May 29, 2012

AUCTION Time: feedback to mistakes

I can't recall exactly where I learned this activity from but I believe it's an interesting way of giving feedback to mistakes.

This semester I've started a project with students where each week they select a picture , write a text about it and send them both to a designated e-mail address. The texts written by students are not edited beforehand , therefore, throughout the semester I tried to address their attention to the most common mistakes using different activities. For more information about the project, read a previous post.

To play AUCTION is fairly simple. First you select sentences with no mistakes and sentences which contain the most common mistakes you want to draw attention to. You can have the list of sentences on a ppt, a word file or even a poster. Explain to students you will auction sentences and their goal is to buy as many correct sentences as they can. If they buy a correct sentence they will get their money back but if they get a wrong sentence, they will lose their money. If they don't buy any sentence, by the end of the auction, they will also lose their money. I used money from an old Monopoly game to give all my students the same amount of notes.

Then, the auction starts. As soon as a sentence is sold, the teacher writes the name of the buyer and the amount paid next to the sentence. After all sentences have been sold, the teacher collects all the money from students and starts correcting the sentences with the students' help. If a sentence is right its buyer has the right to receive the money back. Keep on going until all the sentences have been analyzed. The student with the highest amount of money WINS THE GAME. These are some pictures taken in class yesterday.

May 12, 2012

Educreations: IPAD app

I had already used EDUCREATIONS on my laptop during an EVO Session but had kind of forgotten it.

Today, while searching for something else I stumbled into it again, but this time I decided to try its IPAD app which is totally free.

 This is what you can do with it:
- You can draw using your finger and record your voice at the same time.
- You can take a photo and record yourself talking about it.
- You can use a picture from your photo gallery or from dropbox, draw and record your voice. After recording and saving it, you can share it via twitter, facebook or even grab the embed code for publishing online.



 How can wwe use it with students? 
- you can ask students to research about famous people in history, ask them to upload a picture and record themselves talking about that personality.
- you can record screencasts drawing and writing explanations.
- you can ask students to share a picture of something special to them and talk about it.
- you can ask students to upload a picture of a place they would really like to visit someday and talk about it.
- students can draw and tell a story.

May 8, 2012

Revision Carousel

This week, I planned to revise content students have recently seen by organizing a revision lesson as a CAROUSSEL.

First of all, I selected 3 activities :
  1. Students would complete a grammar revision sheet and then use the answer key to correct it.
  2. Students would play a  game called "Four-in-a-row" from the book "Grammar games and activities"  where students have to  know the infinitive/past/past participle of verbs.
  3. Students would choose from one of the topics provided in their own course book and write a dialogue discussing it using language to agree and disagree. Then, they would use my cell phone (Audioboo app) to record their dialogues. 
The 12 students were divided into 3 groups of four and I had them seating in different corners of the room. Students would have 20 mins to work with each activity. As a timer, I used the site ONLINE VIDEO CLOCK  where you set an alarm by selecting a video clip from youtube. Before the caroussel activity started I explained what students would do at each station and by the end of the class all of them would have covered the 3 activities. 

I liked the way I was free to move from one group to another and help when I was needed. Students were totally involved in doing the tasks. Moving from the different stations kept a dynamic pace to the lesson. An important point is to organize activities which take a similar time to cover and also have an extra activity up your sleeve for fast-finishers (in our case, I had conversation cards ). Next class, I intend to play their recordings from audioboo and ask them what they thought about it.

One of the recordings created in class by students:

May 7, 2012

Wordle + VoiceThread + Ipad

After reading Jose Picardo's post about having used only one iPad in class, I decided to give it a go. I've recently got an iPad as a gift and wanted to see what I could do with it in class.

Well, this afternoon I took my iPad to class as I wanted to record students reading their own sentences to a voice thread created by a colleague (AureaStela). Stela had the brilliant idea to create a wordcloud with verbs which take GERUND and INFINITIVE and then asked her students to record sentences using the given verbs.

This is what I proposed to my students today:

1. First, I opened her voice thread on the IWB and played the recordings for them.
2. Then, I assigned a different verb to each student and asked them to make a sentence using Gerund or Infinitive. I monitored helping them out with their sentences.
3. I gave them a hand-out with a grammar exercise on the same topic and asked students to complete the exercise in class. Meanwhile, I would use my iPad to move round the class to record each student reading their own sentences ( I used the voicethread app for recording) . To make it faster, all students used my voice thread account.
4. After I had saved all recordings, I played their recordings on the IWB for everyone to listen to.

   Impressions? I would definitely do this again. Students were involved and seemed to have enjoyed listening to all the sentences in class.

May 4, 2012


My inspiration for these video activities was this post by David Deubelbeiss.

  • the activities are short.
  • the videos are all found in Youtube.
  • there's no need to prepare any extra material.

1. Predicting what's going to happen.

  • turn volume off.
  • play parts of the video, stop and brainstorm with the whole class what  they think is going to happen. Ex: I think he will .......
  • Play and check their prediction.
Suggested video:

2. Taking notes / reconstructing scene
  • Students watch the video and take notes of what happens in the scene.
  • Pairs compare their notes and write a description of the whole scene.
  • Students then read each other descriptions.
  • Teacher can build a description of the scene with the whole class using
Suggested video:

3. Describe what you see
  • turn volume off
  • get students into pairs.
  • they stand up, one facing the screen and the other with the back to the screen.
  • the one facing the screen describes what's happening in the scene.
  • teacher pauses the video and students swap places.
  • do the same for the rest of the video (or for as long as the teacher decides)
  • Students write down a summary of the whole scene.
  • If students want to, show the whole video with sound to the class.
Suggested video:

4. Imagining thoughts

  • Divide students in pairs.
  • You can turn off the sound or not.
  • While students watch the video, they try to write down what the girl and the man might be thinking. 
  • Teacher pauses video when necessary.
Suggested video:

5. Predicting + Retelling
  • Show the wordcloud below and ask students to predict  the story of the video. (PAIRS)
  • Students watch the video .
  • Pairs try to reconstruct or retell the story using the wordcloud (Speaking or Writing activity).
Suggested video:

6. Imagine an ending

  • Students watch the video up to 1.59 mins.
  • Pairs tell each other what they remember.
  • Pairs imagine an ending to the story and write it down.
  • Students read their ending to the class.
  • Show the rest of the video to the class.
Suggested video:

7. Vocabulary List

  • ask students to write the heading for  two lists in their notebooks (CITY LIFE / NATURE)
  • Students watch the video and have to complete the lists by writing down vocabulary related to each topic as it appears in the video.
  • Debriefing: ask students what words they've written down.
  • In pairs students discuss what they understood about the video.
Suggested video:

For more suggested animations, check out this playlist I've put together: