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  • thbsp
  • Adventurer

    • 28

    • March 08, 2010, 09:20:17 am
    • asan, chungnam, korea
grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« on: November 30, 2011, 10:51:56 pm »
so, i've been having a bit of difficulty with my lone class of grade three (middle school) students now that the exams are finished.
they hate games or anything that requires them to "look at the screen" (aside from movies).  i tried to do the extreme sports (http://waygook.org/index.php?topic=13981.0) lesson from leo, and that was a disaster, as was the bucket list lesson.  the main problem was that they had to listen to me talking/explaining things.  they're not in the mood for that, it seems.

last week i did a paper bag princess lesson.  we read the story together, then i gave them each one page from the book to translate, then they read the original page and their translation for the class.  all things considered, it worked pretty well.  there was only one student that didn't actually finish his page.  i really don't like using that much korean in class, but i refuse to just put on videos from now to the end of the year like many of the other teachers at my school are doing for that class.

i'm thinking that there may be others here in the same position.  your class has no interest in paying attention to you, but will complete tasks if they are simple and specific enough.  (the bucket list thing failed because it was too open ended.  even though the co-teacher told them they could write their items in korean, most of them gave up.)

if you have or have had a class like, please share what's worked or not worked for you.

- can be understood without much explanation from the teacher (no new concepts)
- main task is individual or pair work
- students presenting result of pair work is okay


  • SBracken
  • Expert Waygook

    • 579

    • March 07, 2011, 07:41:22 am
    • Pohang, S Korea
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 07:51:46 am »
I did a charades lesson last class. And by 'lesson' I mean we BRIEFLY discussed what is body language and why it's important for all of about 5 minutes, and then played charades the rest of the time. Honestly though, I was quite surprised at the 60% participation I did get (for the game. the 'discussion' got me about 3 students.)

If I give them a worksheet (ie a crossword puzzle, word search, etc.) they ignore it.
Pair work/group work -> 'so how about that kpop song?'
Interview/role play -> honestly haven't even bothered to try
Plenary anything -> any students who are awake/sitting up just stare at me with malice
Game -> 'teacha this game not funny' (when it's been well received by ALL my other class ranging from mid school grade 1 to high school grade 3)

Today I'm giving up and playing Hitch for them. Since when I tried to show a clip from something animated, they told me they wanted 'real person movie' (ever so politely of course). I'll spend my time planning lessons for the classes that care.


  • minamteacher
  • Expert Waygook

    • 728

    • October 05, 2010, 07:55:14 am
    • Incheon
    more
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 08:08:37 am »
I highly suggest this zombie lesson. You can just use the handout and lesson plan without the powerpoint and it works fine.


  • thbsp
  • Adventurer

    • 28

    • March 08, 2010, 09:20:17 am
    • asan, chungnam, korea
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 04:38:29 pm »
i should have added that the class' overall level is fairly low, though there are a number of bright kids.  i find it easier to explain things to my grade 1 students than to this group (which is a combination of their level and severe lack of attention).  the zombie idea sounds interesting, but i might have trouble getting them to listen long enough to understand the premise.  i'll give it a look though and see if i can rework it.

my other idea is to do a comics writing lesson.  basically, just give them blank comics and have them fill in the speech bubbles.  my way to make it work for them would be to include blanks at the bottom for them to translate their dialogue into korean, since i know if i tell them to write in english only many will write in korean instead.  it generally doesn't take up a whole period, though, which might be a problem.  my confidence of success level: 60%.


Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2011, 02:39:09 pm »
Do you have a rewards system?  If you implement stamps or tickets that the students can earn they're more (not completely, but more) eager to participate in whatever you're doing.  I started using tickets in the middle of the semester and they don't remedy laziness, shyness or  disruptiveness entirely but they certainly helped.  If you include these in your lessons it might help a little bit.  With my classes, if they earn 5 tickets they get a piece of candy.



  • fatboy
  • Adventurer

    • 48

    • May 11, 2010, 07:55:58 am
    • South Korea
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2011, 03:02:43 pm »
It's a complete joke that they attend classes posts exams and they know it as much as you do. My co-teacher doesn't even come to the class any more (not that he ever did anything useful when he did). I am just going to let them watch movies until someones says I can't. When that happens, I'll ask my co-t what he wants to do with his class.


  • Seoulian
  • Veteran

    • 190

    • September 13, 2010, 08:09:40 am
    • Seoul
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2011, 03:07:06 pm »
My grade 3's have been done exams since the start of November. Almost two full months of them coasting and not caring. They still listen, but it's a pain and I have to be 100% "on" in terms of my teaching. There is a lesson called a personality test  on waygook that they really like. They have to draw a tree and such. The zombie lesson works ok. The Kpop slam lessons work really well, the girls will go crazy. Some of my classes really like 'hot seat'. There are many ppt's to download. They play hot seat on korean tv so they should know what to do.  Also, I made 3D christmas cards and listened to Christmas music. I don't expect them to do anything harder than write "merry christmas". A presentation on your hometown would work too, as long as it is short and there is nothing that involves them having to think. I'm more or less done with most of my classes at this point though, I started showing movies. For my classes that are still involved I am doing Christmas activities for the rest of December.


  • korr
  • Expert Waygook

    • 724

    • July 16, 2009, 12:35:46 pm
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2011, 03:14:13 pm »
I don't do any lessons that make them look at the screen. It just makes them zone at this point.

Stuff that's worked with my third graders:

- Text message English and emoticons. They went nuts over smiley faces for some reason, so I taught them some obscure ones and then had each group invent their own. The other groups had to guess what the made-up emoticons meant. The group that stumped the most people and could still explain the logic behind the emoticon got a prize.

- Very simple future tense lesson ("will + verb", kids!) and then fortune-telling with MASH. They played MASH for twenty minutes and kept yelling across the room to tell me their friends' horrible futures.

- Crazy families. Find a bunch of celebrity pictures, maybe twenty for each group of four, and get a pair of scissors, some glue, and some A4 paper. Quickly review family terms, then have the students make the craziest family tree they can think of. My kids had to vote on which group made the craziest family tree, so they got really into it.

- Logic puzzles. My kids LOVE puzzles. I did one grid logic puzzle where I pre-taught the grammar and let the groups race to finish it. I also wrote a bunch of riddles on strips of paper, numbered them, and gave them to the groups one at a time. The students had to figure out the answer, run across the room to wherever I was standing, and check it with me before I gave them the next riddle. It was a speed race, so whichever group got all ten riddles right first got a prize.

- I did this with my first graders, but it might work with your low-level kids. Preteach very simple movie genres (action, romance, horror, etc.) and have the students write their favorites on a piece of paper. Then hand out a comic strip with the word bubbles removed (I used Dinosaur comics) and have the students make a comic strip that matches the genres they chose. If you have extra time, you can teach them "sound words" like BAM! and SPLAT! You won't get a lot of English, but it kept my difficult classes pretty occupied.

Hope some of these work for you! ^^


  • thbsp
  • Adventurer

    • 28

    • March 08, 2010, 09:20:17 am
    • asan, chungnam, korea
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2011, 03:37:14 pm »
Do you have a rewards system?  If you implement stamps or tickets that the students can earn they're more (not completely, but more) eager to participate in whatever you're doing.  I started using tickets in the middle of the semester and they don't remedy laziness, shyness or  disruptiveness entirely but they certainly helped.  If you include these in your lessons it might help a little bit.  With my classes, if they earn 5 tickets they get a piece of candy.

i like the idea of a rewards system, but i've found that with the older students participation marks are the only effective motivation.  of course, all the marks have been finalized so there's not much i can do there.  simply giving candy fails to draw much effort, plus it being a little condescending, i feel.

anyways, it's much too late to implement a rewards system now.

Stuff that's worked with my third graders:

- Text message English and emoticons. They went nuts over smiley faces for some reason, so I taught them some obscure ones and then had each group invent their own. The other groups had to guess what the made-up emoticons meant. The group that stumped the most people and could still explain the logic behind the emoticon got a prize.

- Crazy families. Find a bunch of celebrity pictures, maybe twenty for each group of four, and get a pair of scissors, some glue, and some A4 paper. Quickly review family terms, then have the students make the craziest family tree they can think of. My kids had to vote on which group made the craziest family tree, so they got really into it.

i like these two ideas and could see them working with my kids.  thanks for all your suggestions.
all of a sudden, about 11 of the worst behaved kids have stopped showing up (or they come just before lunch and leave just after it), so that's made things a little easier since i don't have to shout to get them quiet.  i might actually have a chance to do something a little more involved for next week.


  • gookie
  • Super Waygook

    • 333

    • August 31, 2010, 12:03:12 pm
    • Daegu
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 09:30:02 pm »
I played the Price is Right game and Brainiac and both worked really well. Some of the 3rd graders even asked to play the Price is Right game again. For my advanced classes, I alternate between game and a reading activity. It's a simple reading comprehension activity where they can do some writing and learn new vocab. The top 3 students who finishes first gets a bigger piece of candy/chocolate while the others who finishes get a small piece of candy/chocolate like a hershey kiss. For some of my lower levels, they are so uncooperative (and unbehaving) that I simply put on a movie. At least that keeps them quiet.


  • karnaz
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • July 12, 2010, 03:16:00 pm
    • Gumi-si, South Korea
Re: grade 3 after exams: busy work lessons?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2011, 11:28:15 am »
I think you should put yourself in their position. In my school all of the third graders can leave after 3:20, but my After School class starts at 3:30 every week. So they get to see their friends go home but they have to stay longer... and you want them to learn and pay attention. If I was in their shoes I would only want to play fun games in Korean and English or watch movies.

As for a solution to your problem I think you should play some fun board games and let them talk in Korean. Or better yet, do something memorable with them. A group activity. Odds are, most of them will hardly ever see each other again unless they are close friends.