Joining My First Movement (#FlashMobELT, go go go)

de1ec-thebigone-tiff

Good friends of the blog Anna Loseva (AKA A-Chan) and Michael Griffin have started a movement. I have often wanted to be part of a movement, but always seem to be ready to sign up just as things are winding down.  Luckily, #FlashMobELT has just kicked off, so I figure this is my big chance.  The idea is brilliant really.  There’s a #FlashMobELT Lino board here.  Teachers with a good class activity jot it down on a Lino post-it and leave it on the board.   Teachers who leave an idea also pick up an idea.  When they have time in their classes, they use the idea, and then write up how things went, further publicising the whole #FlashMobELT movement, getting more good ideas up on the Lino, and creating a virtuous cycle.

Here’s the activity I plucked from the wall:

I went into my Monday morning class needing to revisit “A Name for All Things,” a short story we had used on Thursday of last week and this seemed like a pretty good activity for reviewing a text.   I would like to say that it went down like a storm.  But my students had sprinkled themselves with forget-everything-juice over the weekend and so the whole verbal-only thing was a little bit beyond them.  Instead, we adjusted the activity a little.  Students read a sentence from the story to themselves, picked one word, and then read the sentence out loud while mumbling the chosen word.  The other students wrote the sentence down and tried to guess the missing word from context.  The student who had read the sentence could provide hints such as part of speech, tense, meaning, etc.  After that, the activity proceeded pretty much according to the above directions.  All in all, it turned out just fine.  All the conversation about language (the meta-stuff) was unfortunately in Japanese, but it was the first class of the morning.

As the lesson progressed and I introduced a new text and did a bunch of reading exercises, I still had this post-it note, a little slice of lemon stuck to the back of my consciousness.  At the very end of the lesson, just as the students were about to reconstruct a jigsaw puzzle of the text, I realised that here was my chance.  Instead of having the students just put the slips of paper in order, I told them each to pick up 3 slips (each slip had one sentence of the text written on it).  Then I told the students to black out 2 words in each sentence.  But I warned them that before they blacked out a word, they had better make sure that they memorised it.  Then, before a student was allowed to add one of their sentences into the reconstructed text, the other students had to supply the missing words.  And this did go down like a storm.

So color me a lemon post-it note believer.  Not only does the #FlashMobELT movement provide us with 6 (and counting) fantastic activities for our classrooms, it is a springboard for creating something new.  So won’t you join us?  Won’t you become a member of the #FlashMobELT movement?  If you don’t, the whole thing will probably morph into something entirely different.  Maybe a graffiti crochet circle.  But that would be pretty cool.  I’ve always wanted to learn how to crochet.

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3 thoughts on “Joining My First Movement (#FlashMobELT, go go go)

  1. Kevin,First, I'm most annoyed with this post-a-comment system. I"ve just written a very heartfelt comment and it's gone. It's very bad. In a nutshell, I wrote why I like this post.1) It was interesting to see how you adapted the activity and gave it a second chance during one and the same lesson. How long did the lesson last?2) You've reminded me of something important. I love literature. But I"ve recently started to develop a contemptuous attitude towards using texts in class. At the faculty we're encouraged to do good, solid, safe (read: boring) texts. I don't like them, and I "overlook" some of them, by pure accident, you know. In doing this, I also start to label work on texts in general not my thing. But it's not true, I think (I hope). So thank you for bringing me to think of this issue in a new light. I'll be exploring your short stories, for a start. Starting right now.3) We're already 8 and counting on #flashmobelt, and there's still more empty space on the lino. Great! 4) In my first comment I also complimented on your unmatched first follower skillls and encouraged you to keep spreading the word as you're doing it soo great. Thank you!5) I mentioned that crochet could make it for another #wordoftheday, and that I"d watch the morph process happen with keen interest.6) Finally, I expressed my feelings after seeing myself as a label. You can try to guess.Thank you for writing this post!Long live #FlashMobELT and its members.Ann

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  2. Hi Anna,First off, I want to apologise for the awfulness that is Blogger's commenting system and for my own awfulness for being a part of Blogger's awfulness. Now on to the nutshell.1) The lesson lasted for a period and a half (about 70 minutes) from start to finish. 2) I am very happy if this post gets you thinking about working with texts in a positive light. I love how students can go from almost zero understanding to full understanding of a text and carry something away with them. It's really rewarding stuff. If you have a chance, Grace Paley's "A Man Told Me the Story of His Life" is pretty fantastic.3) 8 activities is a short book when written up in blog form. Amazing.4) It's my first time as a first follower so I'm glad I'm stumbling along in the right direction.5) Crochet is a very low frequency vocabulary word, and yet oddly important in many contexts. By the way, is there Crochet Graffiti in Russia?6) I am thinking…thinking…thinking…Thanks for the comment about your lost comment.Go go #FlashMobELTKevin

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  3. Kevin,Blogger is good. In any case, it's always a useful habit to have a copy of an important comment you're writing in another place.There is urban knitting in Russia, yes. However, I started looking for a movement or something and it's not there. I'm thinking it's underground) still, in one small Russian town this winter has been locally announced to be the crochet graffiti winter time, or else "let's get warmed up" (I'm pretty sure it must sound differently)). Locals are going to put some colorful Russian winter clothes on here and there around the town. And I believe they're aiming at the babushka style.Ann

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