Saturday, July 10, 2010

Week 3: Aural/Oral Websites

The second task of this week is to select two or more websites that can develop our students’ aural/oral skills. We are also asked to mention English level/age of students that could best use these sites, what skills these websites enhance, and overall recommendation about them. 

Actually, this task takes more time and effort. Again and again I surfed the internet to select suitable websites for my pre-intermediate students. The most difficult thing I faced is to select from all these websites on the web. What makes me prefer one website to another is its suitability and availability. I mean is it suitable for my students? Are its resources downloadable?

Deborah suggested a very good collection of websites. They are of great value for me and my students. However, I wanted to explore more websites and share them with my colleagues. 

I’ve recommended my colleagues to use three websites that I admire. The first website is http://www.englishenglish.com/
. It contains a great deal of exercises, quizzes, tests, puzzles and it deals with all areas of English language: grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, speaking and writing. What I care about is the diagnostic listening test as I want to know what skills students have and what skills they need to improve.

The second website is http://www.123listening.com/
. It has a very simple interface. However, all its audio files are downloadable and worksheets are printable. Moreover, it suits my students’ levels and needs.

The third web site: http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/english/frameset.html
concerns with developing my students’ pronunciation. To be honest, this website was recommended by my dear friend Mariam 4 years ago. She used it with her little daughter. And when I tried it, I found it fantastic as my students can listen to the right pronunciation and see how it is pronounced.

Also, I’ve visited my colleagues’ recommended websites. I liked Liliya’s and Camela’s website: http://bbc.com.uk/
that is suggested by Deborah. It suits my students and its resources are downloadable. Luiza’s website http://www.englishcentral.com/en/videos is also wonderful. It is a good idea to make my students practice speaking and pronunciation while watching videos. This means that they use more than one medium to do a certain task. Also, I like the idea of recording students’ pronunciation. This provides them with many chances to repeat until they master the right pronunciation of words. Arbi suggested similar website: http://www.karaokeplay.com/. It contains many songs for all levels. Students can use it to record their songs with their microphones. I think they will like it because after recording, they will hear their voices online. Then we can use these songs in their listening lessons. I’m sure they will involve in these lessons because I use their voices and works. The same idea of using students’ voices is asserted by Stephen. He suggested a wonderful website: http://chirbit.com/home for doing this. I like his idea of using this website as a closure activity where he asks his students to record a "Chirbit" summary of their week at school. It is a good technique of checking their progress in their speaking and pronunciation skills.

Bostan also recommended http://www.onestopenglish.com website. Actually, I’m already familiar with its rich and valuable articles and lesson plans that involves many applicable ideas. Also, it contains many updated authentic activities, exercises, quizzes and tests that help students to develop their skills effectively.

One of the most wonderful websites that I admire is Arjana’s: http://www.listenaminute.com
. It has many exercises in alphabetical order. You can download the audio files and print the worksheets. When I selected one of its topics: http://www.listenaminute.com/f/food.html, I found everything available. You can listen or download the audio file and you can read the typescript. This is followed by many exercises: listening gap fill, correct the spelling, unjumble the words, discussion, student language survey, writing and homework. There are also 2 online quizzes to finish the lesson. Thanks so much Arjana for this treasure.

http://www.manythings.org/ that Bella recommended is one of the most well-organized websites. You can find many resources that deal with all areas of English language: vocabulary, reading, grammar, listening, speaking and pronunciation. I like very much the page concerning pronunciation “Listen & Repeat”: http://www.manythings.org/repeat. I can download file and use it in my classrooms. The most wonderful thing in this website is the new material uploaded every day at midnight. It is continuously updated.

Wow! I have learned all about these websites in just one week. How lucky am I and how lucky are my students? Now, we have a bank of treasures to select from. Even If I’m familiar with some of them, but what makes them new for me is how my colleagues use them in their classrooms. Although many of persons described the same website, every one added something new and valuable. Thanks my dear instructor and my colleagues for this effort.

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