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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

ESL Teacher Blog: English Mad Minutes

Mad minutes is a drill usually applied at schools where children are timed  to solve basic math problems. It has been argued that timed work helps students improve speed and accuracy with basic mathematical operations (until it becomes automatic).

Quizzing has long been a way to assess students, but it can also be a way to help retain information and even help them learn. Read about the effectiveness of quizzes here.

We know that English has more exceptions than rules, don’t we? English mad minutes can stimulate students remember these pesky words in a fun way. Use it as a warmer, filler, transition between topics/activities or 5 minutes before the end of the class. It will definitely energize everyone and bring lots of laughs. Make it competitive (between teams) or not. As a listening drill or writing.

Based on the level (and competitive spirit!) of your class decide on a number of items you want your students to know to automaticity and allot a certain amount of seconds per each item (e.g.: 10 seconds for 10 items = 1 min. 40 sec.) You can focus on:

- irregular verbs

- noun plurals exceptions (mouse-mice, wife - wives)

- spelling patterns (knee, friend, ceiling), or rules regrading adding -ing/-ed/-s

- homonyms (ate - eight)

- prefixes/suffixes (impolite, agreeable)

- apostrophe use or a lack of in contractions (its vs. it’s)

- British/American equivalents (truck/lorry)

- telling time/reading or spelling numbers (1906, 2050, 1600s)

- pronunciation irregularities (goes/does/shoes)

Does frequent and immediate testing work for your class?
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 12:18 AM
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