When you need to get the attention of your students, you don’t need to raise your voice. Instead, use a handbell. Tell your students that it means ‘Stop what you’re doing and look at the teacher.’ Don’t expect them to respond to it properly as soon as you say what to do when they hear the bell. Practice a couple of times and make it fun. Tell them pretend as if they are in the middle of a noisy activity and when the bell rings, stop what they are doing and look at you. You may need to repeat this exercise from time to time until they get used to this non-verbal cue.
7. Blogging in the classroom
If you have a class blog and a projector in the classroom, you can publish some content that you can share with your students during the lesson. The content you show can be a consequence of good behavior or for warming up at the beginning of the lesson. It can be a fun video, a song or a game or you can read some comments and encourage the students to write more by praising the ones who leave comments regularly.
Before a stirring activity, like running dictation*, you need your class to be silent and listen to the instructions to do the activity properly. However when you tell them that you are going to do a fun activity, they might get too excited to listen to your instructions silently before getting started. At this point, you can draw a fun-o-meter on the board. The more they get ready for the activity, the closer the arrow gets to the ‘running dictation’(or whatever activity you are planning to do) side. You will see that they will get silent very quickly. Do it in a fun way and turn the arrow towards the negative part even if you hear a whisper. It is fun to watch them trying to control themselves not to giggle.:-)
*How to play running dictation: Divide class into teams. In each team students take turns and be a reader and there is a writer. Put up texts (usually short text) at the back of the class. Tell the readers that they will run to a text, read and memorize a part of it. As quickly as possible they will run back and dictate the text to the writer in their group. The writer writes while other students go back to read more text. The group that finishes writing their text first wins and reads out the text to the class.
9. Online timers
It is a good idea to use a timer in the classroom. You can use an egg timer or a sandglass. If you have a projector and Internet connection in your classroom, using online timers can be more engaging. (Click here to read an article about how to use eggtimers in a young learners classroom-by Carla Wilson.)
Countdown Timer: Select a soundtrack, type your time into the box and click countdown button.
Online Sand Timer: Set the time and start the sand timer. When the time is over, an alarm rings.
One-minute Countdown Circle: A big yellow countdown circle. When the time is up, it displays a message.
Three-minute Talking Timer: A serious timer:-)
The Super Timer by Fiery Ideas: A fun timer with music option.
The Writing Timer by Fiery Ideas: A customisable timer to use during extended writing.
10. Class mascot
Your young learners will love a class mascot that they can take home in turns. Just tell them about the criteria to be able to take it home. e.g. Active participation, willingness to speak English, behaving well, etc.
Class mascots can do a good job in international projects as well. Find a partner class in another country. Send your class mascots to each other. The mascots will represent the country it comes from. Every weekend, give the mascot to a student. Tell him to assume that the mascot is a guest from that country. At the end of two days he spends at the student’s house, he is going to write a letter to the class where he belongs to. A descriptive letter about the family of the student, where they live, what they eat, what they do at the weekends, etc. By the end of one month, two classes will have sent eight letters (e-mails) to each other. The letters (e-mails) might include photos. At the end of the project, you can display the letters and photos.
I did this project a few yours ago. If I did it again, I would definitely use a blog and write the blog together with the partner class. Diary of two teddy bears….:-)