Text message abbreviations and emoticons. A lesson with a worksheet for your pre intermediate English students

Can’t be bothered to read the post and just want to see if the worksheet might be something you could use? Click here for the word document: Emoticons and text messages
Do you hate people writing ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ or ‘B4′ instead of ‘before’? Lots of people do. Is it normal to feel that in some way, the language you learn, love and use is being cheapened by it being abbreviated?
As someome who teaches and writes an awful lot, I couldn’t really care less how people spell. As long as they get their message across in the right way, then what’s the problem. You wouldn’t want students to use text message abbreviations in an exam, but in the same way you wouldn’t expect them to use long winded phrases in a text message.
Here’s a lesson that gets students to think about where emoticons come from and also teaches them the most common text and web speak abbreviations.
Here’s the link Emoticons and text messages

If you like it and use, please get in touch and tell us how it went!


Reported Speech – a quick ppt to show your intermediate ESOL/EFL students

Here’s another one from the vaults, a good introduction or warmer for your ESOL or EFL class on reported speech.

Click here to download the ppt: reported_speech_arrange_the_sentences

There’s not much to say as it’s pretty straightforward. The first slide gets students to arrange the words into meaningful reported speech sentences (some of them have more than one possible answer). Once students have done this, get them to write the sentences down as they would be in direct speech as well.

The next ten slides all have pictures of people saying things that students can report back. Have them shout out the answers at you, write them down or even work with a partner or group to get them perfectly correct.

Here’s the ppt again http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/reported_speech_arrange_the_sentences.ppt

http://www.englishlanguagespacestation.com/


2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 45,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.


Originally posted on Chris Speck:

The new year is the natural time to think about changing the things that you do and the habits that you have. Most gyms will be full this week and empty by the end of February. Here’s a simple E2 ESOL lesson that will get students talking and thinking about the new year

Download the lesson here http://chrisspeck.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/newyear_sresolutions.doc

All these lessons and many more can be found on my website

www.englishlanguagespacestation.com

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Originally posted on Chris Speck:

 

Can’t be bothered to read the post – Click here for the lesson on Writing Cards http://chrisspeck.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/writing-cards1.doc

Sending cards is an enourmous business in the UK and the USA with the average person spending way too much time and money on them. There’s also a lot of social pressure to send and receive them especially at Christmas time. Who hasn’t been presented with a card for someone who is leaving the office, sick or getting married, and thought ‘Idon’t know what to write!’?

It’s also pretty difficult for ESOL/EFL and second language English learners to write them to. I used this lesson with a group of pre- intermediate learners.

Here’s the lesson again http://chrisspeck.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/writing-cards1.doc

Here are the lesson stages

1. Ask the students to tell you when they last recieved a card of any description. Write a list of the cards they tell you about on the board. It might look something like this…

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Chris Speck:

Here we go again…

Originally posted on Chris Speck:

It’s time to dust off the old Christmas worksheets and pull out the tatty decorations. I’ve rounded up some of the best stuff on the web in terms of worksheets, shows, interactive games and song

Worksheets

The English Language Space Station has some good lessons on Christmas http://www.englishlanguagespacestation.com/ESOL.htm#Festivals and Celebrations in the UK

I also did a lesson on writing Christmad cards right here on the blog http://chrisspeck.wordpress.com/2009/12/08/writing-cards-christmas-cards-for-esol-esl-and-efl/

There are some really good Christmas worksheets from bogglesworld.com http://bogglesworldesl.com/christmas_worksheets.htm

Christmas Shows

Jackie Lawson has some really great, free Christmas shows which I have been sending and showing to my students for years and years, they’re brilliant http://www.jacquielawson.com/cards_christmas.asp

Some great shows are also avaliable from Katie’s Cards http://www.katiescards.com/ecard-category-christmas-7763.aspx?gclid=CM_0_MGP2qUCFccKfAodLXjTkg

Interactive Games

Some great Christmas games here http://flashghetto.com/christmas

Watch Father Christmas tell you what you will get for Christmas http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home

Very funny dancing elf videos, you can upload your photo and watch yourself boogie at…

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Superheroes! Pre – intermediate worksheet for teens

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged.

No blah blah blah from me today. Here’s a superhero worksheet to use with teen learners who just love superheroes, like me!

Click here to getdownload the worksheet! http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/the-superhero-lesson2.docx


Guest Blog: David Clayton: SMARTphones: Student Motivation and Autonomy using Relevant Technology.

The purposes of the activities listed below are to increase students’ exposure to natural English, their autonomy, and their motivation. This will be achieved by the innovative use of familiar and valued technology, encouraging effective study skills and good practice, and by providing fun, meaningful, achievable activities using authentic materials.

A recent poll of my first year Japanese university classes revealed that just under ninety per cent of them use smart phones. According to Google, this number is set to increase throughout the world as smartphones become the most common method of accessing the internet (Google, 2011). I recently purchased a smartphone, too and was amazed by its user-friendliness, versatility and processing power (less so it’s battery life!). After a few weeks spent getting to know my new toy, I started to wonder if and how it could be used by my students to learn English. 

After consulting with my students, sharing app recommendations, and hints and tips, I came to the conclusion that although the use of phones in class is prohibited in many institutions (Shepherd, 2011), if teachers fail to at least acknowledge their existence, we will miss valuable educational opportunities. This becomes clear when we consider that smartphones are essentially high powered mini computers with broadband-speed internet access. Furthermore, many students are never without their smartphones: they eat with them, sleep with them, study with them and even take them into the bathroom. Smartphones are some university students’ most prized possessions; their owners are both extremely adept in their use and extremely interested in using them.

I am confident that institutional policies prohibiting smartphone use in class will disappear as administrators realize that students are willingly buying and maintaining their own state-of-the-art computing hardware at their own expense, and always bringing it to class. As such, smartphones are more than an inviting resource; as some groups have realised (DEB, 2011), they offer a golden opportunity to enrich students’ education at no cost to the institutions.

At present however, using smartphones in whole-class activities is not possible for many teachers and learners. For this reason I advocate encouraging students to use their smartphones outside the class to encounter natural English in meaningful – and even better, fun – ways. I hope your students enjoy the activities and resources recommended in the handout below, and that when they return with more ideas you will share them with me too.

10 great ideas for using your smartphone to learn and practice English.

  1. 1.    Install Kotoba! dictionary.

Lets you input words using all the standard methods (including drawing characters with your finger) and has example sentences to give context to the definitions. You can save the words you look up in specific list, or just look back through the history at all the words you have checked. (Review new words using Flashcards +, below). Does not require an internet connection after the initial download.

  1. 2.    Install Google Translate.

This will give you another source of information about new words and phrases. You can enter longer blocks of text to get the general meaning (do NOT rely on the translation to be 100% accurate). It has an audio function to help you with pronunciation, and a “large font” button that is very useful if you are showing someone else the translation. (Review new words using Flashcards +, below). Requires an internet connection.

  1. 3.    Install Flashcards+

This lets you create your own flashcards to review on the train etc. This is a very time-efficient method of learning new vocabulary. You can also download thousands of flashcard sets on many subjects from quizlet.com. Try searching for your English textbook and see what you find! Requires an internet connection.

When you find any new words doing activities 4-9 below, make sure you check their meaning and review them regularly using 1-3 above.

  1. 4.    Set your default language in the OS and apps you use the most to English.

It can be quite difficult to use the more advanced settings on your phone like this, so remember how to change them back!

  1. 5.    Buy graded readers from iTunes.

Several publishers now offer their graded readers as ebooks. Oxford Bookworms include a glossary, audio files and quizzes and are slightly cheaper than the paper versions. To find which level of reader you should read, go to a bookshop, open some graded readers at random and read a page. If there are more than two words that you don’t know per page, that level is too difficult for you. Choose a level which has only one or two new words on each page, then buy e-books from that level from your app store. Does not require an internet connection after the initial download.

  1. 6.    Join a Photo a Day Challenge for a month.

Go to http://fatmumslim.com.au/ and download the Photo A Day list, which shows one word for every day of the month. Your challenge is to take a picture each day that represents that word  and post them on your Facebook or Instagram page. This can be a lot of fun if you and some friends (or your whole class) do it together. Requires an internet connection.

  1. 7.    Follow foreign celebrities / sports people on Twitter.

With just 140 characters, most messages on Twitter are very simple. You can learn new abbreviations and slang this way, too. Requires an internet connection.

  1. 8.    Install Just Sayin’

This is similar to twitter, but focuses on audio. You can listen to native speakers’ messages and leave your own too. Try listening to a short message and trying to write it down word for word. If it is too fast or difficult, swipe across the track right to left to slow it down (swipe the other way to speed it up). Requires an internet connection.

  1. 9.    Install Draw Something

This is a fun game that you can play with strangers or friends. It will give you lots of vocabulary and dictionary practice, and drawing and looking at pictures will help you remember new words. (you can also add pictures to your flashcards). Requires an internet connection.

  1. 10.  Find programmes and materials to use on your phone.

Try entering the following keywords in your app store and see what you find: EFL, ESL, English Conversation. (You could try the British Council’s Learn English to get you started).

Dave Clayton is originally from England but has been teaching English in Japan for many years. He is currently a university lecturer and corporate trainer. His interests include vocabulary acquisition, bilingualism, teaching listening, Extensive Reading and English for Academic Purposes

References

Google, 2011, Mobile Internet & Smartphone Adoption, http://services.google.com/fh/files/blogs/Final_Mobile_Internet_Smartphone_Adoption_Insights_2011v3.pdf

Nation, I.S.P., 2009, Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking, Routledge, London p.133-137.

Shepherd, J. 2011, Smartphones and handheld computers: the new battleground in UK schools. Guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/oct/30/smartphones-handheld-computers-battleground-schools?INTCMP=SRCH

DEB, 2011, Smartphones for schools. Digital Education Brighton.

 http://digitaleducationbrighton.org.uk/?cat=8


Adjectives for describing character – a quick ppt show

Can be bothered to read the post?  You don’t need to anyway – get the PowerPoint lesson here http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/find-four-words-to-describe-you.pptx

Here’s another quick PowerPoint show that I found on my hard drive. I fgot the picture above on Facebook or somewhere – it’s quite famous. It struck me that it would be nice to use with a class.

1. I showed my students the picture for three or four minutes and asked them to write down all the adjectives they could see. They could check the meaning of any new words on their phones or dictionary.

2. I then asked them to write down a sentence for each word that they found.

3. Now students shared two of the sentences they wrote with the rest of the class.


Talking heads – role play with masks – for teenagers and young adults

Ok, so this is a bit off the wall but it is a quite a good laugh if you have a young class or students who have a sense of humour. This is a simple role-play class using masks of famous people.

How to run the class

The biggest part of getting this class to run successfully is how well you sell it to your students. It is a kind of drama activity and yes, it is a bit wet, but, your students will only think that if you don’t sell it to them correctly.

Say and think this :Make no bones about it, speaking and using English language creatively are absolute cornerstones of learning a language and by delivering this class you are doing your job well and the students are learning.

Don’t say or think this: this class is a bit of messing about where we all get to make up stupid dialogues and laugh at each other.

Put students into groups of three and give them a copy of the masks from here: http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/masks-of-famous-and-interesting-people.docx. You can ask students to cut them out or stick them on cardboard if they’re a little younger. If you can laminte them it will make them a little more durable. You can also cut out their eyes if you want, but you don’t need to.

Tell your students they have ten minutes to make a dialogue, they are going to hold the masks in front of their faces and  then speak as the famous or interesting person. They can use all of them, or just three of them, they can change their character at any time. They can use any subject they want as long as it’s not rude or offensive.

It all depends on you if you want them to write their dialogue down or just try to remember it. I get them to try and remember it and ad lib.

Write these three headings on the board and explain them to the class before they start:

Introduction: There needs to be a starting point, the characters can tell us where they are and what they are doing. Where are they? In the forest, at home, in their office? Tell us.

Conflict: There needs to be something that the characters have to come up against, they need some conflict to make the dialogue interesting. This could be against each other or something else. Are they at war? What problem do they have to solve? Do they have a problem with each other?

Resolution: Finally, whatever problem they have, there has to be a resolution. It has to finish and come to an end.

Now ask students to work together on their dialogue. Some groups won’t be able to do this because they are not creative enough, you have to circulate and help them. Offer any ideas you come up with and encourage them. This is a crucial stage and if you don’t help them a little bit, the results won’t be great.

When students have made their dialogue, ask them to perform them for the rest of the class. If this is too hard, ask them to perfom it for another group.

Variations

I tried to pick people that my students would know but you could use any face you like. Just go to www.googleimages.com and search for ‘famous person’s name mask’ and you’ll find loads of faces that might be more relevant to your students.

Further ideas

You could video them doing this and stick on www.youtube.com .

You could use themes that you want them to develop. You could ask them to make a patient going to see the doctor role-play or a shopping role-play or anything that fits in with what you’re studying.


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