sabato 28 marzo 2015

The power of mobile apps - No3 FaceGoo Lite (a lesson plan)

I got the idea for this lesson from a TV game show I used to watch a couple of years ago. It was successful with my students because it made a thorny grammatical issue seem funnier and easier.

Learners: Teenagers - Adults
Level: Intermediate
Time: 90 minutes

1) Show the learners the following picture
Speculate about who he might is by using modal verbs of speculation e.g. it might be, it can't be, it must be, etc.

2) I reckon you and your students cannot guess who he is, that's why you need to listen to this man talking about himself.
[I used a text to speech online software to create the tape, click on the link to download it]

By now you know who he is, don't you? Yes, it's Brad Pitt.

3) Hand in the handout above and ask the learners to answer the following questions

4) Tell the learners to underline the verbs in the speech bubbles meanwhile draw on the board a two-column chart.
Ask them in which tenses they are. The answer is: PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE & PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS.

4) Ask students to report the sentences in the right column and then together try to understand why you use whether present perfect simple or past simple.
In my case, I used a smart board and this was the result:

5) It's time to check if your learners have understood the difference.
According to the number of the students you can decide if they will work individually, in pairs or in groups of 3 or 4. In my case they worked in groups of 3.
Each group has a biography of a famous living person but there are 10 missing verbs. They need to fill in the gaps with the right verbs conjugated in the right tenses. Finally, they need to guess who the celeb is.

6) Monitor the learners while they are working and give them tips (e.g. "Do you know when the action happened?") or help them with the vocabulary.

7) Now it's learners' turn! (In class or as homework)
a) Download 1picture of a famous living person.
b) Write a short biography (80-100 words) about him/her using present perfect simple and past simple  (You can use to get some information.)

c) Edit the picture with the mobile app FaceGoo Lite (Free Android/iOS)

d) Record your voice while while you give hints about the mysterious famous person. Remember to use the 3rd person singular. 
e) Students listen to each other's biographies and try to guess who the mysterious celebs are.

I hope you and your students will enjoy this lesson. If you try it out please let me know in the comments ;-)

Larissa and Inspector Z - A challenge

In the previous posts you could read about the mysterious kidnapping of James, you know who kidnapped him and why, but how is the story going to end?

Write the end of the story
1) Use at least 6 phrasal verbs. If the verb is the same even better. ;-)
2) The piece of writing must be about 100-150 words long.
3) It must contain dialogues.
4) Send it to by 18th April 2015.
5) Teachers and students can take part to the challenge working as a class.

The stories will be posted on my FB page and the one with the highest number of likes will be made into comic strips. 

Good luck!

venerdì 6 marzo 2015

Larissa and Inspector Z - Phrasal verbs with fun (part 3) COME

Ready for a new episode?
You will find the previous ones here

2) GET

Ask your students to sum up the story so far in pairs.
Give them a list of the phrasal verbs which appeared in the previous episodes. They check the phrasal verbs off when they use them so they can realize how many they remember.

1) What did James find?
2) What did he do?
3) What were Larissa and Inspector Z going to do?


Ask your students to come up with ideas about rescuing someone in pairs or in small groups.

Next week a new episode

giovedì 26 febbraio 2015

Larissa and Inspector Z - Phrasal verbs with fun (part 2)

Last week I created the first episode of the comics series "Larissa and Inspector Z" My students and my followers enjoyed it so much that I decided to continue writing it.

This week the focus in on some phrasal verbs with GET.

How can you use it in class:

 Give your students a copy of this comic strips and ask your students the following questions:
- Where was James?
- Who kidnapped him? Why?
- What did James feel like?


Ask your students what will happen next.
*They can also write their ideas on a board on  so that next week will be able to check who was the nearest to the exact version.

Students create flashcards with the meaning of the new phrasal verbs learnt using (free mobile app, too).

Next week a new episode!

giovedì 19 febbraio 2015

Larissa and Inspector Z - Phrasal verbs with fun

In order to teach my upper-intermediate students some phrasal verbs useful for their Cambridge FCE exam I decided to create a comic series. Larissa and Inspector Z is a comic series which is useful for teaching and learning phrasal verbs in context with fun. I got inspired by the amazing Sylvia Guinan who wrote a post about using storytelling for teaching exam classes.
How can you use it in class:
1) Give your students a copy of this comic strips and ask your students to answer the following questions:
- Why did Larissa visit Inspector Z?
- What happened to James?
- What did Inspector Z find out?

2) In pairs students will try to work out the meaning of the six phrasal verbs. 
Get feedback from students. Write the phrasal verbs on the board with their definition/meaning so that everyone can see them.

3) Students predict what will happen next.

4)Homework: Students write sentences using the TL.

Next week a new episode!

domenica 1 febbraio 2015

The power of free mobile apps - No 2 ThingLink

Here I am with the second post of the series "The power of free mobile apps".

Today I'd like to share with you some activities your students can do by using ThingLink (available on Web, Apple Store and Google Play).

What is ThingLink?

 Choose or take a picture with your phone’s camera and add interactive tags on your image such as YouTube videos, videos from your phone’s camera, twitter handles and text.
You can share your pictures with friends on Facebook, Twitter and Email.
If you sign up on the website as a teacher you can create a class and get email and password for your students to use.

Register your students

You can manage your groups
Grammar - Free practice - beginners/elementary
If you are teaching present continuous students can practise the TL by describing the actions of the people in a picture. 
What I did: My adults students chose a painting they liked and they described it.
See an example here The Luncheon of the Boating Party

Literature -  Biography of a writer (any level)
[Remember you can add videos and links ;-) ]

CAMBRIDGE PET/PET for SCHOOLS - Speaking part 3
During this part the examiner gives you a colour photograph and you have to talk about it for about a minute.
Learners are often reluctant to speak in class especially shy students in large classes. By using ThingLink the learners can record their voice while describing the picture at home. 
What I have been doing: At the end of each class I ask my students to take a picture about the topic we have learnt in that session (e.g. sport, entertainment, the natural world, etc.) and describe it. In this way not only will they pratise their speaking skills for the exam but they will also revise the TL. 
[Remember that your video recording can be up to 30 seconds long so you must split your description in two parts]

If you have more ideas and activities to share I would love to post them here!

lunedì 12 gennaio 2015

The power of free mobile apps - No 1 PicCollage

Dear followers,

Happy New Year! 

I am so glad to be back! I'd like to start this new year with a new series of posts. If you have been following my blog for a while you will certainly know I love teaching by using both tech and daily life objects, that's why I am going to share with you my classroom experiences and ideas about a free mobile apps every month. 

Free mobile app No 1

Description from Itunes

"PicCollage is THE coolest collage-maker in town! Join 80 million people who use PicCollage to combine photos, Youtube videos, funky fonts, sassy stickers and cute cutouts to create the prettiest collages you'll ever see on a mobile device. We have stickers from Maroon 5, Beats Music, Universal Pictures, and LA-based independent designer, Sara M. Lyons. Check out our Contests section and create a visual response instead of just a plain text response. Share with your friends and followers on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and iMessage. You can also PRINT your collages into greeting cards or postcards to send to your loved ones anywhere in the world!"
Activity 1
Warm-up/Ice-breaker activity - level beginner
Ask learners to take pictures of the things around the classroom or the school they already know and then label them.

Activity 2 
Free practice (homework) - level elementary
After teaching countable & uncountable food nouns I asked my learners to take pictures of food items they had in their house. I asked them to create two different collages: one for countable nouns and the other for uncountable nouns.
This activity gave me the chance to check whether my learners had really understood the difference between countable & uncountable nouns since in their native language the distinction is not the same.
In this example one of my learners took pictures of countable nouns but as you can see there are three items which have uncountable nouns. 
How to give my learner effective feedback?
I shared this picture with all the other students without saying who had taken it. I told them that the collage was about countable nouns but there were three odd ones and they had 3 minutes to find them out. They worked in pairs and then we had collective feedback.

Activity 3 
Exam-oriented activity - Cambridge First for Schools (B2 level) Speaking part 2
From the Cambridge website - "The examiner gives you two photographs and asks you to talk about them. You have to speak for 1 minute without interruption and the interlocutor then asks the other candidate to comment on your photographs for about 30 seconds. The other candidate receives a different set of photographs and you have to listen and comment when they have finished speaking. The question you have to answer about your photographs is written at the top of the page to remind you what you should talk about."

As homework I asked my learners to take two pictures of people who were learning and put them together with PicCollage. When they came to the lesson I printed the pictures out and they swop the photos they had taken and they answered the following question:

What are the advantages of learning in these different ways?

If you have other ideas I will be pleased to add them here!