Thursday, 21 January 2010

Vowel sounds presentation, student worksheet and quiz/spelling test

Follow the link to see a PowerPoint presentation on the 20 vowel sounds in the English language. You can download, edit and use for your own classes or watch it online if you are a student!
Here is a screen shot:

I asked individual students to tell me names of the pictures and then to tell me the number of syllables, the vowel sounds (I explained how these are often linked) and if they knew any other words with a similar sound. I also checked that they realised which vowel the phonetic sound was related to. After the presentation I went through the student worksheet with the class. I got the students to write the word using a black and a red pen - writing the vowel sound with the red pen - e.g. tray
You can see the student worksheet here -

and you can download it for free by clicking this link Student-Sheet-Vowels.

The next class we had a spelling test based on the words on the left hand page. I made it a bit more interesting by creating some questions that you can see below...

and again you can download it for free by click this link -

Please leave a comment if you find this useful or have any ideas on how to make the activities better.

Practice your pronunciation online

I've been looking on the internet for a good website that helps students with their pronunciation of vowel sounds, diphthongs and consonants for about two years and I have finally found an excellent page on the Oxford University Press website This site is so good because it uses the phonetic alphabet along with common words and simple pictures to represent each word. The site also allows the viewer to hear the words pronounced in clear, British English.Here is a screenshot from the vowel section:

Here is a screen shot from the consonant section:

Monday, 18 January 2010

Another Excel activity to practice using the sum function

Introduce the class with the PowerPoint that you can download here. Elicit from the students what the map shows. Students should be able to deduce that the colour coded areas are related to the spellings of nationalities.

Elicit different nationalities from the class as each arrow appears on the PowerPoint. Write the nationalities on a whiteboard or flipchart and underline the endings or if using a SmartBoard you can underline them on that.

Open a blank Excel file or pre prepare one with your students names in, in column A. Elicit the nationalities from the class and add them into row A. Enter a '1' for each student in the correct cell. Autosum each column to find the total number of students for each nationality. Click here to view an example.

Now this is the tricky bit... You can download screenshots here

  1. Select the row of totals at the bottom of the file
  2. Click on Insert / Bar / Select the first option
  3. Right click on the graph and click on select data
  4. 'Select Data Source' box will open, click on edit in the right hand box - these are the horizontal axis labels
  5. Select B1 to H1 (the nationalities that you have chosen) and click OK
  6. Click OK on the 'Select Data Source' box

You should now have a lovely graph showing the numbers and nationalities of your students.

Shopping Activity for Entry 2 ESOL students

Shopping Activity

Number of students - approx 20

Layout the classroom like this - 

View the PowerPoint and elicit the new lexis from the students. Click here to view the PowerPoint, you can download it and edit it too!

Ask two or three students to deliver the goods (printed cards) to the shops. Monitor them to check that they can place the goods into the correct shops. Ask the same students to act as 'security guards'. The 'security guards' stand either side of the teacher's desk and only allow students into the open space until the teacher tells them it's OK.

Nominate 4 students to be 'shop keepers' and then ask the remaining students to write shopping lists based on what they remember from the PowerPoint. The 'shop keepers' should keep the cards in their hands and not show them to the 'customers'. The 'shop keepers' should only give a card when a student asks correctly for it. 

The teacher instructs the 'security guards' to allow the 'customers' into the shopping space. The 'customers' have to approach the correct shops and get the things on their lists. If the shop has sold out of the objects they need to collect (all the things on their list) they have to try and remember other items from the PowerPoint and add them to their list.

'Customers' can only leave the shopping area when the teacher has checked the shopping list and confirmed with the 'security guards'.

Observe the students and record their interactions as you see fit.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

When should we use CAPITAL letters?

When do we Use Capital Letters?

1. Use a capital letter for the personal pronoun 'I':
• What can I say?
2. Use a capital letter to begin a sentence or to begin speech:
• The man arrived. He sat down.
• Suddenly Mary asked, "Do you love me?"
3. Use capital letters for many abbreviations and acronyms:
• G.M.T. or GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
• N.A.T.O. or NATO or Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
4. Use a capital letter for days of the week, months of the year, holidays:
• Monday, Tuesday
• January, February
• Christmas
• Armistice Day
5. Use a capital letter for countries, languages & nationalities, religions:
• China, France
• Japanese, English
• Christianity, Buddhism
6. Use a capital letter for people's names and titles:
• Anthony, Ram, William Shakespeare
• Professor Jones, Dr Smith
• Captain Kirk, King Henry VIII
7. Use a capital letter for trade-marks and names of companies and other organizations:
• Pepsi Cola, Walkman
• Microsoft Corporation, Toyota
• the United Nations, the Red Cross
8. Use a capital letter for places and monuments:
• London, Paris, the Latin Quarter
• the Eiffel Tower, St Paul's Cathedral
• Buckingham Palace, the White House
• Oxford Street, Fifth Avenue
• Jupiter, Mars, Syrius
• Asia, the Middle East, the North Pole
9. Use a capital letter for names of vehicles like ships, trains and spacecraft:
• the Titanic
• the Orient Express, the Flying Scotsman
• Challenger 2, the Enterprise
10. Use a capital letter for titles of books, poems, songs, plays, films etc:
• War And Peace
• If, Futility
• Like a Virgin
• The Taming of the Shrew
• The Lion King, Gone With The Wind

Can you think of any other times that we use capital letters? Why not add them via the comments box below?

Resourced from

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Today was the first day back after New Year. It seemed appropriate to do a session on New Year's Resolutions. I was lucky enough to find that has already created some worksheets and recorded some people talking about their New Year's Resolutions (2008).

I took the ideas and used them for my class. Thanks!!

One Stop English - New Year's Resolutions

Evalutaion of the Excel class

After introducing the topic with the PowerPoint - Why do we use Excel.ppt I split the class into four groups. The groups were given the pictures and some sentences to match to the pictures. I split the groups so that there was a mix of abilities. Groups that struggled with the language were told to look for keywords within the sentences and encouraged to make a guess based on what they did know. After the students had successfully managed to match the words to the pictures I then gave the students a copy of the slides in handout form, four to a page.

The students then wrote the sentences onto the handouts. After the writing activity I checked meaning, pronunciation and form of any unfamiliar words and I encouraged students to read one sentence each.

Next we watched the video 4_fruits.wmv and this provided some good discussions about the names of fruits in other languages.

After the video I gave a brief description of the Excel task - fruits.xls - before we had a 15 minute break.

After the break I demonstrated and elicited from the students how to complete the instructions in the fruit.xls activity. Students then worked independently, with support from my LSA and myself and their peers. Individual students were given instruction, feedback and comments to help them understand any language that they didn't know.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

YouTube account

I've connected my YouTube account to my blog and my Twitter account so that I can promote my videos and share my work with other tutors. You can find my YouTube page here

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!! Who knows what 2010 will bring...
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