Just to whet your appetite for fun idea generation as a teacher, cast your mind back to the last time you used a traditional text book.
Firstly you had a text to read, based on a topic with some specific vocabulary and grammar to present to learners.
Did you ever wonder how it could be more exciting? Personally, I often felt that the texts were written by robots and were drier than an old-fashioned encyclopedia.
Did you ever realize that you are a personality who could share the same vocabulary and grammar in ways that would teach students more than the lesson at hand; maybe you’d add humour or inspiration to the text? What kinds of practical opportunities would you come up with if you weren’t tied to a text book?
If you a not free-style Edupreneur and must use course books, wouldn’t it be nice to have students make multi-media posters based on what you do in the course books as homework or project work?
The students would, in effect, be re-writing the course book lessons into their own personalised learning chunks
Here are some ideas…
1) Musical Language Posters
If you are teaching grammar, you can add a song to the poster which expresses the grammar point you wish to teach. Students rarely pick up lyrics or grammar points from songs without a little help in awareness-raising. I know many people who listen to English music but can never grasp the lyrics, let alone ‘notice’ the grammar.
With Eduglogster you can add a mindmap of key words, verb changes, or images taken from the song. Students can recreate the songs by using the imagery and then listen to see how close their guesses were to the original songs.
The key is in the visual focus, whether it’s images, mindmaps, short text excerpts on stickers or audio/visual embeds such as video or podcast.
2) eBooks, Magazines and Courses
The posters can also become mini-books or courses as they can be linked to quizzes, text, homework and all kinds of other files you wish to attach to the main introductory lesson.
3) From Text to Poster
I love to think of these interactive posters as visual news bulletins. How about some citizen journalism? I use a great news website called English Addicts with all of my students in a kind of flipped classroom approach.
If you have English Addicts, or BBC, VOA or even Breaking English News as a starting point, you can have your students creating fantastic billboards that would look cool adorning NEW York City side walks. Think sandwich man goes digital, or graffiti artists on language quests.
My idea is that students would read a news topic and then create a poster of the news item using stickers for headlines or main points, video, imagery and /or links.
This is great training for summarizing, extracting key information, and engaging deeply with the content, both for language purposes and for understanding global events in more detail. This, in turn, trains the brain for writing, speaking, and storing vocabulary in more brain-friendly ways. It also trains students for many major exams such as ESOL Cambridge.
4) Guessing Games and Information Sharing
Students can make a poster with some key words and images from a news event/article and their classmates have to guess what the topic is, collaboratively re-create the article from the key words and clues, and then compare it with the original article. This is great for critical thinking skills, and conducive to many guessing games based on missing information etc.
5) Word Posters
Think of the last time you had to do some boring vocabulary revision with students. Hopefully you have some games and other recycling activities that work well. But students can do better homework and revision on their own with Eduglogster. Firstly, they can transform boring word lists into vocabulary stickers or flash cards and arrange them on semantically designed posters. They can add images that will help them to remember the words, they can link posters to simple vocabulary revision tools such as Quizlet for repetition and practice.
Before going on to read more ideas, have a look at this electronic poster which summarises my idea. Each idea is linked to a real lesson plan presented via Eduglogster.
6) Listening goes Visual
A fun listening activity would be to have students listen to a podcast instead of read text. This could also be a news podcast, as a variation on our citizen journalism idea, or it could be an entertainment feature, or any topic important for students from business to teenage stuff.
They would listen to the audio, write down key words phrases they think are important or relevant, and then ‘posterise’ their notes.
Later they can see the transcripts or listen again and have fun finding out what they missed, or didn’t quite catch the first time. They could edit their posters accordingly and do lots of fun follow-up activities.
7) Posters for Business English
Business people usually have to make presentations at work. Traditionally they use power point for this. Eduglogster now has special business accounts for real-life business situations.
However we can re-create these business situations for our students and have them plan business presentations for their English lessons using Eduglogster. Afterwards they will have easy-to- store poster files of their language presentations for quick revision before real-life meetings etc. Remember that a very important element in business language training is speaking in public, so students can record themselves on video using the Eduglogster ‘grab’ function and share their presentations asynchronously with teachers online.
Don’t be surprised if they decide to adopt Eduglogster for their professional work as well.
8) Creative Language Learning with Story and Poetry
What nicer way to teach language than via the arts.? What better way than to have students create their own stories and language from the heart by painting their thoughts onto a blank edu-canvas? Creative writing teaches grammar better than grammar does. Eduglogster is an artistic, story boarding tool for you to present your own stories or even comics to students. Students can write collaborative stories, make comics, or do their own personal creative writing. If this was a class of students , they could delegate tasks. One student does images, one video, one captions, the other design. So much fun and learning. If you had a group of business people, they could design work-based collaboration scenarios in a similar way.
9) Exam Training Posters – from Test to Text
As I mentioned before, visualising summary work, text and listening tasks all enhance exam skills. However that is not all. When was the last time you had to help students memorise huge lists of vocabulary for exams like proficiency or TOEFL?
Eduglogster can be used as a brain-friendly way to make vocabulary learning deeper, more exciting, and more creative. One idea is to take a list of really tricky unrelated words from a multiple choice text, or confusing/related words and have students put them into stories or dialogues.
At proficiency level the teacher will have to guide students through nuances of expression and prompt them where necessary. Through this approach students will be thinking critically and creatively, and be far less likely to forget words. They will also get the feel for how words are expressed in chunks and collocations, what prepositions they take, the flow of linking words, using tenses, etc.. It’s a strong, holistic approach that I can’t recommend highly enough. When this story is placed on a poster with images/video etc. the whole thing is enhanced and the posters serve as perfect vocabulary files based on topics and/or word families.
10) Fun with Style, Register, Socio-Linguistics and Roleplay/Drama
This is great for the imagination. A weekly task creating stylized posters based on style and register would be eye-opening for students and galaxies away from boring register descriptions in course books.
You run a modelling agency. Create an advertisement looking for models for your next catalogue.
You work for the BBC. Create a poster blurb of your recent breaking news tweets as an educational poster for the BBC learning English website.
You are a teenager organising an anti-drugs campaign.
To get into these roles students need to know how people like this express themselves, how to write campaign/advertisement posters etc. Many of these skills are actually tested in Cambridge exams, and the Michigan proficiency speaking test operates much like this.
Finally, you will see that all of the above ideas are extremely practical for exams, working life and, most importantly, good for true engagement with language.
Finally, Eduglogster is conducive to great brain training activities that place much of the onus on learners to use their own brains.
You may also have noticed that each ‘idea’ is just a gateway to many more.