Tag Archives: word cloud

Vocabulary Competition: a Nice Simple Activity to Revise

A nice simple idea to start a lesson.

I always like to start my lessons doing some quick revision of what I taught the previous day. I do it using different techniques, but they always have something in common: they help get students into the mood and start using English from minute one.

The idea in this activity is to combine two things:

  • Revision of targeted vocabulary
  • Consolidation of relative sentences

PROCEDURE

  1. Divide the class into two teams and ask them to choose a person to play for them and take the “hot seats”. These two students will be facing their teams and with their backs to the whiteboard.(see picture above)
  2. Decide which team starts the game by tossing a coin. Let’s say Team A starts the game.
  3. Display the first word cloud on the board.
  4. Team A will choose a word or expression from the word cloud and define it for its player. Once the player has guessed the word, the teacher will cross it off and the team will define another one. For every word they guess, they will get 1 point. If the player for Team A doesn’t know the word, then Team B gets the chance to define the word for its player. If he guesses, the team gets 2 points for this word and this same team continues defining words and scoring points.
  5. Continue until all the words have been defined.
  6. Procedure is repeated again with word cloud 2. The teams choose other players to take the “hot seats”. Team B starts playing now.

As stated above, the idea is to revise relative sentences, but obviously in the heat of the game I’d allow any paraphrasing students can come up with.

Online Word Cloud used: ABCya. A word of warning: this tool is so easy to use that you’ll soon get addicted to it! See tutorial below.

Word Cloud 1

Word Cloud 2

Stars in their Eyes

When I was a kid in my hometown, a little village in the north of Spain, there used to be a cinema. Not any more and not for a long time. In fact, it seems to me there are very few towns or even cities which still have a cinema and I’m not talking about the outdoor cinemas, which are so popular in summer, I am talking about the real thing. Cinemas with endless rows of seats smelling oldish and where the usher always told you off before you even got to your seat and started cracking up. I remember we didn’t get to see the latest films until they were 4 or 5 years old and then, they were not new any more as our friends from the capital city kindly reminded us rolling their eyes in disbelief when they came on holiday, but all the same it brings back very good memories. I must be getting old!

So today I’m sharing with you an engaging lesson with lots of activities around the theme of films and the cinema. Hope you enjoy it!

This lesson is aimed at students with a language level of B2  (upper-intermediate) and focuses on revising, learning  and using vocabulary  related to films and the cinema  through a variety of engaging  activities which will help them improve listening, writing and speaking.

Activity 1. Warming-up. Learning and using vocabulary.

Step 1.Wordcloud.
Display the word cloud and ask students to guess the topic. Click on the words you want to highlight and ask students to guess meanings and try to use them in a sentence. Alternatively, you can choose the latest box-office hit and ask students to give you a sentence about this film containing the targeted word.

 

Step 2. Mind mapping.  Handout with vocabulary here

Ask students to work in pairs. Write on the board a mind map as the one below (give them only the words inside the circles) to help them revise vocabulary related to this thematic area. Allow them some minutes to complete their mind maps and get feedback from the whole class, completing the mind map on the board with their suggestions.

  • Exercise on types of films here
  • A crossword with film words here

Activity 2. A game.

The class is divided into two groups. In turns, one member from each group sits on the Hot Chair facing  away from the whiteboard. The members of their group have  one minute to describe the film being displayed  without mentioning the title ( that goes without saying, but just in case, I’m saying it). The aim is to guess as many films as possible in one minute. Then, it’s the other team’s turn.

They will need to talk about:

Kind of film/ Nationality of the film/ director/ plot/

Some hints:

♥The film ‘_______’ is a(n) _______ film which takes place in _______.
♥The film is set in __(ancient Greece)__.
♥The story is based on __(a popular novel)__.
♥The film is directed by _______.
♥The main character(s) in the film is/are _______.
♥_______ is a character who _______.
♥__(Johnny Depp)__ stars as __(Captain Sparks)__.
♥In the film, __(Jack Black)__ plays __(a rock guitarist). The story is about _______
♥The best scene of the film is_____

Activity 3. A listening : interview with Hitchcock talking about his film Psycho.

Ask students: What kind of films do you like? Do you have a favourite director?

Write on the board Alfred Hitchcock and Psycho and ask students if they know who he is and if they know any of his films. Students most probably will have heard about Hitchcock and seen some of his films, but in case they haven’t, tell them Hitchcock is considered “the master of suspense” and “Psycho”(1960) s is arguably Hitchcock’s best-known film.

Play the video and ask students to answer the questions. (Find the answers at the end of this post).

  1.  What’s Hitchcock’s opinion of films such as Frankenstein?
  2.  What’s his idea of a horror film?
  3. When he made Psycho, did he have a mind a horror film or an amusing film?
  4. Was the film “Psycho” a very violent film? If not, why did it make people scream? Explain in your own words.

Activity 4. Speaking.

Ask students to work in pairs or in small groups and answer the following questions.

Activity 5. Writing a film review.

Handout with the task and useful vocabulary and expressions to use in your review.

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Answers to the listening

  1. What’s Hitchcock’s opinion of films such as Frankenstein?He thinks they are very easy to make and that they are props.
  2.  What’s his idea of a horror film?
    He believes in putting the horror in the mind of the audience and not necessarily on the screen.
  3.  When he made Psycho, did he have a mind a horror film or an amusing film?
    An amusing film
  4. Was the film “Psycho” a very violent film? If not, why did it make people scream? Explain in your own words.

There is only one violent scene in the film, which is at the beginning when the girl is     violently murdered in the shower. As the film developed, there is less and less violence. The horror and the tension are transferred to the mind of the viewers, which are the end of the film are screaming.

Tools used
Tagul, Hot Potatoes, Picture Trail, Thematic

Revising Relationship Verbs

I just couldn’t let it pass!  It is not Valentine Day but my fourth year students are working with Relationship Verbs. Bad choice, on the publishers’ side, to ask students to learn expressions related to love when it is time for final exams and they need to concentrate on exams. Now’s the time to hunker down and hit the books! Mental note to email MacMillan about this issue!!!

So, not the right time to learn about love but , anyway,it gives me  the chance to spice up my lessons  using  the WordCoud generator Tagul, which enables you to create beautiful shapes with your words.

The exercise…. , simple  and to the point as I am a bit pressed for time. Students revise vocabulary by looking at the wordcloud and guessing  the right expression.
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Creating Word Clouds with Tagul

And again it’s this time of the year when all my free time goes to preparing and marking exams so I don’t have much time left to dedicate to the blog. To tell you the truth, I don’t feel inspired! I start a sentence, I know I want to say something … but inspiration never comes. So I’ve given up! maybe, next week, I’ll be back to my usual self. Meanwhile, enjoy this site for creating Word Clouds. It is called Tagul .

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Retelling a text using Wordle

This is not the first time I have used this strategy to invite my students to do some speaking but it is the first time I have used it with absolute beginners. It has taken me sometime to bring myself to do this kind of activity with my 12-year-old  absolute beginners. I am always afraid the task may seem to them like a high mountain to climb, but they have been studying with me for four months now and I feel they are up to the challenge.

I really feel that I can insist, until the cows come home, English  is not only about learning grammar, but if students are not actively taking a role in their education, there is little I can do.

So I have used a text, they had previously worked  with, to ask them to retell the story. The text was about Education and it told the story of two children Eduardo from Angola and Nabyrye from Uganda. Easy text and all about present simple, which is what they have been studying. Two texts, so great to do pair work!

I have used a tool I have used other times, Wordle, to create Word Clouds to help students remember the story and retell it.

Two useful tricks when using Wordle

♥ If you want a word to be bigger than the rest, just type it twice.

♥ Insert (~ ) between the words you want to keep together.

I have posted about Wordle to revise vocabulary here and to do  a Writing Activity here

Have a nice week!!

Lesson Plan: Retelling an article using Word Clouds

This is a lesson I did with my upper-intermediate students in the computer room and I thought it might be useful to some teachers. The main idea is to retell a text you have previously worked with in class. This is important as  otherwise the task of retelling might be a bit  difficult for weaker students. This is how I did it.

♣ First, for homework, I asked students to reread the text several times .

♣ Then, in the computer room, I asked students to form groups of 3 or 4  and divided the text according to the number of students in each group .

♣ Now, individually and  using the website Word it Out, which is a word cloud generator, I asked them to select the key words in their texts, type them in Word It Out and generate the word cloud. If two words need to be together, it is easy with this generator. Imagine “suffer from”, you only need to insert _ between the two words and they’ll be kept together in the cloud.

♣ Students in groups again, retell the story with the help of the generated  word clouds.

I especially liked this exercise as students get a lot of fun out of it and they collaborate every step of the way. Here are the word clouds generated by a group. I hope you find it useful!

Writing a narrative

This is a writing exercise for my PAU students and I thought you might find it useful. In this written exercise they’ll have to make good use of the vocabulary they have learnt about travelling and going places, the connectors they have studied and they’ll also have to put in practice some of the tips I have given them about the Writing Process, which if you are interested you’ll find published in this blog, here.

This is the idea:
Students, in pairs, are asked to write a narrative. They have to use words from both word clouds, i.e, they have to use connectors from the first word cloud and specific vocabulary from the second. Ask them to write their narrative in coloured  paper which you’ll later post on the walls of the classroom for student to vote for the one they like best.

 

Make sure that you:

♣ begin by describing when and where the story takes place

♣ describe the events in chronological order

♣ use the different forms of the past tense

Creative Writing : Using Wordle

I’ve been using Wordle for quite a long time now but this idea is something I have not yet tried. This task involves using this great little tool called Wordle and the very popular Breaking News English site.
I read about this idea in Marisa Constantinides’ blog, which I highly recommend if you’re a teacher.

Lesson Plan:
• Tell students they are going to write a short news report. Write on the backboard the following heading

” Teacher on trial for attacking student”

and ask students to comment of this heading and what they think  might lead a teacher to attack a student.

• Display with the OHP the Wordle and ask students in pairs to brainstorm ideas for an article using the words in the Wordle Cloud. Explain new vocabulary if necessary

• Give students about 15 minutes to write the first draft of the article.
• Play the audio from Breaking News English twice and ask students to add, improve or edit their articles.
• Students write the final draft of the article on a coloured sheet of paper, which is them posted out on the walls of the classroom. Students stand up, read everybody’s article and vote for the best.

Students compare their aticle with the real one. Click here

• Finally, it would be interesting to talk a bit about the role a teacher plays in our society. These questions might be helpful to get them started.

Do you think being a teacher is easy or difficult?

Do you feel sorry for Mr Harvey or the student?

What kind of behaviour do you see in your classroom?

What can society do to make students respect their teachers?

If web cameras were put in classrooms, teachers would teach better classes and students would behave better. What do you think?

Wordle: creating “word clouds”

It is not the first time I ‘ve used this tool, but it is the first time I’ve used it to revise vocabulary. I like it because it is easy to use and also attractive and we all know that students appreciate it when you give them something different.
How does this tool help me? Wordle is a “toy” for generating “word clouds” from the text you provide.
In the past I mainly used it to decorate some posts and in class to retell a text. It is a great tool for retelling as the clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

But today I’ve discovered a new use to Wordle. I needed tor revise some vocabulary. I normally do it as a competition game with strips of paper and the word to be revised written on them. But today I tried writing the words to be revised and this is the result. I’ve created two word clouds as I am going to split the class into two and let them compete against each other by giving them a maximum of two minutes to try to define the words to their team. So, I’ve printed the word clouds and used it in the OHP. Hope they like it! I had a great time too tweaking the fonts, colours and layout.

Related entries:
Karaoke on line
Fancy doing a dictation?
Warhol

 

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