March 16

English Attack

I’ve been raving about this site since I got back from Madrid!  English Attack is a fun, motivating resource to get your students using English outside the classroom.  Students can watch music videos and clips from films, documentaries and TV series whilst learning new vocabulary and practising their listening skills.

English Attack

After being introduced to some key vocabulary, students watch the clip and then answer some questions to check their understanding of the clip.  There are a series of activities to practise the key vocabulary and students can watch the clip as many times as they like and also check out the transcript of the clip.

Although aimed more at the teenage market, it’s a great resource for adults too.  Well worth checking it out!

March 10

Dictogloss or total gapfill?

As I was writing yesterday’s post, I realised that I do something like a dictogloss with my Young Learners, but I’d just never realised that’s what I was doing!  At school, we use the Bugs series of books by Macmillan and they have some really fun songs in them, though I sometimes want to do more with the song than just ask students to sing it.  So, without opening their books, I play the song and ask them to write down all the words they hear.  Then I put the song on the board with spaces where the words should be and students take it in turns to say words they heard.  I write them on in the correct space and then, when students have run out of words, I play the song again and ask them to write down any words they’re missing.  At this point, they’re able to follow the song on the board and so they are more focused on specific words.

March 9


I’m going to try a dictogloss this afternoon with my PET class.  I don’t think I’ve done a dictogloss before, so I’m quite excited, though a little apprehensive as well.  I’m excited because it’s a new way to introduce the texts which are in Part 1 of the Reading Paper – rather than just handing them the texts, I’ll dictogloss the first one.  I’m apprehensive because I can envisage some interruptions and requests for me to repeat words and sentences and the Brit in me hates ignoring such things, even if I have explained before the activity starts that I won’t repeat anything.  Well, let’s see how it goes and if the students enjoy it 🙂

For those of you that don’t know how a dictogloss works, here’s what it involves:

  • Read a short text at normal speed and ask students to write down as much as they can, which will normally be the key words.
  • Students work in pairs to try and reconstruct the text
  • Read the text again so students can try and fill in any parts they’ve missed
  • Show them the complete text
September 29

Definitely, maybe

This is a great game to get teens talking. Tell the class that you’re going to talk about a certain topic for a two minutes, e.g. Pets. Before you start talking, divide the class into teams and ask them to write two columns with five words in each : five words they think you’re DEFINITELY going to say, and five words they think that MAYBE you’ll say. Give them a time limit to think of words, then explain that they need to listen to you speaking and tick off any of their words which you say.
When you’ve finished, give them a moment to work out their scores; they get 2 points for every word from the DEFINITELY column, and 1 point for each one in the MAYBE column. Then ask one of the students to think of a topic that they want to talk about.
Repetitions don’t count and you need to give them a list of words which can’t be used, like articles, simple verbs, pronouns, etc. Also, be careful when the students are speaking as others may interrupt with questions so that they elicit the words on their list – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!