October 24, 2017, 07:55:45 AM

Lesson Plan Downloads

Lesson Plan Downloads:  Full access to Lesson Plans are available with a subscription; monthly and yearly options are available for your convenience.  Click here for Subscriptions (You can also click here for details)

Author Topic: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.  (Read 3036 times)

Offline Diaphanous Opprobrium

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Gender: Male
Hey all you waegukin,

I'm an EPIK teacher at a small elementary school. Only two weeks into the year, I feel like I have no interesting lesson ideas. Every time I sit down to lesson plan, I get a tremendous feeling of stress because I have such a hard time coming up with activities that actually work.   :sad:

I should say that I decided (probably wrongheadedly) to toss out the textbook and just teach its learning objectives in whatever way I see fit. I was overwhelmed by it being mostly in Korean.

There's a total of 11 lessons per week to plan, and I'm barely able to do it all without taking work home. Sometimes I do anyway, which is fine, but I'm still hyper stressed by it. What's more, in two weeks I start teaching this morning program which will rob me of 9 hours of weekly planning time!!

It feels idiotic coming with original material for almost every lesson because I know there's a lot of material out there, but I can't find things that fit the specific learning objectives and target language that I have to teach. Please help me! This is burning me out WAY too fast!! Now I feel like I won't make it, despite the fact that I got lucky with nice kids and a small school and lots of freedom in my lesson planning.

Offline LightinDarkness

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2017, 11:12:23 AM »
Hey, good morning. I understand your stresses completely. That seems like an overwhelming situation. My advice would be not to throw out your textbook completely, but to just take the ppt templates from here on Waygook and modify them how you see fit. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but you can certainly put spinners on it.

Your situation has inspired me to put up more games and ppts I made last year up on to Waygook.  My other advice is not to make to many presuppositions about what your students will enjoy. I have used a few activities that I didn't think too much of, but the students have thoroughly enjoyed.

It gets much easier after the first month, just relax and look through here. A lot of people have posted some quality stuff, and other stuff just needs some polish to shine :)
You are amazing. You are beautiful. You are loved.Your life has purpose. Your Salvation was bought at a high price, but given freely. Trust in Jesus, the one who loved you enough to pay it all, and you will be saved. He loves you enough to conquer the grave, He is risen, and alive!

Offline chrislis90

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2017, 11:24:25 AM »
I felt exactly the same when I first started. I was given 4 schools and had to use 3 different textbooks which was overwhelming to say the least. I brought work home and even did some over the weekend.

But like you said, there are tonnes of material out there. Whichever textbook you were using, check the lesson plan thread on waygook and take ideas and build on from there. Over the course of the last year I tried and tested lots of different games and activities. I now have a list of about 20 that I keep in rotation. Find ones that can be adapated quite easily to specific target language/phrases, as this will save you so much time - not just from lesson planning but from having to constantly explain to your classes what to do. By the second semester of last year, I never did work outside of school. So it will get better, just keep plugging away and find things that work for you and your students.

Also, at a small elementary school, why do you have to plan for 11 lessons a week? I work in middle schools so I'm not sure of the ins and outs of elementary schools.

Offline Diaphanous Opprobrium

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Gender: Male
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2017, 01:53:17 PM »
Thanks for your replies so far! I've been browsing the textbook-based lesson planning threads this morning before class and I get what you mean about stealing materials and adapting them to my classes.

Also, at a small elementary school, why do you have to plan for 11 lessons a week? I work in middle schools so I'm not sure of the ins and outs of elementary schools.

And it's 11 per week because I have 3 after-school classes in addition to 8 regular classes, and the school is so small (grades 3-6 total 33 students!) that I see the same kids in 2-3 classes per grade per week.

By comparison, one of my EPIK friends who teaches at a larger school teaches the same 2-3 lessons to different classes (although that comes with its own drawbacks).

Offline djsteenkamp

  • Explorer
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2017, 01:59:30 PM »
Check this link to the Waygook Elementary Index of EVERYTHING :

http://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=7649.0

Goodluck. Fighting

Offline TylerDurden

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 109
  • Gender: Male
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 02:58:15 PM »
Hey all you waegukin,

I'm an EPIK teacher at a small elementary school. Only two weeks into the year, I feel like I have no interesting lesson ideas. Every time I sit down to lesson plan, I get a tremendous feeling of stress because I have such a hard time coming up with activities that actually work.   :sad:

I should say that I decided (probably wrongheadedly) to toss out the textbook and just teach its learning objectives in whatever way I see fit. I was overwhelmed by it being mostly in Korean.

There's a total of 11 lessons per week to plan, and I'm barely able to do it all without taking work home. Sometimes I do anyway, which is fine, but I'm still hyper stressed by it. What's more, in two weeks I start teaching this morning program which will rob me of 9 hours of weekly planning time!!

It feels idiotic coming with original material for almost every lesson because I know there's a lot of material out there, but I can't find things that fit the specific learning objectives and target language that I have to teach. Please help me! This is burning me out WAY too fast!! Now I feel like I won't make it, despite the fact that I got lucky with nice kids and a small school and lots of freedom in my lesson planning.

Go to elementary lessons here on waygook, then click on 'textbook based lessons'.  Find which book your school is using, click on that, and pages and pages of lessons will appear that have ppt lessons for each chapter of our specific text. 

Offline yirj17

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 2613
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 11:22:56 AM »
My education major friends always "joked" that planning lessons was about stealing and adapting.  After being in this job, I see the practicality. 

Like another mentioned, you might be surprised at what piques your students' interest.  Sometimes an elementary class of mine will get so excited over simple things-- for example, once I made some flashcards of country flags that I only intended for a brief activity (shuffling the cards, flipping them over and declaring, "I'm from ______.").  However, for some reason this one class just absolutely loved them and begged to continue for the rest of the period.  Well, all right then, that was easier on me and I just saved the other activities for another time! 

Activities are going to be hit or miss, but you won't know until you try 'em out.  And classes are also going to have different personalities.  What one class loves, another may not be interested in at all. 

Also, do make use of the resources here!  In the beginning I spent a lot of time sifting through materials to find and adapt what I thought might work best for my students. 

Offline kriztee

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 768
  • Gender: Female
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2017, 11:49:59 AM »
I attached the files I use to come up with activities. Look on here for other ideas too. For after school, I had to do that last year and don't worry about doing a different topic every time. Spend about 3-4 classes on one topic so the kids actually remember it. The textbooks usually go Listening, speaking, reading, writing, review. Take that pattern for after school classes too. the "English Lesson..." file I posted groups activities by listening, speaking, writing and reading so it's nice and fast to find an activity.

Offline timman89

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Gender: Male
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2017, 01:47:37 PM »
I attached the files I use to come up with activities. Look on here for other ideas too. For after school, I had to do that last year and don't worry about doing a different topic every time. Spend about 3-4 classes on one topic so the kids actually remember it. The textbooks usually go Listening, speaking, reading, writing, review. Take that pattern for after school classes too. the "English Lesson..." file I posted groups activities by listening, speaking, writing and reading so it's nice and fast to find an activity.

THANK YOU!

Offline Diaphanous Opprobrium

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Gender: Male
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2017, 02:01:27 PM »
Update: This week I've been focusing on establishing a system for lesson planning that's a lot lower-stress. Going through the textbook-sorted lesson plan posts has been a huge help, and thanks to everybody for the advice.

I attached the files I use to come up with activities. Look on here for other ideas too. For after school, I had to do that last year and don't worry about doing a different topic every time. Spend about 3-4 classes on one topic so the kids actually remember it. The textbooks usually go Listening, speaking, reading, writing, review. Take that pattern for after school classes too. the "English Lesson..." file I posted groups activities by listening, speaking, writing and reading so it's nice and fast to find an activity.

This is amazing! So useful.

Offline #basedcowboyshirt

  • The Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 3540
  • Gender: Male
  • My ring is a mansion.
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2017, 02:38:50 PM »
When I first started teaching, I also felt like that. Like others have said, don't abandon the textbook. The textbook is super super useful, and the teachers guides (your school will have one somewhere) all have English, but for the most part they're pretty simple to figure out.

Remember, nobody expects (or should expect, at least) you to make an entire curriculum.

But yeah, like anything, when you're starting, it's hard and you're probably going to suck at it a little bit. But, to take an Adventure Time quote, 'sucking at something is the first step to being kind of good at something.'

Offline kriztee

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 768
  • Gender: Female
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 02:44:35 PM »
Update: This week I've been focusing on establishing a system for lesson planning that's a lot lower-stress. Going through the textbook-sorted lesson plan posts has been a huge help, and thanks to everybody for the advice.

I attached the files I use to come up with activities. Look on here for other ideas too. For after school, I had to do that last year and don't worry about doing a different topic every time. Spend about 3-4 classes on one topic so the kids actually remember it. The textbooks usually go Listening, speaking, reading, writing, review. Take that pattern for after school classes too. the "English Lesson..." file I posted groups activities by listening, speaking, writing and reading so it's nice and fast to find an activity.

This is amazing! So useful.

No problem :P I had to do 18 hours of after school last year so the first thing I did was google "ESL games" and these came up. There are other lists out there if you get bored of these ones but honestly my kids liked repeating a lot of the games. If you need ideas for after school topics check out the Everybody Up series. I used the vocab and sentences from those books last year then planned lessons around them.

Offline Charmedhpx77

  • Waygookin
  • *
  • Posts: 21
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 02:46:38 PM »
To add in my two cents, I re-use a lot of games over and over, because once they get the hang of a game they like, they don't mind playing it multiple times. So, for example, for the listening part of each chapter, I play the "ninja" game, a version of battle ship that you can find on the forums. I just adapted for each chapter, after the first time playing, they knew how to play the game, so when it was time to play it in the next lesson, about 3-4 weeks later, they were ready to go. Kids are pretty competitive, so anything that's a game is fun for them.

Also, I teach all 4 grades at my smaller school this year, right in a row, and I do the exact same games, just tailor it to the grade level/key expressions. For example, the cards in the back of the book are great to play Line Bingo with, a crowd favorite in most schools I've taught at. (line bingo, they put the cards in a line, you call out the words, they can only flip it over if it's on the end. The first time they play, they get confused, but after they play it once they seem to like it. Any Bingo game really. Also after a few times, I have the kids say the words they want to flip, making a listening/speaking game.) The most I have to do at that point is adapt any power point games, but that doesn't take much time.

ALSO, I agree with don't throw out the book entirely. The cards in the back can be helpful. I usually try to do 10-15 minutes of book, because that's what they are used to, a ppt to drive the point home in a more useful manner, then a game to wrap it all up. I usually take stuff from this site and change it to fit my needs. Some stuff is great, but most all of it needs tweaking.

I made a lot of stuff for the second semester, I should share some of it. Don't be afraid to recycle games and activities; they actually like it when they are familiar with what they're going to be doing.

Also, rock paper scissors can be added to anything to make it fun in a pinch.

Offline sonofthedude777

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 172
  • Gender: Male
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2017, 11:55:39 AM »
I don't know if this applies to you or not but remember to keep it really simple.  They can't understand most of what you are saying, except for the few hagwon kids that answer you in class.  That helped me as I got more experience.  I did these elaborate lessons that I thought would pique there interest and make them think.  That will burn you out and not be that effective for EFL kids. Simplifing lessons also allows you to spend more time on one topic or basic skills.  Reptition is not only ok, it is necessary.  The book does a lot of that for you already.
I am not a number. I am a free man.

Offline akplmn

  • Veteran
  • **
  • Posts: 105
  • Gender: Female
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 03:35:42 PM »
Oh man, this post was too relatable.  But you got a lot of good advice, and it definitely gets much, much easier as time goes on.

Sounds like you're back on track with the textbook, too, so this might not be so relevant anymore, but I would really advise NOT throwing the textbook away entirely.  Not only do you end up making things a lot harder for yourself, but the public school textbooks are specifically designed to follow the national curriculum.  You'll notice that all the textbooks teach essentially the same material, if in a slightly different order, and that's the reason for it.

Even assuming you had the educational and linguistic expertise to design a better language acquisition program, it's not your job to be doing that.  There may be a lot of issues with the national curriculum, but it is there to ensure a minimum standard is met, and to make for a smooth transition should the children change teachers or schools, as inevitably happens.

Plus, when the kids finish sixth grade, they write a middle school entrance exam that includes an English test.  This is going to be used to place them in their middle school classes, and can even have some bearing on the school they end up going to.  Your kids need to know the specific grammar and vocabulary taught in the textbooks, both for that test and in order to be well prepared for the middle school curriculum.  So even if you don't want to use the books to teach at all, you need to be teaching the vocabulary and expressions that the books cover.

Also, I know the textbooks seem like crap, but they're actually okay once you figure them out.  I would take a few hours and just play around on the accompanying CD.  There are so many more resources that come with the textbook than initially appears - flashcards, vocab worksheets, grammar worksheets, dictation exercises, tests, etc.  In mine there's even a random number generator I use for seating charts and presentations.  It took me months to find some of this stuff because I hadn't learned Korean yet, but it is there.

You're right that the textbooks are far from ideal, and you will end up supplementing them significantly, BUT there's no need to throw the whole textbook out and reinvent the wheel.  You will develop much better lessons if you build on the curriculum, rather than trying to rewrite it.

Good luck!

Offline bjinglee

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2017, 04:39:28 PM »
That's a lot of lessons to teach per week, so understand why you're stressed. Keep in mind too that lessons can be stretched or contracted by pacing lessons appropriately. You can stretch a lesson out by giving students more practice time, throwing in an additional but related activity, etc. Conversely, you can contract a lesson by cutting things out or reducing the time they have for certain activities. 

Offline amandaintheworld

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 48
  • Gender: Female
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2017, 12:48:16 AM »
Hey all you waegukin,

I'm an EPIK teacher at a small elementary school. Only two weeks into the year, I feel like I have no interesting lesson ideas. Every time I sit down to lesson plan, I get a tremendous feeling of stress because I have such a hard time coming up with activities that actually work.   :sad:

I should say that I decided (probably wrongheadedly) to toss out the textbook and just teach its learning objectives in whatever way I see fit. I was overwhelmed by it being mostly in Korean.

There's a total of 11 lessons per week to plan, and I'm barely able to do it all without taking work home. Sometimes I do anyway, which is fine, but I'm still hyper stressed by it. What's more, in two weeks I start teaching this morning program which will rob me of 9 hours of weekly planning time!!

It feels idiotic coming with original material for almost every lesson because I know there's a lot of material out there, but I can't find things that fit the specific learning objectives and target language that I have to teach. Please help me! This is burning me out WAY too fast!! Now I feel like I won't make it, despite the fact that I got lucky with nice kids and a small school and lots of freedom in my lesson planning.

I teach 18 unique lessons per week ranging from elementary to middle school (every one of my five schools has a different textbook, naturally), and at first I thought I was going to die. The first 2-3 months I was working from home every night and hating my life.  But I just started year 2, and I never bring anything home anymore.  You will, over time, find things that your students like!  One tip; searching google for "waygook.org + (search terms)"  revolutionized things for me a bit.  It's much easier to find things that way.  I agree with the others.  Don't reinvent the wheel, stay calm and revamp the wonderful materials waygook has to offer, and you'll be golden.  Good luck! ~ 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2017, 12:50:43 AM by amandaintheworld »
[just some thoughts] www.amandaintheworld.com

Offline VXRider

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Gender: Female
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2017, 11:25:10 AM »
Hey, good morning. I understand your stresses completely. That seems like an overwhelming situation. My advice would be not to throw out your textbook completely, but to just take the ppt templates from here on Waygook and modify them how you see fit. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, but you can certainly put spinners on it.

Your situation has inspired me to put up more games and ppts I made last year up on to Waygook.  My other advice is not to make to many presuppositions about what your students will enjoy. I have used a few activities that I didn't think too much of, but the students have thoroughly enjoyed.

It gets much easier after the first month, just relax and look through here. A lot of people have posted some quality stuff, and other stuff just needs some polish to shine :)


I know how you feel because I also experienced to be run out of ideas for activities and performance tasks. Just to share with you, I gathered all the resources I could find and compiled them. So far, Hubbard's cupboard contains everything that I need for a great and exciting lesson for my pupils. What's the headcount in your class?

Offline Aristocrat

  • Expert Waygook
  • ****
  • Posts: 955
  • Gender: Male
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2017, 01:51:37 PM »
Hey all you waegukin,

I'm an EPIK teacher at a small elementary school. Only two weeks into the year, I feel like I have no interesting lesson ideas. Every time I sit down to lesson plan, I get a tremendous feeling of stress because I have such a hard time coming up with activities that actually work.   :sad:

I should say that I decided (probably wrongheadedly) to toss out the textbook and just teach its learning objectives in whatever way I see fit. I was overwhelmed by it being mostly in Korean.

There's a total of 11 lessons per week to plan, and I'm barely able to do it all without taking work home. Sometimes I do anyway, which is fine, but I'm still hyper stressed by it. What's more, in two weeks I start teaching this morning program which will rob me of 9 hours of weekly planning time!!

It feels idiotic coming with original material for almost every lesson because I know there's a lot of material out there, but I can't find things that fit the specific learning objectives and target language that I have to teach. Please help me! This is burning me out WAY too fast!! Now I feel like I won't make it, despite the fact that I got lucky with nice kids and a small school and lots of freedom in my lesson planning.

I arrived as a direct placement.
I had no orientation, no knowledge of Waygok.org... nothing.
For 5 months, I made up some really... weird lessons. It takes time to get into the flow.
Use the PPP method.

Presentation - Explain the Key Expressions
Practice - Listen and Repeat
Production - Game

Zombie handshake, Kimchi game, Liar Game, Trashball and Ball bounce are some of my favourites and require minimal prep.

Offline VXRider

  • Adventurer
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Gender: Female
Re: Help! Overworked and desperate for lesson ideas after only 2 weeks.
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2017, 02:12:19 PM »
I have tried those activities as well and I suppose it worked because my students became more interested.
Group activities seem to be really effective. Have you ever heard of the 'Lightning Rounds' activity?

 

Buy/Sell/Trade

Employment