Archive of ‘elt’ category

Using Photos in Language Classes, Part 1

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“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange

Visuals are useful and powerful tools to enhance the use of language, combining the images and the concepts they refer in the minds of the learners. Photos, as all visual images, also encourage the learners to predict and guess the story of the photo they are looking at. It is easy to bring the real world into the classroom and talk and discuss about it.

Today’s children love taking photos. They love taking “selfies” but they also take photos of everyday objects, food, the place they live, the place they visit and they don’t need a camera for taking photos anymore. They don’t even need to go somewhere to develop them to bring into the classroom. There is even no need for a printer, a computer as long as they have a smart phone, Internet connection and Google Tools to share it with you and their class mates. Moreover, as they are addicted to use the phone and can’t live a minute apart from them, why shouldn’t we take advantage of this and challenge them?

I think we can ask them to take their own photos or we can bring the ones that we have taken or chosen from other people’s sets. I’d suggest #ELTpics for projects with photos if you don’t want to use your own photos or the student photos.

In the early years the photos can be used to

Teach, revise vocabulary

Drill the target language

Describe the photo

Role play

Gamify

However in the advanced levels photos encourage students to write and tell stories, to discuss certain issues, and do a lot more things.

So I’m planning to write a few posts on using photos in the language classrooms. I will list some activities that can be used with any level.

Caption Writing Project

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  • Tell students to take photos on their way home or at the weekend, etc.
  • You can guide them to take photos of food, supermarkets, street markets, people commuting in the morning, etc.
  • Start a Google Slide and share with your class.
  • Tell students to upload their photos to the slide.
  • Depending on the size of the class, divide students in teams and give each team a set of photos (depending on the number of photos uploaded)
  • Tell each team to write captions for the photos they have for their teams.
  • Choose the best photo, best caption, the most creative caption, etc. (optional)

Follow up:

  • You can print them out and create a class display.
  • You can download the Slide as pdf and upload the file to “youblisher” and create an ebook that can be shared or embedded to your class blog or school website. This very easy activity can be turned into a class project as well.
  • If you decide to continue the project all year long, you may then decide to print the sets and turn them into a printed “class catalogue”.

 To be continued …

 

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A Fun Activity for the Story You’re Reading in the Class

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I am working with graded readers, short stories and novels with my classes. I was also preparing my talk for TESOL France and looking for some new ideas to share, I designed the following lesson inspired from Chaz Pugliese’s Gossip activity from the book Being Creative. The activity may not sound similar but while reading it, I just thought this will be a fun activity. I’m planning to do it this week with my 12th graders.

Level: B2 and above

Put students in 3s

As and Bs will speak

Cs will eavesdrop and take notes while As and Bs are talking.

A and B are characters from the novel/short story you’re reading in the class. 

Tell them they are going to gossip about another character from the story. 

For example: Squealer and Napoleon gossip about Boxer (Animal Farm)

Cs are either a passerby, a student from your class or a 4th character from the story. They will take notes of what they’ve heard and will inform the class after the activity.

Variation: If the students will not be able to improvise, you can put them in 3s and give some time to write the dialogue. Then Cs from each group go to listen to another A and B’s gossip.

Cool Sites and Tools for ESL & EFL Learners

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If you are learning English in the 21st century, you are lucky because you will have numerous alternatives to practise the things you’ve been learning.

There are thousands of great sites which will help you, but if you don’t have a place to store these cool sites, then you’ll lose track so I will suggest you to bookmark them.

I use scoop.it, diigo and pinterest for the sites I love. You can start a pinterest board for the listening, reading or writing sites, or start using scoop.it to curate links for learning vocabulary, practising reading, etc. You can follow other learners and learn from them as well.

Here you will find some cool tools for you to practise what you’ve been learning.

EngVid is a free site to learn English for free with video lessons. New Lessons are added regularly, covering grammar, vocabulary, TOEFL and more. Students who are willing to improve their English can visit the site at least once or twice a week.

5 Minute English is a site designed to give the learners short and easy explanations and exercises. The learners can have a quick look at grammar, reading, listening, vocabulary and idioms. They can also find answers to questions that can be confusing for other learners. This is under the Question and Answer section.

If you spend 5 minutes a day here regularly, you will benefit a lot.

News in Levels  is another great site that can be recommended to enthusiastic ESL learners to study English.

There are short news articles for different levels. You can choose your level and read the news and listen to it. You then can try the other levels for the same article. The words in the original news have been changed and adapted to 3 levels. The vocabulary definitions are also given.

I just came across with ETTC, a site where you can try writing poems on your own. The site allows the users to write fun poems, guiding them to use certain vocabulary.

This is a great way to learn and recycle vocabulary.

Listening to songs is one of the greatest ways to study a foreign language. That’s why Lyrics Training is another site you can visit daily. You can listen to the songs and try to fill in the gaps according to your level. If you can’t catch up the words, the video stops and you have to listen to it again.

oneword.com is a great site which will allow the learners to write on a word given in 60 seconds. When you click on the link and access the site you will see how simple it is to use. Click on ‘GO’, you will see a word and will have 60 seconds to write about it. The words given are very simple and that way even the beginners can find something to write.

Esl.fis.edu is a site to provide resources that will help ESL learners improve their grammar, reading and vocabulary skills. The site contains activities and quizzes which will facilitate learning. You can choose an activity and start doing and you get immediate feedback.

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4 New First Week Activities and Some Oldies

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1. Each person is given a sheet of paper with a series of instructions to follow. Each student’s instructions should be different. Tell them to stand up and mingle until you stop them. Then ask them to share their answers. Your instructions can be as “Find someone who …”

  • Find out who has been abroad before.
  • Who can play any instruments?
  • Find what your classmates have for their breakfast.
  • Who spent their summer holiday on an island?

2. Give each student a post-it note. Tell them to write their names at the top. Then ask them to write 1 adjective that will describe their physical appearance and 5 adjectives that will describe their character. Collect the post-it notes. Tell students they will guess the person you chose. Ask them to stand up next to their seats. Read one adjective each time and if they think that adjective doesn’t describe them, they have to sit down (whether they have written the adjective or not) Once they sit, they can’t stand up again. Continue calling an adjective, till they guess who the person is.

3. Divide the class into teams. Tell them they will advertise themselves to you. Prepare a bank of advertisements for them to get inspired. This will work well with a group of students who know each other well but the teacher meets them for the first time.

4. Provide A4 size paper, crayons, markers for each student. Ask each student to prepare a poster which contains some symbols or pictures describing who they are, what’s important to them or what they enjoy.

Each poster should be divided into 4 or 6 segments. Each segment can contain a picture of favourite emotion, favourite food, a hobby, a skill, a motto etc. Set time limits. When they finish, tell them to stand up, play some music and tell them to walk around till you stop the music and ask them to find a partner and introduce themselves to each other, then they have to exchange the papers and they will introduce their new friend to the class.

Some other activities from the archives of A Journey in TEFL

http://evasimkesyan.com/2012/08/16/getting-ready-to-go-back-to-school-2/

http://evasimkesyan.com/2011/08/31/24th-edition-of-efleslell-blog-carnival/

http://evasimkesyan.com/2010/04/28/go-and-open-the-door/

http://evasimkesyan.com/2011/08/22/variations-with-‘go-and-open-the-door’/

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Looking at Digital Games and Heroes

image taken from yahoo images

image taken from yahoo images

 

I am not a fan of online games. I don’t play any but my son spends most of his free time playing online games. I have lots of students who do the same and when the subject is online games, even the quietest one starts to speak. A few years ago I had three students in my class. They were very much interested in games. They were very interesting boys because they were not ordinary players as they learned a lot about mythology and literature playing these games. One of them is writing stories and probably he’ll become a famous writer one day. That’s my hope for him.

I was clearing my files during the break and I came across a handout I coped from a book (unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the book) on literature. There were questions about favourite titles and characters. I put the handout among the ones I’d like to use this year but then suddenly I thought about another activity. Why shouldn’t I adapt it to games that the students are fond of playing and would work on the activity eagerly?

So here are my questions. I’ll be very happy if you can suggest other questions for this activity.

Think about the online games you love playing. First finish the sentences then compare your answers with your partner.

  1. I think I’m like the character ————————– from the game ———— because ———————-.
  2. I like the title of the game ————————— because ———————-.
  3. The game which I find very challenging is ———————————.
  4. I want to meet the character ———————- from the game —————- because ————————-
  5. The character whose action I admire is ————————– because ——-
  6. For me the most interesting 3 online games are ———————————.
  7. It is easy to win a game in ————————– because ———————–
  8. It is difficult to win a game in ———————– because ———————-.
  9. The game ——————- is set in a ——————————. It is —————–.
  10. 10. In the game ———————— you need to be a team to win.

Here you can find the handout I prepared for the activity.

Links to some blogs and interesting posts on online games

 

 

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