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
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 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.
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.
Write the words in the cloud on small strips of paper.
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.
Don’t forget to build suspense. It adds to the game.
A simple but very effective game.
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.
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?
You can customize your own word
It can be 5 or 6 letters long
You can do as many as you want
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.
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)
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.
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:
Once they finish, ask them to write down all the expressions they remember and share them with the class.
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.
Give them the link to the quiz to practise again at home.
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.
Removing a person/object from a picture. You needCleanup 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.
StorySet is an amazing site for your projects. Choose an illustration and now…
change the colour of the illustration
animate one or all the elements in the illustration
download it as a GIF or MP4
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 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