02 January 2011

Triptico Word Magnets

Some great news if you use Triptico's Word Magnets. There is now a downloadable desktop app that you can download for free (after registering). This means you no longer need internet access to use this invaluable resource.

If you haven't used it before, it's an application that jumbles words or sentences in real time. With the online version, it wasn't possible to save prepared activities before class so I used it a lot as an end of class filler game or for short on the spot revision activities. I would get students to close their eyes and not peek (always great fun!) while I typed in a sentence and jumbled it. Students love coming up to the board to reorder the sentence.

With the new desktop version, you can prepare activities before class and save them to use later or again in the future. Of course, if you've got an IWB you can use that to do the same thing, but I find Word Magnets is much quicker.

Another game on the desktop version is Find 10. Students have to pick the 10 correct answers out of 15. For EFL, it might be better sometimes to have students find the 10 incorrect items and correct them. Some ideas for using this game:
  • Find the 10 incorrect sentences and correct them
  • Find the 10 nouns, adjectives, or other parts of speech
  • Find the 10 incorrect irregular past tense verbs
  • Find the 10 incorrectly spelled words
  • Find the 10 incorrect phrasal verbs/verb+preposition structures
There are lots of possibilities. A nice warmer/end of class/revision activity!

As well as the two games mentioned, there are a number of other useful classroom applications, including a student picker, timer and a games scorer.

To download the desktop application, click on the title of the post and register with the site. You will receive an email with a password. When you have your password, login to the site and follow the instructions to download.

Doing the Delta

Well, I've now finished Module 1 of the Distance Delta (about a month ago and it took this long to recover!) and will get my results in February which seems a long time to wait but I guess Cambridge have their reasons. What can I say except juggling a full-time teaching schedule (and extras) with all that reading is pretty tough. I've learned a lot, especially how to speed read and discovered that it's not my thing. But, I really enjoyed the course and now getting down to the task of rereading all those things I didn't have time to absorb properly or read properly that were really interesting and I want to know more about.

As far the exam is concerned, Paper 1 was evil and Paper 2 wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. During the course, I generally did quite well on the Paper 1 tasks (language knowledge and definitions, etc) and not so well on the Paper 2 tasks (methodology, etc.) During the exam, however, I feel I did better on the Paper 2 tasks than the Paper 1 tasks largely I think because of the time constraints on Paper 1.

Anyway, I really have no idea whether I have passed or failed but I do know that I've learned a lot, I found it really interesting and already I can see changes (for the better) in my teaching. So, my conclusion is that the Delta is definitely worth doing if you're interested in staying in the Tefl field. I'm looking forward to starting Module 3 in February (yes...I'm doing Module 3 before Module 2 which I'll do next year) and if I've failed the Module 1 exam, I'll be resitting it in June. I just need to practice my speed writing skills!