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.
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. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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
DEB, 2011, Smartphones for schools. Digital Education Brighton.
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.
Here’s another PowerPoint warmer, filler or cooler for your English lesson. If you can’t be bothered to read the short blog – download the ppt file here. http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/rockwell.ppt
This week I’ve been talking about the paintings of the American painter Norman Rockwell. His pictures are great for generating conversation and speculation, although they are quite culturally ‘American’.
You can just show the ppt to your students, but it’s much better if you put students in pairs and ask them to answer the following questions.
- Describe what you see in the picture.
- Can you tell each other the ‘story’ in the picture?
Lots of these pictures reveal more about themselves the more you look at them and the story comes to life the more questions you ask. For example, why is the huge sailor getting another girl’s name tattooed on his arm? What is the expression on his face, it’s not happiness, is it?
Here’s another PowerPoint show with loads of different types of faces and people for your students to describe. I’ve put down a few ideas on how you could get more out of it below, but if you just want to get straight to the content, click below.
How to run this lesson
This ppt will work best to help practise vocab and structures used to describe people. You can pretty much use it with any level, higher students will be able to say more and lower students will be able to say something like ‘He’s got…’
1. Split your students into pairs and explain that the first student is number one and the second number two. Tell them that they are going to have two minutes to describe the face/person to their partner. Depending on how good your students are you might like to have them focus on one special aspect of the person, such as
– What they look like
– What their life history might be
– What their personality migfht be like.
2. Now show the PPT to students. Student 1 will talk about the first picture, then you tell them to ‘swap’ and the second student will describe the next picture. Repeat this until the end of the slide show.
3. When students have finished you can feedback on the language that you heard students producing (negatively or positively) or scroll back up to some of the more intereting faces and ask individual student to tell you what they think.
Here’s the PPT file again : http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/portraits.pptx
I’ve just found these old riddles on my hard drive and thought I’d share them.
Click here for the PowerPoint show http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/riddles-for-the-english-classroom.ppt
They’ll provide a quick bit of speaking practice for pre-intermediate to intermediate EFL, ESOL or ESL students and you’ll need to have an Interactive whiteboard or a projector to show the PPT show.
Put your students into pairs and ask them to discuss the riddles one by one before you reveal the answers. You might also find that students have their own riddles they would like to share with you and the rest of the class.
I can’t remember where I found all of these, but three of them (numbers 3,7 and 8) come from the amazing and seminal English teaching book ‘Challenge to Think’ by Christine Frank, Mario Rinvolucri and Marge Berer’ first published in 1982.
Here’s the ppt file again http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/riddles-for-the-english-classroom.ppt
for more of the same visit
Here’s another lesson for your ESOL, ESL or EFL students tapping the now mainstream interest in Vampires. Get the worksheet straight away by clicking here – http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/the-vampire-lesson.doc
Whether your students enjoyed the seminal video game Vampire: The Masquerade – bloodlines a few years ago or they enjoy The Twilight series of films or the TV shows True Blood or The Vampire Diaries, this lesson might be up their street.
Not everyone likes vampires, so I’d suggest you be careful with this one. Don’t use it with kids or those that are easily offended. Culturally, these kind of vampires are very ‘western’ and so if your students are not familiar with modern, American mythology then this probably won’t work. The Chinese have their own versions of vampires and so do a lot of other cultures…
There’s no special way to run the lesson, just follow the activities on the worksheet. There are broken lines around the worksheet so you can cut the sections up with a pair of scissors if you don’t want students to do it all at once.
Here’s the worksheet again – http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/the-vampire-lesson.doc
Here’s the Banksy PowerPoint show http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/banksy.pptx
Many many years ago when I lived and taught in the industrial town of Szolnok, Hungary. Someone wrote a very large bit of graffiti across the bottom of our tower-block. In big, white letters, at least a foot high, the artist wrote ‘I’m still love you’. Ever since then, I’ve been on the look out for incorrect English in graffiti, something with isn’t confined to places that don’t speak English as their first language.
Here’s a PowerPoint presentation for intermediate learners on the much loved and hyped graffiti artist, Banksy.http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/banksy.pptx
I’d highly recommend his website http://www.banksy.co.uk/ and his book ‘Wall and Piece’. Instructions on how to run the lesson are below.
1. Before you start ask students what they think about graffiti in general, do they think it’s art or just vandalism? You might like to talk about any specific bits of graffiti you all know about.
2. Put students into groups or pairs and show them the slide show. Get them to discuss the following questions for each picture.
1.Describe the picture to each other?
2.Is there anything strange about the picture? What?
3. Is the picture trying to tell us anything political
3. When students have seen and discussed all the pictures, go through them again and elict any interesting information from the students. Lots of the pictures ARE political and need quite a lot of explaining.
Here’s my list of EFL courseboks that will never get published.
1. GunPoint – A new pre-intermediate course book dealing with all aspects of international criminal English. 10 hard hitting chapters cover vital criminal skills such as extortion, weapon vocabulary, hacking, robbery and how to deal with police interrogation. The free DVD contains twenty of cinema’s finest criminal moments from movies like The Godfather and Pulp Fiction.
2. Hat Trick – International football player English, includes comprehensive swearing index. Specialist chapters deal with telling lies to your partner, having a diva strop like a man and advanced press conference skills.
3. Spirit Level – Builder’s English including a pull-out section on dirty jokes and chapters on how to avoid paying tax.
4. Pick Up – how to attract and pick up member of the opposite sex in English. Includes a section on body language and social etiquette. Also including a large selection of chat-up lines.
5. Boiling Point- all aspects of cookery, equipment and brutal swearing included in this intermediate course for English learners with an interest in the kitchen
6. Darling! I love it! – An intermediate course book for English learners who need to know everything about the fashion industry with sections on substance abuse, catfights, bitchy gossip and frocks.
7. International Geek English – for those learners who need to be able to discuss physics, comics and the combat system for the 4th edition of dungeons and dragons. This course book includes how to use the Socratic method of discussion, witty put-downs and search engine techniques containing Boolean logic.
8. Cheers! – Drinking English. From the earthy, base language of the backstreet public house to the refined, gentile prose of the English country pub, this three-part course book covers what to say in almost every type of drinking establishment in the world, with chapters on anecdotes, pretending to be interested and how to deal with hangovers.
Any more ideas?
Language students routinely turn to the web to do their translating and there’s not much better than Google Translate. It effortlessly handless data and will translate into different scripts like Arabic and Russian, it can even translate some idiomatic phrases. It’s still a long way from being perfect, however and it gets a lot wrong.
I wanted to see if my human students could do better that the automated, super fast machine that is Google Translate. Here’s what I did.
1. I found a simple story, wrote it out in English and then pasted it into Google translate. I then translated it into the languages that my ESOL students can speak, Swahili, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Latvian, Hungarian and French.
2. In class, I handed students a copy of the story in their language and asked them to try and translate it into English. If there were two students, I asked them to team up and try to translate the story together. I told them where I got the translations and that there might be some mistakes in, but they should try to translate it the best they can. Also, before they started I pre-taught the word ‘worth’ and gave them some example sentences, this word is the key to the whole story.
3. As a group, I now asked them to shout out their translations, sentence by sentence before I showed them a copy of the real story in English.
Here’s the story I used and a link at the bottom to the translations from Google Translate.
Joe and the rich man
Here’s the link to the translated versions: http://chrisspeck.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/the-google-translate-challenge.doc