Displays posts about activities

Speak it well!

Speak it well!

Before you read further you should make a note of the background of my workplace. I am serving in Shri Krishna Vidyalaya, Gunjoti. It’s a rural place located at the south end of Maharashtra state. Teaching students who have little or absolutely no educational atmosphere in their house or surrounding is really a challenging thing. Marathi is widely spoken while Kannada too has its influence here but English? No. By this you may understand that exposure to English language is really a thing of difficulty. However, following are some activities I practice with my learners. Kindly read them, hit like if you like them and comment on:

– which activity did you like the most?

– which activity would you like to try in your class?

– suggestions to improve


Activity No.1 – Knowing each other ‘better’

Let’s assume that students know each other already. It’s a simple speaking warmer activity to help them know each other ‘better’. The idea is to make them speak.

Class: Secondary / Higher secondary

Time : 10 – 12 mins

Language input: Assertive sentence, ‘Wh’ question

Skills: Speaking (and/or Writing – in an extended form)

Type: Pair and/or Mingle

  • Get the students stand in random positions in the class.
  • Let them imagine the class to be a fair and walk in random directions.
  • They start when teacher claps once or says ‘MOVE’ and they stop when the teacher claps twice or say ‘STOP’ and get the nearest partner.
  • Each of them asks three questions besides name, age and other basic questions. The questions can be personal but not ‘too’ personal. They can ask ‘I know that you have a cycle. Why do you walk to school then?’


‘I know that you have some extra notes. Why don’t you share them with others?

  • Have three rounds. This will give the students a chance to speak to at least three friends randomly.

Tip: The teacher might need to give a demo before entrusting the activity to the students. Teacher may provide the language support by writing the structure on the board.


Activity no.2 – Wanna Know ‘Me’ better?

Class: Secondary / Higher secondary

Time : 10 – 12 mins

Language input: Assertive sentence, ‘Wh’ question

Skills: Speaking (and/or Writing – in an extended form)

Type: Pair and/or Mingle and/or Group


Teacher offers himself/herself to be asked any three questions. These three questions can be personal or something that students want to know about the teacher. In order to draw the line somewhere between personal and too personal the teacher can give areas in which the students can ask. The areas could be: Education, School life, Marriage, Kids, Friends, Date of birth, Salary, social profile, mobile number, etc.

[I remember one of my students asking me about the pic in my social profile. He said he liked the pic and wondered why didn’t I wear such stylish dresses to the school.]

Anyway, once the teacher finishes answering the questions, he/she puts the students into groups of 4 or 5. Taking turns each member in the group offer to be asked any three questions. It’s an interesting way to know their peers better by interrogating some information.

Note: It’s important that the teacher monitors the activity as there might be a possibility that some students may ask way too personal question. Some may feel offended. Monitoring the activity would also help the teacher understand the varieties of questions being asked. Such a variety of questions would also indicate how curious the learners are to know each other.

Tip: Teacher may provide the language support by writing the structure on the board.


Activity No. 3 – Sell Me!


Class: Secondary / Higher secondary

Time : 10 – 12 mins

Language input: Simple Present Tense (Affirmative and Negative)

Skills: Speaking (and/or Writing – in an extended form)

Type: Pair and/or Mingle


Teacher delivers a demo of this activity. The teacher acts as a salesman/saleswoman and declares that he wants to sell the pen. He describes the pen in a way that he wants to sell it.


Hello everybody, I am a sales representative of XYX company. I am here to sell this amazing pen. This pen writes smoothly on almost any surface. Unlike other pens, the ink of this pen doesn’t spill. It is water proof. It is easy to hold. It doesn’t slip off the fingers. It comes in four colours blue, black, red and green. Teachers, students, officers, shopkeepers, bankers use this pen widely. The best part of this pen is it can write upside down too. It isn’t expensive at all. The company offers 50% discount only today. I offer this pen for 12 rupees against its original price 24 rs. Don’t you want to buy it? Teacher encourages students to ask any questions related to the product or sale.

Now the teacher puts the students into groups and ask them to sell any product. It could be their school bag, tie, belt, shoes, bench, duster, projector, chalk piece, etc. The other members of the group can ask questions related to the product.

Tip: Teacher may provide the language support by writing the structure on the board.


Activity No. 4 – News room


Can a newsroom be brought into the classroom? How can it be used in improving English speaking skill? Disregard with the standard of English spoken in actual news, it’s a good idea to adopt it as an activity in a language classroom.

2015 isn’t a good year from farmer’s point of view in Maharashtra, India. Occasional and moderate rainfall didn’t really help the farmers. On one such occasional rainfall I decided to discuss with my students how it has helped farmers around but in a different way. I changed the classroom into a virtual News Studio.

Language input: Simple past, Perfect Present, Present Progressive

Materials required: Nothing in particular since it’s a speaking activity

Estimated time: 15 – 20 minutes

When to conduct: Anytime when something unusual or remarkable happens like sudden weather change or an event

How to conduct it?

Teacher acts like a news reporter. Narrates the recent incident happened (for instance heavy rainfall, strong wind, cultural event, sports day, etc). To make it more realistic the reporter calls out for a representative.


Hello and welcome to English News Channel. I am Mahesh and you are watching news bulletin at 10. Let’s have a look at the news headlines.

  1. Heavy rainfall reported in and around Marathwada region in Maharashtra.
  2. Heavy rainfall cheers the saddened faces of farmers finally.
  3. Due to heavy wind many street light polls collapsed in Gunjoti resulting in power failure.

And now, news in detail. Heavy rainfall is reported in and around Marathwad region in Maharasthra. As anticipated by the weather forecast it started raining from 4 pm. Latur region records the highest rain. Rivers, small and large ponds are full. Some are even overflowing. Our representative Mr. Jitendra (a student in the class) reports from Kandhar, Nanded. Hello Mr. Jitendra how is the situation there?

Mr. Jitendra says ………………. With cameraman Mr. Deepak, Sashi reporting from Kandhar.

Thank you Mr. Jitendra.

Moving on to the second news, rainfall cheers up the farmers. Farmers across Marathwada region are happy about the late but sure arrival of monsoon. Ms. Deepali reporting from Gunjoti. Ms. Deepali, I can see that farmers around you are smiling finally. Let’s hear more from them.

(Ms. Deepali speaks a bit and then gets other students into conversation assuming them to be farmers)

And it goes on……

Notes: This activity gives opportunities to use simple present/present progressive/present perfect in assertive and interrogative type. Students enjoy this activity as they feel that they are a part of newsroom in a dramatic way. One of my learners in fact became cameraman getting every ones attention in a humorous way.  I enjoyed this activity. Hope you will like it too. Comment below your views and experiences too.


Categories: Activity | 19 Comments

Much About Facebooking

Much About Facebooking

Hey folks, as you know that we are teaching 21st century learners, we tend to find almost everyone having an account in facebook or whatsapp account. Though I teach rural area students in Maharashtra state, India the students love to message me over the school hours on whatsapp and facebook. I love responding them because I ask them to chat in English with me. That’s where I find my students using English informally to express and I do help them express too. I don’t get surprised when they post their profile pics, their gifts, new dresses, any new food item, etc. All these postings I believe is to count the number of likes and comments they receive. On a lighter note, would you agree with me if I say students may remain absent in the classes but never on the facebook or whatsapp?


Well, seriously why not bring the facebook in the classroom? This idea sprang up when I was in a meeting with other state level subject experts at SCERT, Pune, Maharashtra when we were designing activities for the classroom teaching and learning. The idea took shape when I discussed it in detail with Pundalik Kaviraj from Allapalli, Smita Pore from Satara and Nadeem Khan from Bhandara. We discussed over making it a possibility to bring it into practice.

I brought facebook in my class with the following objectives:

  • Develop thinking skills
  • Use ‘Wh’ questions
  • Practice assertive sentence
  • Use adjectives

Following is how I did it in my 9th standard class:

  • Announced that everyone in the class should bring one special thing to the class next day, be it anything. Anything that they would post on facebook. I reminded their postings on facebook and gave some examples.
  • Excited, students came up with their ‘special things’ the next day. Some were so excited that they showcased right from the first period although my class was just before the lunch break.
  • The activity began with the set of instructions.
    1. Asked them to have two pages.
    2. On one page, I asked them to write a short description but leave a question at the end of the description. The question could be: where do you think I got this? Why do you think it is special for me? Any idea about its cost? Any guess who gifted me this? Guess on what occasion I got this. etc

(I provided language support of ‘Wh’ question structure and assertive sentence at this stage on the board quickly.)

  1. On another page they I asked them to make two columns: A short one titled ‘Likes’ and the larger one titled ‘Comments’
  2. Instructed them to leave those two pages along with the post that they wanted to showcase.
  3. Then I allowed them to go around the class and look at the posts. Instructed them to put ‘a tick’ mark under the ‘Likes’ column if they like it and if they wanted to comment then answer the question asked by the owner of the post. (Here I intended to allow them to ‘think’ over the question and comment the answer)
  4. One should write comments for at least 5 posts while they were free to like all the posts or none.
  5. The time limit given was 10 minutes.
  6. I monitored the activity and noted that students were mostly commenting ‘Nice’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Like it’, (Perhaps they considered reading a boring activity must against the excitement of looking at the posts and commenting straightaway or perhaps due to the time limit). I had to remind them to answer the questions.
  7. After 10 minutes, learners were excited to look at their post (Those who got the highest likes and comments were smiling throughout). I asked them to see if any comment answered their question. Most of them had done it.

I took this opportunity to highlight that the number of likes and comments are just the numbers. The objective of facebooking is ‘sharing’.

I was amazed at the things the students had brought. They had showcased wrist watch, a toy dog, little brother’s photo, a book that inspired the student, wall piece, showpiece, key chain with cute baby doll, biscuits, cake, etc. It was simply fabulous to look at all these amazing things. By the way, did I mention that I too put up likes and commented on the posts? The students loved reading my comments too! They loved watching me involved in it.


  • Learning can be blended with social media.
  • Some needed more briefing about facebooking as they didn’t have exposure to internet.
  • Next time I will reserve more time for drilling language support.
  • Students need briefing about netiquette. I say so as one of the students had commented ‘I don’t like this post. I don’t like you.’ This was to the post of ‘kurkure’ (perhaps he wanted to point out the ill-effects of fast food). It was an opportunity for me to highlight that though the post is from personal profile, the freedom of expression stays restricted since it is a social platform.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience. Do comment on how else I can make it better.

Categories: Activity | 18 Comments

Poster Making Competition cum Exhibition

Hello friends, before I post my recent experiment I want to brief you about my workplace and job profile. I teach English to 9th and 10th standard in Shri Krishna Vidyalaya, Gunjoti, Taluka: Omerga District: Osmanabad in the state of Maharashtra. It’s been 5 years that I have been working. It is a rural place located at the border of Karnataka and Telangana. It is a regional medium school having Marathi as its first language. There are four divisions for each standard with an average of 40-45 students. Out of four divisions, one division is semi-english medium having Mathematics, English and Science in English. Though the level of English language proficiency isn’t remarkable it is developing. Through activities, interviews, debates, games, competitions and exhibitions we try to bring English in use, both formally and informally. Following is one such attempt.

As a part of coursebook activity, I decided to conduct poster making competition for the first time in my school. Though the activity was for 9th standard I decided to conduct it with 10th standard students as well. I must say, everytime I conduct an activity on a large scale I am becoming more and more proactive. The procedure I adopted is as follows:

How did it go before the competition?

  • I allowed students to make group of their choice. The number of members were strictly between 4 and 5.
  • I gave them autonomy to choose any topic they want from the units taught. They brainstormed in group and quickly decided the topics. As they were discussing in their groups I was monitoring and showing them sample posters that I had in my phone. This gave them the idea how a poster should be. I also asked them to go for rough design initially and visualize how their poster would look.
  • Roles like information collector, artist, assistant, oral presenter were assigned in the group.
  • Criteria for best poster selection was displayed on the board. The criteria were: Appropriate title, Apt Information, Neatness, Decoration, Pictures and Oral Presentation.
  • The group leaders were asked to write the list of members, assigned group number, roles of each member and their topic and submit it to me.
  • The students were given 10 days of time for the preparation. During those ten days, I kept a check on their development through the group leaders.

And the day arrived…

Finally, the day arrived. Since we have 9 periods in a day, I reserved two periods of post lunch session for final touch and next two periods were for the competition. The groups put up their posters for display in their own classes. There were four classes (two 9th std classes and two 10th std classes). The students were extremely excited. It was unlike any other heavy post lunch sessions because the atmosphere became like a fair.

The juries were amazed at the creativity of the students. They evaluated each poster while two of each group members were ready with their oral presentations. It was a grand competition. Two posters from each class were chosen for the prize. Students from other divisions were called to see the posters. They too were very happy to see the glittering, appealing and extremely attractive posters. It was language learning in disguise. There were smiles all over. Other subject teachers were also glad to see the group work. Everything went very well but…

Picture abhi baki hai dost! That’s too filmy hn! I meant the best was yet to come.

My colleague and I decided to put up an exhibition on the eve of Independence Day. The idea was that on that day many parents, residents of our village and members of school management would be present. We started working on how and where to exhibit. By 14th August with the help of students and a few other colleagues we were able to make arrangements for exhibition in a large hall. The next day was much awaited. All the parents, villagers, school management team visited the exhibition. Dr. Patange, our school secretary along with other guests conversed with the poster presenters in English. It was absolutely grand. Students were very happy to present before the guests.

It wasn’t a cake walk. I had some challenges.

Frankly speaking, gradually I have started developing confidence in conducting activities in groups effectively or at least that’s what my reflection says.

  • Having two juries for four classes wasn’t probably a good idea.
  • The evaluation by the juries took more time than anticipated. So, students from other villages had to make their presentations hurriedly.
  • Some of the students in some groups didn’t do much and they relied on others.
  • As I hear from some students, the members in a couple of groups had disputes among themselves. Hence, they split and made separate posters.
  • Financially, I was prepared to give two prizes from each class but the juries had tied up some groups with equal marks. So, I had to pinch my pocket a bit harder for the prize distribution. 😉

Yet, it was worth it!!

Overall, it was a great experience. I was smiling throughout the competition and exhibition. I was overwhelmed with all the comments I heard about English Academy that we run.

Categories: Activity | 29 Comments

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