Is This Text Comprehensible for my ELLs? Let the Vocabulary Profiler Help!

Using authentic texts with English learners is great…

…unless, of course, they are way too hard for the students.

This is actually one of the top challenges for teachers in content-based language teaching (CBLT) systems, finding texts that are both authentic and comprehensible.

In a study on CBLT teachers, Cammarata (2010) commented, “The difficulty for the teachers was to find the right equilibrium between authenticity and complexity as they struggled to find a way to simplify the content in order to make it comprehensible for the students while keeping it interesting, cognitively engaging, and within the realm of the proficiency level of the learners (Cammarata, 2010, pp. 102-103).

But how do we know if the text we have chosen will be appropriate? That’s where the vocabulary profiler on VocabKitchen.com can help.

Continue reading “Is This Text Comprehensible for my ELLs? Let the Vocabulary Profiler Help!”

My First Google Hangout English Tutoring Session

So… it’s week 2 of my summer vacation, and I already miss teaching.

Thankfully, it’s 2017 and I don’t need a school to get my teaching fix. I can just teach online from home!

Online teaching has become a very popular option for teachers who are looking to reach more students outside of a classroom. And programs such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts have never made it easier to connect with people anywhere.

One problem though… despite its popularity, I have never done any English teaching online.

Today, I braved into this new world. Two of my former students and I took the leap online by doing a 30-minute class together on Google Hangouts.

This post is about my experience.

***SPOILER ALERT- IT WAS A DISASTER!*** Continue reading “My First Google Hangout English Tutoring Session”

Lingro- The Coolest Dictionary Known to Hombre

Have you ever noticed how much time it takes to look up a word from a website you are reading?

Depending on your method, you need to open up a new page, copy or type the word into the dictionary, and then go back to the original site to reexamine the context.

Super timesink!

Now imagine that same scenario when reading in a second language?

Most of us might give up depending on how many words we don’t know.

But what if there were a faster way…

That’s where Lingro.com comes in. Continue reading “Lingro- The Coolest Dictionary Known to Hombre”

Extempore- The Speaking App I Have Been Waiting For

For the last few years, I have collected all homework assignments on online through sites such as Edmodo and Google Classroom.

While these sites make collecting and grading homework easy for me, and my students and parents love the convenience, there was always one type of assignment I couldn’t figure out how to do easily- speaking assignments.

Even in 2017, I have anxiety about whether my students will be able to record an mp3, save it, and then upload it. I worry their computer won’t have a microphone or they can’t figure out how to use an app on their phone.

Perhaps these fears are unfounded, but they are a result of the shock I had when I first started taking students online. Sure, they know how to play video games on the computer, but that’s about where it stops.

I had always wished Edmodo or Google Classroom could implement a recording mechanism within their apps so I could collect speaking samples easily from my students.

That day has yet to come (or I am uninformed). But recently, I came across an app that solves my problem. The app is called Extempore. Continue reading “Extempore- The Speaking App I Have Been Waiting For”