27 February 2010

Glogster

Glogster is the buzz word on the block at the moment and not being one to be left behind I've had a quick look at it.  Glogster is an "online poster" applications - in other words, instead of cutting up pictures from magazines and bits of card to stick on the wall, you collect pictures and words and stick them on an electronic "poster".  The great thing about it being electronic is that you can add links to other websites, videos, music, etc.  I can see how this would engage students.

There are two Glogster sites so be sure to register with http://www.edu.glogster.com/.  The difference between the two is you have more control over privacy, students will be protected from inappropriate content and you can create student accounts.  Registration is free and until 28 February, you get 200 free student accounts with it.  After that, you get 100 free student accounts unless you sign up for the premium account which, of course, costs money.

Have a look at the Glogsters available for public view to help you with ideas.  My immediate ideas are for students:
  • Obvious but effective - create a personal Glogster with links to favourite photos, videos and other personal information.
  • Create a Glogster of links to exam practice - at the end of each unit get students to create activities and upload to class blog or wiki creating a Glogster for an index.
  • Create a biography of a famous person
  • Any project based work from the coursebook could be done using Glogster
For teachers to use:
  • Instead of writing lists of contents, create a Glogster to link to different things (see my useful links page) a very simple but effective Glogster.
  • Grammar/vocabulary based Glogsters.  Each object links to another example of use of the grammar/vocabulary point - a variety of texts, speaking, video and grammar practice activities - put it on the class blog and the student has an instant revision package.  Where possible get students to contribute.
  • And, something I'll be doing to introduce myself to new classes in future, a personal Glogster of me with interesting (and not so interesting) facts about my life.
Whether I will be able to have my students use it, I'm not sure, but time permitting I will definitely be giving it a go.

ESLBits.net

http://www.esl-bits.net/ has lots of interesting stuff, especially for PET practice.  There are interactive exam style exercises for students to practice listening and reading skills for the exam.  I'd probably avoid the advanced listening section - although you never know, there might be students out there who'd like to read and listen for up to an hour! 

I've only used the exam practice activities as team games in class or for homework.  See this homework activity on 10 Minute English.

23 February 2010

The Big Challenge

A colleague mentioned http://www.thebigchallenge.com/ website today as his students (who have obviously been using this website at school with their new netbooks) had told him that there were some excellent games here.  After having a quick look at the website it isn't just for games (in fact there seems to be only one quiz of four different levels) it's a competition website for schools in England, France Germany and Spain.  Teachers and students can partner with students in the countries of the languages they are learning, find penpals and do a host of other things.  It was also interesting to note that 8 of the 10 most recent classes that have registered, and looking for English speaking penpals, were from Spain, and most of them were from places very close to where I'm based.

It occurred to me that (certainly here in Spain) the language learning is being taken a lot more seriously and even in the three and a bit years I've been here I can see an improvement.  It makes me wonder just how much longer language academies in Spain have got.  Last year I was thinking 10 years.  I'm beginning to wonder if it'll be a lot less time before we start seeing student enrollment drop off for kids as the school English language teaching gets digital and students are able to connect digitally with native (and non-native)speakers of English....

21 February 2010

Indirect Questions Quizzes

In this post are a couple of online Indirect Questions quizzes that can be used to practice the grammar or as warmers and fillers in subsequent classes.

Click here for a multiple choice quiz.  I split my class into two teams, give them squeaky balls and the team with the most points wins.

Click here for a writing quiz.  I put my students in small groups or pairs, with mini whiteboards and get them to write the sentences

20 February 2010

Quizlet - Online Flashcards

This is a great online flashcard maker site that allows teachers and/or students to create word or picture (from Flickr) flashcards. There are then five activities that the student goes through to learn the vocabulary, including a couple of neat games to make vocabulary learning a little bit more interesting.

If you´re a teacher, you can create a group and invite students to the group. Students can then make their own flashcard sets or the teacher can make them for the students, then show them on screen in class. If you've got a class blog, you can embed it in the blog and the students can study from home too. There's a really good FAQ section that answers just about all the questions you might want to ask when using Quizlet.

Click on the link below to see the flashcard set I made for my ICTCourse.

ICT Terms

18 February 2010

Podcasts

One of the biggest complaints from students, especially FCE students, is that they can't get enough exam style listening practice.  Browsing the Internet, I've come across two very good websites for creating listening exercises.  The BBC (of course) and Podfeed.net, which has a range of podcasts covering lots of different topics.  Here are the links, but now the challenge is to find time to make it into an exercise....maƱana:)

BBC
Podfeed.net

Relative Clauses Practice

Click here for a Relative Clauses Quiz. 

Suggestions.  If computers aren't available, use miniwhiteboards - students score points for getting answers correct.

Relative Clauses Ideas

Alex Case has come up with a nice list of games to practice Defining and non-Defining Relative Clauses.  Click here to view.

15 February 2010

Blockbusters - Bugs 6 Units 1 and 2

Click here to play Blockbusters.  Corresponds to vocabulary in Units 1 and 2 of the Bugs 6 Students Book.

Or, make your own;)

Movies as conversation starters

Here is a good website using movie clips to focus on speaking and listening skills.  Ready made lesson plans that you can use for a whole class or to introduce/end a topic.  Click here to try it http://www.warmupsfollowups.blogspot.com/.

14 February 2010

ESL-lab.com

ESL-lab.com is another great listening website with plenty of activities for all levels of students.  There are hundreds of short conversations about a huge variety of topics with listening comprehension exercises and transcripts organised by level.  Click here to see an activity I've directed my students to.


11 February 2010

Neat Chat

Neat Chat is another chat application where there is no need to sign in or create logins.  Just click on the home page and create a group and invite people to your group.

A couple of ideas for using it are:

  • Invite a mystery guest - students ask questions to find out who it is
  • Discuss opinions about a topic with another class.
  • Or simply a bit of fun for a post exam or "Friday" class.

07 February 2010

Voki


Create a speaking Avatar. Use Voki to get students writing or speaking using this free tool on the Internet. It's quick and easy to use.  Teachers - use your avatar to give students instructions - they'll love it!