First of all, let me tell you that this is not a sponsored post. In fact, I have never been paid to feature a website or an app. I just write about what I find interesting to me or my students.
I bumped into High Level Listening quite by chance. Feeling a bit lazy myself but still wanting to offer my students the best, I did a web search hoping Google would do the work for me and find me vocabulary related to the media. Disappointingly, I couldn’t find anything I really, really liked (I apologize if you are reading this and you have published something wonderful. I am sorry, I have probably missed it).
Fortunately, the search was not in vain and in fact, ended up being quite fruitful as I found this wonderful website owned by two teachers, Pat from America and Mark from the Uk, who record natural conversations (1-2 minutes long) on common topics introducing relevant vocabulary in a natural way.
The audios are perfect for note-taking listening activities activating the vocabulary featured in the conversations. In most cases, there is no transcript for the audio but there is a glossary of terms students can benefit from. Also, in some cases, you can also request the transcript for free.
In my case, I am going to be focusing on Social Media vocabulary and to my delight, there are 5 posts dedicated to this topic. Check them out here
High Level Listening is perfect for B1 and B2 students who want to learn natural spoken English. I just hope they keep adding new topics.
Now, this is my kind of activity. Fun, engaging, communicative and effective! And… almost no-prep!
If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you surely know about my obsession for “activating “ the vocabulary I teach in class. For this reason, you will always find me devising and designing strategies to bring to life the vocabulary taught during the lesson.
This activity I am going to share with you today turns a seemingly boring reading comprehension exercise into an engaging collaborative activity with lots of vocabulary learning involved.
It works really well when you have a text that can easily be divided into sections. Let’s take, for example, a text where 4 people give their opinion about Languages.
Before the class ( I said "almost" non-prep)
Choose 5 words or expressions in each section you want your students to learn or reinforce. Write them down on a piece of paper (see picture below). You can obviously choose more or fewer words, but 5 works fine for me. Don’t show it to your students. Yet.
Working with vocabulary
- Form as many groups as different sections in the text you have and assign each group a section to read. For example, group 1 gets text 1, group 2 gets text 2… etc.
Note: In one class, I only had 8 students, so there were only two students in each group. Not a problem. It worked just fine.
- Once groups are formed, ask students to individually read their assigned text and underline any words or expressions they think might be worth using/ studying/using.
- In the group, ask them to compare the words/expressions they have underlined and come up with only 5.
- Ask them to write them on a piece of paper. Tell them you have also chosen 5 words from their texts. They will score 1 point for every coincidence.
- Divide the board into four columns ( as many as sections/groups you have) and assign a column to each group.
- Ask a representative from each group to write the 5 items they have chosen on their assigned column on the board, and explain meanings to the rest of the class.
- Once this is done, read the words you have chosen and assign a point for every coincidence. On the board, add your chosen words to those written by the group. Clarify meanings and repeat procedure with the rest of the groups.
Form new groups. Ask every student in Group 1 to form a different group with students from Group 2, 3 and 4. Allow them to reread their texts once or twice and ask them to retell their part making sure they use the vocabulary on the board.
Finally, do the reading comprehension questions as a whole class. Everybody should be able now to answer the questions for the whole text.