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.
An anecdote (to quote OALD) is a ‘a short, interesting or amusing story about a real person or event’. They are a great way of learning English, they are fun, entertaining and whether you are listeing to them or telling them, they offer a real chance to practise language.
There are loads of ways you can use them in your class. First you need a good source of stories you can use. Everybody has their own life stories and funny things that have happened to them, but, as a teacher you might not like to share what happened to you when you were fifteen or that blunder you made at a friend’s wedding.
I’ve pasted a nice one at the bottom of this blog post which I took from the fabulous ELC study zone. Here are three good places to get your anecdotes:
1. The local library. You’ll find something if you look!
3. Get yourself a nice anecdote book from Amazon. I’ve pasted a few examples below
How to use anecdotes in the classroom.
1. Anecdote homework. Tell students a good, long anecdote (like the carpet fitter below) in your own words and explain to students that for homework, they have to find an anecdote to share with their partner in the next session. Explain that students won’t have to tell the whole class (but they can if they want to) and will only have to tell their story to a partner. Also, remind them that anecdotes don’t have to be true.
2. Anecdote reading and telling. Find two good anecdotes and print them out. Put your students into pairs and pass one the first story and the second to the other. Ask the students to read the anecdotes and understand what they mean. When both students have finished, ask them to turn over their anecdotes so they can’t read them. Now students have to tell the anecdotes to each other from memory.
3. Finish the anecdote. Find a nice story and cut off the ending. You could use the one at the bottom of the blog. Get your students to read it and guess the ending.
Eddie the Carpet fitter (taken from ELC study zone )
Eddie was a carpet fitter, and he hated it. For ten years he had spent his days sitting, squatting, kneeling or crawling on floors, in houses, offices, shops, factories and restaurants. Ten years of his life, cutting and fitting carpets for other people to walk on, without even seeing them. When his work was done, no-one ever appreciated it. No- one ever said “Oh, that’s a beautiful job, the carpet fits so neatly.” They just walked all over it. Eddie was sick of it.
He was especially sick of it on this hot, humid day in August, as he worked to put the finishing touches to today’s job. He was just cutting and fixing the last edge on a huge red carpet which he had fitted in the living room of Mrs. Vanbrugh’s house. Rich Mrs. Vanbrugh, who changed her carpets every year, and always bought the best. Rich Mrs. Vanbrugh, who had never even given him a cup of tea all day, and who made him go outside when he wanted to smoke. Ah well, it was four o’clock and he had nearly finished. At least he would be able to get home early today. He began to day-dream about the weekend, about the Saturday football game he always played for the local team, where he was known as “Ed the Head” for his skill in heading goals from corner kicks.
Eddie sat back and sighed. The job was done, and it was time for a last cigarette. He began tapping the pockets of his overalls, looking for the new packet of Marlboro he had bought that morning. They were not there.
It was as he swung around to look in his toolbox for the cigarettes that Eddie saw the lump. Right in the middle of the brand new bright red carpet, there was a lump. A very visible lump. A lump the size of — the size of a packet of cigarettes.
“Blast!” said Eddie angrily. “I’ve done it again! I’ve left the cigarettes under the blasted carpet!”
He had done this once before, and taking up and refitting the carpet had taken him two hours. Eddie was determined that he was not going to spend another two hours in this house. He decided to get rid of the lump another way. It would mean wasting a good packet of cigarettes, nearly full, but anything was better than taking up the whole carpet and fitting it again. He turned to his toolbox for a large hammer.
Holding the hammer, Eddie approached the lump in the carpet. He didn’t want to damage the carpet itself, so he took a block of wood and placed it on top of the lump. Then he began to beat the block of wood as hard as he could. He kept beating, hoping Mrs. Vanbrugh wouldn’t hear the noise and come to see what he was doing. It would be difficult to explain why he was hammering the middle of her beautiful new carpet.
After three or four minutes, the lump was beginning to flatten out. Eddie imagined the cigarette box breaking up, and the crushed cigarettes spreading out under the carpet. Soon, he judged that the lump was almost invisible. Clearing up his tools, he began to move the furniture back into the living room, and he was careful to place one of the coffee tables over the place where the lump had been, just to make sure that no-one would see the spot where his cigarettes had been lost. Finally, the job was finished, and he called Mrs. Vanbrugh from the dining room to inspect his work.
”Young man,” she began, as he climbed into the cab of his van, laying his toolbox on the passenger seat beside him, “while you were working today, you didn’t by any chance see any sign of Armand, did you? Armand is my parakeet. A beautiful bird, just beautiful, such colors in his feathers… I let him out of his cage, you see, this morning, and he’s disappeared. He likes to walk around the house, and he’s so good, he usually just comes back to his cage after an hour or so and gets right in. Only today he didn’t come back. He’s never done such a thing before, it’s most peculiar…”
”No, madam, I haven’t seen him anywhere,” said Eddie, as he reached to start the van.
And saw his packet of Marlboro cigarettes on the dashboard, where he had left it at lunchtime….
And remembered the lump in the carpet….
And realised what the lump was….
And remembered the hammering….
And began to feel rather sick….
MDH 1994 — from a common urban legend
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?
I’ve just found more another optical illusion powerpoint on my hard drive. I don’t know where it came from! You’ll need an IAWB or a projector to show it and it makes a great warmer, filler or cooler for your lessons.
Click the link below to download 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