Saturday, 30 August 2014

Helping students create content with new vocabulary

This post is a follow-up on two previous ones about the vocabulary course. I'm convinced that having students create content that is interesting for them using active vocabulary helps boost their motivation and enhance vocabulary skills. Thus, in this post I'm going to make an overview of online tools that students can use to create content to further share it in their blogs or social networks. Student blogs have been part of this course for a couple of years now and proved to be an effective way of vocabulary practice. Naturally, the use of web tools doesn't diminish the role of lexical notebooks and other varified methods and approaches.

So, let's start creating.

Memes is a great and funny way to engage students in using new vocabulary. Here are some wonderful sites to generate memes:

For more ideas on how to use memes in the ESL classroom, check out this blogpost.

If memes do not look pretty enough to you, present your message on a more attractive background, a landscape or some abstract art. Yes, you're right, I'm talking about postcards (and much more) that you and your students can create using these tools:

Comics can be another superb way to make students practice new words creating any possible contexts and characters. Take a look at this list of sites where students as well as teachers can create comic strips:

For more tools, see this Larry Ferlazzo's blog post.

Inforgraphics can be used to develop a lot of useful skills together with vocabulary practice. I obviously recommend my favourite, Piktochart.

For better memorisation, further practice and regular revision of vocabulary, creating flashcards is a smart option. Check out this list of the best flashcard making tools.

Why not create a Facebook page for a Greek god or a chat between an alien and your favourite actor? That's absolutely possible with Fakebook and IFakeSiri

Students usually have loads of fun creating subtitles for the movies. Larry Ferlazzo provides a comprehensive collection of tools for this activity.

Apparently, we're getting closer to idea of writing. Using some interesting ideas for creative writing you'll never have your students bored. Make sure you try these:

You will find more ideas in this blogpost.

Fed up with writing? Get them to create videos. Check out these marvellous ideas on how students can create vocabulary videos:

More about this can be found here. Animation can be lots of fun too. 

Talking about fun, don't miss a Baby Message tool.

Finally, in order to test students' vocabulary, go for Jeopardy

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Unbearable Simplicity of the Present

Here are some updates on my Beginner English Course for adults. After making sure that "to be" structures are well processed by my students, i.e. they feel confident asking and answering basic questions and using a decent number of structures in their answers, we're moving forward.

The Present Simple Tense seems to be an obvious choice for helping eager learners proceed on the twisting path of English grammar. The links I'm providing in this post embrace material we've been struggling with  for several lessons. Naturally, as my students are more interested in communicative value of grammar, our lexical focus in conjunction with Present Simple is daily activites and related issues.

Forms of Present Simple in affirmative sentences

Negative sentences in Present Simple

Questions in Present Simple

More practice on possessive pronouns

Everyday activities

Sunday, 3 August 2014

To have or To be?

In the previous post I was talking about my experience of tutoring adults. As the course proceeds, I keep posting supporting online materials and resources I find useful. As far as a coursebook for our sessions I decided to opt for Headway Beginner (Oxford University Press). I used to work with this book a couple of years ago and I liked it a lot.

At the moment we're plunging into "have/has" structures, family vocabulary, basic adjectives and possessives.
So, here are some supporting web-based practice that could be used for follow-up practice or revision.

I've also created a Piktochart for basic questions and answers the verb with "to be":