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Putting variety into vocabulary lessons

Studying vocabulary in the traditional way - copying words and definitions verbatim from the board - gets monotonous for the teacher and for the students. But how can you get students to learn a large set of new words without having them copy in some way? Using unfamiliar vocabulary from the students' book, "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas," we tried an approach that gave the students the option of thinking visually or linguistically. Some students, after all, are great with words, while others prefer pictures. I often find, too, that  when students see an image of something, the meaning of the word tends to stick with them better than reading a definition. 

So, what did we do? With every new word, I wrote it on the board and drew a box underneath it. I asked students to come to the board and define the word in their own way, using the context provided by the book. They could write a synonym, write a definition or draw a picture to help explain the word to their classmates. The results were interesting. For example, two of the words were "candle" and "tiny." First, one student drew a candle. Then, because the box for "tiny" was next to "candle," the following student drew a tiny candle in the box for "tiny." Students also drew pictures for "wire fence," "truck" and "load." With other words, such as "box up" for example, students wrote definitions. 

Giving them the freedom to think visually or linguistically resulted in a creative and meaningful way to study vocabulary and make the lesson more dynamic. Although this method can't always be used, it's something I'd recommend using more often when the material allows for it it. 

Song and dance

Songs can be a great English-teaching tool, assuming the song is suitable for the classroom and the students' level, but the challenge is finding a creative way to use them. We decided to combine song, dance, grammar and vocabulary in a dynamic way to get the kids up and moving, while practicing English at the same time. We used "Say Something," a beautiful ballad by A Great Big World. The song worked perfectly for a variety of reasons, the most important of which was that the students loved the song. Secondly, it's slow and repetitive, which makes it easier for the students to follow, and they're not overwhelmed by new words. Thirdly, a variety of verb forms (past simple, present simple, present continuous, command, future, etc.) are used, so it was perfect for the activity we chose.

We called the activity "Grammar Dance." The students had the lyrics in hand, and for every time a specific verb form appeared in the song, they had to do a specific action, effectively making a sort of "dance" when the song was played as a whole. For example, every time they heard the present simple tense, they had to stand up. With past simple, they had to raise their hand. With future, they had to move their hand in circles, and so on. Almost every line of the song has a verb, so they were thinking about the verb tense and its associated movement with every lyric. It was funny to see them paying attention to grammar and participating in a fun, creative way at the same time.

Plot your functions!!

In order to check if you are doing correctly any exercise related to functions part, you can use fooplot.

It´s a great tool to see how a function is

Customary Units

Some English spoken countries use different kind of units to measure. It is called Imperial or Customary System. Here you are the differences between this system and the Decimal Metric System and some exercises to do.

The Decimal Metric System

In this unit you are going to learn what units are needed to calculate length, weigth, capacity, area and volume.
You will also learn how to change into differrent units, the relationship between valumen, capacity and mass, agricultural surfaces and another system of measuring used in UK and USA (customary or Imperial system).

This document will help you.

Measures Puzzle

A good way of practicing how to change  measures and weights in different unit is doing this number puzzle.
Download it and do it.

Measures Vocabulary Review

This is a worksheet to review measures vocabulary.
You can download it here.

Improve your Maths Vocabulary

With this online dictionary, you can read and listen to definitions related to Maths.
It is a good and a funny way of reviewing vocabulary and learning new words.
Select your level, look up the word(s) you are interested in and... LEARN A LOT!