Friday 29 May 2009

Using Advertisements for EFL ESL

I've always found advertisements to be really effective and stimulating input for language classes. They are usually just the right length, easy to understand visually as well as linguistically and are often very imaginative and creative.

So I was delighted to see Coloribus which claims to be the world's biggest ad archive with over 2 million ads. The site has a huge range of ads from all over the world so will be useful what ever language you are teaching. You could even explore the different approaches to advertising the same products in different countries and cultures.

One very handy feature of the site, is that the video clips can be viewed online or downloaded for off line viewing. Really handy if your connection is slow or unreliable.

You can browse the site buy category

Or just type in a search query

Coloribus has print advertising as well as video clips, so if your students don't have access to the Internet you can still download and print some really handy authentic materials to base lessons on and get students talking.

You can get students
  • Looking at the language used in ads
  • Examining the rationale behind them ( who are the aimed at, and how do they make the product appealing etc.)
  • Describing favourite ads or ones they don't like
  • Watching and describing ads
  • Acting the ads out in class
  • Creating their own ads
  • etc
I hope you and your students enjoy these advertisements.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Friday 22 May 2009

Teaching EFL ESL with Comic Strips

I've been aware of the Make Belief Comix website for some time now, but I'm amazed at how well over that period of time it has been developed to meet the neeeds of EFL ESL teachers and students.

The basic concept of the site is simple. It enables teachers and students to create colourful original comic strips using a range of characters, simply by using the point and click interface. The characters have a range of different emotions to choose from, you can add your own dialogue using the speech bubbles or you can leave them blank for students to add their own.

You can then either email your finished cartoon strips to people or print them up for use in class

The Teachers Resources section has a great collection of ideas for how you can use the site with students and there is a wonderful collection of possible story ideas to get students creating their own stories

Here you can see some ESOL students talking about how they have used the site.

This is a wonderful example of a technical solution that can enable teachers to produce materials for the low tech classroom. Some really simple but great ideas for providing students with motivating materials.

I hope you enjoy and use it with your students.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Dfilm - Dvolver Adds Embed Code

I've been a long time fan of Dvolver from its early days as Dfilm Maker. It was one of the first site I wrote about (Make you own animated movies)when I started blogging back in 2007. It's a really great site that allows students and teachers to create animated Flash cartoon movies with their own dialogue in just a couple of minutes.

I was in the process of visiting it again this morning to create a joke movie and was delighted to discover that an embed code has been added for the movies you create. This is great news as it makes it much easier to share the movies and include them in digital materials you or your students create.

Here's a quick joke movie I created

Great addition to a great tool. Hope you enjoy Dvolver and get your students making movies.

Here you can find some Cartoon Activities for students

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Friday 15 May 2009

Get the Stars to Sing Your Students' Words

This is a site that I first saw about 4 years ago and then lost. It is called Let Them Sing It For You and I just found it on one of Laryy Ferlazzzo's lists (The Best Ways For Students To Create Online Content Easily, Quickly & Painlessly)

Like most of the best web tools and ideas in general it is very simple. You type words into a field, click a button and then you can hear the words being sung. You can them email a link to the song to yourself or a friend and then paste the link into a workheet or blog page etc.

The site generates the song through a huge dictionary of audio clips from famous songs, so the song is a collection of some of the worlds singers with each word by a different singer and from a different song. It's just such a wonderful idea and so quick to use.
  • You can get your students writing songs, short messages etc.
  • You can copy and paste in lyrics of songs (you can find lyrics here)and get your students to listen and try to guess what the original song was. Try this one.
  • Not all of the words are included in the database, so the site will put in words that have some of the same letters. You can use this by printing up lyrics for your students and getting them to listen and circle where the mistakes are.
  • You could even get them to listen and try to guess who sung the original words and what song they came from (probably easier for adult students as most of the songs are quite old)
Thanks again to Larry for helping me to rediscover Let Them Sing It For You one of my favourite tools.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Thursday 14 May 2009

The Digital Research Tools Wiki

The DIRT (Digital Research Tools) wiki is a fantastic resource that I stumbled upon a couple of days ago. This is how the site describes itself:

"This wiki collects information about tools and resources that can help scholars (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) conduct research more efficiently or creatively. Whether you need software to help you manage citations, author a multimedia work, or analyze texts, Digital Research Tools will help you find what you're looking for"

In fact this is a bit of an understatement, as the wiki is a fantastically rich source of information and links to a huge range of tools that will be of interest to almost any educator.

Here are just the first few categories:
Within a few moments of starting to search I had already fond this really nice tool for creating slide shows from Diigo bookmarks

I think it could probably take me the rest of the year to search through and write about all the interesting things on the site.
Really fantastic resource. You can't fail to find something useful on DiRT.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday 11 May 2009

Adding Phonetic Symbols to a Webpage is a handy tool that allows you to add phonetic symbols to a webpage. It doesn't just have the ones for English, but has a few other languages too. Seems like you just type in the consonants from the keyboard and click on the additional symbols to add them. Then just cut and paste the script into your page.

I was tempted to write a little bit and paste it in here as an example, but I wəz əfreɪd aɪd gedɪt rɒŋ!

Hope you find useful for adding phonemic script to your online and offline work.

Here you can find Activities to Develop Pronunciation.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Friday 8 May 2009

Writing Upside Down

Have you ever wanted to write upside down on a web site? Well now you can, just go to Upside Down Letters, type in your text and watch as it appears upside down in the field below.

Then just cut and past your text into your page. Here's what it looks like.

˙ǝʞıן sʞooן ʇı ʇɐɥʍ s,ǝɹǝɥ ˙ǝƃɐd ɹnoʎ oʇuı ʇxǝʇ ɹnoʎ ʇsɐd puɐ ʇnɔ ʇsnɾ uǝɥʇ
˙ʍoןǝq pןǝıɟ ǝɥʇ uı uʍop ǝpıspdn sɹɐǝddɐ ʇı sɐ ɥɔʇɐʍ puɐ ʇxǝʇ ɹnoʎ uı ǝdʎʇ 'sɹǝʇʇǝן uʍop ǝpısdn oʇ oƃ ʇsnɾ 'uɐɔ noʎ ʍou ןןǝʍ ¿ǝʇıs qǝʍ ɐ uo uʍop ǝpısdn ǝʇıɹʍ oʇ pǝʇuɐʍ ɹǝʌǝ noʎ ǝʌɐɥ

As you can see, it's not perfect and there are no upper case letters, but it does the job.

So why have upside down text? Well could be handy as a reading challenge or also to add answers to online tasks and stop students from going straight to them.

Hope you find Upside Down Letters useful.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Analysing Vocabulary in Texts

WordSift is a very useful tool for analysing vocabulary in texts and it has some really nice features. On first glance it looks a little like Wordle, but it actually goes much further.
When you paste in your text it generates a tag cloud with the 50 most common words from the text.

If you then click on any of the words you get images from Google and definitions with related words from the visual thesaurus.

This isn't all. If you scroll further down the page you will also see example sentences from the text which use that word.

All of this makes WordSift a very useful tool for students. They can really dig more deeply into text they have studied and pull out vocabulary with words, definitions and images which they could collect together in a digital vocabulary book.

They could also use this tool before reading to prepare new vocabulary and predict what the text would be about and what the genre or structure of the text would be.

Great tool. I hope you find a place for it in your bag of teaching tricks.

Related links:


Nik Peachey

Tuesday 5 May 2009

A Complete EFL Teacher Training Course Online

Shaping the Way We Teach English is a fantastic resource that I came across recently. The resource is similar to other online courses from colleges and universities. It's free and accessible through The Online Language Center of the University of Oregon and it is a pretty complete teacher training course that has videos , viewing tasks, transcripts, observation checklists and even recommended supplementary web based reading.

The videos for the course are all on YouTube and can either be watched online or it is recommended that they are downloaded using for anyone with a slower connection.

Most of the videos ( there is one for each of the 14 modules) is about 10 -15 mins long and the quality is good. The makers of the course have used a range of teachers from around the world and you can see them working with their classes and listen to what they have to say about the way they teach.

Here's a useful example on reflective teaching

These videos and tasks could be used for pre-service or even in service teacher training, or as a self access resource for teachers who want some informal development.

As I said. Shaping the Way We Teach English is a fantastic resource, it's free and it's very complete. I hope you enjoy using it.

Related links:

Nik Peachey

Monday 4 May 2009

Listen to Coffee With Jeremy Harmer

For those who weren't able to attend Coffee With Jeremy Harmer in Second Life on 3rd May, you can now listen to the complete audio recording online at:

During the interview Jeremy shares his opinions on a range of topics including his first impressions of Second Life, how technology is impacting on his work, why he started to Twitter and the role of technology in teacher training.

If you enjoy listening to this interview, then come along on 7th June 2009 and join our interview and have Coffee With Pete Sharma.

To find out more about other events and courses organised by The Concultants-E check out their website: The Consultants-E

I hope you enjoy the interview and look forward to seeing you at the next Coffee With. Special thanks go to Carol Rainbow for the audio recording

Related links:

Nik Peachey