Let’s Go Online Homework Review (Part 2)

A few weeks ago I wrote about the online practice rolled out by OUP for its Let’s Go, English Time, and Everybody Up series. This week it’s time to talk about how to set it up for your students.

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1. The Teacher’s Book

First you’ll need to have the latest teacher’s book for each book that you want to assign online practice for. That’s because to gain access you need the code at the back of the book hidden under a gray bar which you scratch off.

CAUTION! Don’t use a coin or a key to scratch it off. I did this once and I scratched the number right off. If this happens to you, don’t panic just yet. Fortunately, after submitting photographic evidence, the very nice people at OUP tech support provided me with a replacement code (phew!). Just remember that it’s much safer to use your fingernail.

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Gently now…this is what happened when I used a key to scratch it off.

2. Set Up (for Teachers)

Next you’ll need to sign up and choose from one of the available languages such as Japanese, Arabic, or Portuguese (for instructions and help files). You’ll then be asked to input the code from the teacher’s book and then which book you want to use.

CAUTION! If you want access to Let’s Go 4 online practice but then accidentally (or out of curiosity) click Let’s Go 2, you’ll be out of luck because there is no going back and changing. Choose carefully.

Now that you’ve loaded the book you want to teach you can set up classes by first clicking “Manage Classes” and then “Add a New Class”. Each class that you set up will get its own class code that your students will need to sign up (more about that later).

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While signing up you will also be asked for an institution code, which you can get from OUP and will amalgamate all the classes run by different teachers into one location visible by the director. This is not necessary though if, like me, you are teaching students on your own.

3. Set Up (for Students)

Your students will have to go through a similar procedure to use online practice. First, they’ll need the course book with the access code in the back and an email address (theirs or their parents’) to log in.

When choosing the language the online practice will function with for students, remember to consider where the students will be doing it. If it’s with you, then choosing English is fine, but if it’s at home and if the parents have limited knowledge of English, then it might be more helpful to choose the student’s L1.

Then students will need to input the code from their student book and choose their book (same warning as above applies). They then type in the class code so their scores are tallied and provided to the teacher’s account. From here on they just choose the lesson they have been assigned and away they go.

I personally set up each of my student’s access just to make sure there were no mistakes. You may have a tech department that can take care of this for you.

CAUTION! There are two versions of the course book, one with online practice and one without. Look in the upper right hand corner to make sure your students have the right one.

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If it doesn’t say online practice in the upper right hand corner then your students can’t get access to online practice

4. Management

Once students have signed up their names will automatically appear in the class registrar, which you can check by clicking “Manage Classes” followed by “View Details”. Inside here you can choose which lessons the students have access to by clicking “Hide Units/Lessons” button. Remember that students only have access to the lessons you choose, so if they say they can’t finish their online practice it’s probably because you didn’t open the lesson to them (something I know from personal experience).

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By clicking “View Reports” you can see if your students have finished their assigned online practice, what their score is, and how long it took them. That means “the dog ate my homework” just won’t cut it any more. “Add New Book” is where you go to add additional levels to use in online practice.

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1. Manage Classes: This lets you view the different classes you have set up.
2. View Reports: This will provide a summary of each class’ progress, including average scores and completion time.
3. Enter Online Practice: This is where you go to try the online practice out yourself.
4. Add New Book: You will need to visit here each time you begin a new level.

You may have noticed there are a few codes to deal with. Here’s a reminder for keeping them straight: teacher book codes start with the letter T, like T-975-XXX-XXXX; student book codes start with letter S, like S-301-XXX-XXXX;  and class codes start with the letter C, like C-139-XXX-XXXX. Simple, eh?

5. Results

It’s a little soon for me to say whether there has been a noticeable improvement thanks to OUP online practice. So far, though, my students have been stoked about using it and there haven’t been any technical glitches. As for myself, I’ve become a huge fan of it and hope OUP continues to develop and improve it.

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Let’s Go Online Homework Review (Part 1)

I don’t know about you but I’ve always found that the workbooks accompanying course books like Let’s Go, the seven part series for children by OUP, never provide quite enough writing practice for students. As a result, I end up spending a LOT of time making additional worksheets for them to get that needed writing practice, and it would be no exaggeration to say that after a few years I must have accumulated hundreds if not thousands of them. It’s probably a situation faced by a lot of teachers. But then comes along the fourth edition of Let’s Go with its online homework, and poof! Problem solved.
LG Online homework 1Students simply visit the online homework page where they can complete exercises in listening, reading, (occasionally speaking) and writing assigned by the teacher for homework. This is great news for teachers not only because it frees you from the chore of making practice exercises, but OUP’s online software also automatically corrects the assignments, scores them and generates stats for you to evaluate how your students are progressing in their lessons. This also frees up precious class time for more communicative activities, relegating some of the drudgery to the home.

So let’s take a look at how it works from a student’s point of view with the latest version of Let’s Go 4. In class you’ve completed the first two pages of unit 1, which cover asking about the weather in the future tense. The grammar pattern is How’s the weather going to be? and the vocabulary words are: hot, humid, warm, cold, cool, and foggy. There’s a dialogue page and a chant as well. After learning to speak the language in class, the children log on at home, choose the unit they are to study from the drop down menu. In this case it’s Unit 1 Let’s Talk.

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Students click on ‘Menu’ and then choose from which unit they will study. From there they choose the right section.

They will see six tabs labeled A through F. Students click on the first tab and see:

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Students click the button next to the picture to hear the dialogue they studied in their course books. Then they move the sentence bubble into the correct order along the side.

Then tab B:

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In this exercise students listen to the dialogue and complete the sentences by choosing the right word from the drop down boxes.

Then tab C:

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In this exercise, students listen to the vocabulary word and click the correct picture.

Then tab D:

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In this exercise students read the sentence and choose the correct word to complete it from the drop-down menu.

Then tab E:

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This exercise is a dictation. They can listen to the speech as many times as they like.

And finally tab F:

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In this exercise students listen again to a chant that appeared in the coursebook and then fill in the blanks.

This pattern of activities is repeated through each section of the course book, making for hours of extra practice. Then there’s the bottom of the screen:

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1. The student’s score
2. How many attempts it took the student to achieve a perfect score
3. The check mark will correct the student’s work once they have done. The counter clockwise arrow reloads the page. The magnifying glass shows the correct answers, but this only becomes available to the student after they have completed the page.

Remember, the program will automatically score the student’s work and record it in the teacher’s log so you will know whether children have done their homework, how well they did, and how many attempts it took them. That’s time you don’t have to spend correcting (and occasionally scolding) in class time. OUP also offers similar online homework for its English Time and Everybody Up course books.

Click here to try the free demo or watch this video to learn more:

In an upcoming post I’ll be talking about how teachers set up and manage this homework.

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A Scathing Review: Kids Butter

kids butterIn a lot of jobs, you occasionally have to do things that really make you mad, frustrated, or perhaps just plain go against every fiber in your being. Fortunately as English teachers we’re never asked to whack anybody, or make sub-prime mortgages look like triple A investments. We do occasionally have to teach things that we don’t like just because the boss wants us to (and for me that comes pretty close to one of the aforementioned examples).

What could be so horrible you ask? Teaching the kindergarten series Kids Butter. There are just so many things wrong with this series that over the course of the next year I’ve decided to chronicle just what I dislike about it. Now, during this process I might just find this series’ inner core, that special something that is truly magical; or I might just make myself more enraged about how badly designed I think it is.

In any case, should you never read this blog again, please heed my warning: DON’T USE KIDS BUTTER! If on the other hand you intend to stick around, stay tuned for my 20 reasons not to use Kids Butter.