Activity Teaching Packs – how to use them
A few suggestions
The material in the Activity Teaching Packs is designed to cover all typical aspects of the foreign language classroom – based on my own 30-odd years of daily teaching in a German secondary school. The activities are also suitable for a range of abilities within a class.
But you are the one who knows your class, so adapt the material to best suit your students’ needs.
NUMBER OF LESSONS
Variable, depending on how enthusiastic your students are. But do not underestimate the enthusiasm storytelling can generate in a class.
In my typical classes, I would expect to have work for at least five lessons (and quite possibly more) with activities like these following a story.
SELECT AND ADAPT THE ACTIVITIES
Storytelling methodology is remarkably flexible. You will probably find it easy to adapt the activities to fit your current classroom teaching. Clearly there is no need to use everything in the Activity Teaching Pack, nor necessarily use the activities in the order presented here.
AGE RANGE SUITABILITY
As with much storytelling, very wide. You may find the material in any Activity Teaching Pack suitable across several age ranges.
PARTNER AND SMALL GROUP WORK: THE LOGISTICS
As a teacher I firmly believe in mixing the students by assigning them to different partners and small groups. However, while I understand the pedagogical benefits, I know it may take some time before students recognise and accept my views!
When in school, I had to judge the amount of resistance. So always be flexible rather than dogmatic.
Choose a variety of criteria – a few examples for assigning partners (for a class of 30)
- Rapidly count through the class, each student calling their number, beginning with 1 until 15. Repeat with the remaining students – but telling them to establish eye contact with their new partner. (The first time you do this, show with your hands that the two students sharing the same number are partners. Students soon learn to do these things rapidly.)
- The next time, begin counting the two halves in different parts of the classroom to the previous lesson. That way students do not have the same pairing.
- Use birthdays. Ask students with birthdays in January to April to stand. This is where you begin to count – and so on through the quarters.
- Use height. Students stand in a row in approximate order of height. (Best not use this if one is particularly short or tall.)
- Colour preferences. “Stand if you prefer blue to red…Now stand if you prefer green to yellow.” (Use further colour preferences until all are given a number.
For assigning into small groups (for a class of 30)
- Rapidly go through the class, each student calling a letter, A to F. The same letters then come together to form a group.
- Vary by adapting any of the above.
- Enjoy surprising students with even stranger criteria.
- Of course, sometimes allow students to choose their own partners.
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Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright
For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling