Archive for Tag: vocabulary activities

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Ideas for Technology in the Classroom

Jenny FettersJenny Fetters is an ESL instructor at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland.

As teachers, we have a love/hate relationship with technology, don’t we? We’re always on the lookout for tools that will push language production in our students. However, what often happens is that the very technology we seek ends up making our students passive receptors of language rather than active users of it. Here are two fun ideas that provide opportunities for students to put all that English learning to good use!

A New Way to Use Cell Phones in Class

Running out of new, engaging ways to get your students to practice that vocabulary or grammar structure you just taught them? Are you frustrated with how often they’re looking at their cell phones instead of speaking with their classmates? Use some of your class time and send them outside of class! This past summer I asked my Vocabulary and Idioms class to grab a partner and their cell phones and look for examples of what they learned in class. The task was to take snapshots all over campus, either of places or objects, that represented an idiom they had learned. The students could place themselves in the photo interacting in the situation if it helped explain the idiom. After they had collected at least 5-6 examples, they were to text all of them to me and be prepared to present their photos to the class.

I know what you’re thinking:  I would never give out my personal cell phone number!  Fortunately, Google Voice has made it easier by allowing you to choose your own phone number. When students text that

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Amazing Adjectives

TamaraJonesBy Tamara Jones
ESL Instructor, Howard Community College
Columbia, Maryland
jonestamara@hotmail.com

Descriptive adjectives can make students’ speaking and writing richer and more interesting. However, my students tend to rely on the same, worn out adjectives time and time again: good, fine, nice. You might have heard responses like this before if you also teach English and/or have teenagers.

Azar’s Basic English Grammar does a great job of introducing students to adjectives in a couple of places. In Chapter 1, Using BE, there is a section in which students are introduced to the “be + adjective” combo and in Chapter 14, students get more practice with the syntax associated with English adjectives. However, some students need to spend a little more time experimenting with using adjectives in order to use them accurately.

A Lot of Adjectives

For many students at all levels, using a wide variety of adjectives in speaking or writing is less of a grammar problem and more of a vocabulary problem. In other words, once students learn the words old and young as beginners, they may not be motivated to learn substitutions like ancient, elderly or mature and youthful, juvenile and fresh. After all, there are so many words to learn in English, why waste time learning synonyms when the original word will do?

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