Friday, September 17, 2010

Classroom exercises

I'm feeling a lot better now, thanks for (imaginarily) asking.  But, today I present!  I link to this blog a few times and promise my listeners that all the details can be found here. Now, I am busy making sure this is so.

One presentation slide offers classroom exercises.  I had better discuss them now:

First a note on random words (also, see the post below with random word generators):   Edward De Bono wrote a short book called Creativity workout: 62 exercises to unlock creativity.  The book contains, well, 62, exercises and most could be used in class.  It also has a list of random words organized so that you can find some using dice.  I have done this and it works, but to better fit your student's ability, I suggest using the index or vocab lists in the relevant ESL textbooks.

Central word - choose 5 words from an ESL text from the hagwon - pick one word and explain how it is central and the other words all relate to it.  Then pick a different word from the 5 and explain how it is central….

Caption contests
          Find any picture and ask for a caption.  I have tried The New Yorker's caption contest page and the images are a little abstract for the students.  They don't have an easy caption waiting to jump out.  This can be good, but the image I showed in the presentation failed to elicit interesting captions.

prepare a story  Choose four random words.
    The first word indicates the general setting of the story.
     The second word suggests the various characters
    The third word suggests the storyline
     The fourth word gives the outcome of the story
Example: Serenade, Rib, Seat, Vase
Serenade easily suggests a romantic situation.  Rib - one character works at a butcher shop. Seat - The woman is first seen sitting down.  Later, she is seen to be taller than the man - and short men are 'losers'!  Vase - It is not size that matters, but what is inside, like flowers in a vase.

tests - for discussion purposes - not psychological!!!  Note post below which discusses a few tests of creative ability.

problem solving and finding errors in textbooks.  My university textbooks are full of errors.  Ask students to find the one on page XX.  The tests described in the suggestion above and in a previous post include a few problem solving questions which seem to be lateral thinking-type questions or riddles of the:
  1. What side of a cup should the handle be on?  - The outside!
  2. If I have 5 oranges and 3 apples in one hand and 3 apples and 5 oranges in the other, what have I got? - Big hands!

lazyman's comedy - top ten lists.  I like funny top ten lists and it is a relatively simple concept to explain.  Sadly, comedy doesn't always cross-over.


In the presentation, I handed out partially completed number-image mnemonics that we finished in class.  I can tell you that this one can take a full hour.

Did you lie? - Why did you lie?   A student is told that he claimed X.  But X doesn't appear to be true.  Did you lie?  Why did you lie?

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