Help Improve Your Students’ Grammar (Free Download)

tip stubs

What better way to help your students improve their English than to give them a friendly reminder?  These raffle-ticket-sized stubs come in 3 colors and give students a quick reference for how to answer “Do you~”, “Are you~” and “Can you~” type of questions.

The intricate font and light colors were specially chosen to make these stubs collectible and amiable — because the only thing worse than making a mistake is being harshly corrected for it.

Hand them out in your classes when covering these grammar points. Or use them in the hallway when you encounter a student who is struggling with their do’s am’s and can’s.

Download Now in PDF or Word!

PDF download

WORD download

Got an idea for how to use these “Tip For You” stubs? Post your comment now!

Advertisements

Bonus Idea: More Interesting Free-Write Spaces

Of course there is nothing wrong with a blank free-write wall, but what happens when we add something extra to transform the conversation? Most students are technology fiends these days, so I thought I’d add an i-phone message into the mix.

This text-messaging scenario adds a level of realism to responding in English.

This text-messaging scenario adds a level of realism to responding in English, which is absent when we just ask for responses to an ordinary prompt. Technology is engaging even when it is printed on a piece of paper it seems. Note: The gray speech bubble above says “Elliott just sent you this message. Let’s answer him!” The blue arrow says, “Write freely!”

As soon as I changed out the blank free-write space with this A4 sized i-phone graphic, suddenly students were bunching around my English wall and writing their answers. Perhaps it was the picture of the question or the picture of the i-phone, but something clicked with the students when they saw this question presented in this format. I think using this kind of format for an in-class free writing activity might work well, too.

Free Materials

Please download the blank templates below to use this material on your English wall or as an in-class activity. The WORD version is editable, while the PDF is ready for print. Click on the links below to download:

Editable version (WORD, .docx)

Blank, print-ready version (PDF)

5 Ideas for Getting your English Wall Noticed

Part of the problem of designing a great English wall seems to be breaking through all the noise. Students are inundated with information from posters lining the walls of the schools. So we ALTs have to figure out ways to attract students to the location. And we got to figure out how to stand out. Here are some of my ideas.

1) Use a Rubik’s Cube to Draw Students In

IMG_1213

There is something magical about Rubik’s Cubes that force people to pick them up and try to solve them. If the students notice the Rubik’s Cube then the are more likely to notice the other content you have diligently prepared. I think other games/puzzles will work well too.

2) Post Memo Pads and Pens

IMG_1218

Memo pads and pens give students something to do while at the English wall.  Even if the content is old, they can still write a new message. Since attracting attention is about being out-of-the-ordinary, I like to post memo pads like this one shaped like an apple.

3) Make Packets that Will Flutter

IMG_1222

In addition to being helpful for conveying more information about something, these packets will flutter as students walk by, catching their attention and making them more likely to notice the wall.

4) Get Personal

IMG_1219

It’s really no secret that stuff about you or other teachers on display is some fascination to students. A friend of mine likes to post information about other ALTs in the city (with their permission, of course). Along those same lines, I’m thinking it might be fun to try to introduce all the teachers in the staff room like this.

5) Use Recurring Sections

IMG_1214

Just like a newspaper column, sections on your board that you update periodically will get your students coming back for more. “Jobs that Use English” is one section I’m trying out new this year.

Conclusion

I remember putting hours of time and effort into my first English wall displays only to find that barely any students were checking out what I had put up. It was through this discouragement that I realized that, like anything else, we got to make our material stand out if people are going to take notice. So I hope these ideas are helpful to you if you are having any similar problems.

Surely there are other great ideas out their for attracting and keeping an audience of students, so please post your ideas in the comments section.

IMG_1211

It’s not much, but here’s an example of my full English wall display.

Unexpected Letters

I often see “English Post” activities advertised on teaching websites, which are designed to invite students to write letters to their ALTs. It’s an activity that can work wonders for students and ALTs. But I’ve discovered that we ALTs don’t have to wait for students to initiate the correspondence. We ourselves can sidestep all the start-up costs of setting up the display and waiting for students to respond by writing directly to students and asking them to write back.

Have you ever received an unexpected card from a friend? Do you remember how that made you feel? A deep sense of connection and happiness, perhaps? I think all language learners are looking for connection, and in the same way it had an impact on you, it can create a connection that students were afraid of making themselves.

I think projects like “English Post” are of course good; but please remember that we ALTs can initiate all sorts of interactions. And sometimes the unexpected ones are the most meaningful.

Planning a Self-Introduction with Speaking

Your self-introduction is not only a chance to entertain and show students something about your home country. It is also a chance to open their minds to the idea of speaking English. After all, even in the first grade of junior high many students enter class with the belief that they can’t speak English — and possibly never will.

That’s why this year, in addition to handing out my comic which tells students how they can work with ALTs to improve their English, I’m going to try to show my students that English is a spoken language — not a dead one, only to be read and written — by having them do a little speaking themselves. I’m thinking that something as simple as having them walk around and introduce themselves to each other in English will go a long way.

Well, that’s what’s on my mind these days. How about you? What are your plans for your self-introduction this year?

New Year; New ALT

A school doesn’t need to hire a new teacher to get a new ALT. A new school year is a chance to try out new ideas, methods and materials. It is a chance to start over fresh and make new attempts at improving English education in Japan. So clear out your desk, make new materials, and let go of any baggage you have from the previous year. It’s a new year; let the opportunity set you free to unlock your potential..