Just a note: This post doesn't aim to make teachers who don’t use any digital tools feel inadequate. I'm far from a digital native or techie teacher myself! My intention is to share some web-based tools but mostly ideas for activities, which I collected from a number of websites, webinars, books and blog posts this week, hoping you’ll find some of them useful.
After my first week teaching online, the second was supposed to be better or at least easier. But it wasn’t.. I only taught 15 hours last week, yet it felt like 150, as I spent a ridiculous amount of time preparing, setting up and teaching my classes. I’ve made three new pals. Their names are Back Pain, Daily Headache and Sore Eyes 😦
Anyway, now that this dreadful week is over, here’s what made my life easier and hope some of it will make yours too.
If you’re snowed under with tools and websites, symbaloo is a great tool to bookmark and organise everything by category/ or by age group etc..
You can use it as a back-up game if you have five minutes to spare with your students. Participants draw and you guess and type what you think they’re drawing.
Tip: If you use it, just share your screen but don’t include the chatbox, as sometimes foul language is used 🙂
Copy and paste any text and remove the items you choose.
Suggestion: Students can create their own cloze texts and test each other.
Upload your listening track or song, cut the section you want and save it to your hard drive. Useful for bottom-up/decoding practice.
Free materials and lesson plans
A lot of websites/ bloggers are sharing lesson ideas or offering teaching resources for free. Here’s a short list:
I found great video lessons and games here. Highly recommended. Just use this code: eltbuzz4free
I downloaded a cool powerpoint (see pic) which I’m going to use as a warmer. You can type scrabble in the search box and you’ll find it.
If you’re based in Spain and teach YLs, this website offers lots of videos and games.
In this post, you’ll find a task-based lesson plan called Feel-good movies for self-isolation. Teacher’s notes, audio file and language focus included. Brilliant and thanks for sharing! It looks like the authors are going to be sharing more task-based lessons soon.
Seven ideas for student presentations. I’ m definitely going to use all of them.
Free access until june. Lots of lesson plans for all levels. Do take advantage. I liked the stories in the YL section.
A platform where teachers connect and share lesson plans. Lots of great stuff here.
Games for YLs
As I wrote in Teaching Online-week one, I’d appreciate any ideas on teaching online YL classes, as I’m still struggling. Here’s what I found this week:
- lip reading: say something with your mic turned off. It can be a word or a phrase. Students focus on mouth movement to get it.
- Do pictionary on your “whiteboard”. They have to guess the word/situation. Students can draw next.
- Use quizlet – gravity function. Correct answers save your planet from asteroids! My kids got seriously excited.
- Three ideas from the Active Language Teacher training webinar
1)Look around you and find something….e.g. something yellow. Students run and bring something yellow. Then, ask follow up questions to get students to describe it. Next, they can set the next challenge. Find something tiny, etc.
Suggestion: An adaptation with older learners could be take a picture of instead of find something.
2) hands up /raise your thumbs/ stand up/ touch your head if you..
You can start the lesson with this warmer while recycling previously taught language. Students can use the raise you hands function or raise their thumbs, touch their heads etc. Ideal for the start of the lesson as it’s not very demanding.
hands up if you’ve ever travelled abroad
hands up if you did the laundry today
touch your head if you’re wearing shoes
3) High five the camera! It might sound silly but with young learners it can make a difference. As the webinar hosts said, some nationalities, e.g. Spanish students are very affectionate and they miss the whole teacher-student connection.
Ideas from Shaun Wilden’s Mobile learning
I’ve recently read this book and some ideas are absolutely great and can be adapted to online teaching contexts.
- The new learn-at-home setting allows for more independence and privacy, especially if students are alone in their own room. You can ask your students to record themselves when they’re speaking about a topic or practising the individual long turn for exams. Muting the other students’ mics will help. Then, assign a homework task: listen to your recording and think of two ways you can improve it.
- Ask them to make a how–to video, e,g, how to create a blog, or how to cook a specific dish, a tutorial for an app. You can use flipgrid to share and save these videos.
- Collaborative stories. Give students an opening phase for a story and then ask them to continue writing it, using only five words at a time. Suggestion: It can be a one-off warmer or you can save it in a google doc and use it for 5′ in every class. You might end up with a novel at the end of the course!
Grammar teaching idea
This is how I taught my teenagers language for advice.
- I asked them to brainstorm social networking tips. The unit also focused on social networking so there was a clear link.
- I asked them to copy their sentences and paste them in the google doc, (see what you say in the photo).
- I showed them my sentences and we discussed all our ideas.
- Language focus. Should, ought to, had better. MFP.
- I asked them to change their sentences one at a time and use the target language. See example as they were typing in real time (what you could say).
- I sent the audio tracks and the task to my advanced students and they did the listening for homework. In class, I did some micro-listening tasks or dictations and we focused on sound changes in connected speech.
- If you don’t have access to audio tracks for listening classes, Shaun Sweeney runs a brilliant Facebook page TD Lab Staffroom. There is a shared google drive where he saves audio responses to different topics- transcripts included. Lots and lots to get you by for months.
- Pair dictation. Send your learners a text/ a set of sentences . Each student gets a different text; they have to read it and their partner has to write it down. Lovely way to practise listening, asking for clarification etc.
Need more inspiration? Here are some useful posts :
Wilden, S. (2017). Mobile Learning. Oxford. Oxford University Press