To keep things light in our teacher room, sometimes a teacher will jokingly announce their ‘Top Tip’ of the day.
‘Top Tips’ are like hacks for making some aspect of teaching English easier. Usually they’re simple, and seem completely obvious… once you know them. Its just that you probably never would have otherwise have thought of them.
I’m developing a list of ‘Top Tips’ here to encourage me to learn more. Where the tips require more detailed explanations, you’ll find them on their own page on this website. I’ve also included tips (that don’t appear on this page), ‘in context’, throughout the website, too.
Photocopy mini flash cards onto coloured paper/card stock. This will make it easy to quickly sort them in class.
Number your mini-flashcards. If you number your mini flash cards, it makes it easy to check if you’ve collected them all at the end of an activity. It also helps quickly identify which card(s) are missing.
Use correction fluid. Sometimes you need to highlight a particular part of a flash card (say, a family member) because the original card used a technique like a small arrow to identify them. To make the change stand out, on the photocopy you can use correction fluid to circle the relevant area of the flash card you want to draw attention to.
Bundle your mini-flashcards properly. Quickly distributing mini-flashcards to students is a must. I organise mine in a bundle with each set facing in alternate ways (horizontal/vertical) and face up, then face down. This means I can quickly split the pack up for teaching assistants to distribute, knowing one student isn’t going to get an incomplete set.
Organise your songs into playlists. For quick access, organise your EFL Kindergarten songs in a playlist on YouTube. I sort mine according to theme (numbers, colours, phonics, and so on) and arrange the ones that I play most often at the top of the list. (That includes the hello song, clean up song, goodbye song, and transition songs.)
Use YouTube playlists for craft time. Many YouTube channels have several playlists of their Kindergarten songs shuffled in different orders. Playlists of songs are great to use during craft time, so that children can sing along to the music playing in the background.
Experiment with changing the speed of songs. If you’ve got more time on your hand, play your ‘Clean Up Song’ at half-speed. In a rush… play the ‘Goodbye Song’ at double speed. The kids will find it hilarious.
Keep an offline copy of popular songs on a USB flash drive. This will assist if you find yourself in a circumstance where you don’t have Internet access. (I keep a copy of my Kindergarten songs playlist on my iPhone for easy access).
Be very specific with your web searches. You will be surprised by how often you can find exactly what you’re looking for.
Capturing graphics. Windows has a free ‘snipping’ tool (search for ‘snipping tool’) that allows you to capture anything you can see on the screen (for example, a digital copy of the student book, or a part of a PDF document). You can use the snipping tool to easily capture images for your PowerPoint presentation or mini-flash cards.
Blu-Tac – store your Blu-tac in a small airtight container. This way it will last longer, and not get contaminated by dust and other debris.
Interactive whiteboard software. If your school uses an IWB, search online for a free version of the software. For example, you can download a free version of ActivInspire online, that’s almost as functional as the paid version. You can use this software to work on your lesson plans when you’re away from the school.