Monthly Archives: January 2022

Create your Own Wordle Game

Yes. I am sure you have all heard about the latest craze in word games. No? You haven’t heard of Wordle? Well, if you haven’t, you missing out.

If you have played and loved but discarded Wordle as a teaching tool, I am here to show you there is a great alternative. Keep on reading!

Created by a software engineer called Josh Wardle, Wordle is a word game and it has become so popular that it has even been verbed  and people are beginning to say “have you wordled today?”

But, how do you play?

  • The idea is that you need to guess the Wordle in 6 tries.
  • Each word must be a valid 5-letter word
  • After each guess, the colour of the tiles will change to show how close your guess was to the word. Green if the letter is in the correct spot; yellow, if the letter is in the word but not in the correct spot and grey if the letter is not in the word in any spot.

Anyway, the game is fun to play but as a teacher, I thought it was maybe a bit too difficult for my students. Sometimes the words to be guessed are “knoll” or “crimp”. So, fun for me but I could see no use for the game in my classes as the words to be guessed were either too difficult or not relevant for the content I was teaching.

But, thanks to Tony Vincent and his awesome blog  learninginhand.com, I learned there is a Wordle you can easily customize with the words you need. How cool is this to use as a warmer, stirrer, filler or cooler?

The website is called mywordle.me and was developed by Pallav Agarwal. It works as explained above as regards tile colours. What’s different?

  1. You can customize your own word
  2. It can be 5 or 6 letters long
  3. You can do as many as you want
  4. You can share the link with your students and they can all play at the same time.

Next class? Start with a Wordle game to revise vocabulary.

Some Spanish Slang, How to Say it in English and a Strategy to Make it Fun.

If you love giving quizzes to your students or if you are a student yourself, you’re going to love doing this quiz. Why? Because in this quiz, students are going to learn some expressions that are not in the dictionary. Well, some of them might be. Plus, they are going to take an active role when answering the questions in the quiz. All of the students. Keep on reading!

Why is not giving the quiz enough for me?

It very often happens that when you display a quiz such as this one for the whole class only a bunch of students – normally the ones who volunteer for everything you do in class- actively participate in giving the answers.

Well, this is not enough. Not for me. I need all the class to participate. And I don’t really mind here whether the answers are correct or incorrect. That’s not the point. The point is that they are, at least trying. And trying is learning, And making mistakes is learning.

NOTE: I am well aware that there is not just one way of saying the expressions in the quiz. This is just the way I say them.

(Click on the image, it will take you to the quiz)

Procedure
  • Give each student two pieces of paper; 10×7 cm approx. will be perfect.
  • Ask them to write on one side the letter A and on the other side, the letter B. On the second piece of paper, ask them to write the letter C. Tell them to write the letters big enough to see from a distance.
  • The letters A, B and C correspond with the three possible options in the quiz. For example, if they think the second answer is the correct one, they should choose and show the letter B.
  • Tell students they will be competing in pairs and they should keep score of the points each of them gets. If both students guess the correct answer, no points are awarded; but, if one student beats the other one in a question, that’s when they score a point.

BONUS: A nice idea to keep track of the points they score is to use, for example, chickpeas, pasta or peas. That adds a fun touch to the exercise.

 

  • Display the first question. Give students 10-15 seconds to think. Say “UP” and have students display the correct answer. Students in pairs compare their answers and score points, if necessary.

Follow-up

Sadly, just because they do the quiz once does not mean they are going to learn the content in it. You will need to revise it, and not just once. So, this is what I do:

      1. Once they finish, ask them to write down all the expressions they remember and share them with the class.
      2. Display the quiz again, one question at a time, but do not show them the answers. Students will need to try to remember the correct answer.
      3. Give them the link to the quiz to practise again at home.

That’s all! I hoe you have enjoyed the post!

Science and Research: Vocabulary, Listening and Conversation Questions for C1 students

Back to the grind with an engaging lesson on Science and Research.

  • Topic: Science
  • Level: C1
  • Skill and subskills: Vocabulary, Speaking, listening

Warm-up: Scientists and their discoveries and inventions

1. In pairs: In 1 minute, write as many scientists as you can think of together. Do you recall what they are known for?

2. Whole class. Display the exercise and do it as a whole class.  Students should rank the 3 most important discoveries or inventions in pairs, giving reasons for their choices.

Vocabulary. The words you need.
    • a major breakthrough in the fight against
    • to address the underlying cause of autism
    • to extract DNA from
    • to undertake/carry out a survey
    • to test animals in labs
    • to do experiments on sheep
    • the experiment was flawed
    • to do /carry out research
    • the findings show/ the findings highlight the importance…
    • to pave the way for …
    • lack of funding / get funding
    • genetic disorders
    • genetic engineering
    • gene manipulation
    • to invest in space studies
    • cutting-edge technology
    • to benefit or to harm people
    • to be more prevalent than
    • to clone
    • to devise a way to …
    • to carry out examinations
    • to successfully transplant
    • scientific theories 
    • to provide conclusive evidence
    • to be sceptical (UK)/skeptical (US) about…
    • to have growing concerns about
    • to go beyond the edge of ethics
    • a drugs trial
    • unethical research

Listening:Many Clinics Use Genetic Diagnosis to Choose Sex

Step 1. Pre-Listening:

Read the beginning of the news and ask students to discuss what the news is about

Prenatal genetic testing: A growing number of doctors are pushing the ethical limits of the procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.

Some say doctors are going beyond the edge of ethics. Some doctors analyze an embryo’s DNA so parents…

Step 2. Listening Comprension.

TRUE or FALSE?

  1. There is not a 100%  guarantee of success when choosing the sex of your baby.
  2. The American Society of Reproduction Medicine approves of this technique.
  3. The Indian couple is afraid of stigmatization.
  4. In Indian culture, having girls is less desirable than having boys.
  5. According to Dr Potter, the desired sex in most cases is male.

Source and transcript: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6654619&t=1641299618264

Step 3. Now, on the board, write the question: “ Is it ethical to choose the sex of your baby?” and ask students to, individually, list some reasons to defend their position. Put them in pairs to discuss their opinions and then do a whole-class debate.

Note: You will also find this question (slightly modified) in the exercise below.

Speaking: Activating vocabulary

Display the first question and have students, as a whole class, come up with the word that best fits in the gap.

Free No Sign-Up Micro Tools for the Busy Teacher

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Some people collect coins or postcards and I… I collect digital tools. 🙄  Well, I also like watching tutorials. OMG! Come to think of it, do I qualify as a freak? The irony is that though I use tools to curate and organize my findings: Pinterest, Sites, Wakelet, Pearltress… you name it, the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.

And, much to my chagrin, it appears that I have been adding tools to this list in a fairly haphazard manner with the result that I have so many of them that I’ve opted to include just a few and may create a Part 2 if you find this post useful.

What is mind-blowing  about them is that:

  • They are free
  • They are online
  • You don’t need to register

I have tried to organize them into categories and add a bit of everything. For better or for worse, some of them are multifunctional and don’t fall into just one category.

                                     IMAGES
  • Removing a person/object from a picture. You need Cleanup Pictures: Upload the photo, choose the brush size, paint the area you want to remove and download your new photo. In some cases, you might need to paint the area twice. The 0:20 video below shows how to do it.

 

  • Removing the background of an image. Go to Remove.bg. As easy as choosing the photo and uploading it. You don’t even have to click any buttons.
  • You can find Cool 3D icons  for your projects On Free3DIcon, and images on CloudDevs
  • To create a Breaking News Image, go to Classtools.net
  • StorySet is an amazing site for your projects.  Choose an illustration and now…
  • delete elements
  • change the colour of the illustration
  • animate one or all the elements in the illustration
  • download it as a GIF or MP4
                                    VIDEO 🎥
  • TypeStudio is just awesome. It is a new approach to editing a video, text-based. That means you edit your video by just editing the transcribed text. You can also add subtitles automatically, turn the video into a blog article and everything runs online in your browser. How to go about it:
  • upload the video
  • the screen will be split into two parts. On the left, you will see the transcript for the video and on the right, your video.
  • Now, you will be able to edit the transcript by deleting a word or words from the video. It is like magic! Imagine the possibilities for language learning.
  • Removing or changing the background from a video clip. Go to Unscreen.com. The 0:40 video below shows how to do it.

  • Facebook is blocked in your school? Then, you need Snapsave. Just copy the link of a video that you wish to download, then paste the link in SnapSave and select the video quality that you want to download.
  • Automatically or manually adding subtitles to a video, go to Veed. Veed is a free editing video tool with lots of possibilities.

  • Downloading a Youtube Video, go to YT5s 
  • Downloading the audio from a Youtube Video, go to YT5s and paste the link. Downside: it has some annoying ads and you will probably need to close some pop-ups and probably a window. Other than that 😉  it works fine
  • Free downloadable video clips, sound effects and images for your projects on MixKit
                               DOCUMENTS

  • Extracting text from online images, PDFs or Websites, you need CopyFish, a Chrome extension. The 0:52  video below shows how to do it.

                              MULTI-PURPOSE
  • Tiny Wow is a wow of a tool.  It works with PDFs, videos, images and URls. Remember you don’t have to register. Files are deleted after 15 minutes.

  • Converting a myriad of media files from one format to another, go to Onlineconverter is just what you need to convert
  • audio
  • ebooks
  • images
  • files
  • etc…
                                     READING
  • Speechify This is a Chrome extension that when installed reads any text. Great to practise pronunciation and boost reading fluency.
  • Text to downloadable speech? Yes! Go to Speak. Voice clips are up to 300 characters but if you register (free), you get clips of up to 1,000.
  • Don’t know what to read next? Go to Whichbook and choose your next book based, for example, on your mood.
                               MISCELLANEOUS
  • If you have forgotten your password on a specific site, you might find it here https://passwords.google.com/
  • If you want to know if a file or a  website is free of viruses, go to VirusTotal 
  • Alternative to: this site finds the best free alternatives for paid or free apps or programs. As easy as typing the app you need to find an alternative to.
  • Changing the cursor. I know. Just for fun! To change your cursor, you need to add the free Chrome extension, Custom Cursor
  • QR Codes. My favourite is QRCode Monkey because it allows you to customize your QR by adding a logo or changing the colour or the design.

 

If you have found some of these tools useful, share this post it with someone who might need it!

Happy and Healthy New Year!

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