A Tool for Brainstorming; AnswerGarden

Wordle: how to use movies in class
AnswerGarden is a new tool that you can use in the classroom for barinstorming or getting feedback. You don’t have to sign up, but when you create a poll or a question to think. The website asks you to put a password on it and then you can decide how long it will be open. Once you’ve created the page you can post it in a tweet or embed it on your website or blog to use. You can only write 20 characters, that means, some phrases, words, or chunks.

When you think the answers are enough, you can export it to Wordle or Tagxedo or even get the QR code for the page.makes the tool I really loved the idea of getting a quick word cloud after finishing your brainstorming.

For a presentation that we will deliver today, we made a quick research yesterday and asked our FB and twitter friends to respond a question and the result was amazing.

I think it’s designed for brainstorming mainly but you can use it in many ways in EFL classes:

1. You can ask your students to remember the words you studied together. If you’re using a smart board, you can ask then to come to the board and write a word that they feel they learned. If you’re using iPads or other BYOD, you can ask them to do it at the same time.

2. You can ask them list the words that they think they can not use comfortably and then put the word cloud on the walls so that you can study later.

3. Instead of asking a question you can write the topic and ask them to brainstorm.

4. When you read a story, novel or watch a film, you can ask your students to describe one of the character adding an adjective one by one in groups , maybe.

I’d like to know your ideas as well.

I think AnswerGarden will be in my favourite tools list for the next academic year.

created using Tagxedo http://www.tagxedo.com/artful/580efc58c9464ba2
created using Tagxedo

Eveline vs Edna, Reading Short Stories in Class

Another short story I love reading with my students is Eveline from Dubliners. I know it is difficult to understand Joyce for a teenager yet when guided, students get something from Dubliners. I have tried Eveline and Araby and they worked well.

I’d like to share what I do with ‘Eveline’.

Describe Ireland, Dublin and Dubliners at the beginning of the 20th century.

Create a glogster

Add links and ask students to research and tell you what they’ve come up with.

Talk about women’s place in society

Talk about daughters’ place in families.

Talk about unemployment. Causes and results.

How can unemployment change a person?

Introduce vocabulary.

Create a wordle of the story.

Put students in groups and ask them to guess the story.

Read the story and discuss your questions.

As a follow up, distribute a handout with the 1st paragraph of the story on.

Tell students to continue the story and adapt it to 21st century. I’m sure their Eveline will be more courageous.

Tell them to digitalise their story.

They can create a slideshow, glogster, comic or an animation.

Here you can see what I had previously wrote about ‘Eveline’

After reading Eveline then Enoch’s Two Letters by Alan Sillitoe, one of the angry young men of literature, I realized we can compare the two women in these two stories, Eveline and Edna. When I choose to read Eveline in class, I usually continue with Enoch’s Two Letters.

After we read the story, I tell my students to compare and contrast Eveline and Edna

  • They can write an essay
  • Create posters (glogster) describing two women, highlighting their differences.
  • They can write a pop song comparing Eveline and Edna.

A handout for Eveline and Enoch’s Two Letters

And I will also be glad if you share your ideas 🙂

Passive Voice, two activities using web

Pub Quiz on the Net

Target Language: Passive Voice, Simple Past Tense

Level: A1, A2

Materials: ( colourful) pen, paper, internet connection,

Team students according to the size of your class.

Give them categories as inventions, literature, discoveries, music, etc.

Tell them in teams they will search on the web and come up with 10 questions, such as who composed ‘four seasons’?

Tell them in turns they will ask their questions to the opponent team. The answers should be in passive voice. The winner is the team with more correct answers.

Then tell your students to create a poster with their questions and the correct answers. They can use ‘glogster’ for the class blog.

Pub Quiz on Wordle

Target Language: Passive Voice, Simple Past Tense

Level: A1, A2

Materials: pen&paper, internet connection

Wordle: Passive voice

Create a word poster with some inventions, discoveries, books and movie titles, songs, etc.

Team your students

Distribute the word poster

Tell them to search the web and find out who the inventors were.

The group who finds who the writers, directors, inventors, etc first becomes the winner.

Follow up:

Students can create posters for the inventions.

New Year, New Beginnings


On Tuesday this week, I had my first lesson of the new year after the Christmas break. I wanted to do a session where the students would reflect and make resolutions.

I had some wordles(I prepared them for another lesson but hadn’t used) with quotes and proverbs on learning, motivation and acieving goals. I put the students in pairs and asked them to unjumble the sentences. I also gave  a post-it note for each pair and told them to write the unjumbled sentences.

While students working I walked and monitored them and help them to work out. Once they finished, I gave them another post-it note to write an explanation of their proverb or quote and finally I gave them another post-it note and told them to find a motto.

When they finished, they read all they’d done to their classmates and we put the wordles with post-it notes on them on the walls. one of the students said how different and colourful a language classroom is fromthe other ones.



Then in the second phase of the lesson I told them to create their ‘New Year, New Beginnings‘ posters.

I told them to include the followings on their poster:

  • best year in their life (explaining what made that year special)
  • important events/moments of 2011 (for them)
  • lessons learned in 2011
  • regrets (if there are any)
  • New Year’s resolutions
  • expectations