Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Friday, 31 May 2013

KEEPING STUDENTS ENGAGED at the end of a semester

Finding ideas and lessons for ESL students at the end of a long and tiresome semester (idiomatically and literally) is a chore and a serious challenge for the ELTeaching brigade.  That is why I find, like all of you reading this, an extremely difficult time of the year to come up with anything fresh that can hold a group of teenagers interested for any length of time.  So, it pleases me to announce that my colleague and I have come with another lesson idea that might help you to allay those fears and get them on it.

We had planned to use this amazing video earlier in the year, but for several reasons we put it off from being rolled out.  However, now that the major 6th exam has been completed and now all that the students have to keep them interested in participating is the feedback we can give them on their impending yearly portfolios (the post of that organization can be found here by scanning the QR Code below.

QR Code generatorSo the video I am espousing is a short film that won numerous awards, and one which I last year and just new it would be a hit with our students.  The film, Peter and the Wolf, has no dialog, but relies on wonderful animation and the music soundtrack supplied by its writer, Sergio Prokofiev from 1936.  WAIT!!!!! How can a student from 2013 even begin to accept something so old. Well, you would be surprised.  Not one of the 15 year olds got bored of the movie, so we had to raise the bar for the activity.  
The video is below and the activity follows right after...

Before we watched the video, we instructed the students to take notes. This would add more focus to the task of 'just' watching another video.  Then we put the students into groups of THREE.  Not only do these numbers suit us for tables filled in one classroom, we have also found that it is by far the most effective way to group OUR kids.

The worksheets, made before, were then displayed on to the IWB. However, we had one sheet also printed off for each student.

NEXT: We instructed the students to discuss the movie and first 10 questions, now on display, in front of them, for FIVE MINUTES.  They were not allowed to right the answers on their worksheets yet. THE REASON? They were being encouraged to speak English throughout, thus giving them the opportunity to practise their L2 discourse.  This process was timed and with the use of my iphone 5 clock timer, the 'nuclear attack' type buzzer tone went off to inform them their talking session was over.

Then they were given the worksheets and from their notes they had to fill out the worksheets from their discussion, and notes made during the previous five minutes.  At this point my colloeague and I looked over at each other in dismay. The sound of the 'one-hand clapping' anthithesis sprung to mind, as they all furiously wrote down their answers against the new clock of THREE minutes. We seriously could not believe our eyes.

Once they had their answers to the first TEN questions down, and the clock alarm sounded, we went from table to table asking random students the answers to the questions.  That is when the fun started as competition grew, and tensions mounted.  If one group member got it wrong, we moved to the next and so forth. This caused great hilarity around the room.  After that was completed and scores in, we moved to the next 9 questions.  This time the students were even more focused on getting their discussions right, and questions written down.


This activity, especially at this time of the semester, was hugely succesful and fun. Not only did the students get to watch an awesome, funny and interesting film, they got to watch it while listening to classical music (something they NEVER do), which they so enjoyed, note taking, peer-collaboration, L2-discussions, against-the-clock writing, answering the questions, listening and a competitive fun spirit. AWESOME!!



  1. YOur blog is such a source of inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. Thank you so much for your positive feedback. It means a great deal to us :-)

  3. excellent stuff you two, I keep using your site for new ideas
    James Smart