Saturday, 25 February 2017

ListeningEVO17

Having been a participant of the ListeningEVO course, I feel the desire to express my deepest gratitude to all the organizers and especially to our moderator, Ms Olya Sergeeva. All the input material we were exposed to was highly interesting and vastly useful for a listening teacher. The course lasted five weeks January 8 to February 12, 2017. Below I'm recording some of the takeaways from my participation in this MOOC based either on new knowledge or high interest of content to me.

To start with, reinforcing autonomous listening through an out-of-school listening scheme was stressed during our first week of the course. Technology integration can obviously facilitate this scheme. Some stimulating suggestions for learners include listening to radio stations (e.g. 
http://www.listenlive.eu/uk.html, podcasts (e.g. https://independentenglish.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/podcasts/, favourite songs (e.g. https://lyricstraining.com/), audiobooks (e.g. http://www.loyalbooks.com/), youtube videos, web tools with audio features (e.g. https://quizlet.com/) and many more online resources curated by the course participants on a shared google spreadsheet (https://goo.gl/FQZbYz).

Something additional that particularly struck me during week1 was the shadowing technique as a useful approach to encourage autonomous listening and speaking practice. Shadowing requires EFL learners to listen to a short audio text many times. The short audio text should be saved on each learner’s device so that they can listen to it outside class as regularly as possible; an accompanying transcript should also be provided to the students. The practice stage of this technique encourages students to repeat and copy, as precisely as possibly, the speaker’s pronunciation, rhythm, pace and other speech features. As a subsequent step, the students record themselves on an audio recording tool such as Audacity when they feel they sound similar to the speaker on their audio text.

In week 2 I enjoyed Elena Wilkinson's neat presentation on the structure of a traditional listening lesson which can be enhanced through the use of authentic materials and real-life tasks. Here are my notes on E. Wilkinson's live session.

ListeningEVO, wk2 by anthiharou

Week 3 focused on the importance of 21st century skills, critical thinking and HOTS (higher order thinking tasks) in the design of listening tasks to engage learners.

Weeks 4 and 5 proved to be a gem for me as I acquired valuable knowledge shared by outstanding experts on the topic such as R. Cauldwell, S. Thorn and O. Sergeeva. Listening is quite troublesome for ELLs because words have a variety of soundshapes and are not visible as they are in reading. Therefore, we need to prepare learners to cope with the jungle-type situations of messy speech they will face in real life. Exposing learners to authentic listening texts with a variety of unruly sounds, and providing them with decoding tasks to train them to recognize individual words are means which enable ELLs to reach the ultimate goal which is meaning. Gap-fills and dictations can be effective activities in raising learners' awareness of phonological and other speech features such as word or sentence stress, elision, glottal stop, schwa, assimilation, intrusive sounds in a stream of authentic speech.  

At this point the use of technology can facilitate the implementation of decoding skills to a great extent. Aegisub is a helpful open-source tool which can reinforce decoding. An enlightening tutorial supports teachers in the way they can leverage this tool in class or in the way they can guide their learners to use it in an autonomous mode. Deciphering difficult chunks of connected speech can be addressed by replaying an isolated line of a subtitled video or audio file which has been uploaded on Aegisub. Moreover, PlayPhrase.me can be integrated in teaching listening by getting students practise discrimination of authentic speech through snippets from TV series. Antony Schmidt has written an enlightening blog post on the use of this website for listening decoding purposes. Last but not least, one of my favourite websites was TubeQuizard which provides a great collection of listening quizzes and also enables users to train with their favourite subtitled videos.  O. Sergeeva provides a nice tutorial on how to create listening decoding quizzes for learners using this tool. 

To conclude, I enjoyed an amazing course on how to teach listening. I liked the well-organized structure of the MOOC, the wealth of interesting input materials such as videos, articles, lesson plans and presentations, my interaction with other participants, the badges I earned, Ms O. Sergeeva's enthusiasm and encouragement as a moderator, the facebook page, the twitter posts and, of course, the new knowledge I acquired.  

Written by Anthippi Harou

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Reviewing the Alphabet with Augmented Reality

Have you finished with teaching your young learners the alphabet letters and you need some sort of exciting review activities? 

Songs, rhymes, games and other similar activities can provide fun ways for young learners to revise and consolidate the alphabet. Another even more appealing way to engage them in learning is to invite them to review the letters through Augmented Reality.

'AR flashcards - Animal Alphabet' is an amazing app which will offer your students an unforgettably enriched experience of  learning and playing. This free augmented reality app is available on the app store here or google play here. Teachers or parents download the aphabet flashcards here, print them out in colour or just display them on another device.

The words that accompany the alphabet flashcards of the specific app are related to animals:
alligator, beaver, cat, dog, elephant, frog, gorilla, horse, iguana, jellyfish, kangaroo, lion, monkey, newt, owl, penguin, quail, rabbit, snake, turtle, urchin, vulture, walrus, oxen, yak, zebra

| ˈælɪɡeɪtə | ˈbiːvə | kæt | dɒɡ | ˈelɪfənt | frɒɡ | ɡəˈrɪlə | hɔːs | ɪˈɡwɑːnə | ˈdʒelɪfɪʃ | ˌkæŋɡəˈruː | ˈlaɪən | ˈmʌŋki | njuːt | aʊl | ˈpeŋɡwɪn | kweɪl | ˈræbɪt | sneɪk | ˈtɜːtl̩ | ˈɜːtʃɪn | ˈvʌltʃə | ˈwɔːlrəs | ˈɒksn̩ | jæk | ˈzebrə |

Students point their device at each flashcard and a 3D animal pops up on the screen. When they tap the animal on their device, they can hear the letter and the animal name. They can also easily take screenshots of their augmented flashcards by tapping on the camera icon when the app has started. Below you can see screenshots taken for each of the letters.


'AR flashcards- Animal Alphabet' will definitely provide young learners with an enhanced experience they will never forget. Young learners will have the opportunity to review, recycle, practice the alphabet and the names of the corresponding animals on each flashcard in an 'eye-popping' way!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Listening Lesson Plan

Listening Lesson Plan by Anthippi Harou
Topic: Non-traditional fairystories: ‘Princess Smartypants’ by Babette Cole (story read aloud in a video)

Materials and resources:
A. video of the story Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole
B. Audio of the story
C. One/more laptop(s) and a projector
D. Pictures of the story, handout 1 and handout 2.

OR If there is internet access – My school has ten laptops with wifi access and an IWB- I am going to use the digital worksheet I created https://app.wizer.me/preview/TVQA7R (there are some modifications in the follow-up stage). My Sts work in pairs to accompish tasks bc of the nb of laptops

Level: A1-2, year 6, age: 11-12)

Time: one teaching session of 90 minutes

Stage
Notes
Timing
Lead-in



1.    Ask students to discuss in pairs:
What fairy stories did you listen to when you were younger? What usually happens in a traditional fairy story? (discuss the characters, the setting, typical events, the end). Then tell each pair to report their answers to the class and write titles of fairytales on the board)
2.    Show students two pictures of the storytale and ask them:
        Does the story princess look like a           typical princess? Why or why not?
3.    What do you think this story is going to be about?
15 mnts
Pre-teaching vocabulary



Smartypants, marry, toad
5 mnts
Listening for gist



Watch the story and
1.    Discuss with your partner how far your predictions about the plot of the story were true.

2.    Take down at least five elements that make this fairy story different from a traditional one. Compare your answers with your partners’.

Each pair reports to the whole class

25 mts
Listening for specific information



Listen to the story and
match the princes in the right column with the tasks in the left column (handout 1). Check answers with a  partner then as a whole class.
10 mnts
Listening for detail



Listen again to the story and:


Fill in the gaps (handout 2). Check as a whole class.

 10 mts
Follow-up





Classwork 
1.    Provide an alternative title for the story.
2.    Why did the princess set difficult tasks for the princes?
3.    Choose any two of the following tasks you like to do (if you have free time you can do some more):

A.    Watch this section of the video 0:48-1.57  and discuss with your partner how the princes felt when they arrived at Smartypants’ castle, how they felt while trying to accomplish their set  tasks and when they failed?
B.    Watch this segment of the video  2.09- 3.01; observe facial expression and the tools Prince Swashbuckle used to achieve all the challenges how would he describe his personality? How did he feel at the beginning, while doing his tasks at the end?  Use as many personality adjectives as you can (Use Grammar box of Unit 3- coursebook)
C.    Prepare ten True/False sentences based on the story and exchange them with your partners.
D.    Work with your partner to design a new set of challenges (at least two) the princess may set for some more princes who might want to marry her. Create a new illustration for each of them to accompany them in a new the book. Upload your illustrated challenges on edmodo/padlet wall. Your teacher will compile them into a new class book.
Homework
1.    Create a comic strip
Instructions: Select two characters of the story. Draw them and add some speech bubbles to make a dialogue between the two characters. 
2.    Listen to this segment of the story 
and try to imitate the pronunciation of the words, intonation and the rest of the speech features).
Record your voice on your mobile and upload it on our padlet wall/edmodo platform/extra work on our wizer quiz.

25 mts

(+Extra time for H/W)


Sunday, 4 December 2016

Listening cloze generator

Tubequizard is a free site which provides a quiz collection for your students to practise listening. There is the option for you or your students to select from a wide variety of cloze quizzes depending on the number of gaps to be filled in, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and other items your students or you wish them to focus on. 

For me, the best advantage of the site is that it can turn into a handy web tool which enables teachers to create listening cloze quizzes with subtitled youtube videos. Just click on 'Train with your video' tab, paste the url of your subtitled video and click on 'create'. And that's it!  Your fill-in the gaps listening text is automatically generated accompanied by the original youtube video. Teachers can edit their quizzes, in case there are slight mistakes, and finally share a link with their students. 

Another advantage is that there is no registration required. This makes it easier for students to be content creators with a sense of ownership. So they can produce their own cloze quizzes on their favourite subtitled videos and practise listening or even share a link with their class.  

Based on Angela Lee Duckworth's video  on grit, I created this quiz              http://tubequizard.com/quiz.php?fid=11&v=H14bBuluwB8The extra options generated are shown here.

I believe Tubequizard is ideal for EFL and ESL teachers who want to further develop their learners' listening skills in an easy and engaging way.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Colourapp: an image tool

I have always been keen on web tools and apps related to photo editing, avatars, emojis and anything related to image creativity. Today I stumbled upon one of Bart Verswijvel's tweets about a very interesting app. The colourapp makes use of Public Domain or CC0 artworks which you can modify in an attractive way by adding your own photos. After you click on 'agree' with the disclaimer when you enter the app, you are presented with a number of artworks. You pick one and then you click on the 'pencil' icon. Then the artwork turns into a sketchlike image with five colours. There are five circles with a plus sign just at the bottom of the image, each one corresponding to the same colour section on the artwork. When you click on each of them, you can upload an image from your device. The result looks like a collage and is really fascinating! When you are satisfied with what you have created, click on 'done'. You can share your creation on twitter or facebook. You can also download it on your device. Here are two images I have created:🙆


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Creating image designs


Pixteller is an easy-to-use image maker web tool. It is ideal for creating engaging posters, banners, social media profile covers or any other image design you wish. You can use other people's designs and edit them or create your own from scratch. I have signed up for a free account and I think it is quite satisfactory for my needs.

As today is Thanksgiving Day in N. America, I've thought of creating a pixteller image to thank the three most significant persons in my PLN. These are Shelly Terrell, Peggy George and Arjana Blazic. I'm thankful to them for sharing with their PLN their precious knowledge on educational technology. Above all, I'm giving them a shout-out for their integrity of character- always hard-working, tech-savvy enthusiasts but also kind, supportive and encouraging to others.
  

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Google Earth and Google My Maps (Etwinning Learning Event)

I enjoyed the experience of participating in Google Earth Etwinning Learning Event (Nov., 2016) moderated  by Marco Neves . We mainly focused on Google Earth and Google Mymaps.

I started out with downloading Google Earth Pro HERE.

Both Google Earth and Google My Maps are powerful educational tools in the way knowledge is conveyed. They provide students with an unforgettable virtual experience of any subject area they may deal with. The 3-D feature, the visuals and the sound engage and motivate students to deepen their knowledge and further understand a topic. Google Earth, Google my Maps and similar mapping tools also trigger students' exploration skills and promote inquiry-based learning.

Especially, in an etwinning project participants can have a better idea of where their partner school is located and explore their area in detail. Knowing their partners better grows bonds between countries and increases their interactivity and collaboration necessary for an etwinning project. Finally, these tools can facilitate a variety of tasks in an etwinning project. For example, students can share information on their towns or villages, landmarks, museums, favourite places in their country, and so on. 

Here’s a list of the RESOURCES we were provided with in the learning event and some sites I gathered.
Share your Google Earth Tour to youtube via Movie Maker

Google My Maps Track
Google Earth Track