Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Best iPad Apps for ESL Teachers and Students- Overview

Best Ipad Apps for ESL teachers and Students:

*I will update this list weekly, so please bookmark or favorite this post so you can keep up with the best apps for ESL/Language teachers. The Apps in purple are meant primarily for student use but can be used by teachers as well.

Some apps have detailed descriptions if you click the name of the app. Some just have a link to the download. Some apps are similar to others, so you can find which one you like best.
  1. Evernote - so many great uses for this organization app. Click to find out more.
  2. Skitch-  An art/mock-up, photo based app.
  3. Flashcardlet - flashcard app.
  4. CloudOn - MS Office emulator app.
  5. ShowMe - Make narrated lessons with photos, drawings, etc.
  6. DropMind Lite - Make mindmaps for organization of ideas.
  7. MailVu - Free video mail for homework assignments and more.
  8. AppsGoneFree - A daily updated list of free apps.
  9. VoiceThread - Have students narrate a picture or groups of pictures.
  10. Socrative - An online clicker app for use in and out of class.
  11. SlideShark  - Online powerpoint presentation app.
  12. Prezi Viewer - Prezi viewer works with Prezi online presentation software.
  13. ToonTastic - Make narrated cartoons with music and a plot.
  14. Explain Everything - A great screencasting app, click for more details ($2.99).
  15. CamScanner HD - Awesome scanner for on the go scanning of texts, papers, annotate with Note and send to email, course management systems, etc. 
  16. TinyVox - a quick recording/voicemail tool for social media. 
  17. Box - Amazing DropBox like app with great amount of free storage for videos, photos, etc.
  18. TeacherPal - A great app for classroom Management - take photos of students, average grades, etc.
  19. Supiki - Good app for students who want to practice their English, free app with paid additions.
  20. VOA Learner - Good app for student practice on pronunciation and listening.
  21. Youtube - Record student and teacher presentations while saving your iPad memory. Click on the link for instructional video on how to upload videos.
  22. Edmodo - Great app for classroom management. Like Facebook for education.
  23. Educreations - Similar to ShowMe, an audio recording app you draw on. 
  24. Wallpapers HD - Great pics to use in ShowMe, Educreations, ScreenChomp.
  25. ScreenChomp - Similar to ShowMe and Educreations create audio narrated visual lessons.
  26. Doceri - Make screencasts, project iPad onto desktop with software, record lessons, etc.
  27. Clear Speech - (Beginner)Cambridge App that helps students work on pronunciation ($2.99).
  28. Clear Speech -(INtermediate)  Cambridge App that helps students work on pronunciation ($2.99).
  29. Essential Grammar in Use (Beginner)- An app with elementary grammar tests by Cambridge ($4.99).
  30. Essential Grammar in Use (Intermediate)An app with intermediate grammar tests by Cambridge ($4.99).
  31. Essential Grammar in Use (Advanced)An app with advanced grammar tests by Cambridge ($4.99).
  32. Grammar Up(Phrasal Verbs) - Great practice on phrasal verbs ($2.99).
  33. Grammar Up (All Grammar) - A comprehensive grammar app that has over 1800 grammar questions ($4.99).
  34. Phrasal Verbs Machine - Awesome phrasal verb practice for students (Free).
Here is a presentation about iPad apps that I gave at the CELEA annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 29th, 2012. You'll have to click through a few slides before you get to the list of apps. They are in the Green Bubbles. Also, at the end you'll see 10 apps you can use next week.

Do you have any apps to add? Please comment and let me know about any that you use regularly and how you use them!

If you like using different ways to teach ESL and like movies, check out these posts below!
Man of Steel ESL Classroom Activity
Avengers ESL Classroom Activity
Jack and the Giant Killer ESL activity
Snow White and the Huntsman ESL activity
Amazing Spider Man ESL activity

Monday, March 26, 2012

Modals of Ability - Can/Could

A nice video lesson on how to use can and could in a sentence.

For More Modals Videos and Activities - Click Here

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Great teacher training website for ESL teachers

This a great website for language teachers that helps them to learn how to use helpful technology for in and out of class activities. Russell Stannard gives great video tutorials on how to use and implement technology in teaching. I have learned a lot from him and I'm sure you will too.

Teacher Training Videos

What is hyperbole?

Hyperbole is a form of figurative language in which the writer uses exaggeration in order make a point.

Example without hyperbole:
It was really hot today.

Example with hyperbole.
 It was so hot today that my skin almost melted off. 

Of course, skin doesn't really melt from the sun, but by using exaggeration, the writer gives a more descriptive picture of how hot it really was.

Here's another example:
He was so angry that steam came out of his ears. 
The dog was so thirsty that he could have drained the lake.

So, you can see that neither of these things could actually happen, but they serve the purpose of giving a more detailed description of an event, person, or thing.  Please watch this How To Write A Hyperbole Tutorial if you would like more examples.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Movie Trailer ESL Listening - Jack The Giant Killer

Top Ten Ways to use Dice in the ESL classroom

Did you know that dice can be a great way to increase motivation and spice up boring lessons and exercises in class? Dice can be bought at any dollar store in the US  in a pack of 10 for $1. I'm sure that they are also cheap in other countries.Because of the unpredictable nature of dice, there is something interesting about how they motivate students.

Here are 10 ways to use dice to make your class more fun and interesting.

1.  Use dice to choose students for activities. Using addition or multiplication,  2 to 3 dice can be used to help the teacher have a random way of picking students for activities when each student is assigned a number.

2. Use dice to help choose groups.  Though groups may get be a bit lopsided at times, using one die for each student can work if you  have odd and even groups.  That way there is a greater likelihood that you will split the class into groups evenly.

3. Use dice in conjunction with book exercises.  Using 2 -3 dice and addition, any book exercise can become a game in which students roll and the number of the question is the one that they must answer in their group.  If they answer correctly, they get a point (etc.).

4. Use dice to learn verb tenses.  Very conveniently, there are 12 verb tense forms in English. This works great for grammar review if you assign each tense a number 1-12  on the board and have the students use dice and a verb of their/your choosing. When students roll, they must produce the verb form that corresponds with the number and verb.  I usually do this in groups to get more students participating.

5. Use dice for Grammar Board Games.  Create your own board games or download games from sites like and have students play the games in class for prizes or other incentives.

6. Use dice to choose the level of difficulty in games. If you have a review exercise with varying levels of difficulty, have each student roll a die and answer either the hardest or the easiest question based on their roll (1 being the easiest (simple present), 6 being the hardest (future perfect progressive)).  If they get it right, they get more points for their team, if they get it wrong, they either lose points or simply gain nothing.

7.  Use dice to assign bonus points. Have a student roll a dice at the beginning of a test to assign how many extra points the bonus will be worth (no more than 6 points).  It's up to you how you would give the points. 

8.  Use dice to decide who goes first in presentations. Every student hates to be first, and every teacher hates to decide who has to go first, so randomize it!   This is easier with 2 dice and addition. The student with the lowest number goes last/first. Again, it's up to you how you do it.

9. Use dice to have students create sentences.  The large, soft, foamy dice work well with this.  Have one student roll the dice in front of the class and the students have to compete on the board to write a sentence with the number of words that matches the number on the dice.

10. Use dice at the end of class.  Very close to the end of class, have students roll dice to find out how many more questions they should answer to get out. If they get a one, they only have one left. If they get a six, they have six left.

Not all of these may work, depending on your teaching context.  However, many of them may be modified for your class and utilized to help make your English class just a little bit more exciting. Please comment and let me know if you have any ideas to add using dice.

I will also post a Top Ten Uses for Playing Cards in the ESL classroom in the near future and a gameboard that can be used with playing cards to make grammar tense learning a lot funner.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

English Vocabulary - Mountain (Audio)

Here is the video tutorial with pronunciation for mountain vocabulary.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

English Vocabulary - Car Exterior (Audio)

Here is the car vocab with an audio guide for pronunciation. If you like this, check Car Interior Vocab too!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Figurative Language - Simile

A quick lesson on what a simile is and how it can be used. You can also find a written explanation on similes with this "What is a simile?"  post on how to write similes.

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