Teaching communication strategies
Listen to the show. Happy fall everybody! We’ll get back to fall and Halloween for the games of the week, but Matt has some great news for you. He’s finished and launched Dream English volume 3. There is a download pack on his website and it contains all of the songs from the 3 CDs plus a few bonus songs (over 45 songs.) You can also just get the new CD from there as well. This show deals with teaching communication strategies. We discuss ideas and tips to teach to students, especially teens, about how to be a better conversationalist. So while it’s not really teaching them English, you will be teaching them how to involve themselves better in conversation and keep conversations going. The main points Mark covers in the podcast are: using questions follow up questions feeding the conversation content not killing, but keeping the conversation keeping everyone involved how to move forward from negative responses attacking the conversation and not being passive There are bits and pieces in there about how to adapt these ideas to children’s lessons. We also discuss some ideas and advice for helping quiet students. There are 4 activities mentioned toward the end of the show to help apply some of these concepts in your lessons. If you have any questions of comments about the show, please post them here or over on the ESL Teacher Talk Forums at MES-English. We’d love to hear from you. Games of the week: It’s a mummy. You’re it! I just made that name up, but this week Matt has a Halloween theme game that uses some flashcards and game cards from MES-English’s Halloween set. Using a few cards and playing some Halloween music, you can have a lot of fun selecting students for different language tasks or it can be a knock out game you use at a Halloween party. There are two more games mentioned that are just party games and might be fun for you to use with your students. Thanks for listening!
9 Oct 2009
Super Simple Songs
Listen to the show. Devon Thagard, co-creator of SuperSimpleSongs, comes to the studio this week. He discusses his ESL experience and how he uses songs in class with young children. There are also some recommendations for music for young learners and a way to get a free set of SuperSimpleSong CDs. Learn more: www.supersimplesongs.com Visit devon’s blog at http://simplesongs.blogs.com listen to some i-mixes of simple songs: U.S. iTunes iTunes Japan Devon’s podcast: www.kodomoeikaiwa.podomatic.com Game of the Week: RPS challenge In 5 minutes practice any target language with students aged 5-100. All you need are some markers and students. It’s a great warm-up activity or review activity.
29 Jan 2007
Writing up a lesson plan
Listen to the show. This week’s show deals with creating a lesson plan. requirements for a lesson plan why you should have a lesson plan what goes into a lesson plan the lesson plan as a record for other teachers tips for adding to your plan while it’s in action sample lesson plans from Mark and Ron ending the lesson Sorry, a short and sweet write-up of the show. Game of the week: King Me A fun game for large classes, small groups, children or adults. A game for everyone. You’ll need a set of flashcards, but you’ll need to get on the photocopier and make a few different versions of the cards. You’ll need some space, but it’s a fun game. This is a variation of a game submitted to the MES-English forums http://www.mes-english.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1684#5282 I hope you enjoy it!
7 Feb 2008
Teaching Methodologies: Total Physical Response
Listen to the show. Total Physical Response (TPR) is a methodology made famous by James Ashner. It’s teaching style based on kinestetic learning. Teachers speak and students respond in some manner physically. We cover: what TPR is the theory behind TPR and what it’s supposed to do how TPR can be used in your lessons what are the main benefits, claims, and criticisms of the method We’d love to hear how you use TPR. Post them here or over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Ask questions or leave comments about the show. Thanks for listening! For more indepth information on TPR see Learning Another Language Through Actions by James Ashner or check out his website at http://www.tpr-world.com/<Game of the Week: Treasure Island This a game posted at MES-English. You can use it to practice various tenses, ‘There is …/ There are ..’/ various motion verbs/passive tense and more. Mark also mentions a variation on working with story telling and sequencing events. It’s a simple single sheet game and very versatile. It can be done as a pair activity or as a group activity. For more information check out the Treasure Island page at MES. Here is the game board.
26 Aug 2008
Most Popular Podcasts
The Communicative Approach
Listen to the show. This is the end of Season 2 here at ESL Teacher Talk. This week we talk about the communicative approach. We cover: what the communicative approach is the theory behind the communicative approach and what it’s supposed to do the 5 main points of the communicative approach how the communicative approach can be used in your lessons what are the main benefits, claims, and criticisms of the method We’d love to hear how you use the communicative approach. Post them here or over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Ask questions or leave comments about the show. Thanks for listening! and we’ll be back soon with Season 3! Game of the Week: Two Stories This a communicative game from http://bogglesworldesl.com. Two students are given articles. The students read the articles themselves. Then, they retell/summarize the information to their partner. At the end. there are some follow up questions for each article to measure how well the information was exchanged.
16 Oct 2008
Teaching Phonics – spelling and order (Part 1)
Listen to the show. It’s tough to cover all of phonics, but Mark and Ron give it a shot. The show takes a look first at spelling through the ages and why English spelling is the monster it is. There are a lot of things that have happened within English spelling over the past 1000 years. Mark goes through a few of the things that have had a big impact on English spelling. Hopefully the lecture doesn’t lose you and you continue listening for part one of teaching order. While order is a widely debated, we will go ahead and give you our take on it and why. We’ll be back with part two of teaching order in the next show. Discuss the show at the ESL Teacher Talk forums (register with this VIP code: 7575) Game of the Week: Word Baseball Ron gives us a great game this week, Word Baseball. You can use it in your phonics lesson or it can be adapted to other lessons. It requires little to no preparation and can be used on the fly if you need more practice or need to fill some extra time.
26 Sep 2007
New Classes With Adults
Listen to the show. Mark and Ron pick up from the show two episodes ago and deal with new classes, new students and new teachers. This show covers adult classes and young adult learners. we go over some ideas for a teacher’s first class, an entirely new class, a single new student and private classes. There are tips, advice and a few things to just to be aware of. Enjoy the show! Visit the ESL Teacher Talk Forums and join in on the show! If you aren’t a forum member, use this VIP code: 7575 to register. Game of the Week: Tic, Tac, Know A quick game that’s easy to set up. You need 9-16 flashcards and a few students. It’s flexible and gets the students moving. It is designed for young learners but I’m sure adults as well can enjoy the game and learning. Happy teaching!
29 Jul 2007
New Classes With Young Students
Listen to the show. Part one – Children’s classes: There’s a lot to think about when dealing with a new class. Ron and Mark offer you some advice and give you a few things to think about when the class is new, you the teacher are new or a new student is introduced into the class. Game of the Week: the Yes No race A nice warm-up activity and can be used to practice any yes-no question. game to print www.eslteachertalk.com/games/yesnoraceprint.php game with questions www.eslteachertalk.com/games/yes_no_questions.doc
5 Jul 2007
The last minute class. Ahh!
Listen to the show. This might be the last podcast that opens with a Halloween discussion. It was recorded back at the beginning of Oct. If you’d like to see the outcome of all of this Halloween talk, here’s the pictures and run down of Mark’s 2007 Halloween party www.marks-english-school.com/news/2007halloween/ Kenny has left the building and someone has to teach his children’s class that starts in 10 minutes. Mark has asked Clive to cover the lesson and Clive is in a panic. Luckily, Clive has 10 minutes to get some advice and Mark offers a few ideas for what you can do in this situation; assessing levels, activities with no materials, describing items, phonics, singing and more. There’s enough information to teach 4-5 hours without a lesson plan! More info on the exercise game: www.mes-english.com/games/gamestoplay.php Kenny has done it again and is looking to get fired. This time he’s gone home with the sniffles and Clive needs someone to cover an adult class that starts in … you guessed it! 10 minutes. Well, Mark has agreed to do it, but is concerned that’s there’s no lesson plan and he doesn’t want to look like an idiot. So, Clive gives Mark a few ideas for things he can do for assessing the class’s level to activities that can be done on the fly; soap operas, quiz games, current events, writing prompts, and a few other ideas. If you have some ideas for things teachers can do in this situation, please share. Visit the ESL Teacher Talk forums and post your ideas or comments! Game of the Week: GOTW challenge You have 10 minutes and the clock is ticking… Put you ideas here.
21 Nov 2007
Teaching the Past Tense
Listen to the show. Mark starts off the show with a description of a few new things MES English has to offer its users. In the show Mark has gone over his speaking first curriculum and now some of that is listed on the MES English website with links to all of the resources and additional resources you might need. There are also some new teaching videos at MES-TV. There are straight vocabulary videos, questions and answer videos as well as interactive question only videos. These are great for non-native teachers and teachers that just want to expose their students to another voice. Check them out – http://tv.mes-english.com This show deals with teaching the past tense. The main points of the podcast are: when should we teach the past tense?/What age is too young? How do Mark and Matt introduce the past tense to students what are some ways in the beginning to avoid the complications of irregular verbs ideas for content when teaching the past tense how to practice the past tense There are quite a few games and activities listed in the show, 4-5, I believe. So, this show there is no designated game of the week section, but we hope some of the activities mentioned in the show will give you something to work with. If you have any questions of comments about the show, please post them here or over on the ESL Teacher Talk Forums at MES-English. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for listening!
31 Aug 2009
What makes for a good speaking activity
Listen to the show. This week Chris Cotter from Heads Up English.com is with us again. Heads Up English.com has some new lower intermediate exercises: speaking activities, listening activities, grammar worksheets and vocabulary exercises free for download! Please check out Heads Up English.com! Mark starts the conversation off and offers quite a few ideas about what makes for good speaking activities: less about the language and more about the language goal lower levels – very repetitive higher levels – the language is functional and real make sure the activity is student centered … and Mark goes on with more tips for creating a successful speaking activity. Chris adds to Mark’s list with some other tips: high talk time expanding on the activities variability in the activity structure decide whether the activity is for fluency, accuracy, or one then the other. … Ron batting number 3 in the discussion added his tips: creating student interest in the activity tips to decrease student anxiety don’t overextend a short activity – killing it and your audience Part 2 goes into how to actually accomplish some of these ideas to make speaking activities and language practice more effective. We give some examples of what we think are good examples of these ideas, some examples of what we think aren’t good examples and how those can easily be changed to more effective speaking task. Ideas for beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Some of the games and ideas discussed in the show can be found in previous games of the week or in the following links: the Paper Game MES Games Get Four Discuss this podcast and what you think makes for a great speaking activity on the ESL Teacher Talk Forums! We’re listening.
28 May 2008
Lesson Plans Based on News Articles
Listen to the show. Using news articles in classes provides interesting and useful content, but how should we go about it? This show Chris Cotter from www.headsupenglish.com visits with us. HeadsUpEnglish.com offers ESL lesson plans based around current news articles with matching activities and worksheets for ESL teachers and audio for students. In our first segment, Resource Talk, Chris explains a little about himself and his website www.headsupenglish.com. The second segment, Pro Talk, Mark, Ron, and Chris discuss how to create your own lesson plan based around news articles and how they execute lessons based around news articles, covering reading strategies, warm-up activities, vocabulary introduction, and follow-up exercises. To get your hands on free ready-to-go news articles lessons and free matching audio downloads visit www.headsupenglish.com For more discussion on this topic and other ESL Teacher Talk podcast discussions visit the ESL Teacher Talk Forum. One other good site with news articles and accompanying activities is www.breakingnewsenglish.com. Game of the Week: Steal the Conversation This week’s guest Chris Cotter brings the game of the week. It’s a simple fluency activity designed to encourage speaking and taking control of the conversation. Preparation is simple and there’s a bonus activity included called “Anti-Steal the Conversation,” but listen to the show and see if you can come up with a better name.
16 Aug 2007
Content and Language Intergrated Learning
Listen to the show. Clive of ESL Podcards is with us again this week. He’s been working his site and enrolled in a new course. He’s learning about Content and Language Intergrated Learning (CLIL.) In the beginning Clive gives us a quick run down of what CLIL is. Clive and Mark take a look at their experiences team teaching. Some of their experiences have been positive and some haven’t been so positive. However, these experiences are all with other languages teachers. This is where CLIL differs. CLIL uses one language teacher and one subject teacher. The subject teacher is the content pro and the language teacher is the language/linguistic pro. Together they work to teach content and improve language skills. The goal of the lesson isn’t a linguist goal, but a content goal. Other parts covered include: positive and negative aspects using multiple intelligences Discuss CLIL or ask questions over on the ESL Teacher Talk forums. We’d be glad to keep the show going! Check out Clive’s site ESLpodcards for listening resources for teachers with accompanying worksheets and transcripts. Game of the week: Bounce Around This is a simple board game that can be used for practice or for review. The game can be adapted to any level or any linguistic target. It can be used with elementary school students to adults, large classes, small classes and it’s great for one-on-one. All you need is a board, markers for the students and a die. You can make a board with all text, mixed text and images or all images. That board maker is available at Tools for Educators.com. If you have more questions or would like to see everything written out, as well as read some of the variations, you can check MES-English for the Bounce Around game write-up. Thanks for listening!
10 Apr 2008
Teaching ‘do’ verbs
Listen to the show. This show Mark and Matt have a few new things on their websites for visitors. Matt has a new Skidamarink Song up on Free ABC Songs and Mark posted a new book to the Fun Fonix website. This week’s show covers the ‘do’ verbs. We discuss: teaching the concept of ‘do’ as action verbs teaching ‘do’ without translation and just working with the English concept ideas for practicing ‘do’ teaching negative and question formation ideas for practicing these different formations A couple MES games were referenced and you can find Big Town cards and Little Town cards on MES-English’s games page. We’d love to hear how you use you teach ‘do’ verbs or ideas for how you practice ‘do’ verbs with your students. Post them here or over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Ask questions or leave comments about the show. You can also just pop-in and introduce yourself. We’d love to know who’s listening. Thanks for listening! Game of the Week: Maze Games This is an activity from Tools for Educators. There are maze makers that allow you to make a variety of worksheets in a game type format for you students. There are content squares, places to ask questions or select from thousands of images instead of text and hopefully a limitless format that will provide both fun and education for your students. Happy teaching!
24 Mar 2009
Methodologies: Grammar Translation
Listen to the show. This show we’re starting a small series on methodologies in ESL/EFL. Through the years there have been quite a few different takes on teaching languages. We’ll look at each one and give our ideas on what’s good and bad. This first segment, we’ll take a look at Grammar Translation. Discuss this show, other shows, and grammar translations over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums! Game of the Week: Ognib Play a game of Bingo or almost Bingo but use only one board. It’s an excellent game. For more bingo options check out these options www.mes-english.com/flashcards/bingo.php
8 Nov 2007
The Season Finale
Listen to the show. There have been 30 shows over the past year, and this week’s show is the season finale. Mark and Eric go over why they created eslTeacherTalk. What they hope they have done to help other teachers and the future of this show. Sorry, no game of the week this week.
14 May 2007
Teaching Thematic Units
Listen to the show. Matt has added some new simple easy songs for 1-3 year old classes. Mark and Matt cover creating thematic units. This show covers what a thematic unit is, what the goals of a thematic unit should be, and what you need to get your thematic unit off the ground. Mark covers the city, food and animals as examples of thematic units and we hope that gives you so ideas for introducing vocabulary, working in target language, and working in role-plays. There are also some discussion on the benefits and reasons behind why a thematic unit is beneficial. If you have some ideas to add or questions about the show, please post your questions and comments here or at the ESL Teacher Talk Forums. Game of the Week: a Shopping Game This is a game that can be worked into thematic units such as shopping! Using flashcards or slips of paper with items written on the cards and play money, students have to buy and sell items using language centered around shopping and bargaining.
7 May 2009
GAME OF THE WEEK: Down Pass
Listen to the show. This is a relatively easy to prepare game that you can use to practice compound words or spelling. It is designed for larger classes, but can be easily adapted to small groups. Have fun!
12 Mar 2007
Using Board Games
Listen to the show. This week’s show is on using board games off the shelf. Ron and Mark offer some suggestions for how you can use board games in ESL classes and as communicative activities. We cover: games that are ready to go right of the shelf, like Scrabble, Pictionary, … games you need to tweak a little, like UNO, Jenga, … games you can use with a bit of imagination, like Monopoly, … There are about 10+ game ideas you can use in your language classes. If you have some ideas for using board games, let us know. We’d definitely like to hear about a few more ideas. Post them here or over at the ESL Teacher Talk forums. Ask questions or leave comments about the show. Thanks for listening! Game of the Week: Simon Sheep A fun group game to get students up and moving. It’s great for practicing body parts, numbers, and it can be used to quickly get large classes into groups. A quick fun game! some downloadable games mentioned in the show: English Tycoon and UnScramble It!
21 Jun 2008
Teaching the Present Continuous
Listen to the show. The show starts off with unseasonable weather and a circus but moves quickly into this show’s theme, the present continuous. Matt and Mark go over: presenting the target language orally why teach the present continuous early on in your curriculum teaching and explaining the grammar using only English forming questions and negatives Teaching short answers, or that is to say not teaching short answers, but the ‘reduced’ answers. Towards the end, Mark goes over quite a few games that can be used to practice the present continuous. The games were mentioned fairly quickly, but a couple that have further explanations can be found here: Go Fish, Memory, Slap, board games, and Bounce Around If you have some ideas to add or questions about the show, please post your questions and comments here or at the ESL Teacher Talk Forums. Game of the Week: the Skit Kit This is an activity that focuses on creating stories, short dialogs and can be built up into skits or role plays for the students to perform. This activity can be used with large classes and works well all the way down to one-on-one classes. Mark goes over how to use the Skit Kit to accomplish the activity goals, but if you don’t want to use the actual kit, that’s no problem and Mark explains how. The activity has many parts and it’s also great for introducing focused target language. We hope you and your students enjoy it. Thanks for listening!
11 Jun 2009