Sunday, December 30, 2012

ATDOP Spring 2012: Listening and Speaking Resources for Students

Shaggy Dog Stories website includes a list of stories in mp3 format that can be downloaded for free.

  • I can use this website with my 11th and 12th grade students. 
  • Stories can be used as Ice-breaking activities. Students listen to a certain story. Then, they retell it sentence by sentence. 
  • Students can also listen to a certain story and identify 5 new words with their correct 
  • pronunciation as a review exercise at the end of the lesson. These stories can be used as models before students write their own stories.

It includes many free printable listening worksheets and quizzes. 

  • Using the computers and the internet lesson, students will listen to a list of words related to this topic. 
  • Working in groups, I give each group 3 words to use them in new sentences. Once they finish, I ask them to present their sentences. Then, they complete an exercise with these words deleted. 
  • The third step is to ask each group to discuss the benefits and dangers of using computers and the internet using at least 10 words from the list to which they listened earlier. Students can also use the quizzes involved in this website as home assignment.

 3. ESL Video

There are many ready-made quizzes that are based on videos. You can also create your own quizzes to match your objectives. 

  • I can use The Power of Words quiz as a pre-speaking activity. Students will watch the video, then think about a personal story where the words changed their entire lives. 
  • Students can complete the quiz The life of Charles Dickens as a post-activity after reading about Charles Dickens. They will improve their skill to listen for specific information and listen to the correct pronunciation of new words. 
  • Using this website, I created my first quiz titled Tell me Why? Students will listen to the song and complete the quiz. It helps them to build new vocabulary. Then, they respond to the post-question in groups. They will talk about the ways they can help each other. Students can create their own and send them to the class wiki to practice listening with a focus on specific information or grammatical items.

4.  Voki

Voki is a free tool that allows users to create personalized speaking avatars. It can motivate students and provide a kind of fun that makes them get involved in the activities.

  • I can ask every student to create a Voki introducing himself or herself at the beginning of the semester. Here is my Voki
  • Students can choose a character from the stories and novels they have and create a similar avatar with a background or a setting. Then, they record his or her role via microphone or use the computerized voice. 
  • Students can create a Voki reflecting on what they learned in a certain lesson. First, they will record their voices and listen to their pronunciation. Then, they will type their words and choose a computerized voice with their favorite accents to compare their pronunciation to the native one. Students can write descriptive paragraphs about any famous persons. Then type them on their avatar and listen to the computer voice to edit their writing, e.g., adding periods, correcting misspelled words … etc.
Vowel Discovery Activity 

It is a visual tool developed by Shirley Thompson & Karen Taylor for teaching English pronunciation. 

  • According to the authors of this tool, it represents the vowel sounds used in American English. The name of each color features the vowel sound it represents. 
  • It helps students focus on the stressed vowel in the stressed syllable using two key words: a color adjective and a noun. It also helps students to see and feel the American English vowels. 
  • I can create colored vocabulary lists based on this chart. When students learn new vocabulary or reading a new material, they can write the words in the correct boxes based on the stressed vowel. 
  • When students are not sure about the pronunciation of a word, they can check the chart to find the color that matches it. After recording students doing a speaking activity, I ask them to listen to their voices and identify the mispronounced words and find its correct pronunciation using the color vowel chart.
Blabberize TutorialExamples of Blabbers

Blabberize is a web 2.0 tool that allows users to upload a photo, draw a "mouth" on that photo, and then record or upload a sound clip to make that photo speak or sing along with the sound.

  • Students can use it at the very beginning of the semester to introduce themselves. They upload a picture for them and record a message talking about their interests and hobbies. 
  • Students can describe persons, animals, and objects using their photos with mouths. Here is my Blabber describing an ancient Egyptian. 
  • Students can draw their pictures, e.g., directions to a place, describing a process … etc. Then, they create blabbers to explain them to their colleagues. 
  • Students can use Blabberize to retell a story. Each student selects a role and tries to imitate him or her. Students can use this tool to make a summary or a reflection on the lessons and send them to the class wiki to receive feedback from the teacher and their peers.
7. ESL Lounge - Song Lyrics

It includes a lot of song lyrics. You can search for songs alphabetically from A-Z. It also includes some worksheets that can be used with the songs. However, you have to download their mp3 files because it doesn't include audio songs. 


8.  Xtranormal
 Xtranormal TutorialMy Xtranormal Sample

It is an online movie maker that allows users to create movies using a variety of cartoon characters and voices with different accents. It can be downloaded, embedded into websites or published via YouTube.

  • This website helps students improve their listening skills and pronunciation using different accents, speaking skills by recording their voices, their presentation and non-communication skills using the features of motions, points, faces, and pauses. 
  • Using Xtranormal, students can create movies practicing dialogues or conversations using some language functions. 
  • After reading their textbook’s stories, students can choose some characters to play their roles recording their voices and selecting similar faces. 
  • Using one actor, each student can prepare a 5-minute presentation about a certain concept. Students can retell a story with all its elements; setting, characters, music, dialogue and events. 

9. Agenda Web for Listening

It is a BIG treasure for foreign language learners. Browsing this great resource, you will find a lot of listening activities, stories and fairytales  real conversations, songs, videos, and podcasts for all levels.

  • Using Stories and Fairytales section, students can read and listen to a variety of stories at the same time. They can download audio files and listen to them many times to pick up some new words and their correct pronunciation.
  • Using Real English Conversations section, students can listen to many conversations to identify the stressed syllables and intonation.
  • English Audio Activities section provides students with many chances to listen to people talking about general topics with transcripts. This helps them to notice many aspects of language, e.g., stress, pauses, reduced forms … etc. Using Learn English through Songs, students can listen to songs and read the lyrics at the same time. After listening, they are going to complete some exercises.

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