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Escola Infant Jesús

Molly Crane is a Conversation Assistant at Escola Infant Jesús (Barcelona). She is helping teachers in both primary and secondary school, and doing really well so far.

We thank her and her tutor Núria for writing to us about Molly’s experience!

My name is Molly Crane-Newman and I am 19 years old, I was born in San Francisco California and have lived in Dublin since I was 2 years old. I finished school 2 years ago and then went on to study Journalism in college.

I came to Barcelona on Sunday the 26th of September this year to start working as an English teacher the following day in Infant Jesús. It was my first time in Barcelona, I didn’t speak Catalan or Spanish and did not know one person upon arrival, so as you can imagine I was very nervous!

I am staying with three families over the course of nine months. I left my first family at the end of the first term. I was living a stone’s throw from the school and living with a three year old and a ten month old. As the little boy was so young we didn’t practise English during ‘homework time’ as he is in P3 and isn’t given any homework, so we would play games etc. and myself and his parents would speak in English (as I don’t speak Catalan!) and he began to pick up a little vocabulary. I now collect him once a week from school and stay for a few hours playing and talking in English!

Up until this term I had been working with children 5-12 years old. With the smaller ones (so up until 3rd grade) I took groups of 4-5 out of class and we practised role plays in English (Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs) and they absolutely loved it. Their scripts were tiny and it took a few classes to get some pronunciation but it’s a really lovely activity and I’ve even over heard them practising in the playground! With 3rd and 4th grade I also took them out in groups and most days we did little side activities related to what they were doing in class at the time. So one week for instance it was numbers, and a few weeks before it was the alphabet. With the 5th and 6th graders (who I still have this term) I have divided them into groups based on their level of English as a few of the children are practising English outside of school and their communication skills are amazing whereas some of the children will not speak a word. I have ‘The Badgers’ ‘The Monkey’s’ and ‘The Wolves’ and then at the beginning of class I’ll take one group for a half an hour and then another for the last half hour. I come up with different ideas of what to do with each group and I can then use the same activity with the rest of the classes.

This term I started with 1st and 2nd of ESO. They are very enthusiastic and I haven’t had any problem with bad behaviour (which I was nervous about!), the only problems I’ve had is the occasional shy pupil but after a few classes they open up a bit! The teachers I work with from ESO have helped me with my materials and basically what we’re doing is conversation related to what they’re studying in class at the moment. This week for 1st of ESO it is school (so favourite subjects/sports activities etc) and with 2nd of ESO, sports (teams they support, sports they play themselves etc.) I start off with a few questions, and then they complete a role-play activity related to the topic and the activity is finished with a picture description (again all related to the topic we’re discussing). They seem comfortable with the activity and I think it’s a great way to get them talking!

Working in Infant Jesús is amazing. Everybody has been so welcoming and friendly and I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity. Moving to a different country for the first time is terrifying but I really could not be less scared at this point.. Of course it’s still difficult meeting new people and learning the language but everyday it gets a little bit easier and I’m meeting some really lovely people who I know I will remain in contact with. I have fallen in love with the city and intend to stay here for a few years. I would absolutely recommend this to anybody who has an interest in teaching it is a fantastic experience.

Molly Crane Newman

Poetry Day

Today, March 21st, is World Poetry Day.

So here are some ideas related to poetry that you can use in the classroom:

– Pick a poem that you liked as a child and read it to your students. Discuss the meaning of words and see how words rhyme even though they are spelled differently (rhyme/mime, rain/Jane…)

– Write a poem with the students! Give them a random word, easy to rhyme, like “air”,  and help them find rhyming words: bear, care, chair, compare, there, square… Then, in small groups, help them make up a poem using these words.

– Shape poetry! Pick an object, for example a tree, and ask your students for words that can describe it: green, tall, leafy, strong, small, colorful, old…  Using these words, write a short poem along with the students, and have them write it in the shape of the tree. Click here to see an example (extracted from this site)

(Click on image to see it bigger)

Resources and ideas I

This is the first post of a series aimed to give both Conversation Assistants and their tutors some resources where they can get ideas on what the Assistant can do in the classroom.

One interesting source is the BBC and British Council website TeachingEnglish. There you will find teaching and training materials, activities and ideas for your teaching; as well as a forum to discuss exchange ideas and share materials.

First of all, you can visit the great Language Assistant section. With lots of ideas, activities and games for all ages and levels, and tricks and tips to be a great Conversation Assistant!

If you need even more ideas:

  • Ideas for many activities to practice speaking, vocabulary or pronunciation, amongst others, submitted by other teachers.
  • In the section “Lesson Planning“, you will find a range of topics to discuss with students of different levels.
  • If you want to use texts and literature, there is a lot of material in BritLit. It is divided in three levels: Primary Level, Sencondary and Younger teens.
  • Finally, if you are working with young children, don’t forget to take a look at Teaching Kids:  a whole section dedicated to people who teach English to children! There are lots of activities to do with the kids and also lots of material that you can use both online or printed in the classroom.

Stay tuned for more ideas and links!

The PAC team

Oberta la sol·licitud d’auxiliars de conversa per al curs 2011-2012

logo PACGràcies a aquesta proposta del Projecte Escola Multilingüe de la Fundació Escola Cristiana de Catalunya, les escoles que així ho sol.liciteu podreu disposar d’un o més estudiants anglesos, seleccionats per Home To Home, per a qui l’anglès és llengua materna perquè duguin a terme tasques d’assistència en totes les vostres activitats d’ensenyament-aprenentatge de l’anglès, 25 hores a la setmana, de dilluns a divendres, d’octubre a juny.

Un auxiliar de conversa pot col.laborar en les vostres activitats AICLE essent present a l’aula amb el professor, pot donar un cop de mà en treballs de grup, per parelles, preparació d’exposicions orals; pot augmentar la incidència en la llengua oral a través de petits diàlegs, jocs de taula, petites lectures; pot col.laborar en l’elaboració de materials, pot enregistrar textos, pot participar en les activitats musicals, teatrals, esportives… i pot estimular la competència comunicativa només amb la seva presència activa.

El vostre compromís consisteix en proporcionar a l’Auxiliar de Conversa allotjament i manutenció gratuïts en l’àmbit d’una família (o més d’una, fins a un màxim de tres) vinculada amb l’escola, designar un tutor responsable de l’Auxiliar en el vostre centre, i satisfer una quantitat mensual per Auxiliar de Conversa.

Per sol·licitar un o més auxiliars de conversa, heu d’emplenar el full de sol·licitud, que podeu descarregar aquí. Podeu consultar el Conveni de Cooperació en aquest enllaç. També podeu descarregar-vos la Guia per a les famílies acollidores. Tots aquests documents els trobareu a la pàgina “Information on the Program” dins d’aquest bloc.

Per qualsevol dubte o consulta, podeu adreçar-vos a

Animeu-vos a sol.licitar-ho, i feu-ho abans del 31 de maig, que és la data límit!