t take his word for it, he never ……. the truth!
  5. I overheard Emily ………… her mother was ill.
  6. If you’d wanted to go out, you should have ………..  me. 
  7. She ……….. she doesn’t gossip but she …………. her friends everything. 
  8. What’s the point of giving your son a watch if he can’t …………… the time yet?

Views answers here

Taken by Common mistakes at First Certificate. . .  and how to avoid them, Cambridge University Press, 2004 

 

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Working with Phrasal verbs 2: Teenagers

When it comes to teenagers I have to admit that my ideas are more creative than my first posts ‘Working with Phrasal verbs 1’.

IDEA 1

  • I get them to use the phrasal verbs in shapes and graphics. Like this they have all gather in a handout with a definition and an example. They find that useful and memorable. It also works really well with visual learners.

This is an example a student of mine did last week. 

IDEA 2

  • I  ask them to use the phrasal verbs in comics. You will be amazed how much they enjoy that and how fast they learn to make comics online by themselves. For the first time I suggest doing one comic together so they can see how to go about it.

>

You can make your own comics online in these websites:

Make beliefs comix
Pixton
ToonDoo
Bitstrips

IDEA 3

Play Games: Mystery Reward Game!!!!

  • Teenagers are incredibly competitive. Games and competitions work really well with phrasal verbs and students love it!

One game that we usually play to revise vocabulary is the ‘Choose a symbol’. Each symbol means something else. Students however, don’t know what each symbol means and I think it what makes it fun and engaging.

Step 1: Divide students into two teams and give each team a copy.
Step 2: Ask the first team to choose a symbol. Then you could ask them to give you an ‘example sentence’ or a ‘definition’ of the phrasal verb. (Alternatively you could prepare some sentences and ask them to guess the missing word in the gap)
Step 3: Once they have answer tell them the prize of the symbol.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3.

DOWNLOAD THE GAME HERE!!!!!
Some ideas are:

  10+ points
-10 points

  Double points

Swap points

     No points

5+ points

Play again (no points)

3+ points

Swap points.

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment and share more ideas about teaching phrasal verbs to teens 🙂

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