And again it’s this time of the year when all my free time goes to preparing and marking exams so I don’t have much time left to dedicate to the blog. To tell you the truth, I don’t feel inspired! I start a sentence, I know I want to say something … but inspiration never comes. So I’ve given up! maybe, next week, I’ll be back to my usual self. Meanwhile, enjoy this site for creating Word Clouds. It is called Tagul .
This is not the first time I have used this strategy to invite my students to do some speaking but it is the first time I have used it with absolute beginners. It has taken me sometime to bring myself to do this kind of activity with my 12-year-old absolute beginners. I am always afraid the task may seem to them like a high mountain to climb, but they have been studying with me for four months now and I feel they are up to the challenge.
I really feel that I can insist, until the cows come home, English is not only about learning grammar, but if students are not actively taking a role in their education, there is little I can do.
So I have used a text, they had previously worked with, to ask them to retell the story. The text was about Education and it told the story of two children Eduardo from Angola and Nabyrye from Uganda. Easy text and all about present simple, which is what they have been studying. Two texts, so great to do pair work!
I have used a tool I have used other times, Wordle, to create Word Clouds to help students remember the story and retell it.
Two useful tricks when using Wordle
♥ If you want a word to be bigger than the rest, just type it twice.
♥ Insert (~ ) between the words you want to keep together.
Have a nice week!!
This is a lesson I did with my upper-intermediate students in the computer room and I thought it might be useful to some teachers. The main idea is to retell a text you have previously worked with in class. This is important as otherwise the task of retelling might be a bit difficult for weaker students. This is how I did it.
♣ First, for homework, I asked students to reread the text several times .
♣ Then, in the computer room, I asked students to form groups of 3 or 4 and divided the text according to the number of students in each group .
♣ Now, individually and using the website Word it Out, which is a word cloud generator, I asked them to select the key words in their texts, type them in Word It Out and generate the word cloud. If two words need to be together, it is easy with this generator. Imagine “suffer from”, you only need to insert _ between the two words and they’ll be kept together in the cloud.
♣ Students in groups again, retell the story with the help of the generated word clouds.
I especially liked this exercise as students get a lot of fun out of it and they collaborate every step of the way. Here are the word clouds generated by a group. I hope you find it useful!
This is a writing exercise for my PAU students and I thought you might find it useful. In this written exercise they’ll have to make good use of the vocabulary they have learnt about travelling and going places, the connectors they have studied and they’ll also have to put in practice some of the tips I have given them about the Writing Process, which if you are interested you’ll find published in this blog, here.
This is the idea:
Students, in pairs, are asked to write a narrative. They have to use words from both word clouds, i.e, they have to use connectors from the first word cloud and specific vocabulary from the second. Ask them to write their narrative in coloured paper which you’ll later post on the walls of the classroom for student to vote for the one they like best.
Make sure that you:
♣ begin by describing when and where the story takes place
♣ describe the events in chronological order
♣ use the different forms of the past tense
I’ve been using Wordle for quite a long time now but this idea is something I have not yet tried. This task involves using this great little tool called Wordle and the very popular Breaking News English site.
I read about this idea in Marisa Constantinides’ blog, which I highly recommend if you’re a teacher.
• Tell students they are going to write a short news report. Write on the backboard the following heading
” Teacher on trial for attacking student”
and ask students to comment of this heading and what they think might lead a teacher to attack a student.
• Display with the OHP the Wordle and ask students in pairs to brainstorm ideas for an article using the words in the Wordle Cloud. Explain new vocabulary if necessary
• Give students about 15 minutes to write the first draft of the article.
• Play the audio from Breaking News English twice and ask students to add, improve or edit their articles.
• Students write the final draft of the article on a coloured sheet of paper, which is them posted out on the walls of the classroom. Students stand up, read everybody’s article and vote for the best.
Students compare their aticle with the real one. Click here
• Finally, it would be interesting to talk a bit about the role a teacher plays in our society. These questions might be helpful to get them started.
Do you think being a teacher is easy or difficult?
Do you feel sorry for Mr Harvey or the student?
What kind of behaviour do you see in your classroom?
What can society do to make students respect their teachers?
If web cameras were put in classrooms, teachers would teach better classes and students would behave better. What do you think?