This is Issue 20, Spring 2010, click here to come back to current edition
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                                         The verb of the day is…

In September, at the beginning of the school year, a 10-year-old pupil sneezed while I was talking to her.  It was a wet and windy sneeze and the force of it hit me straight in the face!  I said, 'Put your hand over your mouth when you sneeze'.  But the pupil didn't understand.
From this situation came my first VERB OF THE DAY, an activity which has since become the routine with which I begin every lesson.
1. Write The verb of the day is... on the board
2. Mime the verb of the day.  The pupils say what they think the verb is.  If they don't know the word in English, they ask 'How do you say .... in English?'
3. Give them the verb in English.  Get everybody to mime it and repeat it.

4. Ask the pupils how they think it is spelt.  Write it on the board.

5. The pupils add the verb to their list at the back of their notebooks (with an illustration or translation) while you take the register.


Starting the lesson with a word of the day is nothing new.  But this version of the activity has confirmed to me that the pupils don’t need to learn the names of more animals or types of food.  They need USEFUL VERBS.


The first 10 verbs on our verb list are as follows:


                   The verb of the day is…..

         1  put your hand over your mouth
         2  sneeze
         3  cough
         4  yawn
5  (don’t) drop litter
         6  put it in the bin
         7  play a CD
         8  rub something out
         9  underline something
         10 turn the light on / off


We now have a list of 51 verbs. By the end of the year it will be over 100. We regularly incorporate the verbs into games and activities. Most importantly, however, the verbs regularly come up naturally in the course of our lessons.  As a result, there are fewer breakdowns in understanding and a greater sense of being able to use English in genuine every-day communication.


Mark Ormerod - teacher, teacher trainer, author of 'Summer Time' and co-author of 'Find Out!'





                                       Four corners


This is a great activity for practising the question form. Write four numbers on the corner of the board which have a relevance to you. There's nothing more interesting for students than their teacher's private life (within reason!). Students have to form questions to guess the connection between the numbers and their teacher. Needless to say the questions must be asked and answered in English.


For example, the number 2 might spawn the question Have you got two children? Actually, this is true in my case but that’s not the connection I was thinking about. They continue to ask questions (eg Have you got two pets at home?) until they come up with the right answer. When they have discovered the four numbers, the teacher can either finish the activity choose a student to do the same on the board.


The activity really catches their imagination and they even discover


Yolanda Iborra Bernabeu, Colegio Calasancio, Alicante.







                                        University challenge


Each year Macmillan rewards the two students who receive the highest marks in the entrance exam for L’Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona with a cash prize of 400€ plus a set of Macmillan books. This year, first prize went to Pau Ortega of IES Baix Camp in Reus and the second prize was won by Núria Ventós of IES Joan Guinhoan in Riudoms. Both Pau and Núria are pictured below receiving their prizes from Macmillan representative David Sanahuja (click on photos to enlarge).






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