Saturday, November 21, 2015

Top 10 Activities for ESL

If you’re looking for some ideas for your conversation classes with students, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my top 10 ESL activities for adults that will make your lesson planning easy and your classes as interesting, engaging and fun as possible. More

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Technology Integration Strategies

Integrating technology into the classroom has become an imperative for teachers at all grade levels. State standards require it and research supports its positive impact on student learning. Nearly all schools today have computer labs or a computer in the classroom and many also have Internet connections. Teachers know that they must integrate technology into their lessons, and they finally have the equipment at their disposal. Understanding why it should happen and how best to do it are often less clear.

Reasons for Integrating Technology
When done effectively, technology has a positive impact on student learning.
It can:
  • Increase student motivation for learning
  • Improve communication of learning goals
  • Facilitate higher-order thinking skills
  • Build valuable skills that students will use in college and in the workplace
  • Expand students' understanding from novice to mastery
Activities for All Classrooms
There are literally thousands of ideas for using technology in your classroom. Online tools can be used for collaboration; the Internet provides a rich source of information; and multimedia tools allow students to assemble presentations that are both educational and entertaining.The following ideas can be used in virtually any classroom, regardless of course content. 

  • Create a Class Web Site—The Web is an excellent way to communicate with your students and their parents or guardians. You can include course information, assignments, lecture notes and presentations, links to interesting sites, challenges, study tools, links to textbook Web sites, and many other features.
  • Take Your Class on a Virtual Field Trip—Use the Internet to visit one of the many online exhibitions available. Notable institutions, such as the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, have exhibitions and guides designed especially for teachers and students. When funds or time do not allow a field trip, look online to find a worthwhile destination.
  • Take Part in a Web Event—These online events allow classes to observe and interact in educational activities occurring in real time. Using chat room technology or streaming video, these events are exciting to both students and educators. Students can often ask experts questions and can read (or hear) what other students from around the world are asking.
  • Create a WebQuest—This popular idea began back when the Internet was in its infancy, and it has grown by epic proportions ever since. Designed to engage students in Internet-based tasks that require higher-order thinking skills, WebQuests can range from a simple one class period activity to an extended group project that can take all semester. You can create your own using a template or visit one of the many sites that have teacher-created WebQuests ready for your use.
  • Visit Your Textbook Web Site—Many publishers offer supplementary Web sites to accompany textbook study. Glencoe/McGraw-Hill offers Web sites with extensive resources as a supplement to the textbook program. Glencoe Online Learning Centers have a wide array of features including tools for self-study, chapter summaries and links, video clips, and interactive activities.
  • Participate in an Online Research Project—The Internet is filled with ongoing projects that allow students to contribute by collecting, submitting, and analyzing data, submitting ideas, or contributing work online.
  • Have Students Create a Multimedia Presentation—Ask students to use various digital media, such as digital video clips, audio clips, and digital photographs to assemble a multimedia presentation. Use your content standards to identify choices that students can make about the project topic. The end product could result in a Web site, PowerPoint® presentation, or other hypermedia product.
  • Use Common Productivity Software for Teaching and Learning—Software that is commonly used to increase productivity in offices and in homes can also be effectively adapted to school use. Common products, such as word processing software, spreadsheets, and presentation-making applications, have a multitude of uses in the classroom. Whether used to organize data collected in a science project, to track revisions in the writing process, or to create a time line of events, these software products can increase student motivation by making tedious tasks easier.
There are numerous other forms of hardware and software that can help engage students in technology-assisted learning. Whichever tools you choose to use in your classroom, you need to remain focused on the purpose of each activity. Use the following tips to guide you in your technology integration efforts, and you will be on your way to success. 

  • Clearly define learning objectives for each lesson.
  • Align lessons with content standards.
  • Prepare learning assessment tools in advance.
  • Share assessment methods with students.
  • Familiarize yourself with the technology before using it in the classroom.
  • Be prepared with a back-up lesson in case technology malfunctions.

Friday, December 6, 2013


Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

Each of our students is different and when designing a lesson or a course, we should take into consideration different intelligences and learning styles as well. If we vary the activities that we use in our lessons, we are sure to provide learners with different learning styles. The learner's profile is changing and all the intelligences work together and efficiently.

We need to consider our learners` learning styles while at the same time we incorporate technology in class. In the article 'LEARNING STYLES AND STRATEGIES' by Richard M. Felder the main stress is made on several learning styles - Active and Reflective learners and Visual and Verbal learners. We have to conduct our classes to cater for the needs of each type.
There are several type classification which help me divide my students into groups and pairs and propose them the tasks  which are effective and worthy. Following them makes teaching and learning a dialogue, teaching becomes rewarding, the activities organized that way stimulate speech and thinking processes.
Hands-on activities will appeal to sensing learners; concept maps may interest intuitive learners. Visual learners will appreciate demonstrations, charts, or movies while verbal learners will value writing projects and discussion. Outlines and ordered presentations will be helpful for sequential learners; overviews and connections to other materials or applications will support global learners.

If you are curious about your own learning preferences, try this 

quick online quiz.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


This week was a very exciting one. Most of us posted our first drafts on our wiki page. Besides, we have learnt the tools introduced by our guest instructor Jeff.
I found some tools fantastic which I wanted to look for on the websites, for example:

1) word search, bingo, crossword puzzles, and board games:    They are great as well as interesting.

2) Lanternfish - flash cards, bingo games, matching, multiple choice exercises to print out:

3) Easy Test Maker (paper tests):
really helpful materials for the teachers.
Regarding ANVIL, I have surfed the web and tried out some activities set by the moderator. Now  I know how such labs can be used in the online course.
I used lots of materials from this site while making my Smartboard presentation. It is  helpful, full of activities, flashcards, and board games. What makes it more interesting is that you can also make your own games using their flashcards. I think this is a must-see and use for teachers. 

6) The POWERPOINT file about CREATING WIKI was like treasure to me. It summed up everything about creating a wiki and what we can do with wiki.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 7

Developing Autonomy in Language Learners

 I never teach my students. I simply provide the situations in which they can learn.”

Main goals:
• Make your students independent of the teacher
• Help the learner to become independent and become his/her own mentor
• provide students with the tools to be able to learn on their own
• make your students part of the decision making about classroom activities
The role of teacher in developing learner autonomy:
• model role
• moderator
• facilitator
How autonomy starts in classroom:
• Give them choice
• Show them ways of learning
• Use the learners’ interest
• Talk about it in classroom

Here are the tips:
• show them how to learn (teach them also study skills), what suits them most and how to get most out of it
• Show learners ideas from your own learning (writing coloured words on papers, putting them on the walls). You can be a good role model for your students.
• suggest websites, radio stations anything that could be interesting and can motivate them to use these things outside classroom
• Films – discuss the films in classroom, watch film with/without subtitles, watch film in L1 and then in L2.
• Give them mLearning tech and tools
• Show them how to do things on the blog which they do at home (toondoo, embedding youtube,
• etc. ), create class blogs, yahoogroups
• Have your students set the objectives and then have them evaluate their progress
• Give them tools like spidergrams, guessing from context, train dictionary use
• Use student-generated content, peer pressure/role modeling
• Use self-access box in your classroom
• Do not let your course book limit you in developing learner autonomy – enrich, adapt, enliven it
• Tell your students about multitasking – learn while doing something else
• Show them the ways they can use course book at home (transcripts, grammar pages…)
• never do anything that you can get students to do
• Make your students think about why you do some activities in classroom, help them to become aware of the purpose
• Show them how they can use target language outside the classroom (where they can find it)
• Students’ diaries/journals/audio diaries
• Give them feedback (more than correction)
• Be careful with homework – think how to present it (rather search/project/task like than exercise or a worksheet to fill in)
• Use readers, classroom library
• Encourage your students to make friends with other people using English for communication
• Record your students…and their progress
• Encourage students to use Google Docs as their online vocabulary notebooks
• Ask them to teach (what they have learned) someone else, family members, friends…
• Persuade your students to use their mobiles in English for a week or so… (switch to English where you can)
Useful web applications:
• Voicethread
• Vocaroo
• wikis
• Tutorials (,
• Moodle
• Audio boo

Further reading/activities on Learners’ Autonomy:
o lecture by Leni Dam on learner autonomy -
o 40 odd websites to learn outside the classroom –
o A lesson by @sabridv where students take over the teaching for a day –
o I have also blogged about the stuff related to learners’ autonomy so if you are interested you can find it here:
o Learner Autonomy – a guide to developing learner responsibility (Agota Scharle and Anita Szabo), Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers
o Holec, one of the main sources of inspiration for LA
o some free books with audio recordings on

Thursday, November 14, 2013


One more week is almost over… What a fruitful week it was! So many materials, so many activities, techniques and so many ideas how to use them in class.
I have tried to classify all the activities proposed in the articles for discussion according to the lesson type: while teaching listening, writing, speaking, reading, grammar and vocabulary training. Some of the activities described in the articles are known to me and I use them very often but it was really curious how they are interpretated. I also described the activity I often use in class, it is so called "traffic lights technique", which is useful for organizing differenciation in a big class.
I have made two interaction presentations: one is aimed at practising Passive Voice and the other is a n interactive support for the lesson "My English Studies", you`ll find an audio file for practising listening skills and some interactive tasks on phrasal verbs. (the links are on our wiki page)
I like such kinds of presentations as they stimulate students` activity, and you see the feedback, more over it contributes to students` motivation.
This week I have decided to try my ideas in class.The project I plan should be a kind of interactive support for my students` course of English as a foreing language. I have made one more page on my blog ( and added there some links for the tasks I made with the help of one more tool -
I proposed my students to do these exersices both in class and at home, and by far they like it very much.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 5
This week`s tasks were very responsible, we had to make a decision and plan our future work.

1.      Project step 4

This week I was thinking how to create individual learning routes for my  students, it should be  a special resource, some kind of an interactive support of the course, where all the materials could be gathered and the students could have a chance to work at their own speed developing their skills and abilities. I think it will be a blog where once a week I`ll publish some information for them to comment (aimed at writing and speaking skills development) and some links for grammar  training, listening and reading practice. Every student will choose the materials he has problems with and work independently, I`ll coordinate their work, comment and try to follow their individual route the most careful way. Hope it will stimulate their learning process and will help them pass exams successfully!

2. PBL, Rubrics and Assessment

PBL (Project-Based Learning) is treated in our methodology as Project technologies and are rather popular in teaching foreign languages. I have used them in my practice for more than 10 years as they are practically-oriented and provide students with different activities both developing their skills and competences and stimulating their motivation. More over, PBL gives us lots of opportunities for class interaction: brainstorming, problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking and so on.

Working with Rubrics  was a completely new technique for me and now I am planning to use them in my work as it seems to me a really effective evaluation  tool. Rubrics also make grading much easier on the teacher and the grading is more efficient.They make the assessments more reliable, relevant, and objective. The list of criteria helps students to concentrate on and later analyze their answer/performance.
Here is the link for my Rubric:
It deals with project presentation criteria.

3. WebQuest

WebQuest as an inquiry-oriented activity that uses resources on the World Wide Web. WebQuests pull together the most effective instructional practices into one integrated student activity. These Web-based projects use World Wide Web sites to help students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills. WebQuests are interesting and motivating to teachers and students. An effective WebQuest develops critical thinking skills and often includes a cooperative learning component.
I have heard a lot about WebQuests but it was my first experience in creating it. My WebQuest deals with Schooling systems of English-speaking countries:

The week is over…

Looking forward to new ideas, tools, activities and positive emotions…