Tag Archives: video

Housing Issues. A Lesson Plan for C1 students.

Is there a limit to how long you can spend teaching and talking about a topic? I wonder,  how many subtopics are there to talk about? It’s been one month since the course began and I am still doing lesson One. OMG! At this pace, I am never gonna reach the end of the textbook.

Here is a little something I did with my C1 students. Unit 1 was about cities, but how do we talk about cities and not about Housing? My thoughts exactly, we cannot.

  • Topic: Housing
  • Level: C1
  • Activities: Speaking, Listening, Mediation, Vocabulary. Board Game
  • PDF ( available at the end of the post) 🙂
Optional lead-in:  Speaking

Students get into pairs and talk about these 2 questions.

  • It is said an average person lives in 11 homes in their lifetime. What is your number?
  • If money was not a problem, where would you live and what kind of house would you have?
Revising Vocabulary

It is always a good idea to give students some time to come up with vocabulary they already know. You can do it in different ways.

  1. The traditional way: give students a couple of minutes to come with as many words or expressions they can think of related to housing.  This can be done in pairs with one person writing down the answers. Get group feedback and write the most interesting words/chunks on the board.
  2. Using technology to create a word cloud on the board: you can use Answergarden, Mentimeter or Wooclap for this. (hover over the name of the tool and it will take you to the tool)

Fun extension: ask pairs to write a sentence using as many words as possible from the board. Score pairs a point per word and award a bonus point for the longest.

Introducing Vocabulary
  • affordable home
  • low-income housing
  • budget
  • low -income households
  • mortgage
  • tenants
  • landlords
  • overburdened with housing costs
  • homeowners
  • social housing
  • to make a down payment
  • disposable income
  • average price
  • to evict /eviction
  • homelessness
  • rising home prices
  • overcrowding and under occupations
  • real state bubble
  • subsidized
  • housing issues
  • cohousing
  • utility bills
  • to downsize
  • squatting/squatters
  • to rehabilitate /rehab, rehabilitation

 

Listening and Speaking. Video: Affordable Housing

Time to listen

Before watching the video, ask students to predict the answers to these questions. This will hopefully lead to some discussion where students will be encouraged to use some of the vocabulary above.

Play the video and ask students to check their predictions. Comment on the answers. Were their predictions accurate?

  • Making housing more accessible would help reduce…
  • What share of a household budget do you think is spent on average on housing?
  • Why has the price of housing risen so dramatically in the last decade?
  • What share of a household budget is spent on housing in low-income households?
  • In many countries, a large share of young people is still living with their parents. Predict: is your country one of these countries? Justify your answer

Reading and speaking

Divide students into pairs  for this activity

STUDENT A: cohousing

Cohousing, which is a form of intentional community, originated in Denmark in the 1960s Intended to recreate an “old-fashioned sense of neighbourhood” through resident participation in the design and operation of their communities, this type of community model allows families and individuals to occupy private homes while at the same time contributing both time and money to common facilities that are owned and managed by the larger community.3 Community members pay monthly or yearly membership dues and often help with tasks such as cleaning and repairing shared resources. While residents contribute to the financial responsibilities of acquiring and maintaining common facilities and resources, each member maintains an independent economy and personal income.

Source: https://ala-apa.org/

Summarize what you have just read and give your opinion

STUDENT B: Squatting

Squatting has a long history in Spain, often fuelled by high rates of homelessness. But there is now a darker phenomenon too – squatters who demand a “ransom” before they will leave a property. And this has led to the rise of private eviction companies, some of which use threats to achieve their goal.

Source : https://www.bbc.com/

Summarize what you have just read and give your opinion

Speaking: Conversations questions+ Board game

Driven by my obsession to make students use new vocabulary, I am constantly thinking and trying different ways to “force” new vocabulary into my students’ speeches. In this case, I have created a board game here using the vocabulary above. A dice, some counters and some conversation questions and they are ready to go. Students throw the dice and try to use the word/chunk in the square they have landed on. They can also try to use the word/chunk in the previous and following square. If they do so, they can move forward one square.

  • Is giving homeless people homes more effective and sensible than making them stay in shelters or on the street?
  • How much is Airbnb affecting the housing market in cities where rent is on the rise?
  • What can be done about rising homelessness in big cities?
  • Does it make sense to encourage homeownership through tax policies?
  • Should housing policy be more balanced, supporting rental housing and homeownership on a more equal footing?

Source https://www.nytimes.com/

 

Exam-oriented task using vocabulary

.

In this case, I gave them this task and asked them to discuss the prompts in pairs. Needless to say, encouraging them to use the new vocabulary,

Exam-oriented: Oral Mediation Task

Here and Here

Here’s the PDF for the lesson.I hope you find this lesson useful.

An Outdoors QR-Codes Listening and Speaking lesson about Cities

I need to share this activity. It really has all the ingredients for a perfect lesson.

Things I want you to know about this lesson.

  • It is super engaging and gives your class a touch of modernity
  • It is collaborative
  • It deals with two basic skills, listening and speaking, but a lot of subskills are also at work.
  • It gives students and teachers a good excuse to stand up from their seats and even take the lesson outside, as I did.
  • It helps build rapport in the class, which is sooo important at the beginning of the course

I am not going to lie to you. It needs some initial preparation, but it pays off. Believe me! Besides, I find the whole process of preparing the activity very entertaining. Ok. I know. You don’t have time. The good news is that you can always use mine if you like my choice of cities.

  • Topic: Cities
  • Level: C1
  • Main skills: listening and speaking
  • Time: 50-60 minutes
  • Materials: here
Before the session
  1. Before the session, look for a video that can easily be divided into parts. In my case, we were learning about cities and their problems so I decided on this one 10 of the most overrated cities,  from one of my favourite channels on Youtube. I chose only 4 cities to form groups of 4 students.
  2. I used Camtasia to make 4 new videos, one for each city: Rome. London, New York and Río de Janeiro. If you don’t have Camtasia, don’t let this put you off, you can easily use the free online https://online-video-cutter.com/es/.
  3. Once you have the videos, you need to upload them to, for example, Google Drive.
  4. Once online, you need to copy the URL and create a QR Code. I create mine here. The Gif below shows how to do it once the video is uploaded to Google drive.

5. Now, you need to print the  4 QR Codes on separate pieces of paper.

6. Before the class, you will also need to tell students to download- I bet they already have it- a QR Code reader (I use QR Scanner) to their mobile phones and bring some earbuds for the next class.

Done!!! See? No big deal!! Now, everything is ready. Ready for the fun part!! 🙄

Tell the students this class will be done outside. Yay!! It could be the aisle or any other place on the premises that has enough room for the students to move. In my case, I used the schoolyard and pasted the QR Codes on the walls, well, not exactly walls as you can see from the picture.

Part 1.Listening and  Retelling
  • Ask students to form groups of 4. Each of them should choose a different city
  • Ask students to scan the code for their city and take notes.
  • Explain they will need to share as many details as they can about the city of their choice with their group. Apart from the main specifics of the city, they will need to explain why the city is overrated.
  • Allow 15 minutes for this part as students will need to watch their video several times to write down as many details as possible.
  • Next, students get back to their groups and start sharing the information gathered about their cities.
Part 2:  Speaking. Critical Thinking

 

In their groups, students talk about the issues the city in their videos has and together they debate whether the city where they live faces these same problems. Ask them to elaborate on their answers and offer possible solutions to tackle the problem.

Hope you have enjoyed my lesson and decide to give it a try!!

Awesome Free Online Video and Image Editing Platform for Language Teachers

Who’s ready for a free online image, video and GIF editing platform?

I have been meaning to write about Kapwing for ages but there is always so much to share that I  kept putting it off. I don’t know why because quite simply, this is my all-time favourite free online multimedia editing suite.

What can you do on Kapwing? The answer would be:  What CAN’T you do on Kapwing?

Let me break it up for you:

VIDEO

Their flagship product is Studio, which an online free video editor: you can add video clips, images, gifs, text, filters, you can trim the video and add a progress bar…etc. Basically a video editor, but simple, online and free.

But what is awesome for us, language teachers, is :

1. The possibility to add subtitles and … ready for this?  You don’t have to add them manually, the app automatically writes them for you. This feature is still in BETA and it might not be a 100% accurate but you can always edit the text. Plus, it works with a number of languages, not only English.

More? Yes? Coming!

2. Once it has subtitled the video, you can ask it to translate the subtitles into again, several languages. How cool is this!!!! I have tried Spanish into English and it works just fine! Not 100% accurate but almost and remember, you can always edit it.

In this video tutorial, you will see how to do it. I have also unmuted the video and added music to it using Kapwing.

You can also

  • Edit a video from YouTube
  • Add Audio to video.
  • Remove the sound of a video.
  • Resize the video.
  • Convert video.
  • Remove the background from a video.
  • Create stop motion videos.
  • Reverse a video.
IMAGE

3. There are a few things you can do with an image but the most attractive one for us is the possibility of adding audio to an image.

You can also create collages mixing image, video and gifs. Maybe not very useful, but fun and visual.

 

More?  You can also create Memes and work with GIFS.

Although it is not necessary, you will get better results if you register. Remember it is free although it also has a paid version. One of the advantages of registering is that your videos won’t have the Kapwing watermark and this is an added bonus.

There are many great ways to enjoy your spare time. I know. Playing with technologies might not be one of them for you. But, if you happen to find yourself with some extra time, why don’t you give Kapwing a try? I think you will love it!

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

 

Lesson Plan for C1: Politics and Politicians.

I am certain I am not the only one who is fed up with politicians. Should you ask my friends, they’ll tell you that I never talk about politics. I never criticize or praise politicians. I talk about life, about life issues, but always being respectful of other people’s attitudes. I don’t like radical people. I don’t want them around me. I know that some of you might think knowing about politics is a necessity. I don’t disagree.  However, getting into heated arguments with people who have a different point of view is, in my opinion, a waste of time and frustrating. So, I don’t do it. And, in this frame of mind, I will approach this lesson about Politics.

PDF Teacher’s     PDF Student’s

Warm-up. Whole class
  •  What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word POLITICIAN?
  • What is the minimum voting age in your country? Should it be higher or lower?   See: Voting age around the world
  • What are the main political parties in your country? Who is the most controversial politician?  useful vocabulary here.

 

Working on Vocabulary: Adjectives
  • On the board, write three headings: positive, negative and neutral and ask students to do the same in their notebooks. Tell them you are going to dictate a list of adjectives and qualities that can be applied to politicians.
  • Start calling out adjectives and ask them to place them under one of the columns. You might need to spell some of them, or alternatively write them down on the board. It is a good opportunity to drill pronunciation and clarify/teach meanings.
  • Do the exercise on the board. There might be slight disagreements and that is just fine.

Focusing on Listening:  How the US  and the UK election works

This listening exercise has different parts

Individual work:

  • Students are divided into pairs. Student A listens to How the US election works and Student B to How the UK election works. In my case, I have set it as homework but you can do it in class, asking students to bring some earbuds.
  • As students listen, ask them to write down any words/expressions related to the topic. Ask them to look them up and practise their pronunciation as they might be asked to explain some terms to the class.

In class:

  • Using Mentimeter, ask them to write the words they jotted down from the video. Once the cloud is formed, point to one word and ask them to explain it.

  • Pair up A and B and ask them to report their findings.

Student A. How the US election works

Student B: The voting system in the Uk

Follow up: Cloze with a twist.

Give students the transcript for both videos. Tell them you have deleted some words from the transcript. They will have to listen very attentively as there are no empty spaces showing there is a missing word. Ask them to compare in pairs before correcting the exercise.  You will find the exercise in the PDF.

Working on Vocabulary

Have a look at how these verbs collocate

  • Boost the economy
  • Harm/benefit someone or an organization
  • Put a strain on the finances of a country/area
  • Exacerbate a problem
  • Undermine the morale of citizens
  • Create divisions
  • Lead to tensions
  • Cut taxes
  • Extend working hours
  • Increase public spending
  • Abolish unemployment benefits
  • Allow a vote on independence
  • Increase penalties for…
  • Damage the economy
  • Resolve existing social problems
  • Rise of income inequality
  • Reform the education system
  • Solve social problems
  • Ensure prosperity
  • Hold an election
  • Rig the election
  • Stand for election

Other words you might want to know: floating voters. popularity ratings, a right-winger, a left-winger, a polling station, a running mate, a high turnout, voting booth, ballot card

Speaking

Before each section, ask students to call out 6 words or expressions they have learned in this unit. Divide the class into As and Bs and assign As three words and Bs three words. Display the first section and ask them to take in turns to answer the questions trying to use the vocabulary on the board

Politcs and Policiticians

 

Speaking and writing using Flipgrid

I have been dying to use Flipgris’s new update. “And what is it that has you so excited?” -you might be wondering. Well, it is the possibility of responding to a video in a written form.  Imagine the possibilities, imagine the potential it has for language teaching.

So, here’s the first activity for my students using the brand new Text Comments. I know it is a dangerous activity, but I teach adults and am relying on their self-restraint.