Tag Archives: video

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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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!