Cool, I’m Famous at OUP Now…Sort of…

I just want to say a big (and very belated) thanks to Verissimo Toste for so unexpectedly writing such a great blog post at OUP’s Global ELT Blog.

We’re helping to solve your EFL teaching problems by answering your questions every two weeks. This week’s blog is in response to Mark Armstrong’s blog comment regarding the challenge of helping students to self-correct their own writing…  Read More

Verissimo is a very knowledgable instructor for whom I have lots of time. I was going to write more about him and some of the materials he has available online at a later date but for now you can check him out here:

It’s been a slow few weeks here are at ESL Review due to the holiday season but we’ll be back in January with lots of reviews about cool stuff to use in English classes.

Oceans and Continents Project from Super Teacher Worksheets

This week I began using Spectrum Geography 3 with an advanced class of elementary school students. I’ll be writing more about it in the future, but for now it’s enough to say that Spectrum is a superb series that I highly recommend for high level learners. The first lesson of Geography 3 is called “Models of the Earth” and introduces such terms as physical map, the equator, the poles, elevation, and other useful terminology that children might be learning in social studies if they were attending an English speaking school.

But the real heart of the lesson is learning the names of the seven continents and four five oceans (although not everybody uses the term Southern Ocean yet, I am banking on the day that they do, so I included it in the lesson.) This can be quite challenging though since names such as Atlantic, Pacific, and Antarctica can prove difficult for children to remember. Fortunately for me, Super Teacher Worksheets had exactly what I needed to supplement my lesson. It’s no surprise really, since Spectrum Books and Super Teacher Worksheets complement each other very well.

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In this project children construct a world map out of four sheets of size A4 paper. You can view a preview of it by clicking on this link, or you can just scroll down to the images below. As you can see, students cut out the pieces of the map and glue the four quadrants together. They then cut out the names of the oceans and continents and glue them in their correct places. They they color all the continents and oceans according to the instructions. It’s easy as pie really, but it’s exactly the kind of hands on learning that really helps to cement these kinds of terms into those little heads.

Here is what the project looks like beforehand:

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스크린샷 2013-12-05 오후 8.15.03스크린샷 2013-12-05 오후 8.15.38스크린샷 2013-12-05 오후 8.16.04And here is what it looks like when it’s completed:

photo 1 photo 2Super Teacher Worksheets has a USD20 annual subscription fee, but it really is peanuts when compared to the quality of the materials you gain access to. They always seem to have that little something extra that will make your lessons special.

Top 5 Video List: Counting from 1 to 10

Caught my last post about counting videos and needed just a bit more? Well, you’re in luck! After careful evaluation by scientisty types with clipboards, ESL Review can now bring you its top five pick of YouTube videos about counting from 1 to 10.

5. The Number Train by Vidz4Kids

I’m sure many of you may watch the number train and think that it just plods along at an excruciatingly slow pace, and you wouldn’t be wrong. But to KIDS there is a certain thrill in watching the numbers go by and anticipating what will come next. Just play it and see. I also like that Vidz4Kids uses the voices of young native speakers instead of old farts like us.

4. The Number Song by Dream English Kids

Matt of Dream English Kids has done it again with this great number song that combines counting and TPR. It always gets the kids off their butts and jumping along.

3. The Count to 10 Song by Pancake Manor

This song works in the opposite way to my other selections. Most students are usually so fascinated with the variety of faces and ages in this song that they end up counting along very quietly and thoughtfully. That is, until they see the part with the jelly beans and then it’s all about “Do WE get to have jelly beans too, teacher? Do we? Do we?”

2. Ten Doggie Kisses by Sesame Street

The creation of author and animator Todd Parr, this is one of the most adorable animations that you could ever use to teach counting to children.

1. Count It Higher with Little Chrissy by Sesame Street

The video’s pretty grainy and it almost looks like it was shot in technicolor, but just crank up the volume and watch the smiles spread across the classroom. EVERY time I play this on the big screen at least half the class starts dancing and singing along like it was a live event. And you have to admit that Little Chrissy is an amazing performer, even for a muppet.

I’d also like to give some honorable mentions to Counting to Ten Fun! by ABC Fun TV, just because I love their banjo-playing hot dog, as well as to the Numbers song by ABC Kid TV.

A Review of Famous People Lessons, a Site by Sean Banville

Several weeks ago I wrote about an amazing site called Breaking News English by Sean Banville,
which provides FREE downloadable teaching materials on current events. I said I would be writing more about his other useful sites, and after weeks of delay, that day has come.

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Just scroll down the list of famous people on the site until you find someone who might interest your students. The list includes such usual suspects as Hillary Clinton, Brad Bitt, and Aung San Suu Kyi, but there are also some more eclectic selections like Ratan Tata and King Mswati III.

Famous People Lessons features short articles on a variety of well known people from around the world. At present there are 164 pieces on singers, actors, models, authors, artists, politicians, corporate executives, royalty, athletes, fashion designers, union leaders, journalists, first ladies, centenarian twitter users, social commentators, civil rights leaders, dancers, educationalists, filmmakers, Nobel laureates, religious leaders, linguists, terrorists, former hostages…and the list goes on, making it a great resource to supplement your lessons.

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Click on the image to take a gander at the site’s piece about Albert Einstein.

Accompanying each article are a series of practice exercises, discussion questions, as well as space for writing about the subject of the article. You can download all of the articles in pdf or word format for easy printing and use in the classroom. There is also an audio file available for download which you can pass along to your students to listen to at home or on their mp3 players.

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This is just the first of a series of useful exercises all ready to use in the classroom.

There is an online component too; more or less one of those exercises where the teacher cuts up a text into its individual sentences and then asks the students to put them back in the right order. On the screen the student will see three sentence fragments from the text, one of which is the beginning of the first sentence. After choosing the correct answer, three new sentence fragments appear on the screen, from which students choose the next part of the sentence, continuing in this way until they have recreated the text in full. It’s not a bad activity, actually. (I may just try to figure how I might make one myself.)

Famous people 01Although the site is “just” a scaled down version of Breaking News English (with considerably fewer exercises) there is a lot of potential to expose your students to a wide variety of global personalities. Just remember to bring along some teaching aids from YouTube or Google Image Search to help your students put faces to the names you teach them.

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