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July 16, 2008

Teacher Development - Fillers

Hello Readers,

One of the best lessons I ever learned was that lessons should be taught according to the students' needs and not just to the lesson plan that was written. In other words, your lessons might run longer or shorter than planned. If it runs longer, it may just be a matter of assigning some of the work as homework, cutting some of the activities, or continuing them in the next class. If it runs short, however, then ...

... you'll need to think on your feet a little. This is where having a bank of fillers comes in handy.

Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Back to the board: Distribute small pieces of paper for students to write a recent vocabulary word on. Check that the words are spelled correctly and that they are appropriate as you collect the slips of paper. Then, divide the class into small teams. Have one student from one team sit in a chair with his/her back to the board. Write one of the words up on the board. Have the other students describe the word to the student so he/she can guess it. If the student guesses the word correctly, he/she gets 1 point for his/her team. The team who gave the last clue that helped the student guess the word also gets 1 point.

2. Hot air balloon: Draw a picture of a hot air balloon with five passengers in it on the board. Put the students in small groups of 4 or 5. Explain that each person must take on the role of one of the passengers, a teacher, a doctor, a pilot, a mechanic, and a small child. The hot air balloon has too much weight, so, as a group, the students must decide on one person to throw overboard in order to save the rest. Each student must explain why he/she should stay in the hot air balloon.

3. Scrabble: Bring in the letter tiles from a scrabble game (or make your own) and distribute seven letters to each small group (Alternatively, choose 7 random letters and write them on the board). Give students 3 minutes to see how many words they can make with the 7 letters.

What kind of fillers do you use in class? Feel free to share your comments below.

Hope that helps!

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for more articles that spotlight Teacher Development in the ESL industry? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker hailing from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked at universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, and did private tutoring as well. Besides teaching, she also worked as a Head teacher, an Education Manager, and a Material Development Manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she also writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing, authors ESL textbooks for publishing houses in China, and is an Editor for Garnet Publishing in England. Carol holds a BA in Communications from the College of St. Benedict/ St. John's University, and a CELTA, and has just finished her MA TESOL course at Oxford Brookes University. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at July 16, 2008 03:47 AM

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