Here is what a middle school English teacher has to say about the variety and range of websites and activities that are available at the click of the mouse:
There are innumerable resources available on the Internet, teeming with brilliant ideas, and well-thought out creative worksheets, but unfortunately nothing seems to relate to what I am doing in the Indian context. Although it is tempting to download these freely available resources from the Internet and give them to my students to practise, I really cannot justify the time my students and I will spend on doing the activity because it does not relate to anything specific that the curriculum has outlined.
Yes, the ideas are mind-boggling and seem so simple that we repeatedly ask ourselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?” But we very soon realize that it is a superfluous question to have posed because it takes time, energy, and commitment to craft a resource that is so picture-perfect. However, as teachers, we need to learn to adapt a resource in order to make our work more creative and less laborious.
In this article and in the other articles to follow, we would like to explore the available resources on the Internet and examine how they can be tweaked by the teacher to suit the level and the subject. We hope that more teachers will be driven to work on such resources and share them with our readers so that teachers will have their own reserve of resources that they can dip into whenever needed, instead of sweating over them for endless hours.
Here is an adaptation from an activity worksheet (adapted from Bridging with a Smile) that many children love doing on their own: Spot the differences. This is a fun activity that develops the child’s observation and concentration skills. In the initial stages, children may make simple observations such as: the three ducks are facing different directions; there is a hen in one picture and there are two hens in the other picture; there are two baby hens in one picture and five baby hens in the other picture. Children note the features that are unique to each picture and thus learn to refine their analytical skills. This simple oral activity that is possible for a five-year-old to unravel can be adapted to integrate all the four language skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking for the middle school level.
The author is a teacher educator and language trainer based in Hyderabad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.