April 8

FCE Practice with EDpuzzle

We’re starting to look into blended learning at Active Language and whilst chatting about it the other day, I remembered a colleague, John, mentioning EDpuzzle.  This site allows you to add questions and comments to YouTube videos (and perhaps does other things though I haven’t explored it fully yet!).  Here’s my first attempt at using it – unfortunately you do need to sign up to use it, although you can log in with your Google account.  In fact, part of the reason for embedding it here was to see if it could be accessed by the class without needing to create an account – I don’t like obliging people to sign up to things.


March 6

Phrasal Verb Stories

Spanish learners often find phrasal verbs difficult and can have problems using the correct one in context, often resorting to more formal Latin-root verbs which they feel more familiar with.  So, if you’re looking for extra practice for your classes or for self-study, you can now download a great new ebook by Michelle Worgan.  The book is called Phrasal Verb Stories 1 and it’s available with English definitions or, in another version, with Spanish translations.  Each story has a short video, which you can watch on the Phrasal Verb Stories channel, and a text to complete.


February 9

Indiana Jones and the Vocab Competition

In Macmillan’s Footprints series, there are always pages for cross-curricular learning and whilst the topics themselves are often interesting, they are frequently explored through an extended text with comprehension questions, which can be less than inspiring for our learners.  The subject for this unit in Footprints 5 was History and as the unit was on “Treasure Hunters”, the topic was archaeologists, with a photo of Indiana Jones (unfortunately from the fourth film which was fairly atrocious!).

I wanted to engage the learners in the topic and also to use a clip from a film as I don’t often use videos with these two groups.  We started with a quick game of Hangman to spell out Indiana Jones and then discussed what the learners knew about him – this surprised me as in the second group of 10, only one of them had ever heard of him and seen one of his films!  In the first group, the learners were more able to produce sentences about him and it gave one of the quieter learners a moment to shine as he was more familiar with the films than others.

We then watched this short clip and I asked them to write down as many objects as they could see in pairs.  We watched the same clip again and wrote down verbs and then a third time, writing adjectives.

The learners then competed against each other for points: an object was worth 1 point; a verb, 2 and an adjective, 3.  Plus, if they chose a word which no other team had, they won double points for it.

Unfortunately we then ran out of time, but if I had had more time, I would have asked the teams to write sentences using all the vocabulary we had boarded to retell the story from the clip.


August 25

Visual Literacy

End of Week 3 now and I’m very excited as this afternoon I’m doing the session on Visual Literacy.  Followers of the blog will have noticed I’ve been using more multimedia resources this year and this afternoon’s session is a very hands-on look at using video and photos in the classroom.

For the trainees attending the session, and for anyone else who’s interested, here are some useful links to sites and lesson plans using video and pictures:

• Ceri Jones has some great lesson plans on her blog close up

Lesson Stream, Jamie Keddie’s site, provides very detailed lesson plans based on short clips

• On this blog you can find a lesson plan on Planking and another on character builds taken from a screenshot

• Michelle Worgan has posted some great activities on her blog, including a lesson based on Free Running

eltpics gives teachers a place to share pictures on a variety of topics, all of which are available under a Creative Commons License.  If you’re interested in joining the venture, check out this post on Sandy Millin’s blog

English Attack is a great site where your students can learn English watching short video clips and music videos

• The onestopenglish article Teaching English Using Video also provides very detailed plans for teaching different levels and looks at the different activities you can do with video