Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dialogue Activity

Here is an activity my English students did in order to practice properly writing quotations.

Much of it was borrowed from a lesson plan I found on the National Writing Project website.  On their site you will find a variety of situations that would involve conversations.

I instructed the students to work in pairs.  Each duo selected a scenario, then composed a dialogue.  At first, the students tried using a website called, “Collabedit,” which is supposed to allow multiple authors to collaborate in real-time on a single document.  Unfortunately, we found this website to be too buggy; the students encountered many glitches and error messages.  So, we had to settle on using good old Microsoft Word.

Writing collaboratively was fun and the students were very motivated to write.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Face Movie

Picasa has an interesting tool for making slideshows that focus on faces in the photos.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


When students complete online projects, I ask them to post the results to their blogs.

The problem is that there are often technical difficulties with this ostensibly simple task.  For example, Blogger and Wordpress often do handle embed codes properly.  Sometimes, for random reasons I do not understand, Blogger will request that an account be verified with a cell phone number.

Also, Blogger can be frustratingly restrictive in the way it handles photos and such.  Wordpress can be intimidating to uninitiated students with it cluttered interface.

My solution is to try using Middlespot.  Middlespot allows users to post many media formats, including embed codes, photos, music and videos onto a blank workspace.  The workspace is larger than the visible portion of a browser, so visitors can scroll around the area.

This site will provide a more interesting way for students to display their work.  Hopefully.  It’s still in beta, so there might be glitches.


Friday, November 5, 2010

Lyrics Training

Lyrics Training is an interesting site I discovered from Twitter.

You select a music video from Youtube.  As the song plays, you must type the lyrics.  There are three levels of difficulty, which each successive level omitting more words.

There are seven languages to chose from, so this site could not only help my students learn English, but it could also help me learn French.  Many people have told me that a good way to learn French is to listen to French music. 

I think that my students would be interested in using this website because if there is one thing they all universally love, it’s music videos on Youtube.

As the song plays, the lyrics scroll below segmented into short phrases.  The neat thing about this is that the song automatically pauses after each phrase, and it will not continue until you type the missing word.  If you want to rehear a phrase, then click on the backspace key and it will replay.  If need be, you can skip words.   As well, there is a translation feature.


When you finish a song, you receive a score.  Here, you can see that I received a time penalty.  You can compare your score on a song to the scores of other users.


There is a stats page that displays all the songs you have played and your score for each song.