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ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Let’s Play Scrabble!

What would you do on a stormy weather day when instead of a full-size class only a bunch of students show up?

What would you do on a last day of school when there’s still an hour left till the potluck?

How would you make the last day of the week (e.g. Friday) more exciting, relaxing and less formal?

I’d bring a few sets of Scrabble with me!

This simple yet versatile board game doesn’t only teach spelling and vocabulary, but is also a great social activity. The objective of the game is to form words from the lettered tiles by placing them on a grid in a way that gives the highest score possible. Played in pairs or groups of four, the game naturally triggers player cooperation, develops negotiation and dictionary skills and brings a lot of fun!

Once the students get the hang of the rules, they look forward to the next time they can play it again. I personally think I should be rewarded by the retailers selling the game as too many of my students ran to buy the game right after they played it in class!

Scrabble days can be organized for students of the same level of English (beginner, intermediate and advanced). The winners from each class can then play against the winners from a different class creating healthy competition and providing plenty opportunities for social interactions.

Playing Scrabble on a regular basis can the fastest way to ensure students know word formations (e.g.: -ous for adjectives, -ly for adverbs), prefixes and suffixes (re-, im- or –tion, -ive), homonyms (ate, eight), past and past participle forms, spelling rules for adding –ing/-ed to the verbs and more!

Considering the low cost of the game, it’s definitely worth having it in your teacher arsenal!
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 10:45 PM   2 Comments  Add Comment

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Presidential Elections Word Cloud and Language Learning

New York Times has asked its readers today to choose one word that best describes their mood on the Election Day. The word cloud is a visualization of a large number of adjectives the readers most frequently used to describe their current state of mind. More adjectives are being added with the most popular choices.

What a valuable lesson ESL students can learn by understanding, analyzing and adopting those vivid adjectives into their lexicon! It’s great to go over them in class even when this big day is over and discuss their meanings come other important events of their lives.

This is just a partial list of those: hopeful, worried, emotional, cautious, thrilled, jittery, relieved, patriotic, determined, ambivalent, giddy, anticipatory, elated, pensive, proud, terrified, apprehensive.

Based on the level, after thorough vocabulary explanations, conversation questions can be created for further practice. Examples can include:

• Why would you have an ambivalent attitude towards your best friend’s girlfriend?
• What makes you feel elated?
• Do you get emotional when you watch dramas?
• What are you determined to do next year?
• Do you feel jittery when you make a presentation?
• Which anticipatory precautions should the factory management take to avoid work-related injuries?
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:16 PM   0 Comments  Add Comment


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