Pokemon go classroom ideas

Pokemon go classroom ideas

How to use pokemon go in the classroom

How to use Pokemon Go in the classroom

Pokemon Go Mania : Catch them all!
The world is getting crazy about Pokemon Go! Everyone is setting up Pokemon accounts to become Pokemon trainers. Being a teacher trainer and not a Pokemon trainer yet, here’s my perspective on the phenomenon. I have seen my students, my neighbours, my friends and strangers working all together to hunt these little virtual creatures. I have seen people getting out of their house, talking to one another, sharing tips and most importantly going to places they would never have gone to before. So, even if Pokemon Go has its detractors, let’s face it, it is a global phenomenon that could have some positive effects in our classes. Here are some easy-to-use ideas to spice up your classes by bringing up Pokemon into your class to create motivation and collaborative works among your students. All these resources here are not augmented virtual activities but easy activities made of paper or powerpoint! Because let’s face it: not all our students have access to the latest smart phones but EVERYONE should be given a chance to experiment some of the new phenomenon and to help you getting some idea here ow to use Pokemon go in the classroom.

The classroom Pokemon hunt

Print a set of Pokemon characters. Cut them out. At the back of each character, write a word related to the topic you are teaching. Fold the papers. Hide the papers in your classroom. Have the students to hunt the Pokemons! Once back to their seats they unfold the paper. They need to have their partner guess the word written at the back of the Pokemon by giving some definitions or synonyms. To make it more challenging you can also adapt this version with a taboo activity. It is fun, requires very little prep’ and it is a good warmer activity to review vocabulary.

The Treasure Pokemon hunt

Here’s a variation of the treasure hunt. It requires some preparation beforehand considering that hints/riddles are hidden on the school campus (or in the town if you are an adventurer). Prepare riddles based on your topic. Divide your class into teams. The key to these riddles should bring students to certain spots. Students need to work collaboratively to find the answers to the riddles. At each spot put a cuddly Pokemon toy and a new riddle. The team that has collected most toys wins!

The Pokemon Jeopardy quiz

Prepare a quiz for a Unit review in a jeopardy format. Divide your class in teams. Instead of money, offer Pokemon rewards. For each correct answer the team receives the Pokemon reward. It can be cuddly toys, pens, cards etc. anything related to the Pokemon mania! The quiz is organized in such a way that it is progressive. The easiest questions are at the top with the low-level Pokemons. The most difficult ones are at the bottom with high-level Pokemons.

Any more ideas? Are you a teacher and also a  trainer Pokemon go ? Let me know your though on this….

Create a quiet learning environment

Create a quiet learning environment

How to create a quiet learning environment with your students

Do you remember the old days when you used to sit in silence in a classroom waiting for your teacher’s instructions? These times are long gone. When I first started teaching I still had in mind that kind of quiet learning environment seen by our teachers as an example of good behaviour and considered by us students as a cruel punishment. Nowadays we are aware that children need to move around, need kinesthetics activities and games to learn better. However this doesn’t mean that our students don’t need some quiet time to focus and integrate what they are learning. I used to be the chatty one in class – as you can imagine – but I did appreciated the quiet study we had in class and I truly believe that this is crucial to help our students boost their results.

My first teaching experience was chaotic as I believed that games were the best way for children to get enthusiastic and to get on task. I obviously had a bunch of unruly students that made it even harder and my lessons tended to be very loud. I learned from that a balance between fun activities and quiet activities is necessary to help our students learn better and improve their performance.

The first thing is to start every lesson you have with a softer voice. Not only will it be good for your students to focus but it will also be invaluable for your health. Also the best way to ensure that you get the right balance with your peaceful moments of reflection is to embed them in you routine and in your lesson plans. For example when you start a lesson always have something ready for your students to work on. Use these 5-7 minutes for a quiet starter like a word search, a crisscross puzzle or an unscrambling the sentences activity. It will help to review prior knowledge individually and in silence. It will also give time for the late comers to settle down. After that you may want to experiment what I call the Yoga stretch.  It’s a 2-3 minute activity that will help your students relax and breathe properly. Ask them to stand up and to stretch their legs and arms. They can even yawn if it helps them oxygenate their brains. Of course the first session will bring lots of giggles. Never mind, they will get used to it after the second or third session. This short activity is aimed at helping them focus and relax. It is especially valuable during exams when students are under a lot of pressure. If some of your students take this activity as an opportunity to be disruptive, stop the activity for the whole group. It is usually an activity they like so if they can’t do it because of the attitude of some I can assure you that the disruptive students will be blamed by their peers for it and the next lesson you will be able to do it properly.

After this you can start your lesson with more lively activities. However a lively activity doesn’t necessarily mean a loud activity. Students need to be reminded that a game can be and should be played calmly. Model what you are expecting of them. For example if it is a competition game in teams tell them that if they don’t raise their hands before talking or if they shout the answers they will lose points. You need to get them used to playing games in a sensible way.

Also when you ask your students to take notes or to do an activity on a worksheet you need to create that quiet moment. For that purpose prepare your worksheet carefully. I usually have the easiest exercises at the beginning and then progressively things get tougher. It’s a good way for me to help less able students and to give more challenging task to the most able. Everybody is working at his own pace and everyone can reflect on what have learned.

The end of the lesson also requires some peaceful moments, so make sure you keep the last 7 minutes for reviewing the objectives and setting homework quietly.

Teaching mixed ability classes (Part – 2)

Teaching mixed ability classes (Part – 2)

Teaching mixed ability classes. Some Tips

One of my previous articles dealt with the advantages and problems we have with mixed ability groups. Here are some ideas you may want to implement in your classes with these groups.

First of all your own attitude towards your class will make a big difference. If your learners feel that they are part of a safe, supportive and positive environment their attitude is more likely to be positive in class. You can’t expect a group of people to be engaged in activities if you are not yourself completely convinced about the purpose of these activities.

The second important thing is to be extremely organized. You should have a lesson plan highlighting the different activities and time and you should also have all your resources ready to use.

In terms of behavior management it is important to know your students well to identify their strengths, weaknesses, know if they have any learning disabilities, know about their interests etc. This first step is crucial to ensure that your students will be involved as much as possible in the lessons. When you are clear about their needs, you can start pairing them up or grouping them according to their learning styles for example.

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To personalize learning try to have a whole range of activities and topics that will challenge kinesthetic, visual and auditory learners. Instead of using your workbook, which may even be outdated, be creative and have also your students to create their own activities. For example instead of using the survey that you have in your workbook, why don’t you ask students to create their own? Students should have their word to say in their learning and if they have some ideas to bring more interesting materials to the lessons that should be used! When we teach mixed ability classes we need to be extremely flexible and ready to adapt our planning. Of course we have a syllabus to follow but there are millions of ways to adapt it for our learners and to make it more relevant for them. If you are not sure on how to adapt the workbook have a look on the multitude of resources available online. You may want to incorporate a word search at the beginning of your lesson to warm your students up; you may want to include some PowerPoint activities, a group project, some online games, interviews etc. The possibilities are limitless and if you have a range of activities and topics you will be more likely to motivate them.

Teaching-mixed-ability-classes

Try also to personalize the learning by providing your students with targets to achieve. You should have a common goal for your whole group but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be more specific in the targets you want each of them to reach. Make sure you turn the target setting into a habit so that your students can feel responsible for their own learning. Setting and reviewing targets every day will give your students some kind of autonomy and responsibility for their learning. It may seem time consuming and it’s true that at start target setting and target reviewing can be tricky but if you teach your students how to do it and if you encourage their parents to check these targets on a regular basis that should be fruitful. Remember that we are teaching students to become independent learners so instead of spoon-feeding them give your students a sense of responsibility. Through the use of targets you should be able to monitor their progress efficiently.

Dealing with mixed groups also means dealing with different pace. A lesson shouldn’t be either too slow or too quick as it may lead to frustration or boredom. Thepace should be varied and you should be aware of the fact that some students will need more time to complete an activity. That is not a problem as long as you have some extension ready for the ones who are quick. This extension shouldn’t be however a mere repetition of the activity but rather a different activity that will challenge their minds and where they will need to gather their knowledge. By using this method then you should be able to manage time more efficiently and challenge everyone.

The collaborative aspect in teaching mixed ability groups is also an important feature that shouldn’t be underestimated. You should try to vary the groups often to avoid boredom or frustration and so that students get different opportunities of learning.

Teaching mixed ability classes (Part – 1)

Teaching mixed ability classes (Part – 1)

What we call mixed ability classes or heterogeneous classes are classes within which students have different levels of ability and proficiency. As a teacher, our aim is to unlock all of our students’ potential. However, every student has a different way of learning, and learns and progresses at different pace. Moreover, although it is quite tough for us to know about each student and to follow what each one has performed during the lessons, it is our role to monitor each and every individual and to reach their needs.

Students will differ in many ways in terms of learning ways, strengths and weaknesses. They will be different because of their age, gender, learning styles, language skills, motivation, cultural background etc. My article here aims at showing the advantages and problems that can be met with mixed ability classes. We all are confronted to mixed ability classes but if we view the positive things about it and try to implement strategies and techniques to teach our mixed groups then it can become a considerably better experience.

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Dealing with mixed ability classes is not always easy. Some students will have finished an activity while others will just have started it, most able students will tend to dominate while weaker students will sit at the back and get distracted, and able ones will get bored quickly if their mind is not challenged enough. And as for material, textbooks are mostly designed for ideal homogeneous groups, which does not reflect the reality of teaching. These are just some of the few examples of problems teachers can come across when teaching mixed ability classes.

Here are the questions we should ask when teaching mixed ability classes:

  1. How can we find ways to control a class with mixed ability students to avoid chaos?
  2. How do we find content and activities that will suit our learners in terms of motivation?
  3. How can we personalize learning and manage time in a class where there are many different learners?
  4. How can we monitor effectively our learners’ progress?
  5. How can we make sure that our students get equal learning opportunities?

However there are all also great benefits when teaching mixed ability groups. The first advantage I would say is that we have a rich group consisting of varied experiences, opinions and interests and that makes our teaching practice even more interesting. Mixed ability groups generate more collaborative, creative and innovative projects. It also helps us as teachers to change our habits and grow professionally by experimenting new teaching strategies. With mixed groups our learners’ autonomy is also enhanced and students develop more social skills.

So even if your classes do not seem the ideal perfect classes with a high level of proficiency, keep in mind that you have individuals in front of you who are capable of bringing a lot to your teaching practice and who are expecting you to find the ways to unlock their potential.

How to use rewards and consequences

How to use rewards and consequences

Usually behavior patterns can be learned and if you are consistent when using the following techniques, the general atmosphere in your classroom should change for the best. If you face persistent misbehavior however, you should move to the next level. This doesn´t mean however that you can allow yourself to lose your temper. You still need to keep calm and explain the situation to your student. Explain to the student the consequences of their continued misbehavior.  Try to always offer them a choice and explain their misbehavior in terms of choice.  If you choose to continue to … then you are choosing to be taken to ….. (Consequence)

If the student refuses the choices you have provided, then you need to move to delivering the consequence.  Always remember that a consequence must be fair, reasonable and related to the actions and attitudes of the student. Once the consequence has been delivered, you need to allow the student to make amends – therefore you may need to smile or praise later work.

14 classroom management rewards

It goes without saying that any school has a behavior policy where it integrates guidelines for teachers about rewards and consequences. This behavior policy is a very important document to ensure consistency among the whole school. It should aim at giving clear and detailed information about the types of sanctions and the different progressive procedures to follow. You need to adapt the consequence to the importance of the misconduct. You can start from removing the child from his normal sit and then give him a detention or for more serious behavior issues you may need to send him to referral to the Head of your department or to a senior member of staff. Rewards and sanctions-also called consequences in a more positive language- are key features in a school but also within your classroom as they will allow you to reinforce good behavior at all times. However there have been many debates about behavior policies and these questions are more than relevant ones when you deal with behavioral issues.

This behavior policy is a very important document to ensure consistency among the whole school.

One of them is about praising work that is at the appropriate level. The tendency shows that by praising too often work that is not beyond expectations we don’t develop the abilities of our students as much as we should. Another criticism is linked to the use of rewards. In some schools students are given points to celebrate their achievement without considering the type of achievement and these rewards are clearly seen as bribes both by children, teachers and parents. Instead of developing a sense of responsibility for their learning, students link work to reward and don´t work for knowledge in itself but for the discounts they will get in shops through the reward point system. Likewise the merit systems found in some secondary school can be interesting and relevant for younger students but once they reach the critical 15-16 age, this merit system is no longer relevant to praise their work. The last but not least of the critics is about the direction of praise and rewards. Because we want our learners to improve and because we want to modify the attitude of some them we are inclined to discrimination. Indeed we will have the tendency to direct our rewards to previously misbehaving students while we are forgetting about the rest of the group.

What techniques can we use? (part – 2)

What techniques can we use? (part – 2)

Sometimes our students are not self-aware of their attitude. For that reason it is very important to give them time to understand that they need to modify their attitude. Instead of standing in front of them and showing them your disappointment, give your instruction and move away allowing time for your student to take into account your request. For example you could say “ John could you please open your book and start work? I’m going to see Will to help him and I will come back in two minutes to see if you need any help as well. ”

Redirect their attention by using a positive directional language. Try avoiding any involvement in discussion about what your student do wrong. Instead try to center their attention on the task. Your instruction has to be clear and short. “ Okay Kate and Mary, you should be ready now. We are looking at the task p. 35 ”

Give them choice. We always like being given a choice. So do our students. Make things clear to them that they are responsible for their learning and attitude and if they don’t follow the established rules in the classroom they will have to accept the consequences. Having a classroom behavior display is always good so that you can point at it and remind them of sanctions. Here are some ideas on how to implement this technique:

“ Sophia, you can either work quietly with your friend or you can come up and sit with me to do the task. The choice is yours”

“ Tom, you can do the task as I told you to or get a detention as I warned you earlier. It’s completely up to you.”

13 classroom management techniques

Another variation to the Choice technique is the Partial agreement technique. While you listen to your students’ concerns it deflects confrontation and avoids any escalation in the issue. For example you could say.

“ I completely understand that you didn’t have time to do your homework. Yes, you had some unexpected family members visiting you yesterday. However, I gave you this task a while ago and you need to learn to organize yourself, right?”

Consider the following situation:

– Student:  “It wasn’t me, I swear I didn’t do anything”

-Teacher:  “Maybe not – but we know what the rules are about and next time I’d like you to help me reinforcing this, thanks. ”

Another trick that works really well is called “tactical ignoring”. You will find out that some students are looking for attention. They may want to show –off in front of their friends often because they have low self-esteem. Don’t focus your attention on this attention-seeking attitude. Instead praise nearby students who do the work really well. At some point the misbehaving student will start understanding that if he behaves better he can as well receive praise.

Using a routine is also a great tool to redirect behaviors.

Using a routine is also a great tool to redirect behaviors. If you constantly give your students some habits like greeting them at the door when they arrive, using the same routine phrases like a broken-record, using the same signals like clapping in your hands for the end an activity or counting down after a pair-work you will notice that your students will be less-off task. They will recognize the gestures you use and they will respond to them. Having one spot where you stand for praise, one spot for help and one spot for disagreement can also be powerful in some cases:

Treat your students as grown-ups. When you want to defuse a situation, try to engage a discussion with them maybe at the end of the class to avoid any peer pressure.

Don´t underestimate the use of humor. Using humor will allow avoiding situations to escalate. However you need to be cautious with the words you use as sarcasm is not an effective tool, it will have the tendency to make the situation worse.

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