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Using Board Games

June 20th, 2008

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This week’s show is on using board games off the shelf.   Ron and Mark offer some suggestions for  how you can use board games in ESL classes and as communicative activities.

We cover:

  • games that are ready to go right of the shelf, like Scrabble, Pictionary, …
  • games you need to tweak a little, like UNO, Jenga, …
  • games you can use with a bit of imagination, like Monopoly, …

There are about 10+ game ideas you can use in your language classes.

If you have some ideas for using board games, let us know.  We’d definitely like to hear  about a few more ideas.  Post them here or over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Ask questions or leave comments about the show.

Thanks for listening!
Game of the Week: Simon Sheep

A fun group game to get students up and moving.  It’s great for practicing body parts, numbers, and it can be used to quickly get large classes into groups.  A quick fun game!

some downloadable games mentioned in the show: English Tycoon and UnScramble It!

What makes for a good speaking activity

May 27th, 2008

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This week Chris Cotter from Heads Up English.com is with us again. Heads Up English.com has some new lower intermediate exercises: speaking activities, listening activities, grammar worksheets and vocabulary exercises free for download! Please check out Heads Up English.com!

Mark starts the conversation off and offers quite a few ideas about what makes for good speaking activities:

  • less about the language and more about the language goal
  • lower levels – very repetitive
  • higher levels – the language is functional and real
  • make sure the activity is student centered

and Mark goes on with more tips for creating a successful speaking activity.

Chris adds to Mark’s list with some other tips:

  • high talk time
  • expanding on the activities
  • variability in the activity structure
  • decide whether the activity is for fluency, accuracy, or one then the other.

Ron batting number 3 in the discussion added his tips:

  • creating student interest in the activity
  • tips to decrease student anxiety
  • don’t overextend a short activity – killing it and your audience

Part 2 goes into how to actually accomplish some of these ideas to make speaking activities and language practice more effective. We give some examples of what we think are good examples of these ideas, some examples of what we think aren’t good examples and how those can easily be changed to more effective speaking task.

Ideas for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.

Some of the games and ideas discussed in the show can be found in previous games of the week or in the following links: the Paper Game MES Games Get Four

Discuss this podcast and what you think makes for a great speaking activity on the ESL Teacher Talk Forums! We’re listening.

The Silent Way in Language Teaching

May 7th, 2008

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We have a big show this week, so we get right into it.

Mark and Ron cover these points concerning the Silent Way methodology:

  • what is the Silent Way Method
  • key aspects of the Silent Method
  • how does the Silent Method work in class
  • using cuisenaire rods, colored blocks and instilling learner autonomy
  • criticism of the Silent Method and what we can do with it in class

The Silent Way is a very intriguing method and if you have any questions or anything to add about the silent method post your comments or questions over on the ESL Teacher Talk Forums.  We’re listening!

the Paper GameGame of the Week: the Paper Game

This is a pretty big game of the week.  It is Mark’s favorite game and the seed that started several games at MES-English which in turn started MES-English.  It’s the game that started it all!

It’s a communcative game that has students assume personalities.  The students interact and try to guess who the other student is.  It can be played with groups of 4 to 400.  It’s adaptable to all levels and goes over well with children and adults.  You can use the template to create your own board and there are game board makers that allow you to make boards using the same images from the MES-English flashcards.  Enjoy!

Content and Language Intergrated Learning

April 10th, 2008

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Clive of ESL Podcards is with us again this week. He’s been working his site and enrolled in a new course. He’s learning about Content and Language Intergrated Learning (CLIL.) In the beginning Clive gives us a quick run down of what CLIL is.

Clive and Mark take a look at their experiences team teaching. Some of their experiences have been positive and some haven’t been so positive. However, these experiences are all with other languages teachers. This is where CLIL differs.

CLIL uses one language teacher and one subject teacher. The subject teacher is the content pro and the language teacher is the language/linguistic pro. Together they work to teach content and improve language skills. The goal of the lesson isn’t a linguist goal, but a content goal.

Other parts covered include:

  • positive and negative aspects
  • using multiple intelligences

Discuss CLIL or ask questions over on the ESL Teacher Talk forums. We’d be glad to keep the show going!

Check out Clive’s site ESLpodcards for listening resources for teachers with accompanying worksheets and transcripts.

Game of the week: Bounce Around

This is a simple board game that can be used for practice or for review. The game can be adapted to any level or any linguistic target. It can be used with elementary school students to adults, large classes, small classes and it’s great for one-on-one. All you need is a board, markers for the students and a die.

You can make a board with all text, mixed text and images or all images. That board maker is available at Tools for Educators.com. If you have more questions or would like to see everything written out, as well as read some of the variations, you can check MES-English for the Bounce Around game write-up.

Bounce Around Board Game

Thanks for listening!

Englipedia – “Sharing a little, gaining a lot”

March 27th, 2008

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THe show starts off with a brief look at the possible hazards associated with teaching ESL. Mark has a pretty interesting story from work this week.
This podcast we’re glad to welcome Patrick Bickford, from Englipedia. Patrick tells us a little about where he’s teaching, what he’s doing and about the website he’s been working on for the past year.

“Englipedia is about people contributing a little of their own ideas, and in turn gaining a valuable resource by which we all can benefit. It is dedicated to Assistant Language Teachers, Japanese Teachers of English and Homeroom teachers working within Japan’s … public education sector.”

Patrick tells us a bit about Englipedia, what the site contains and how teachers can use and adapt some of the resources. Please check out the site. http://jhsenglipediaproject.com

You can discuss this show as well as older shows on the ESL Teacher Talk Forums. We’d love to hear from you.

Game of the Week : Mario and Luigi

Patrick brings with him the Game of the Week this week. It’s a whole class activity aimed at elementary school children. It could also be used with kindergarten classes and small groups as well. It’s a fun review/practice game and gets a little of that video game energy into the classroom. We hope you enjoy the activity!

Using a Projector in Classes

March 10th, 2008

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The new school year has started in Taiwan and Ron is back to work.

Easter and St. Patrick’s Day are upon us this month and Mark has some new materials for these holidays if you’re interested.

Easterflashcards, coloring, stickers, sticker charts, printable greeting cards, certificates, Easter bingo cards, an Easter board game and more!

St. Patrick’s Dayflashcards, coloring, stickers, sticker charts, printable greeting cards, certificates, bingo cards, a shamrock board game and more!

Have fun!

This week’s show is about using projectors in your classes.  The projector is a great tool for engaging the students and adding tchnology to your classes.  Ron’s school just added new projectors to the classroom and he’s all hyped up about them.

Ron and Mark offer ideas for what you can do with projectors, explain why it’s useful, how to use them in children’s, teen and adult classes .  There is also a warning section about problems and possible pitfalls with projectors in the classroom.

If you are using a projector already, hopefully this will give you a couple ideas to add to your lessons.  If you aren’t using a projector currently, maybe this will help when the day comes.

Discuss this show over on the ESL Teacher Talk forums.  Ask questions or leave comments about how you use a projector in your classes.

Thanks for listening!

The Game of the Week: Speed Dice and the Sentence Race

Mark has been enraptured with dice games for the past year or so and brings 2 games this week.  These are simple to prepare and can be used with children to adults, one-on-one classes to the dreaded 80+ classes as well.  We hope you can use the activity.

More dice games and a write up of these games.

the Audio-Lingual Method and how we can use it

February 27th, 2008

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Mark has a lot of news. Things are moving and shaking at MES-English with a new website that will bring a lot of flexibility to MES-English users and provide materials for teachers that may not have been MES-E users in the past. Tools for Educators.com!

Mark has been working for a month or so on the new site and it offers teachers a few worksheet makers, a handout generator, dice makers, domino wizard, spelling and reading quizzes, a board game creator, a tracing and free writing worksheet generator and more. Please check it out!

Continuing with teaching methodologies, this week’s show is the third in the series, the Audio-Lingual Method. Mark and Ron will run down for you what the Audio^Lingual method is and the principles behind it and how it is/was used. We also discuss what we can take away from the method, plus a few thoughts on what we should leave behind.

Discuss this show at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Leave comments about this show, words of encouragement, suggestions for future shows, or just pop-in and tell us who you are.

Thanks for listening!

The Game of the Week: Crisscross BingoCrissCross Bingo

Crisscross Bingo is a fresh version of the old classic. Students combine words or phrases in a speaking task that can be adjusted to the students’ level. They plot points on their board much like Battleship and place a mark on their board. When they get 3 in a row or 4 in a row, bingo!

This game was designed to be played using dice which you can make here. You can also create the boards very quickly from Tools for Educators.com. But you don’t need to do that. This game is easily adapted to larger classes, it can be played with flashcards instead of dice and it can be played with any ordinary pair of dice and a sheet of paper.
We hope your students (and you) enjoy the game!

Writing up a lesson plan

February 7th, 2008

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This week’s show deals with creating a lesson plan.

  • requirements for a lesson plan
  • why you should have a lesson plan
  • what goes into a lesson plan
  • the lesson plan as a record for other teachers
  • tips for adding to your plan while it’s in action
  • sample lesson plans from Mark and Ron
  • ending the lesson

Sorry, a short and sweet write-up of the show.

Game of the week: King Me

A fun game for large classes, small groups, children or adults. A game for everyone. You’ll need a set of flashcards, but you’ll need to get on the photocopier and make a few different versions of the cards. You’ll need some space, but it’s a fun game.

This is a variation of a game submitted to the MES-English forums http://www.mes-english.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1684#5282

I hope you enjoy it!

Planning an event, show, or presentation

January 10th, 2008

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Happy New Year!  We’re back and we hope everyone has had a great holiday.  Ron’s in Tailand and Mark is freezing in Nagano.  The idea of enjoying winter and getting out in the snow came up, but …
This show deals with putting together an ESL event, show, or presentation for your school or the parents.  It can seem like a lot to ask, because you are often give little or no direction.

We go over some options for content, what to do, what you might not want to do, options for content and some of the things Ron and Mark have done.  We offer ideas for elementary school, junior high
Putting on shows is actually fun.  Trust me.  It’s actually great once it’s over so if you get a performance dumped in your lap, we hope you embrace the opportunity to put on a Christmas Pirate Adventure!

Mark actually disagrees with putting on shows, presentations and events.  That part didn’t quite make it into the show,but if you’re wanting to know why, hop over to the ESL Teacher Talk forums at MES-English.com and ask what that’s all about.

Game of the Week: Guess Who

Ron has brought a game for any level, but best for 10 and up.  There’s little preparation necessary; a set of questions and a sheet of paper for everyone.   There’s some writing involved and several different variations to spice up the game.  Good for large groups, but can be adapted to smaller groups.  Enjoy!

Organization on the job

December 19th, 2007

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Merry Christmas! This will be the last podcast of 2007 and we wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Mark has a lot of news this show.

Hospital English.com has been updated!  I’m sure everyone was waiting for this and it has come.  There are a bunch of new materials on there for teachers.  So, if you teach medical professionals check it out!  Or if you just want to increase traffic to that site by 20%, please visit the site!
There are a lot of new Christmas resources at MES-English.com and in the MES Network.

Dream English.com has written a version of Jingle Bells that’s free to download and use in you classes.  The song has a vocabulary practice section that matches the vocabulary in the MES-English Christmas flashcards.  Use them together had spice up you Christmas lessons.

The actual show this week is on organization.  We give you some tips on how to organize flashcards, students’ homework, textbooks, CDs, worksheets, the paper tiger, your classroom, lesson plans, and more.

If you spend a little time using these organizational tips, you can save yourself a lot more time at work.

Game of the Week: A Day at School

A board game that allows you to practice a great variety of different target languages.  Check out the game and download the game board and cards here A Day at School

You can alter the game and make it into an ESL RPG game with elves and dwarves fighting each other in the hallway, take points, earn special armor …