Today was a great day! My blog has been visited by more than 1000 people from 85 different countries. I have plenty of reasons to celebrate just because of that. However, I’m even happier because of a wonderful lesson I had with my group of YLs. To inspire you, my dear teachers, I’d like to share what we did today.
First, you need to know that the lesson was about telling the time in English. My students are 9-10 years old, and I’m pretty sure most of them have had this lesson before. Normally, I’d start with a digital clock on the board and ask them to tell me what time it is. This time we did something completely different, and the outcome was incredible: engaged students, sparking eyes, joy, and lots of fun!
I reminded them of the question “What time is it?” on the board. We drilled it a few times to get the pronunciation and intonation right.
They completed the activity in their books with a digital watch showing different times. They worked in pairs, and I helped whenever they needed me.
Step 3 (That’s when things got more interesting for them)
About 1 hour before the lesson started, I had arranged with some international friends to answer my WhatsApp call (you can also use Facetime or Skype) during the lesson I would teach. Their mission? Answer my students’ very tricky question “What time is it?”
We managed to ask six different people from completely different time zones. Special thanks to Rachel Amen from Wyoming, USA, Marion Lange from Washington, DC, USA, Waldeir Eterno from Stuttgart, Germany, Lucía Sotomayor from Cusco, Peru, Clayton Crispim from Dublin, Ireland, and Afrah Farhan, from Diwaniya, Iraq. My students were so cute introducing themselves and asking about the time. Some of them were a little shy, but others were very excited! They also had to pay attention to the answers and write them down so that we could establish the time difference between those countries and Brazil.
I explained the concept of time difference, and we built a World Time Zones Map (photo above) with card stock, cardboard, colored pens, toothpicks, hot glue, an old eraser, and paper plates. I told them to cut the hands of the clock accordingly (one shorter and thicker). They had a blast! As they were working on the clock, I asked many questions about my wonderful guests’ answers. I made sure to call each guest at a specific time I wanted to practice (2:05, 2:30, 2:45, 2:53, 3:00, and 3:15).
When the World Time Zones Map was ready, they had to set the hands of the clocks (there were two) to the correct time in one of the places and in Brazil. I asked them the time difference to practice the term hours.
Their homework was to select four more countries and write down their times when it is 8 pm, 8:30 pm, and 8:45 pm in Brazil.
Today my students learned not only about time but also about how the right connections, good friends, and some technology can bring the world together to collaborate on small or big issues. To my friends, it was a tiny part of their day. But to my students, it was a big deal to see that they’re global citizens and that they can have a simple conversation with people hours ahead or behind us in Brazil.
Why don’t you try it with your students?