Sunday, December 2, 2012

ESL Teaching Tips #3 - The Magic Hat

This is not so much a teaching tip as a teaching resource and it is one of my absolute favorites. It's called the 'The Hat' and it's a software programme that randomly selects names out of a virtual hat - no muss, no fuss.

Every month my students have to do a presentation where they talk for a minute or two about one of the subjects we have studied.  In some classes I have all the kids wanting to be first and in others I have none of them wanting to.  Even doing a rhyme choosing poem sometimes does not really work out well, 'The Hat' programme will solve all these issues.  You can type the names into it as you go or you can do it before hand and then just load the list from a saved file, you can also pick pairs of names so if you have a class that does not like to pair up this will also work great. 

I like it because the kids can't argue with it or blame anyone, if they say it's not fair I just point at the computer and say - 'the computer picked it, not me' and this pretty much stops any arguments.  As an added bonus it's also a bit of fun, the kids like trying to guess whose name will come out each time the hat draws a name. I keep it on my flash drive -  it's just a small programme, and that way I have it with me which ever class I am in. It's got to the point where the kids ask for it now, it's nice to have a positive start to something most of them don't like to do.

The programme is called 'The Hat' and is from Harmony Hollow Software.  You can find it here and best of all it's free.

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