Pre-Intermediate class syllabus and links


Los Mejores Videos en Youtube para aprender ingles

Teaching Young Learners

Posts on the ins and outs of Teaching Young Learners

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reporting Verbs in English

Reporting Verbs that are followed by that:

Wordle: Reporting Verbs2


Direct Speech: "The report needs to be edited"
Reported Speech:  He said the report needed to be edited.
Reporting Verbs: He found that the report needed editing.

Direct Speech: "I deserve a second chance."
Reported Speech: He said he deserved a second chance.
Reporting Verbs:He insisted that he deserved a second chance.

Direct Speech: "It's my fault the letter was late."
Reported Speech: She said it was her fault the letter was late.
Reporting Verbs:She acknowledged that it was her fault the letter was late.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Speaking Phrases Unit 7

Write a sentence using your assigned phrase.

We should probably...
Don't you think we ought to...
Let's just...
It seems to me...
Look at it this way...
If we...then...
If we were...

Look at it this way, I´m sure you would like to know the truth about what happened.

It seems to me easier to go to work than stay at home.

Don't you think we ought to buy tickets for the king´s cup final?

English Vocabulary Unit 7

Quizlet Games

behind bars
in prison
an essential part, basic
get away with
not be caught or punished when you have done something wrong
against the law
put in jail
lawful, rightful; reasonable;, justifiable
a crime less serious than a felony
make someone suffer because they have done something wrong or broken the law
a thief who steals from the pockets or purses of others in public places
gray area
an intermediate area; unclear
red alert
the most urgent warning to be ready for an emergency
as white as a sheet
looking pale, because of illness, strong emotion
on the black market
sold in a way that is not legal
the black sheep of the family
very different from others, less respected
see red
become very angry
take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom

(n.) a person who takes part in a crime

take into custody

capture as if by hunting, snaring, or trapping

file a formal charge against

conduct an investigation
to direct or take part in the operation or management of an observation or study by close examination and systematic inquiry

disorderly conduct
disturbing public peace

hold up
rob at gunpoint or by means of some other threat

take away to an undisclosed location against their will and usually in order to extract a ransom

people who steal someone away for ransome

law enforcement officials

plan and direct (a complex undertaking)

someone who plays practical jokes on others

take something away by force or without the consent of the owner

fill with terror

someone who deliberately stirs up trouble

Incorporate Writing and Vocabulary into Class Wiki

Creating the wiki for my classroom was easy, the harder part was figuring out how to incorporate it into my class.  The first way I used it was to post lesson vocabulary, grammar explanations and resources.  Then I began having students post their writing.  But it was still not achieving what I wanted which was to have students interact more with the wiki in order to learn more.

One thing that I did was to have students critique each other's work.  I assigned each student a partner and they had to give each other feedback.  I set the rule that they needed to give three comments two compliments and one revision.  The reason to do this is that you don't want students to go overboard on their critiquing and you want it to be a positive experience for the ones receiving the critiques.

At first I had set up a table with students names on it in one column and on the other column the student would enter their writing.  When students critiqued each other they would enter it underneath the student's writing in a different color. It was pretty rudimentary and I was not very happy with it.

The changes I made to this system have made it much easier and more interactive.  First I entered the description of the assignment on a page with the name and date of the assignment.  Then I entered a discussion post giving them instructions how to enter their writing.  Then I checked to Monitor Topic so that I would get emails when the students entered their writing.  It also has a Lock Topic button which is useful if you want to set a deadline for students to enter their work.  

The other thing I implemented was to have them interact more with the vocabulary we we're learning.  I assigned each student three vocabulary words.  On the Unit vocabulary page I posted a discussion where students had to enter a sentence using each of their words.  This made students review the vocabulary word definitions that I had posted in the wiki, instead of waiting until before the test to review the vocabulary.  In class students shared their sentences and we corrected some of them if they need it.  

Researches say that it takes 7 times for a student to interact with a word in order to learn it and 21 times in order to start using it.  If students only see a word when we first learn it and then when they have to review for the test that is only two times, that doesn't do much to increase their vocabulary.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Aprendiendo Ingles con Canciones

En estos videos del autor Jason R. Levine, con nombre artistico de Fluency MC usan el rap para mejorar el ingles.  Atraves de canciones el estudiante puede desarrollar sus destresas de gramatica, vocabulary, listening y pronunciacion de una manera divertida. Por ejemplo tiene uno que muestra la diferencia entre "make or do." Lo bueno es que tiene subtitulos de colores, poniendo enfasis en las palabras que desea subrayar. Suelen ser video de 3 a 5 minutos.

Con musica rapera como la de los "Beastie Boys" va rapeando rimas que explican muy bien conceptos gramaticos de una forma que entretiene al mismo tiempo que enseña.  Tambien tiene videos que explican varios modimos importantes ilustrados con fotos. Estos videos tambien intentan que el estudiante se divierta al tiempo que mejora su pronunciacion cantando estas canciones.
Las canciones son pegajosas y cuando las vas escuchando se te va grabando la letra y los conceptos.

Aqui os dejo algunos ejemplos de sus videos.

Los mejores sitios en Youtube para aprender ingles

English Lessons 4U - la profesora tiene un sentido del humor medio raro, pero sus clases son muy claras y especificas.

English with Jennifer - muy buena profesora. Da muy buenos ejemplos y intenta ilustrarlos lo mejor que se puede en un video.  Aqui os dejo un ejemplo sobre gerundios e infinitivos.

Selva Ingles - muy buen sitio si estas empezando con el ingles pues la profesora hace los videos en español.  Tambien tiene videos para estudiantes mas avanzados.  La chica es muy simpatica y los videos estan muy bien hechos.  Las clases son muy amenas.

Rebecca ESL - un buen sitio si tu ingles es un nivel intermedio, pero aun tienes problemas con el listening, porque los videos son en ingles pero tienen subtitulos.  Me gusta tambien porque usa una pizarra y organiza muy bien las lecciones.

Minoo Anglo Link - estos videos me gustan porque ademas de que la profesora habla bastante despacio, sus lecciones estan bien organizadas y usa pantallas de Powerpoint para ilustrar la leccion.

Seguire apuntando otros sitios en Youtube que te ayudaran a practicar tu ingles al la vez que vas resolviendo dudas que tengas.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Increase Your English Students Reading Confidence

Increase their reading confidence as well as their English skills.

There is no greater motivator than success.

As part of my reading project I am exploring the use of leveled readers in the acquirement of English.  I have been using them since the start of this academic year.  At first I was unsure how it was going to be received by my students, especially my adult classes. But I spoke to them about the research that I've been doing and how it says that reading can increase their vocabulary and their comprehension.  They reluctantly got on board, but now they are totally enjoying it.  One of the main comments is "I feel great to that I can understand."

As a primary teacher in California I saw every year the progress my students made when they were reading books at their level.  Progressively we increased their level as they got more comfortable with each level and by the end of the year even the students that had come in below grade level had reached grade level or were close to it.

This inspired me to try this in my English language classes. I am very proud to say that my students are doing very well.  One of the important things in this project is to have them choose their own books.  I taught them how to choose the right level for them. They read a page from a book and keep track of how many words they found difficult.  If in the first page they find more than five words that they don't understand and could not decipher the meaning from the context then that book is to hard for them.

As part of the project I have them read in class for 5 minutes, just enough to get them into their book. Then for about 10 minutes in a group of 4 they discuss what they have read in their books so far.  This has a two-fold purpose: one they lead busy lives and sometimes they don't get enough time outside of class to read, but if I allow them to read in class and then discuss it with their peers, they get motivated to make the time to continue reading outside of class.  The other purpose it to get them speaking about something that they are enjoying. An added bonus is that it helps them increase the comprehension of their book.

Once they have completed the book I give them a writing assignment.  I try to have them do creative reports, such as writing a poem about their book or a letter to one of the main characters.  They like it because it is not the typical a summary of the book.  They also have to do a presentation of their book to their peers.  In a homogeneous group of 4, no more than 5 students, they get a chance to share their book.  I come up with different questions for them to answer each time, to keep them engaged.  I go around listening to their presentations and helping them out if they need it.

So far it has been very gratifying to see them respectfully listening to each other, asking to read the book next and sharing details about their book.  I haven't had to ask anyone to move up a level, they have been monitoring their progress and moving up as they feel more comfortable. Some have moved up two levels since we started.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Set Up a Class Wiki

To set up your class Wiki you need to choose what platform you will use.  There are several free ones.

WikiMatrix is a great online matrix that lets you compare all the wikis available depending on what your needs are. Or you can click here for a comparison of the different wiki providers.

I used because when I started it was the one I knew more about. To start I signed up at this link Teachers.  Students and teachers can sign-up for free and get a free upgrade where you can do more customization.  The sign-up is quick and easy. You need to enter a username, password, email address, choose a Wiki Name and the Industry you work in.  You will then be asked to certify that the wiki will be used for K-12 or or higher education. You can either choose a Basic Wiki or an Editable Website.  I chose the Basic one because it seemed easier.

Once you have done this it will create your wiki.  The nice thing about wikispaces is that it will then take you through an interactive tour to get you started.  You can edit your first page, customize your logo, change the look and feel of the wiki and more, all while the tour is guiding you step-by-step.  You can exit out of the guide tour at anytime by clicking on the exit button.

One of the first things I did on my wiki was to change the navigation.  To do this just click on edit navigation link on the menu.  You will be taken to an editable page where you can enter all the links you would like to have in your menu.  You will see a widget that says navigation, I got rid of it, because I wanted mine to look more like a regular website menu.  Once you enter your list, you need to select each entry and link it.  This creates a page for that entry.  For example if I have a menu item called Resources, I select it, then click on the  link button.  This will open a window where you should choose Page or File.  Click on the Add Link button and there you are you have your first page.  Continue like this with the rest of the pages you want to create.  Once you save the Navigation page, you can click on the links you created.  If you click on the Resources link you created it will let you know that there is no content yet in that page just click on the Edit button and it will take you to the page and you can get started working on your page.

To further set-up your wiki you can click on the Help button. It will guide you through adding a file, inviting others to your wiki, setting permissions and more. You can also find more help for setting up your wiki at the Wikispaces blog.

Other Resources:
List of Best Wiki Engines
Wiki Markup tips

If you want to get more guidance on setting up a wiki in wikispaces here is a very thorough video.

Friday, February 15, 2013

3 Sitios que necesitas para aprender ingles

Hay muchos recursos en internet para aprender inglés algunos gratis otros que cobran. Algunos valen la pena y otros no. Estos tres me gustan mucho por diferentes razones.

Spanish Dict
Este sitio está muy bien si apenas estas comenzando a aprender inglés. Me encanta porque tiene muchas opciones la que más me gusto es la de Aprender inglés con videos. También me gusta que te tienes que inscribir, usualmente esto no es algo positivo, pero aquí sí, y es súper fácil y rápido. La razón que te piden que te inscribas es para llevar un seguimiento de tu progreso. Te van dando puntos por cada lección que completas. En una buena manera de motivarte y saber cuáles niveles has hecho ya. Cada nivel tiene 15 lecciones y cada curso tiene actividades para hablar, escribir, flashcards y video. Una profesora te guía por el nuevo vocabulario, y después puedes practicarlo con flashcards, escribiendo y hablando. La parte de hablar es usando un micrófono en el que grabas tu voz y compara tu respuesta con un ejemplo de la respuesta correcta (en algunas no funciona el ejemplo). 
Este sitio también me gusta porque está bien organizado y tiene más niveles. Los niveles van de básico a avanzado. También tiene una sección con Business English. Tiene una área de recursos la que más me agrado a mi es la de las letras de canciones en inglés. Son videos de Youtube con subtítulos de las letras de la canción, catalogados por el nombre del cantante. En la sección de Listening tiene videos de varios temas importantes como los números, como construir preguntas y más. Y también tiene una sección de Phrasal verbs donde te da una o dos significados de la palabra con sonido para que practiques la pronunciación y unos ejemplos para cada significado. Además tiene una sección de ejercicios para practicar bastante bien. Si estas entre niveles te da la opción de hacer el curso por libre y escoger que tema necesitas repasar. Algo interesante es la habilidad de generar tablas de Conjugación. Tú pones el verbo en ingles y escoges todas las conjugaciones o la que deseas y te lo conjuga. Lo bueno es que el resultado te da la opción de sonido para que practiques la pronunciación. Y lo mas bueno de todo es que puedes conjugar frases tu introduces la frase en ingles en el presente simple y la conjugas ya sea en todas las conjugaciones en una particular que necesites.

El blog para aprender ingles 
Este blog es fantástico para aprender o resolver dudas que tengas en ingles. Si tienes dudas de gramática y las explicaciones en ingles aun no las entiendes este es el lugar para ti. Lo que han hecho es organizar varios recursos de internet para aprender inglés en este blog. Me gusta porque tiene videos que te explican muy bien la pronunciación y lo hacen todo hablando español dándote comparaciones a las palabras en español para ayudarte con tu pronunciación.

Si, ya tienes un nivel más avanzado tiene un curso gratuito para sacar exámenes para acreditar tu nivel de inglés como el PET, First Certificate y otros. Ademas tiene un sinfín de artículos todos sobre el aprendizaje de ingles organizados en orden alfabética para resolver tus dudas. Temas “como se usa la coma en ingles,” y videos que resuelven dudas como “Como mejorar mi listening” y muchos más. Tiene también una excelente sección de recursos para aprender inglés en internet.

Wordpress Better Option for Blog Privacy

Since privacy is important to my English learning students I decided to look into Wordpress.  The one thing that had led me away from Wordpress in the past was that you couldn't add your own template, unless you got a paid membership which is not cheap.  If you are using it as a business blog, it would be worth it, but for your class, it's not.  Since the free templates available in WP will do for this particular blog I decided to give it a try.

I set up a new account with WP and wrote my first Welcome post, just to have something.  I logged myself out and then tried to go view the blog and I was not able to see it.  I got a message from WP that said the blog was private and I needed to be invited to the blog in order to see it.  Then  I added a user.  There are different types of users and each one has it's own capabilities.  The ones I was initially interested in were author and contributor.  An author can write a post and publish it, but a contributor is able to write a post and submit it, but not publish, which would protect me from a student writing rampantly or inappropriate things and publishing them. This was what I was looking for.

Testing Privacy
To test it I invited one of my users from one of the Gmail accounts I don't really use anymore. I received the invitation and when I clicked on it it told me that I needed to sign in with my WP account.  Oops I didn't have one.  I clicked on the Register link and it gave me a screen to enter a User and some basic info, then on the right hand side I saw that it asked if you only wanted an WP, but not a blog to click, so I did.  This took me to a screen where the only thing I had to do was create my user name, a password and Voila! I had a WP account.  I went back to my email clicked on the invitation link to Accept.  I was taken to a Dashboard screen where I saw loads of information.  A bit overwhelming, I might say, for many students.  But I saw that they listed 2 posts so I clicked and saw the title for my original post.  I went over it and saw that my only option was to view. I could not edit or delete or anything else as a contributor.  If I clicked on Posts link in the left hand side menu I could get a pull down menu that gave me the option to create a new post.

So if some of your students are brave and tech savvy you can have them write their assignments and submit them to you.  If they are not, I have decided to have them write them in Word, email and send them to me and I will post them for them, because the bottom line is the class is to learn English and the blog is just an addend to support them, not to give them more work.

Bloggger for English Class Not Really Private

Well after having spent time trying to figure out how to make my English class Blog on Blogger private I came to find out that it's not really private.  In the settings, as I wrote on Setting up a Blog... you can make the selection so that only readers you enter are able to read your blog.  Well, in reality in Blogger it is not really accurate.  The truth is, is that people who happen to land on your blog will be able to see it, read it, but they won't be able to make comments.  Yes it is important that they can't leave comments if they are just a passerby, but why even let them see it and navigate the blog if it is supposed to be private.

See Wordpress a Better Option for Blog Privacy

Restricting your Blog’s readers isn’t as secure as you thought

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Go For Your Dreams

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Opportunities for Blended Learning

I like this infographic because the idea of doing a Blog and Wiki came from trying to explore blended learning. I think there are a lot of possibilities for blended learning. Education is changing. People's living situations are not what they used to be. People are looking for educational opportunities outside of their neighborhood, town, country and blended learning offers options that were not available before. But as this infografic states it has to be planned out. Like anything in education it has to be about the learning.

I have many university students and even some of my adult students who have a difficult time getting to the classroom, but who are very interested in the class for these cases I have been pondering about blended learning.

Teachers Are Using Blogs and Wikis

35% Have students and/or instructor-run blogs  22% Are involved in creating or maintaining Wikis.

From trying out both,so far, I have gotten a lot more out of the blog than the wiki. It makes me wonder why more Teachers are using blogs than wikis? What has your experience been with Blogs or with Wikis?  

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Work Vocabulary

Exercises and Games

catch on
(v.) become popular; understand
come up with
(v.) to think of; to produce.
an idea / a plan / a suggestion etc.

cut back on
(v.) reduce
figure out
(v.) find the solution to (a problem or question) or understand the meaning of

find out
(v.) get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally
get ahead
(v.) succeed
give up
(v.) stop maintaining or insisting on
go under
(v.) go bankrupt or out of business
hand in
(v.) submit work or school work
lay off
(v.) dismiss, usually for economic reasons
pass over
(v.) bypass (as for a promotion)
set up
(v.) make ready or suitable or equip in advance for a particular purpose or for some use, event, etc
stick with
(v.) not change something / stay near someone / not be forgotten / continue with something difficult or unpleasant
take off
(v.) leave; remove clothes
get away
escape potentially unpleasant consequences
get back to
respond to a contact / respond when you know the answer / start doing something again after an interruption
get by
come to terms or deal successfully with
get into
become involved or interested / become involved in something bad or criminal / be accepted or admitted / become or be accepted as a member / start a habit or way of acting or behaving / be small enough to wear something / criticise
goof off
waste time doing nothing important
got behind
to lag or linger behind
opportunity in disguise
an opportunity that is not readily seen as so
come around
change one's position or opinion
have butterflies in stomach
to be nervous
so to speak
in a manner of speaking

Mysteries Vocabulary

Practice and Games

record in detail
information and facts that help prove something
a single distinct event
someone who sees an event and reports what happened
an expert whose views are taken as definitive

out of the ordinary
adj. unusual or striking.

can't tell apart
can't distinguish
run into
meet by chance
land and the buildings that are on it
the general location where something is
outlying areas (as of a city or town)
left behind or in a helpless situation
looked for
disappear suddenly

take into one's family
twist of fate
unplanned events that has a big impact on the future
incapable of being explained or accounted for
instinctive knowing (without the use of rational processes)
a failure to function normally
observe with care or pay close attention to
Earlier; happening before
regularly, frequently, typically
Form a theory or conjecture about a subject without firm evidence.
an act that sets in motion some course of events