Written by: Milica Vukadin
You finally found time and a little bit of space in your already packed curriculum to add some activities related to environmental issues or any other global issues, but something doesn't feel right. Your feelings are completely valid: the whole concept of global issues is pretty grim. There is nothing happy about people lacking drinking water and a roof over their heads in 2021.
Let me pen down a few insights/ ideas, we can include in a lesson plan to meet the virtual lesson objectives.
Parents and teachers had a difficult year in 2020, but students had a particularly difficult year. They worked hard to adapt to the digital school environment, which required them to change their lifestyles and habits. However, the time to return to school is approaching. Many countries have already started physical classes. So, what can we do to ensure a smooth transition after a year and a positive environment in our classrooms? In this blog post, I'll offer some advice on the topic.
Warmers, or warm-ups, have been an integral part of my lessons, lectures and seminars for ever and ever. They work well with any age and level. There are a few important considerations to realize for yourself before introducing any warmers to your lesson.
As a teacher trainer and author, I have been teaching and writing about ICT in Education since the mid-1990’s. In recent years, I have mostly dealt with adults, plus numerous official and unofficial consultations, seminars, demonstrations, projects for students of all ages and levels. In a way the sudden switch to online existence a year ago was not a shock. I spent more time and effort on helping those colleagues who did not use ICT in their classrooms much, or maybe even at all, previously.
If you have found yourself abruptly transported to an online educational context, I would like to give you some free tips from my own ten-year experience as an online University teacher:
1. Breathe deeply and relax
It is not as difficult as it seems.
Our curriculum does not always include texts and exercises connected to global issues, simply because Life itself brings in unexpected topics faster than any new textbook may be compiled. Sure, such themes as climate change or a healthy way of life or dysfunctional families, to name but a few, have been discussion staples for quite a long time. Students of any age would ask all sorts of questions within and without our lesson plan or erupt into hot disputes on anything.
In addition to these key elements, a well-staged lesson plan needs to include warmers to bring students into the topic and fillers in case you find yourself a few minute short at the end of the lesson. So, this post is for the teachers who need 5-minute activities to integrate into their lesson plans.
1. Imaginary Map
This speaking game works brilliantly as an ice-breaker and engages students on their first day at school. It can also be used at any point in the lesson to energize students. It is suitable for all levels and no preparation is needed.
One of the things that novice teachers struggle with is timing. I’m often asked ‘How do you make your lessons finish exactly on time?’. The key, of course, is not in knowing exactly how long everything will take when you are planning – no one can know this – but in keeping an eye on the time as you go along and having a couple of activities up your sleeve to usefully fill up a few spare minutes at the end of class…and I DON’T mean playing Hangman!