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  • timothyhampson 1:20 am on February 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activity idea, ,   

    The whys and hows of cooking in class 


    Cooking as a part of an EFL class might not be something you’ve thought of before. I certainly hadn’t before I got asked to do one last week. I did the class on Monday and Tuesday this week and immediately knew this was something I had to write a blog about to encourage others to get cooking in class.

    Why cook in class?

    1. Everyone loves food.
    2. You can use lots of Task Based Learning. I’m not really enough of an expert on ELT theory to say I have a really informed opinion on TBL, but lots of people who are experts do recommend it.
    3. All the language usage will be authentic. The students will really care about getting their recipe right, so when they’re asking you questions or listening to instructions they’ll be very engaged.
    4. It’s not as hard as you think. Even if your school has no ovens or anything you could probably do a lesson on different countries’ favourite sandwiches, right? People who teach adults might think ‘oh I couldn’t do that’, but I’m pretty sure that lots of adult students would also enjoy something like this. There are probably lots of ‘write up your favourite recipe in English’ follow ups that adults could do that children would find hard.
    5. You can teach other life skills. Learning to cook is an important thing to know. If you can teach it at the same time as English, that’s great!
    6. It’s a lesson that you get to eat food at the end of, obviously it’s a good idea.

    What we did

    I decided to make pizzas for the first class. We’re going to do nachos next time around. I followed this recipe to make the pizzas. We cheated and used tomato ketchup for the sauce (not my idea!) which I was worried about but turned out fine. The class took an hour and a half but it would have taken about 50 minutes with a bigger oven.

    There are a huge range of options that it would be possible to make. If you decide to do a cooking class make sure you think about what equipment, time, and space you have. I’d recommend pre-teaching some of the vocabulary, especially weird cooking verbs (no one knew ‘sprinkle’ or ‘spread’).

    Happy cooking, here are some pizza photos from class.


    What it looked like before we cooked it.


    Pizzas in the oven, we really needed to be able to fit more pizzas in there. 

    • Adi Rajan 1:47 am on February 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Did you do a language analysis towards the end? I’m curious about what sort of language items you may have discussed with your students.


    • timothyhampson 1:53 am on February 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Mostly the point was that the students could understand the instructions in English and ask questions in English. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by language analysis but probably not. 🙂


  • timothyhampson 8:44 am on December 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activity idea,   

    The three most fun things I did in class this year. Part one: Betty Botter 

    It’s Christmas season and it’s the sort of time for having lots of activities in class and doing some things just for fun. Given that it’s my last week at my job, I’ve been going through the folder where I keep my old lesson plans and handouts. I found the three activities that were most fun.

    The first one is based on a tongue twister that my mum taught me. I’m actually not that good at this one but my mum is pretty masterful when she does it. The important thing with this kind of lesson is to keep it fun. Lots of students are really worried about their pronunciation and it’s important to not damage their confidence. Explaining how it’s really hard for even foreigners to say some things is helpful. I also made a point of performing this and messed up a few times while doing it. My classes got quite good at doing it and so I think if anything it boosted their confidence because they could show off how they could do something hard.

    How to use it

    1. Download and print the handout

    pdf: Betty Botter

    docx: Betty Botter

    2. Go though the tongue twister line by line with the translation. It’s much easier to say something when you know what it means. For a class who could handle it, getting them to rephrase the poem in other words would be better, but the focus should be on the pronunciation more than anything else.

    3. Drill the poem line by line chorally with the class.

    4. Give them some time (as long as it takes, mine took about ten minutes) to work on their pronunciation in pairs.

    5. At the end we had a mini competition (I hyped up the special prize all class and then pulled out a pack of M&M’s which they thought was a good gag). Taking part was optional but almost all of the students did.

    Hope you have fun with this one. If you use it let me know how it goes in the comments.

  • timothyhampson 12:14 pm on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activity idea, Pronounciation,   

    Teaching pronunciation 

    Dan Evans’ talk at KOTESOL was one of my favourites and it got me thinking about spending more time on pronunciation rather than hoping that my students would pick it up. I wanted to write a little bit about what I’ve found useful and make a few observations about pronunciation in Korea.


    The stereotype of Seoul/Gyeonngi accents in Korean is that there is much less intonation than other areas of the country. I teach in Gyeonngi and so I’ve spent a little time on this. I’ve been working a lot with encouraging question asking recently and so building ten minutes of intonation into these classes is really useful. The students seemed to find it really interesting to look at sentences that have a different meaning with different intonations. For example with ‘can you buy some food?’ you can tell how close the speakers are by looking at the intonation. If they’re close, it’s likely to go down at the end because it’s not really a question, close friends might buy food for each other all the time like this. If they’re not that close, it’s likely to go up because there’s a genuine question.

    I’ve found it a bit more difficult to get intonation to ‘stick’ when it comes to rise-fall or fall-rise intonation. This doesn’t seem to happen as much when people speak Korean. A lot of the students seem to think it sounds really funny when they speak that way.

    Stress and tone groups

    I taught an extra class that was preparing pupils for public speaking. The idea was that they’d do some creative writing and then practice presenting it. By the end they actually got really good at using stress and tone groups when they read. I usually annotated for these and got them to practice these features and then peer correct each other. You can see what one of these looks like below (sadly it’s an early draft). Annotating like this was actually much harder than I’d thought it would be. Hopefully with practice I can get better at it.



    Syllables are possibly one of the biggest problems for Koreans pronouncing English words. In Korean a syllable can’t have more than three sounds and can only have one sound before and one sound after the vowel (I.e. the most complicated Korean syllable goes consonant-vowel-constonant).  There’s also a problem in that in Korean a ㅅ (‘s’-sound) at the end of a syllable becomes a ‘t’ sound. In English syllables can be really weird (hello ‘schmaltzed’) and so problems arise.

    A variation on snap where students have to shout snap when the two cards have the same number of syllables works really well with this. The students got really competitive and really enjoyed it. It works well as a ten minute activity if you have spare time. There’s a set of cards below to download/print/modify/use as you wish.

    Syllable Snap cards

    • livinglearning 1:49 pm on December 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for this! It’s going to be really useful. I have been trying to make up a unit on story telling (as the performance art, rather than just the creative writing) for my high school class and I want to spend a lot of time on pronunciation with them to support the two or three who still are uncomfortable speaking up. I’d love to pick your brain sometime later, if you’re willing.


      • timothyhampson 10:37 am on December 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I’m not sure how picking worthy my brain is but you’re welcome to try. Feel free to give me an email at t@tjhampson.com whenever you have questions and I’ll get right back to you.


  • timothyhampson 10:30 am on December 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activity idea, ,   

    English Expo 2014 Preview 

    I’m really sure that I read somewhere that starting a blog post with a bunch of excuses about why you haven’t blogged in ages is really boring. That said I’m sorry for not blogging in ages, this time it is sort of interesting why (to me at least).

    Next Saturday (the 13th) KOTESOL are having a conference at the English Expo in COEX. I’m going to be giving my very first conference workshop there. The theme of the conference is all about questions. It’s a really good topic and I was very interested to see all of the different directions the presenters have taken on it.

    Just before my talk, Mike Griffin will be looking at Scott Thornbury’s ‘Big Questions in ELT’. Mike is one of my favourite ELT bloggers and it seems he’s gathered an Avengersesque team of other ELT superbloggers to help him out. I’m really excited for it.

    I’m going to be looking at how to encourage autonomous questioning. It’s been quite difficult to do. I had a plan but I’ve rewritten it; A talk on autonomous questioning probably ought to have lots of chances for people to ask lots of autonomous questions in it. I’ve tried to work in lots of opportunities for that to happen and will try and organise a twitter chat for afterwards so people can continue to ask and answer questions.

    This is a preview so I’ve attached one of the resources from the workshop below. It’s a set of question frame cards that can be used for conversations in the classroom. There are a few different ways to use them but I’ll leave it to you to, if you’re interested and you have some free class time, see what you can do with them.

    Question cards

    • mikecorea 8:30 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I am looking forward to your presentation, Tim.
      Thanks for the kind words! It should be a fun day.

      Best of luck and I am sure you will not need it. 🙂


  • timothyhampson 11:06 am on November 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: activity idea   

    ‘Who is a good friend?’ 

    This will be a very brief post, it’s just an activity idea. I had this idea in the middle of a class and abandoned everthing I had planned for it. It worked pretty well. The game is stolen from a game show on TV, but I’m not sure of the name.

    The students have to guess how often their partner does certain things, they write down the answers on a sheet. Afterwards they ask their partner for the real answer and see how well they know their friends. Both the classes  who played it asked to play again. Give it a try, it might be a hit.

    Bonus: this is Hank’s opinion of me, he was far too kind. If you want to have a go guessing how often I do things, leave a comment. If someone gets 5/5, I might even rustle up a prize.

    Hank has far too high an opinion about me.

    Hank has far too high an opinion about me.


    • David Harbinson 2:27 pm on November 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m gonna say:
      1. Every day
      2. Never
      3. 2-3 times a week
      4. Once a week
      5. Occasionally

      Also, I may be wrong, but you could have gotten the game from the show ‘Friends like These (with Ant and Dec)? – I know they had something similar. I think the activity could definitely be a good ‘get-to-know-you’ activity.

      I’ve done something similar, although pretty much reverse of what you describe. I write up ten pieces of information about myself on the board, and the students have to work together to come up with questions that fit the answers.


      • timothyhampson 6:01 am on November 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        3/5 – Not bad! I like that other activity and I might steal it today. How precise are the answers you put up on the board? It sounds adaptable for lots of different kinds of questions and answers.


        • David Harbinson 7:29 am on November 10, 2014 Permalink

          Usually depends on the level of the class/amount of time available. As an example:

          1. 2007 (When did you come to Korea?)
          2. 4 (How many sisters do you have?)
          3. Chicken (What’s your favourite food?)

          Then I might award different points, e.g.

          For correct grammar = 1 point
          For correct question topic = 1 point (this means the question doesn’t need to be exactly the same as I’ve written.)

          If they get the correct grammar and question topic (but not exactly worded as I have it) they will therefore get two points.

          I award a bonus point (so a total of 3) if they get the exact same question as I’ve written down.

          I’ve found that this way students can score quite a few points even if they don’t get the correct question for some of the trickier ones (e.g. number 2 which could be anything).

          By making the questions fairly personal, the students are also learning about you, which I think they like quite a bit.

          It sometimes takes a bit of tweaking and as I mention depends on the class as to how I’d change it. If you try it out, I’d love to hear how it goes and how you adapt it for your class.

          Liked by 1 person

        • timothyhampson 12:31 pm on November 10, 2014 Permalink

          I used it today but it was a little different to how you’ve described. I only checked for a question that makes sense and had good grammar. Afterwards I got them to write down five answers and then switch books and guess each others’ questions. It worked pretty well but I think it might have been more competitive and fun your way.

          You’re right about students being really curious about teachers’ lives. I don’t know if it’s a Korea specific thing or not. (Today, after mentioning I live above a dalkgalbi place I got asked if my mum sold dalkgalbi. It’s my favourite question I’ve been asked in ages).


    • Jeongmin 12:07 am on November 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      1. Everyday
      2. Sometimes
      3. Once a week
      4. Everyday
      5. Never(I hope so)


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