How to use infographics to teach English

We are constantly looking for new ways to engage our students and get them interested in what we have to say. I’ve found that infographics do wonders! You can use them for so many types of activities and they are so easy to make. Here are a few sites where you can make your own, along with some ideas of how I’ve used them in class.

Wordle

Wordle is one of my favorites. I mainly use it to activate my student’s reading sub-skills. Although there are tons of uses you can give it. It basically creates a word cloud from a link, or you can simply type in or paste the words you want to use. You can be as creative as you like with the font, direction of the words and the colors and sizes. I also love having students make their own as a guideline to an oral presentation, or to summarize a text.

Hohli

This is a great tool to make your own charts, graphs or ven  diagrams. Even though it may seem something a math teacher might use, I love make really simple ones to get my students to describe, compare and contrast. Besides the obvious relation with the IELTS task 1 essay, you can also use it for speaking activities. Give your student an easy graph that describes a person’s activities in the past days, and have them give as many sentences as they can using past simple, past continuous and past perfect. It’s almost as good as a timeline.

Visualize

You can choose any one of their featured templates like language maps,experience timelines, skills bubble charts or treegrams and pictograms. This tool can generate really amazing visual infographics that can be completely personalized to whatever you’re seeing in class with our students. This can give us an engaging and easy way to lay out information for our students as a warm up exercise for a language skills activity, or even a grammar explanation.

Easel.ly

This one has tons of ready made templates that you can tweak to your specific needs. You can tap into a library of images like arrows, shapes and connector lines. It even lets you personalize the font and colors. Again an very easy tool that allows you to quickly make a stunning visual aid for your class.

students-raising-hands

Extra teaching tips to using infographics in class:

Be sure you choose the right visual for the information you want to share with your students. 

It’s not all about how it looks. Make sure you work on quality content, so that the learning experience can be even more valuable. 

Give your students the opportunity to analyze and understand them on their own, then share with a partner, and then get conclusions as a group. This will ensure all students get the hang of it. 

Use infographics as prompts to get students participating, talking. 

Sometimes I’ll bring in infographics that are wrong or misinformation on purpose, and I have them find the mistakes.

Explaining grammar rules can be so much more understandable and engaging, if it is visually organized instead of explained orally or read out loud from a text book.

I find this is an amazing tool to flip the roles as well. Getting students to use these tools to make summaries, as a project they have to present to the class or as a way to make sure they understood a particular topic. 

Let’s take full advantage of this fun way of sharing information with our students.

 

 

 

Q&A: What do you do with those students that are fast-finishers?

From Santiago, Chile I got the following question:

What do you do with those students that are fast-finishers? I always make them help the rest of the class but I think I need a new strategy. Greetings from Santiago, Chile!

ANSWER:

This a big concern to many teachers, because if not handled correctly it could definitely bring difficulties in classroom management and at the same time it would lead to the students that haven’t finished their work to feel unmotivated and maybe even rush through just to finish quickly. To avoid this, there are a few strategies you could implement:

  • Keep a folder:

One way to keep them busy is to keep a folder with extra worksheets. I try to make them fun activities, that don’t feel like more work. The objective of these worksheets is to give them extra practice, but to allow them to have a little fun. You could get great worksheets from these pages: Busy Teacher and iSL Collective.

  • Get them reading:

Try to have with you different reading material. I like bringing comic books, fun short stories, magazines, or links to resources they can check online (depending on the tech you have available to students during class). Again, the idea is to have fun reading material, so try to make it things your students are in to.

  • What now? strategy:

Be prepared by having a list of activities they can do when they finish. Here you can get tons of ideas as to how to set it up and what to include. I usually like to include topics that I know my students are struggling with and need extra practice on, or having them find an activity they can share with the class to reinforce a topic in the next class.

  • Write a six-word story:

This is a fun one! Have your students write a story using only six words. You can even put them up on a billboard so that they can be motivated to write really good ones.

  • Newspaper blackout:

I thought this one in particular was really cool. Again the end result can be put up somewhere in the room. Keep pages of old newspaper cutouts and have students black out all of the words until the only ones showing make a sentence saying something about themselves or maybe even a particular topic, and you could change the topic monthly depending on what you’re seeing in class.

I found those last two on this page, in case you want to read some more ideas.

Hope these help you out!

 

If you have a question that you want answered, just reach out to me here

 

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Using interactive flashcards for vocabulary practice

I love using Cram.com to practice vocabulary with my students.

First of all, I’m a big fan of teaching vocabulary chunks so when I’m teaching a course, I make it a point to teach certain groups of vocabulary together and to explore how to teach them to my students so they actually stick. For me recycling is the key so lately I’ve been using Cram.com in class and for out-of-class practice for my students. You can create digital flashcards in groups and on the page you can even share your flashcards so others can use them. Once you have designed them you can either view the flashcards, play a memorize game, take a test or even play some of the games the page has available. All of these can be used at different moments of your class to motivate students to learn new words. One more thing I love is that it’s available on iPhone and Android, so you can easily include it as individual practice in class.

EXTRA: You can even get your students to create their own and share with the class.

Stumped? Trying to find the best way to teach a grammar topic? Figuring out how to handle the multi-level group?

E-mail me at tatygoraelt@gmail.com and ask away. I’ll write a post answering one question a week and help out as much as I can. Now, of course I’ll be waiting for others to comment on each post and that way we can all reach the best possible solution to your question!

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Clip your videos to make them more engaging and meaningful

Using TubeChop you can edit YouTube videos and cut just the bits and pieces you need. I have wanted to do this for soooo long and today I stumbled on this tool and just had to share. I’ve just tried it out and it’s really easy to use. Definitely opens up so many possibilities to planning classes around video segments, instead of full videos. I usually don’t use any segment longer than 5 minutes (and even 5 minutes seems long sometimes). There are so many linguistic take aways from a short video segment that are so much more meaningful than full movies or videos clips.

How to get the most out of Socrative in the ELT classroom?

We are constantly looking for new ways to engage our students. I have found that Socrative, which is an online platform, has really helped me create amazing activities that allow my students to participate in real time. It offers me so many options that I can tailor-make activities based on what I want and need my students to practice, giving them the amount of control and access to the results or progress as I want. Besides this it also works across devices, be it their laptop, tablets or smartphones, so everyone can log on easily. Now, let’s get started with how you can get the most out of this platform for your ELT classroom!

Get started and learn the basics

The first step is to open a free account. When your account is available they automatically assign a room name, so first go and change it to something your students can feel engaged with. Once you’ve got that all set up you can get started. Here are some of the features Socrative has that you can use in the ELT classroom.

Quiz question to get quick answers

You can generate a quick question type activity. It gives you the option of jotting something down on the board or simply asking out loud and having student answer in three types of answers: multiple choice, true or false and short answer. Choose the one that best fits what you want to ask, and be sure to give them all the information they may need. This is great instead of passing around pieces of paper where they write down what they want, and you can even look back on the saved results whenever you want. I’ve used it for just random things that I’ve needed to find out from the students like: to verify previous knowledge on a topic or to check who has doubts about a particular topic before moving on. You can make the quiz anonymous if you like, so that opens the door to many possibilities. Only the teacher can see the results in this type of quiz.

Make a Question Race

If you want to make a game interesting, Socrative can definitely help you out. By creating a Space Race quiz you can make teams, change the theme and project the scoreboard as they answer the questions. This is a great interactive way to practice language in class and still make it fun! You can configure the test to either give feedback to students and/or give them results, you can disable these if you like. I’ve used this game a lot in class to review grammar topics and students love it. Keep in mind you have to have the quiz created previously. Since the quiz is created and stored in the quiz bank, you can later use the same quiz individually as a graded activity through Socrative as well.

pic socrative2

Create a Test or graded activity

Want to go green, get rid of all that paper on your desk and save time grading? Well, you can do all of that by creating all your quizzes and graded activities in Socrative. Here you can set it up in three ways, depending on the activity: Student paced – immediate feedback (each student can move forward as they answer, but not skip back and forth, and they get immediate feedback), Student paced – navigation mode (Students can skip and go back to questions as they please and they also get immediate feedback), and finally Teacher paced (students answer one question at a time at the teacher’s pace, who can view all of the answers in real time). This quiz activity can be very flexible and depending on if it’s an individual activity, roundtable review or interactive individual game it can be adjusted to whatever you need.

Fun ideas for using Socrative

Surveys: Create fun surveys for your students, where you can easily verify what your students think or want. Choosing the next song to use in class, or simply knowing who they vote to be the next class monitor can be a piece of cake.

Quick knowledge review: Want to make sure they understood before they leave? Ask them a quick question before they leave and that’s their ticket out the door. I usually don’t grade this, it’s more for me to gauge how to start off my next lesson. Sometimes, I also do it in the beginning of a class, to see how I can set up the groups for an activity based on their current knowledge and grasp of the topic.

Have students make their own: I’ve had my students make their own quizzes and share them with the class. It’s always fun, because to make it they first have to understand the topic, so it’s great practice and lots of fun.

Mix and Match – with board game or tic-tac-toe: I use Socrative as my flashcards for almost any board game out there that involves questions. When students land in a square, you can get them to answer the question in Socrative.

Anonymous class feedback: Sometimes you want to the get feedback or simply know something about your students, but don’t want to pressure them into giving their name. This is a way for them to tell you what they really think.

EXTRA:

All of the results you get from Socrative can be downloaded to Excel or PDF in an individual or group format. So no worries about being able to use the grades, or the extra hassle to copy them into your grade book.

 

Take some time and explore Socrative…  Let me know how else you could use it in class!

 

 

 

 

 

Back to where I love to be

I have recently been actively teaching again (online and face-to-face). After spending so much time on educational projects, teacher training and consulting it’s so refreshing to be doing what I love! Teaching is definitely my passion.

Now a huge advantage for you guys is that it’s given me all new ideas I can share with everyone. So expect upcoming posts sharing cool websites and teaching tools I’ve been using lately.

Lesson idea: Star Wars crawl creator

For my love of Star Wars!

ELT Planning

I got so excited about this that I had to post it up! I found this site today where you can create your own version of the Star Wars intro! It looks like this, and you can find it here…

starwars

It’s really simple to do – just create your own story, type it in and click done…

starwars2

My students are still loving Star Wars at the moment so this got tonnes of laughs. It’s perfect for creative writing. Enjoy!

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