Tag Archives: onlinetools

Rewordify: Simplifying Text and Much, Much More

Looking for a time-saver? Here’s one! Free, online and you don’t even have to register. It simplifies a difficult text but can also work with the original text; it has a clickable built-in dictionary, the possibility of listening to the pronunciation of highlighted words and automatically provides a variety of printable activities based on the vocabulary of the text.

Rewordify, what else?

Imagine the following scenario:

  • The problem: You come across an interesting article about Queen Elizabeth II, such as this one from the BBC, but… it’s too challenging to give your students.
  • The solution: Go to Rewordify and paste your text  into the yellow box. Click Rewordify text.  Done!

Is it too simple? Do you need a more difficult version of the text? Would you prefer to see the highlighted words in a different colour? Would you rather see the original text and the revised text in two separate columns? No problem! Just choose your preference by going to Settings in the upper right corner.

  • The problem: you have a text that needs to be worked on but…you don’t want to rewordify it.  You’d like to work with the original text, click a word and read the definition and, there’s no harm in asking, also hear how the highlighted words t are pronounced
  • The solution: Select Display mode from the Settings menu, then choose the second choice: Don’t reword words/tap to see the definition.

More?

  • The problem: Yes, Cristina. I agree, it’s an awesome tool! Pronunciation, definitions etc… But, I need my students to work a bit on the vocabulary and do some exercises and I don’t really have much time to prepare these activities.
  • The solution: Click on Print/learning activities and explore all the printable activities Rewordify offers you. A cloze text? No problem! A multiple choice quiz? Easy!!

Have a look below at all the possibilities

 

But that’s not everything Rewordify can do for you: If you need your students to work on Parts of Speech, Rewordify has you covered, too. To top it all, it’s free and online and you don’t even have to register. ( I know, I  have already said this at the very beginning of the post but there is no harm in repeating it, I guess) 🙂

PD: as always, this is not a sponsored post; I only write about what works for me.

 

Retrieval Practice Activity Using Cards for Any Level

And I am back. Yeahhhh!  Hopefully, I’ll have more time to write about all the activities that have worked wonders in my class. Hopefully.

But, before you continue I have an important announcement: I love retrieval practice activities! And this activity is all about pulling vocabulary out. Are you ready?

 

Whether you have just stumbled upon this blog or are a long-time visitor, you have to know that, first and foremost in my mind before I give my students a writing or speaking activity, is retrieval practice. We need to bring to the front of their minds the language we want them to use. If we don’t do it, what inevitably happens is that students will keep on using what they already feel comfortable using. And that won’t work. We are aiming at improving their level of English.

So, let me summarize this simple, highly-adaptable  idea.

  • Part 1: students, in groups,  revise key vocabulary using cards that contain the definition for the target language.
  • Part 2: students use these cards in a speaking activity.

NOTE: I am sharing with you the card template, but you can easily simplify the activity by just typing the definitions on a slip of paper. Me? I love visuals. I think they make a difference.

Now, that you are interested, let’s explain in detail:

PREPARATION
  • Vocabulary.Choose some vocabulary you want your students to use and revise. It shouldn’t be new vocabulary.Remember this is a retrieval practice activity. Type (if digital) or write the definition. Print and cut the cards. You will need a set of cards per group. As explained above, I love using visually appealing stuff, but you can easily simplify this part  using scraps of paper.
  • Conversation Questions. Prepare some conversation questions related to the topic.

Here’s the template in Canva I have used. You will need to create a free account to download it.

ACTIVITY 1. RETRIEVAL PRACTICE

STEP 1: Arrange students into groups of 3 and give each group a set of cards. Working together, they read the definition and try to come up with the word/expression that matches the definition. Ask them to use a pencil as they might not get all the answers right.

STEP 2. Whole class. Check answers. Clarify. Work on pronunciation.  You know the drill!

ACTIVITY 2. SPEAKING

STEP 1: Students in the same groups.Ask students to put the cards on a pile face down on the table.

STEP 2: Tell students they are going to do some speaking practice and the first student to start speaking, for example,  will be the youngest and then, the activity will continue clockwise. Let’s call him Student A.

Ask the first question and Student A will pick up a card and show it to the other students in his/her group. Student A will have about 90 seconds to answer the question trying to use the word/expression on the card. If he manages to use it, he can keep the card.; if not, it will be returned to the pile.

I forgot to mention you would need a timer. You can easily find one on Classroomscreen

Repeat procedure for Students B and C and repeat until all the cards have been used or you run out of questions.

How many cards?  A multiple of three works well since we are working with groups of three students. Thus, 6, 9, or 12 will work fine.  If you revise 12 words and only give them 6 questions, that should be fine too. They don’t have to use all of them. As an alternative, you can instruct students to choose two words rather than just one and keep the one(s) they have managed to use.

Note: I have used this activity in C1. The topic was Relationships and the answers are as follow:

1.the main breadwinner 2. black sheep 3. the spitting image 4. to fall out 5. to take after (phrasal verb) 6. to see eye to eye 7. to keep an eye on someone 8. sibling 9. to be under age 10. To come of age 11. to get on/along with somebody 12. to make up

AND AGAIN. Yes. Again

Whole class now.

  1. Gather all of the cards and review the target vocabulary again while providing definitions.
  2. Give each student a card. Have them read the definition aloud and give this card to the first student who answers correctly and manages to give a sentence using the word/expression. I guess you know who the winner of this little game is. A round of applause for the winner is a good prize. We are poor teachers, here.

I hope you have liked this simple game. If you put it into practice, please let me know how it goes.

Using Flippity to Randomly Pair or Group Students

Very often, I share on my Twitter feed (@blogdecristina) bits and pieces of what I do with my students during the week. There’s nothing aspirational about these tweets. It’s just a few words about a little tool I have tried, a photograph of a moment in my class, an attempt at pairing students in a different way. I don’t write a post about them because they are really low effort, but they work.

Having a look at my tweets has also led me to realize that there are some tools I use fairly often and never mention here, such as this tool: Flippity.

I won’t claim to know all the edtools out there, but I know and work with lots, and my gut feeling is that although there are some good randomizers, not many compare to Flippity when it comes to forming random pairs or groups. And for free.

So, what’s Flippity?

In most games, Flippity uses Google sheets, so it goes without saying you have to have a Google account. Then, easy, you choose the game and follow the instructions to turn a Google sheet into flipcard, a quiz show, a randomizer, a board game or a bingo to name just a few of the resources it can create.

Today, I want to share with you one of the many ways to work with Flippity; in this case, forming groups in the class. Because aren’t you tired of students always sitting next to the same partner? So, let’s pair them up or let’s group students in a different way in our next class. Surprise your students by working the magic of Flipitty. How?

  • Go to Flippity ( hahaha, obviously) and choose Random Name Picker.
  • Click on Instructions
  • Write or Copy/Paste the list of students
  • Click on Generate
  • Done!. Choose from the top what you want to do with the list: pair them up or perhaps create groups of 4 students?

 

And just because I love making videos, here’s one about how to do it from scratch

 

A Vocabulary Bingo Game with a Touch of Tech

Honestly,  not sure if there is anything more fun than turning a classic bingo into a language bingo. Ok, ok, rereading the sentence it is fair to question my fun scale. But I can assure you that it is going to keep your students engaged. That much I can promise.

Playing bingo in my classes is a classic. Not only the usual grid with numbers. The grid can contain pretty much everything and be used to revise almost all skills.

But today, it is going to be a vocabulary bingo with a touch of tech

This activity has two steps:

  1. Building the Word Cloud ( traditionally on the board or, in my case, using the free app Wooclap) https://www.wooclap.com/
  2. Playing Bingo
STEP 1.  Building the wordcloud.

This is a retrieval practice activity where students, using their mobile phones, revise vocabulary taught in previous lessons. In my case, I am teaching The Media and we played bingo with vocabulary from the newspapers and the media.

How to set the activity on Wooclap. Very easy!

  1. Go to Wooclap and register.
  2. Click on Create new event.
  3. Choose WordCloud and click Start Now.
  4. Share the link, the code or the QR Code with your students and Bob’s your uncle.

This video might help you follow these steps

Once the wordcloud is built, revise again pronunciation, form and meaning

And just because I like to play with tools, I have designed my own word cloud on a different tool just because I like the way words are highlighted. Click on the image to see it in action.

Step 2. Playing Bingo

Here we go!!!

One. Have students draw a grid on their notebooks: 3×2 ( 6 words) will work just fine. There should be significantly more words than squares in the bingo card. Ask them to choose any six words from the cloud and fill in the bingo squares.

The idea is to randomly give definitions for the words in the cloud. As students match definitions and words in their bingo, they cross them off. Bingo is shouted when all the squares have been crossed.

Note: Although you might think that everyone knows how to play bingo, trust me when I say several of my students had no idea how to play. So, explain that their goal is to cross all the squares in their grid before anyone else.

Two. How to play

This can be done in two different ways. One requires no preparation, the other one requires a little preparation. If you know me, I am sure you have guessed the one that I favour.

No preparation: randomly define the words in the cloud. I’d suggest keeping a record of the ones you have already done so as not to repeat the same definition twice. It can happen. Trust me.

Preparation: More fun. More drama. More everything.

  1. Write the words in the cloud on small strips of paper.
  2. Search your house for a  suitable bag and put the strips of paper in it. Draw a strip of paper at a time and give a definition for the word. You might need to repeat the definition twice. As students listen to the definition, they have a look at their grids. If they have a word matching the definition, they cross it off. The game continues until someone shouts bingo.
  3. Don’t forget to build suspense. It adds to the game.

A simple but very effective game.

Follow-up: 

  1. Ask a question or several and give students a strip of paper or several. When answering the question, they should try to use the word(s) on their strips.

How do you get the news in your country? Has the way of keeping up to date changed over the years?

Repeat procedure with as many questions as you want students to answer. Ask them to swap their words so that they get new ones.

2. In the next class, I am planning to play bingo again. Same steps but with a twist. This time, the students will draw the slips of paper from the bag and they will be asked to provide the definition.

Inspired by Serena’s blog choice of words.  Here you can revise taking her quiz.