Day 1 (Term 1): Knowing me, knowing you

Over the years, I've developed a first lesson designed to get students feeling relaxed about talking about themselves. It starts with the focus on me. This year I started with a slide show of holiday photos, including the one here. Students had to watch, remember what they saw, and then say what they photos told them about me. Next I handed out a letter introducing myself (click to see) but with information missing. The photos allowed them to fill in some gaps, but had to ask me questions to complete it. Their homework is to write back and tell me about themselves.

As always on first days, there were a lot of practical things to deal with too. One was to get students to sign up to Edmodo. If you're unfamiliar with this app, to quote Google Play it: ‘takes learning beyond the classroom by providing a free, safe place for teachers and students to connect and collaborate—anytime, anywhere’ . The great thing is it’s a closed group, with no personal details exchanged. I use it to send students the class notes I project on the board during lessons, and to post small tasks to encourage students to use their English between our classes. This week's task was the questions below about the photo. (Answers below.)

1 Who's the statue of?
2 What's he famous for?
3 Where exactly was the photo taken?

We finished with a song, 7 Years by Lukas Graham (click to see worksheet). When i asked for reactions, some students said it made them feel relaxed and peaceful. One student said ‘it bores me’. Which lead nicely into asking what songs they want to work on in class. I’ll be interested to see what they suggest.

(Photo answers: 1 Adolphe Sax 2 He invented the saxophone. 3 Dinant in Belgium, in front of the house where he was born, now a museum.)