Category Archives: Activities

Use Technology for an ESL Scavenger Hunt

Tourists using navigation tools to explore the city. Man with two women friends exploring the city with travel accessories.
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At some point in your classroom, you’ve probably created a scavenger hunt for your students. You know, the type where you hide things and provide questions, clues, or riddles to find the hidden items. These scavenger hunts have traditionally been used as a way to get students familiar with their surroundings or as vocabulary association exercises. But add the wonders of technology and the increase of ownership of mobile devices by students, and you can take scavenger hunting to a whole new level. Continue reading

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Gamification in Education: Hype or Useful Teacher Tool?

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This year at the TESL ON conference, Deborah Healey, TESOL International Association, will be one of our Keynote Speakers. The following blog post was written by Deborah. Here she gives you a taste of what she will be sharing at the conference.

Gamification in Education: Hype or Useful Teacher Tool? This is a question that I’ve been asking for the past few years, as I’ve tried gamifying some of my classes. Most teachers (myself included) have long used games in the English language classroom and in teacher training to encourage motivation and add a fun factor to learning. Some teachers have been able to use game-based learning, where a game sets the context for learning. Continue reading

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Yes, you can! Making Virtual Tours

image source: John Allan

Last year in the post, Change the Routine Without Disrupting the Class – Take A Virtual Field Trip, I shared suggestions about taking students on virtual field trips. Since then I have been exploring different virtual spaces with students and my peers.  It has been fun and rewarding.  A few topics that we explored included: Continue reading

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Teach Writing with a Web Design Project

image source: John Allan

One of my courses specifies that students create a presentation on an educational resource and present it to their peers.  The following is a model I’d like to share with you as a potential means of using a common theme with a final presentation as a way of promoting inquiry, research, collaboration, communication, planning, and writing within one term of instruction. The project comprises eight separate activities.  Each activity involves the students practicing language and social skills in a variety of ways.  These steps are detailed below in the section, Project Process. Continue reading

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‘Fake News’! Helping Students Navigate the Web

There is a lot of misinformation out there. How do you help your learners find the facts?

The idea for this lesson started when Ontario introduced the new Sex Education Curriculum in 2015. My students wanted to talk about it and everyone had a different idea about what was in this curriculum. I was shocked to find out that their information had come mostly from Facebook. Continue reading

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Improvisation to Enhance Fluency

Introduction

A few years ago, I had the great opportunity to participate in a series of workshops that promoted the use of drama and its technique in ESL. At the time, I felt I was doing quite well for a new teacher trying to impart and share some speaking techniques with  students: I was covering some pronunciation exercises, conducting fun and meaningful role-plays, touching on interesting and hot topics to spark conversation, and lecturing about public speaking and presentation skills. After the workshops, I realized that I was not doing enough to promote fluency. Below, I am going to share a game on improvisation I learned and played during one of the workshops. I have tried it many times across a gamut of levels and I encourage you to try it with your students. Continue reading

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Encouraging Learner Autonomy

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One of the best things teachers can do for their students is to help them learn to help themselves.  To promote learner autonomy, we need to build students’ self-confidence and give them strategies for teaching themselves.  Some of the ways we can do this include the following. Continue reading

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QR Code Treasure Hunt anyone?

Recently, I tried a campus familiarization activity with my students.  In the past terms, students sat at their desks and looked at a map to identify services and their associated locations on a worksheet.  Throughout the term students asked me, or each other, where different campus resources were located. It was obvious that they did not take in the campus resources information.

My challenge was to improve this learning activity.  Reaching into my technology bag of tricks, I was looking for a technology that would improve this learning task.  Continue reading

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“Be the Star” – Making Videos for Your Classroom

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“I’m just going to find a video quickly online!” I’ve said to myself many times, clearly delusional.  A “quick” online hunt for material to use in class often becomes a lengthy goose chase.  It’s hard to find just the right thing, at the right level, on the right subject when searching the vast reaches of the World Wide Web.  The better option?  To make it myself. Sometimes this can seem intimidating though, especially if videography is a medium one is not used to working in.

Considering that fact, below is my summary of a video presentation my business partner, Larissa Conley, and I made for this year’s TESL Ontario Conference explaining how to make your own videos for classroom use.  Continue reading

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Teach verbs with animated GIFs and Quizlet

 

Teaching verbs can be accomplished through a combination of miming, games, worksheets, video clips, discussion, lecture, translation, and perhaps a host of other strategies.  Reinforcing the meaning of many verbs by providing a video clip can help with retention. Flashcards can also assist with vocabulary acquisition.  Quizlet’s flashcards deliver still images or animated clips online. Animated clips can accelerate acquisition through motion in context. Quizlet’s ability to include animated GIFs makes it a useful tool for language students learning base verbs.

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