Tag Archives: onlinetools

Brainstorming, Introducing and Revising Vocabulary Related to Work for C1 Students

Undeniable. This course is proving to be quite challenging. Having your students sitting in rows, stuck on their seats and only being able to talk to the person on their right or on their left has me racking my brains trying to find attractive alternatives to some of the successful dynamics I used in the past.

With teaching online on the rise, more than ever I have been juggling different tools to make sure the work my students do at home is relevant, effective and motivating. I think Genial.ly, the tool I have used in this lesson, is a must-have in any teachers’ toolbox.

In this lesson, you will find:

  • Activating prior knowledge:  handout
  • Introducing new vocabulary: handout
  • Speaking activity
  • Engaging game to revise Vocabulary

Step 1. Activating Students’ Prior Knowledge. Brainstorming

Before introducing new vocabulary, it is crucial to help them activate prior knowledge so that they don’t feel overwhelmed by how much they need to learn. Learning expands gradually from previous knowledge and we cannot and should not neglect this important step.

To brainstorm vocabulary, I gave them 2 minutes to write down on their notebooks, words or expressions related to “work”. On the board, I wrote Work and then wrote their suggestions, exemplifying, clarifying and drilling pronunciation.

When appropriate and relevant, I also started introducing new terms, like the minimum wage as represented in the picture below.   Some  other vocabulary they came up with is here

Step 2: Introducing New Vocabulary

PDF here

Individual Work: I gave them this photocopy and a couple of minutes to underline any new words/expressions.

Whole class: Then,  I instructed them to ask the question. Does anyone know what the meaning of…. is?  Only when no one in the class could come up with a clear explanation, did I offer it.  Until then, it is all about asking students to tap into their previous knowledge.

Step 3: Firts attempt at introducing some new vocabulary in a speaking activity

I divided the class into As and Bs and asked As to choose three new words they wanted to use in their speech. I wrote them on the board under the headings A’s words/ B’s words.

I gave As this statement to discuss: Unpaid internships should be banned and I gave B’s Retirement age: higher or lower? I let them have some thinking time and asked them to do the speaking task.

Step 4: Revising Vocabulary with a Game

This proved to be an engaging game to revise vocabulary. You will find the instructions in the second slide, but watch the video with my students doing the activity if you want a sneak peek of how much fun we had.

And here’s the game. I have made the template editable in case you want to add your own pictures. To reveal the hidden word, you’ll need to hover the mouse pointer over the picture.

Otter.ai: an Awesome Free App to Get Accurate Transcript from Audios/Videos

Let me start by saying that this is not a sponsored post. I don’t get paid to write about tools. I just write about what works for me. And thisss …. has already saved my life 3 or 4 times.

Imagine this!  You have an awesome video/audio in your computer or on the internet that is great for the topic you are discussing in class. You want to give it to your students, but you cannot find the transcript. It is simply not available.

What do you do? I am going to give 2 options:

  1. Discard the audio/video. After all, you can always use something from the textbook.
  2. Use an app that will easily, effortlessly and accurately transcribe it, giving you the possibility of downloading it in different formats (including Docx), without time stamps and ready to share with your students?

If you have chosen Option 1, you may stop reading. This post is not for you. Hope you continue to drop by.

Those of you choosing Option 2, I can picture you rubbing your hands and holding your breath. Here we go!

Otter.ai is a mind-blowing text-to-speech tool. It is very user-friendly and the transcription you get is incredibly accurate. Perhaps, you might need to add a comma or a stop here and there but that’s it. It is almost perfect.

For free, you get 600 minutes of transcription per month but if you need more, you can always invite friends or colleagues to try Otter.ai. For every friend that decides to try Otter, you will get one month Pro Lite.  Not a bad deal! So, the link I am going to share with you is the one that will allow me to get one-month Pro Lite. There is no money for me here, just the opportunity to enjoy more free minutes of transcription.

I have created a video tutorial to guide you through the app. It is in Spanish but, don’t panic, I have added some explanatory notes with instructions in English.

A big thank you to Miguel A Sánchez (Michel) for bringing it to my attention.

Edited to include contributions and tips from other teachers

  1. “It also records sounds from a YouTube film opened in a different tab. Much better than YouTube transcript.” – Ewa.
  2. “It’s awesome to give feedback in oral exams. I provide my Sts the transcript and underline the death-penalty mistakes. They realise at once and correct them, something that hardly ever happens if they just listen to themselves” Loli Manteiga.

Try Otter here

 

Giving Students a Fun Challenging Written Assignment

So there’s mediation written assignments, then there’s creative mediation written assignments and then, there’s ANIMATED mediation written assignments.

Naturally I am a huge supporter of anything that involves using digital tools, and this activity is packed with digital tools; not only on my end, to create and present the assignment to my students but also on their end, to animate and share their creative animated task.

Here’s what we’re working with:

  • I have used: Google slides, Genial.ly, the Google chrome extension Bitmoji
  • Students will have to use: Render Forest and then share their animate videos on a Padlet.

The activity is explained in the Genial.ly below.

Note: click on the arrows, on the bottom right corner of the Genial.ly, for a better experience. 🙂

 

Teaching Online? An Engaging Little Tool you and your Students are Gonna Love

Are you teaching remotely? You are gonna love this tool!!!!

Guess what. I have the most incredible job in the world. I love teaching. It might seem boring from the outside. Even some people might say it is repetitive; you know, always teaching the same things … but believe me when I tell you that if you are willing and committed to teaching, you can explore ways to make teaching always new for you. And this is what has kept me hooked to this job all my life. Having fun trying new things. Some work, some don’t. What I am going to share with you today, definitely works.

So, this morning I woke up well-rested and thinking about my next online lesson and racking my brains about how to make my next class memorable and effective for my students. And then, I had an aha moment and pictured a tool I had on my virtual ever-growing shelf named “Things to Try”.

The tool is called Classroom Q and below, you will get a sneak peek of what the tool can do. This is a recording of one of my classes doing different tasks. (00:10)

Why do I like it?

This tool has some ingredients that are my absolute favourites:

  • Simple
  • Free
  • Engaging
  • Interactive
  • and to top it all, students don’t have to register
What is ClassroomQ?

ClassroomQ was designed as a  virtual hand-raising tool that lets students ask questions and wait in a queue for their teacher’s assistance. But, I have not used it for this.

ClassroomQ has an online buzzer which can be used to play games or to turn a boring exercise into a game. However, the great thing about this tool is not its buzzer, it is its Box for Comments. This is where students can write whatever assignment you have given them. It allows a maximum of 200 characters/ about 35 words)

Imagine the possibilities: from very quick answers, like “what is the past of “take?” to more complex written assignments, like writing a small paragraph containing XXX

What gets students really engaged and motivated is the possibility to interact in real-time and the added challenge of being the first to answer correctly.

Instructions for the teacher
  • Go to https://classroomq/ and sign up.
  • You will be given a class code you will need to share with your students.
  • For more detailed instructions, watch these short video tutorials below
How have I used Classroom Q with my students?

Before the class: 

As we are revising Sports,  I created a hangman hiding vocabulary related to, obviously, sports. To get the chance to say a letter and guess the hidden word, I posed a question they needed to answer using ClassroomQ. I asked a mix of very short answers and some sentences to translate using the vocabulary in context. Classroom Q displays the answers of the first 5 fastest students. You can make room for another student to move up the queue by clicking on the name of one student and deleting them from the queue. They can also remove themselves from the queue by clicking their Cancel Button.

For more details, I have recorded these short video tutorials where I explain in detail how the tool works.

Part 1: The Teacher’s interface1:45)

Part 2: The student’s interface. (1:50)

Part 3: Viewing the students’ interactions (1:149

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Using Google Slides to Create a Set of Interactive Whiteboards for my Students

Hello!!!Hiya!!! Still in confinement in Spain. What about you, guys?

I have to say that I am pretty busy (thank God for this) with all the projects I am involved in. One of the things that has kept me very busy is looking into ways of making my online classes more interactive, more like they used to be when I was teaching face to face and having fun with my students.

To be honest. My classes are not the same. They cannot be. I miss that.

 

Just a couple of posts ago, I wrote about a very nice little tool you could use to create a set of interactive whiteboards with just a click. Here.  It was useful but …. when I used it, it realized I needed much more. I wanted to have the possibility of:

  • Assigning a slide to each student in case I needed to give them different assignments.
  • Choosing the layout of the interactive board.
  • Inserting images
  • Changing the size of the board in case they needed to write more than a sentence or more than a paragraph.
  • Correcting their assignment synchronously or asynchronously.
  • Being 100% in control of the interactive boards

And then, I had like an epiphany moment and realized that I had been working for a long time with a tool that did that and … much more:  Google Slides.

Just below, you will see a 10-second video of my students working on Google slides on a translation activity I designed for my online class this week.  Prior to the class I had, of course, decided what kind of assignment I was going to give them and done a number of things: I had chosen the layout for the first slide (size, font, font size) and  inserted an image. Then, I had duplicated it and assigned a slide to each student. So, this is basically the idea.

Note: notice how Student 4 is writing. The highlighted words in yellow indicate where students have made a mistake that needs to be corrected.

If you get the gist of  how this works, you can stop reading right now. But, if you need some guidance, I have prepared some video tutorials.  I will give you a heads up of the content in each one so that you can skip the ones that do not interest you. The videos are in Spanish but there are some guidelines in English and they are easy to follow. I also help Spanish teachers introduce technology in their classes so I don’t feel like recording tutorials in two languages and, to be honest, Spanish is easier for me.

Before you jump right into the tutorials, let me share with you some ideas of written work using Google Slides for small written assignments.

  • translating sentences
  • revising vocabulary and asking students to come up with a sentence.
  • Assigning three words and some connectors to each student and asking them to write a small paragraph
  • Chain stories
  • Minisagas: 50 words
  • Picture description
  • Assigning  each student a word and ask them to write a small quiz with three options for the definition of the word: two incorrect and one correct

For bigger written assignments like book reports, you will need to change the size of the slide.

Part 1: Introduction.  1:45  (only in Spanish, so skip this part if you  don't know my mother tongue)

 

Part 2: How to create our first slide, how to delete a slide and how to duplicate it. (1:26)

Part 3:  Our first slide and how to assign each student a different slide (4:05)

Part 4: How to change the size of our slide (0:41)

Part 5: How to share the presentation with our students (o:44)

Part 6: How to see all the slides at the same time and how I correct students' written work (0:48)