Category Archives: Classroom Ideas

Ideas and suggestions to use in your classroom.

Listening Comprehension with the Cloze Test

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Most language teachers are likely familiar with the Cloze Test – the omission of specific words in a written passage (every 5th or 9th word, for example) to assess students’ reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. I have also found them to be extremely useful to teach listening skills.  

When creating your own Cloze Tests, the first step is to find a passage that is at the students’ language level or no more than —as Krashen would advise— i+1 (just ONE above the students’ comprehensible input). The first two sentences and last sentence in the passage should also be kept intact as they give students important background information about the text.

The following steps outline one possible way for instructors to incorporate the Close Test to help students hone their listening skills:

  1. Activate students’ prior knowledge by discussing the topic;
  2. Allow students to listen to the text without reading it;
  3. Introduce the written Cloze passage (no audio) for students to complete on their own;
  4. Double space the text so that students
    1. Write their guesses on the blank spaces;
    2. Have space above their guesses to later make corrections as needed;
  5. Group students to share their vocabulary choices;
  6. Play the recording a second time and ask students to compare their guesses with the audio;
    1. Students should do this on their own first
    2. Then, they should compare and share their answers in their groups;
  7. Play the audio again (twice if necessary) for students to do a final check;
  8. Share the list of correct words with students;
  9. Ask students to discuss their vocabulary choices, including
    1. Parts of speech
    2. Thought groups
    3. Spelling
    4. Pronunciation
    5. Errors and omissions
  10. Give students time to reflect and share with the whole class.

I have found that using the Cloze Test to enhance students’ listening skills gives them more opportunities to make connections between what they hear and what the written word. It also opens opportunities for sharing, practicing pronunciation, and learning from each other.

Can you think of other ways that the Cloze test could be used in the language classroom?

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An Epic Battle of the Imagination

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

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(Carroll, L. 1865. Alice in Wonderland)

Introduction

 I wrote this piece about three years ago, reflecting on an old lesson and the role imagination plays in our ESL curricula.  I believe this activity could be modified for an online classroom. If you give it a go, please let me know how it works out!

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Google Earth in your class? (Part Two)

Photo Taken by: John Allan

Last week, I talked about the application Google Earth and explained how it works. Check it out if you haven’t already! Today, I will discuss several possible activities and examples of ways to incorporate Google Earth into your language or immigration classes.
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Google Earth in your class? (Part One)

Photo by: John Allan

Google Earth is an application that some of us may have heard about or used for personal purposes. Unless you are a social science teacher, it is a sure bet that you have not tried integrating Google Earth into your language or settlement lessons. Whether it is used on the web or on a device, Google Earth is a very intuitive tool, and I thought it might be a good idea to raise awareness of some possibilities it can offer language instructors teaching fully online. Today, I will go over what Google Earth is and how to navigate the application, and in my next blog post, I will go more in-depth with ways to use Google Earth in your lesson plans. Continue reading

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PBLA Assessments in Remote ESL Classes

Guest Contributor: Kasia Kasztenna

Student learning online study concept: Asian Young man sitting holding smartphone chatting in home for e-learning in educational technology by self
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Observing a student’s progress is an exhilarating moment in a teacher’s life. Creating, executing, and grading assignments however, constitutes the part of teaching that I enjoy the least. I invest a lot of time and effort in a fair and thorough examination of my students’ progress. Online English teaching has imposed new challenges, and opened new opportunities in assessing student progress. 

Based on my experience, how you apply PBLA assessments depends on whether you are using synchronous or asynchronous online teaching. PBLA assessments can be conducted with some modifications in both formats.   

 

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Quick Tips for Teaching Literacy – Part Two of Three

Literacy concept, male hand holding letter A
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Guest Contributor: Zainab Almutawali

In Part One, I talked about the background of literacy students and issues regarding their attendance. In this post, I’ll be listing some of the best teaching practices that I find useful from my personal experience teaching literacy students.

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Effective Online Tools & Resources for Teachers and Learners

Education, distance education, internet studying, e-learning flat vector illustration. Online classes, training courses, tutorials, online education design for mobile and web graphics
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Over the past two years, I have been attending a lot of webinars, presentations, conferences, dialogues and online courses. I’ve also been reading blogs and articles as well as doing presentations and writing blogposts. I’ve gained knowledge and collected remarkable resources. Tools like the ones below can help us design tasks that will engage and motivate our learners.

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Student Projects to Promote Creativity

It is a new year and some of us may need some fresh ideas to add energy, motivation and tasks to our classes.  One possible means of accomplishing this is to include relevant project work into the syllabus.   

The tools listed below are just that – tools.  As the instructor, you can guide the learners to themes as focal points for project content.  These free, digital tools include how-to guides, an online example, and orientation blogs for the instructors to read and consider before embarking on a digital venture with their learners.  

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