Review by Marusya Hristova
I am an ESL teacher who believes in positive education and that we teachers, are our students’ role models. That is why I carefully plan my lessons and make sure they foster creativity, collaboration and at the same time are fun and useful. As a busy teacher, any tool that can make my work easier is always welcomed.
About a month ago I found out that Heart ELT was going to publish a new book, called “A-Z of Hope”, which consists of 26 fun activities for children, created by leading ELT authors and teachers. I was really eager to order the book because I knew it could be a great time-saver. We teachers, love this, don’t we? When the book arrived, it didn’t let me down.
A treat for teachers
I personally believe “A-Z of Hope” is a treat for every ESL teacher around the world. To begin with, the resources have been created in such a way that they can easily be adapted to any level. I like the fact, that I can make little tweaks here and there and use most lessons with my students. Secondly, there are beautifully designed photocopiables, which can be used in the classroom. However, if you do not have access to a printer or a computer, the publisher has provided a few “Zero-resource” lesson plans. Additionally, let’s not forget the useful tips that some of the authors have left for us, giving us advice on changing the activity in order to suit our students’ needs.
Teachers can use the resources from “A-Z of Hope”:
• To practise basic vocabulary with young learners. There are a few resources which are specifically designed for kids and include activities on topics such as colours, daily routines, numbers, food, etc
• To encourage students’ creativity
• To bring fun into the classroom, for example, students can design their own robot.
• To build awareness of language through sounds and rhythms.
• To make use of spare minutes at the end of the class by using any of the zero materials.
• To develop the students’ deductive skills by solving a crime.
• To learn the art of storytelling.
• To use various methods to practise new vocabulary.
Journals of Joy
What I particularly love about “A-Z of Hope” is the fact that some of the lesson plans are dedicated to positive topics such as love, empathy, gratitude and friendship, to name but a few. I have already used a couple of the lessons which my students thoroughly enjoyed. I have to admit though, that my favourite lesson so far is “Journal of Joy”. It is an activity which focuses on things that make learners happy. I have used it with a few students who are of varying ages and levels of English. Not only did the lessons bring smiles to my students’ faces but also encouraged them to be creative, collaborative and design wonderful Journals of Joy. I used the programme Serif Plus to create lovely posters which illustrate what makes the pupils happy. Of course, we don’t need sophisticated software to design posters in class.
You could try these websites: https://www.canva.com/ or https://spark.adobe.com/, which can be used to serve the same purpose, but just a plain sheet pf paper, some crayons and pictures from a magazine could come in handy as well. Finally, I was also pleased that I was able to tailor-make the lesson plan and save some time in my busy lifestyle.
I would definitely recommend “A-Z of Hope” to my fellow-teachers because of the wide range of interesting activities and the ability to adapt them. In my opinion, the book could successfully be shared by all the English teachers in a school. Last but not least, it is important to mention that teachers can also find free resources online but we should not forget the great cause behind the book. Heart ELT intends to raise funds for children, living in refugee camps, who have been displaced by the civil war in Syria and provide educational supplies to volunteer teachers working in camps in Greece, Iraq and the Lebanon. The
organisation provides resources and support to children who have no access to education due to war, poverty
and natural disasters.
We English teachers, and “A-Z of Hope” can make a difference in teachers and students’ lives.