Pre-Intermediate

Pre-Intermediate class syllabus and links

Youtube

Los Mejores Videos en Youtube para aprender ingles

Teaching Young Learners

Posts on the ins and outs of Teaching Young Learners

Showing posts with label English language. Show all posts
Showing posts with label English language. Show all posts

Sunday, December 16, 2012

English Language Exchange - Intercambios

Being able to go to an English speaking country to practice your language skills is the best option for your students hands down.  However, that may not always be possible.  The next best thing is to do a language exchange.  I did a language exchange when I was trying to improve my Spanish skills and it was excellent. I met my exchange partner for an hour. We alternated between Spanish and English between 10 to 15. We spoke about current events, our social life and more. 

There are several websites that offer language exchanges, but this one I found does a fine job and it is very easy to use.  mylanguageexchange.com is an excellent site that allows you to search for pen pals all over the world.  You can narrow down your search by selecting the language, the country and the way you want to interact with your pen pal.  You can choose from people who are seeking to text chat to those who can do voice chat through Skype or other services.  You may also filter by age, gender and last log-in date (this way you are sure to get only active links).   Also you can choose to do an exchange as a classroom. This would be great if you want to do the exchange for your whole class.   If you are interested in doing a live exchange you are able to filter for the city you live in.


If you are not ready to create an account you can enter their live chat as a guest and wait for a member to contact you. I tried it and got contacted within a few minutes by someone from Hungary it was quite interesting. The site has gotten good reviews from Yahoo Magazine, PC World and the Wallstreet Journal.  It also has some free features and some premium features for a fee.

Other Language Exchange Programs
Verbling
Language For Exchange
The Mixxer
Busuu





Sunday, October 7, 2012

Using a Blog vs. a Wiki for English Class



This week I start my English classes for the Fall 2012.  I have been pondering all summer if I will use a Wiki or a Blog to enhance my communication with my students and their learning.  Since I have not been able to make up my mind as to which one will serve my purposes better, I am going to try out both. I will be using a wiki for my Pre-Intermediate class and a blog for my High Intermediate class.

So far I have found that a Wiki is a great way to upload resources for students to use which may or not be a drawback of a blog.  However, with a blog it seems that you can organize information into posts much better.  A wiki offers the benefit of having a discussion forum where students can discuss ideas among themselves, whereas a blog might only give them the opportunity to comment and get feedback from me.


Since I still have many questions I will not get a clear answer until I try. I am starting on this new adventure hoping to get some great insight into the best way of helping my students learn English using these new technologies.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Raz Kids Online Reading


I've been using Raz Kids with my students for a few years now with nothing but positive results.  I have now started using it with my adult ESL students with great results also.  At first I was not sure if the adults would like the stories because they are targeted to children, but up to now none of them seem to mind.  They love the fact that they can read at their level.  The other feature of Raz Kids that my ELL students love is being able to listen to the stories while they read them.  Since listening skills are what most of my students have difficulty with Raz Kids gives them excellent practice on this.  It is also an excellent way of practicing the correct pronunciation of words.
Words are highlighted in red as they are read out loud.
COMPREHENSION
The comprehension part of Raz Kids is also a great feature, because it makes students responsible for what they are reading.  It tests vocabulary, recall, inference, details and more.  Students have to get 100% on the quizzes in order to move up to the next reading level.  The non-fiction comprehension tests are pretty challenging.

LEVELED BOOKS
The differentiated reading instruction of Raz Kids animated leveled books is invaluable.  The levels available start from AA through Z level.  AA level is for beginning readers and the Z level is for fluent readers with higher comprehension skills (5th grade native English speakers)  Each level has about ten books both fiction and non-fiction.  Students can: Listen to books for modeled fluency.  Read books with pronunciation and vocabulary support.  Words that may be higher than the students level are clickable and Raz Kids can either read the word out loud or in higher levels give them a definition of the word.

RECORD STUDENTS
Students can also record their reading and the teacher can listen to the recordings to evaluate the reading.  You can also use this as a measurement of their reading or pronunciation improvement.

Try it out and let me know how it goes with your students.

Starfall.com




Starfall is a great online free software that allows kids to learn to read in English with phonics in a fun way.  It has great graphics and activities. The animations and sounds are wonderful.  One of the features is the English alphabet where students can learn both the name of the letter and it's sound as well as pictures of words that have that sound in them and even simple games to test what they have learned.


As children learn the different letters they can progress through learning English words with other phonics sounds. For children that are emergent English readers Starfall has simple stories that children can read on their own and for words they can't read or pronounce it gives them the opportunity to click and have the words read to them. Starfall has different sections which children can progress through or can start on depending on their English level. The more advanced section has plays, nonfiction reading, comics and more.  The best thing about Starfall is that children enjoy it and if they are having fun they are learning.


My daughter began to use Starfall when she was two when the only language she knew was Spanish.  Starfall helped her develop her English vocabulary.  By the time she was 6 years old she was reading at 4th grade level (in part thanks to Starfall.)  She loved listening to the phonics songs and listening to the phonics books.  She still enjoys going to Starfall for its poems and activities. 

I used Starfall with my 1st grader English Learners who where having a difficulty with reading and they love it.  It gave them a chance to learn new English words and practice reading the words they new how to read while supporting them with those they didn't know.  They also loved the animations and the games.