Can we still be friends if today’s post is on phrasal verbs?
I know, I know, I’ve been a student, too. I know what you’re thinking. How, for goodness sake, one is supposed to learn that a car pulls in/off/over/out/up/away and into something and be expected not to make a mistake?
When I was a student at university, they made us learn like two thousand phrasal verbs or maybe more. I cannot remember exactly how many, but what I do remember is that I had them sellotaped -sticky notes hadn’t been invented yet- on the walls of every single room in the flat I was sharing. I am pretty sure my flatmates entertained the idea of asking me to leave, especially when they heard me enter a room, point at the wall and recite the list, but I am pretty sure they learned a phrasal verb or two.
Anyway, I am not planning to ask my students to memorise long lists of phrasal verbs out of context. There are more pleasant ways to learn them, aren’t there?
This quiz below is a good example of that. According to Roy Norris, author of Ready for First, Ready for Advanced and Straightforward (advanced) among others, these are the 30 most common phrasal verbs in English.
Do you have any others to add to the list?
This is how I suggest you work with the quiz:
Do the quiz
Once you have finished doing it, try to remember which phrasal verbs were tested and write them down on a piece of paper together with their meaning.
Do the quiz once again and compare your written answers with the ones given in the quiz.
Write down the ones you didn’t know. Look them up in a good dictionary and read the example sentences to see how they are used in context.
Try the quiz again some other day to consolidate knowledge.
The wheel of fortune? I know. I know. If I want you to continue reading, I’d better explain what it is. Have you ever seen the game show Wheel of Fortune? Yes, that one where you spin a wheel and get money if you successfully guess the missing letters in a word or phrase.
Good news. It can also be used to teach/learn English.
Unfortunately I am not working with primary or secondary students. I know they would love this tool. It’s a lot of fun to work with -spinning a wheel normally is, isn’t it?-, but it also has a lot of potential to teach/learn English. I teach adults and it normally takes them more time to get used to the way I teach. Sometimes, a far cry from traditional. Well, yes, I take my work very seriously but, from time to time, I like to spice up my lessons with little games and online tools to energize my lessons. This tool I’m using today is from classtools.net.
In this post, you’ll learn
How to feed the wheel
Ideas to use the wheel of fortune to teach/learn English
Click on Edit and write whatever you want to see displayed on the wheel.
Click on Save this list as currently shown
Choose a password to edit the wheel in the future
Make sure you make a note of the unique address of your wheel. I suggest you email yourself the link.
After a name or category is selected you can remove it from the wheel.
2. Ideas to use the wheel of fortune to teach/learn English
Revising vocabulary. Very useful to revise vocabulary either as a whole class, in pairs or in competitions. Students will need to either explain the meaning of a word or use it in context. Nobody will ever accuse you of favouring a team and there are countless options when working with vocabulary. While you’re reading this article, I am sure your brain is already suggesting lots of possibilities, like irregular verbs, phrasal verbs, phonemic transcription…etc
Another possibility to explore would be feeding the wheel with different topics and asking students to write or say as many words related to the topic as possible in one minute. Some easy topics could be: jobs, shops, nationalities, animals, food…etc.
Three minutes. Feed the wheel with different topics you want students to talk about and ask students to work in pairs and spin the wheel. They’ll have to talk about the topic for about three minutes. Great to revise for oral exams!
Hot seat. Again feed the wheel with different topics you want students to talk about and divide the class into teams and ask a student from Team A to sit in the “hot seat”. Spin the wheel. Members of the other team need to ask him questions about the selected topic; he’ll need to talk for about three minutes answering the other team’s questions but his answers cannot contain the words YES or NO.
Comparing. Do you want students to compare? Feed the wheel accordingly: compare living in the countryside/city, travelling by bus/plane, working as a teacher/shop assistant…etc
Storytelling. Give students an inspiring story starter and feed the wheel with prompts they need to incorporate in their story. Spin the wheel and give students a minute to use the prompts in their stories. Spin the wheel as many times as you deem appropriate. Display on the walls of the class the stories for everybody to read.
Using connectors. Feed the wheel with different connectors (and, but however, although,…etc). Ask students to work in pairs. On the board, write three sentences and ask students to choose one. Tell them this sentence will be the first in their stories. Spin the wheel and display the first connector they need to use. Spin the wheel as many times as you deem appropriate. Display on the walls of the class the stories for everybody to read.
Dependent prepositions: feed the wheel with verbs such as depend, rely, insist…etc and ask students to write a sentence using the verb together with its dependent preposition.
Order of adjectives. Are you teaching the order of adjectives before the noun? Feed the wheel with nouns and ask the students to write a sentence containing the noun modified by two or three adjectives.
Verbs followed by infinitive/gerund. Are you teaching/learning verbs followed by infinitive or gerund? Rotate the wheel and ask students to write a short sentence containing the verb randomly chosen.
I’m sure you have some more ideas to use this classroom tool, which is free and embeddable. Have fun while learning, have fun while teaching. 😉
I love trying new tools and today I’m trying Wideo, which is a tool which lets you create beautiful animated video content in a very easy way. Although I’ll write about some of its pros and cons below, the reason why I’ve chosen Wideo today is because I needed a tool that allowed me to insert interactive buttons in an easy way and Wideo is perfect for this.
So, here’s the video: Tips and Links to Prepare for the Oral Exam at Home
Play the video. It will stop where interactive buttons are provided (last two slides). Click to resume the video.
What I like about this tool:
it’s free, easy to use and very intuitive.
It provides free video hosting
Lots of professionally-designed templates to choose from
You can upload your own picture, music and background images
You can add interactive elements (clickable buttons and contact forms)
It provided a unique url and an embed code
You can switch from video mode to presentation mode for slide-by-slide presentation.
What I don’t like:
Time limit: on a free plan, the length of the videos is restricted to 3o seconds.
I must be doing something wrong. On second thought, perhaps my students are doing something wrong.
Do you know when your mum tells you off over and over again for not tidying your room and you just nod your head, promise it will never happen again and then, for some unknown reason, you seem unable to keep your promise? My students do it all the time. It’s called being nice. They are very nice, but being nice won’t help them pass exams.
So, you highlight the mistake, explain why it is a mistake, ask students if they have understood, they nod their head and say they do, you elicit some examples and give them exercises to consolidate and when you think you have seen the last of this mistake, here it is again, sticking its tongue out at you.
Below you’ll find a quiz with some of these very persistent mistakes students at intermediate level, and probably above, make.
This is how I suggest you do this quiz
Do the quiz. Obviously 🙂
Read the grammar and do the exercises when provided.
For spelling mistakes: try to remember the words commonly misspelt featured in the quiz and write them down with the correct spelling.
Grammar mistakes: Do you remember the mistakes? Can you remember why they were wrong? Write a sentence for each of the mistakes you can remember.
Do the quiz again and correct your own sentences and the spelling of the words now.
Were there any grammar or spelling mistakes you could not remember? Repeat numbers 3, 4 and 5.
Today I want to share with you an amazing screen recording tool Screencast-o-matic, which has a lot of potential to teach and learn English.
Hey! Wait! I know, you are not tech-savvy. You don’t need to be. Trust me. When you finish reading this post, I’m sure you will be willing to give it a go . The reasons?
It’s super easy to use! Do you know how to press a button? Then, you know how to use this tool.
You don’t even need to register.
It has a lot of potential to teach/learn English.
What is Screen-o-matic?
Screencast-o-matic is a free (you don’t even need to register) easy-to-use screen recording. You can use your webcam or both. Screen-o-matic will capture everything on your screen and then, if you wish, share it.
How can I use it in the classroom?
As a teacher
1. For correcting your students’ written assignments. We all have been in this situation: a student is ill or away on a business trip, but he still needs to have some feedback on his written assignment. With this tool, it’s very easy to offer visual constructive feedback by giving audio and visual cues.
Have your students send you their essays by email. Record yourself correcting and explaining their mistakes. Then, send them the video. Thanks to Russell Stannard for this awesome idea. Here’s an example uploaded to screen-o-matic. Sorry, I don’t sound very energetic. It was very late and I was dead tired!
2. For assessing students’ speaking skill, especially when describing pictures or talking about slides. Ask them to choose one or several pictures and ask them to record themselves. Here’s an example of one of my students uploaded to youtube. Thank you Elsa! 🙂
3. For a variety of speaking activities:
To explain a recipe
To talk about your favourite group, hobby, family…etc
To describe, for example, traditional games, unusual customs…etc.
For first-day presentations
For book/film reviews
The only limit is your imagination.
4. For recorded contests:
It’s St Valentine’s day, ask them to invent a romantic story
It’s Halloween, time for a horror story!
Give them a set of pictures and ask them to create a story
Give them some words and expressions and ask them to create a story
For recorded minisagas (maximum of 50 words)
5. For asessing students’ reading fluency and pronunciation. Ask students to read a given text online and ask them to send their recording.
6. For flipping your classroom. Not every student learns in the same way so it would be a good idea to record some of the most difficult grammar points for weak students to revise at home.
7. Doing exams at home. You can even make things easier for students who, for personal reasons, cannot sit exams in the classroom. Send them the test and ask them to record themselves answering the questions either in written or oral form. It might be a good idea to give them a time limit to send back the video with the answers. You can ask them to use the webcam, too (for obvious reasons).
8. To make tutorial videos to explain a task they need to do online or how an online tool works, for example this one. The yellow pointer makes it easy for students to follow your explanations. Example here
9. Help your substitute teacher. You can even make a video to help your substitute teacher if you’re going to miss class.
As a student
10. Using your webcam, for collaborative projects.
11. As an alternative to a Power Point presentation individually or in groups.
12. To do any oral assignment with one or several slides.
13. To state your opinion on any given topic.
14. To record yourself when practising for oral tests.
Why do I like it?
You don’t have to register or give your email address unless you want to upload it to their server.
You can record up to 15 minutes
You can create different folders for your different classes. If you create an account and share the email address and password with your students they can upload their own assignments and have everything neatly organised in folders.
You can choose to record only your computer screen, you can use your webcam or both
You can resize your recording window.
You can choose the microphone you want to use and adjust the volume. For laptops you can use the built-in microphone.
The first time you use it, you’ll need to download a small program.
Click the “Start Recording” button and the recording button will be launched.
Click the red button Rec and everything inside the frame will be recorded.
You can pause or restart or click Done when you finish.
Now, a new window will open offering you the possibilities of downloading your video, or uploading it to youtube or to Screen-o-matic.com (to use this last option you will need to register). Uploading to Screen-o-matic.com is free and it has some advantages:
It gives you a unique url or an embed code to use on your website or blog
You can create different channels and upload your recordings in an organised way. This is particularly interesting if you want to create a channel for your students to upload their recordings.
There is an online version, which works pretty well with Windows but not so well with Mac, and a downloadable version which works with both PC and Mac.There is a free and a pro version, but I should say that the free version works just fine.