Sunday 27 February 2011

20 Most Commonly Misspelt Online Word Search Activity

Thanks to Nik Peachey and Janet Bianchini, I had the chance to put this online embeddable word search to the test. The pedagogical benefits of doing word searches (especially on paper) in classes is highly dubious, and I remember, with horror, how a CLIL teacher I worked with was so fond of doing group activities on them as a means of learning vocabulary. When I suggested other games, he went for bingo in a big way and promptly started using it all the time! Talk about variety!

Anyway, I digress. Being a paperless preacher, I'm naturally pleased to learn of this program. As I mentioned in Janet's blog, I believe word searches have a valid place in our teaching vocabulary resources box, but more as homework, or in the computer lab, as part of a range of other activities rather than using up valuable class time. I also believe, as does David Deubelbeiss, that it's useful to have students prepare a word search themselves. I'd done this last year with a class where a group was assigned the task of preparing a word search on rugby. Doing that on this word search program would have been a piece of cake, and would have freed the students to do other tasks.

Even though I'm very fond of this website, I did find some niggles. I found no way of making corrections, so you'd need to be very careful with your typo. I've requested the creators for some improvements, especially the ability to remove the clues. If and when they comply, I will prepare another word search.

Meanwhile, have a go at this (and your students, too!). Search for these 20 commonly misspelt words (apologies for the inconsistent upper- and lower-case letters). When you've finished, prepare a word search of your own commonly misspelt words. If you copy the embed code and send it to me as a comment, I'll publish it.

To select the word, all you need to do is to click on the first letter of the word, and then click on the last letter. You'll see that the word automatically gets highlighted for a second or two. Or, you can do it the other way by clicking on the last letter first.

Make Your Own Word Search now!

Friday 25 February 2011

Transcribe text to IPA Phonetic Symbols and More: Free Software!

English Phonetics and Phonology Paperback with Audio CDs (2): A Practical Course Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology: From Concepts to Transcription    Introducing Phonetics and Phonology
acLiLtocLiMB EFL ESL CLIL ELL ESOL TEFL Games Activities Resources

Check this out, people! What do you do when you need to write down a phonetic transcription? Perhaps you need it in a handout, or a document, or you're creating a game like one of mine. Some of you may copy the transcription from an online dictionary or, like me, you might have already discovered a phonetic keyboard such as Phonetics Builder (quite hard to find now), or use an online version.

Sometimes, though, you may be unsure of the transcription and would like to double-check. Dictionaries, however, don't normally show transcriptions of proper names, past tenses or plurals, for example.

So, it was with delight that I discovered the PhoTransEdit website. It not only provides a phonetic keyboard, but provides an automatic phonemic transcription service. For free. If you'd rather work offline, it allows you to download the program, which has more features than the online version, such as finding rhyming words and sound wildcards.

Here are a few tests I did with the online version:

sneezing bunnies | ˈsniːzɪŋ ˈbʌnɪz |
The Chrysler Building | ðə ˈkraɪslə ˈbɪldɪŋ |

Could I have a cup of tea?
| kəd ˈaɪ həv ə kʌp əv tiː |

The program, quite understandably, transcribes by word, as the above example illustrates. Someone might have transcribed a cup of tea as |ə kʌp ə tiː |
Furthermore, it can only transcribe those words that are found in its database. If they aren't there, you can help by adding them to it.

PhoTransEdit allows you to transcribe in RP (Received Pronunciation) or GA (General American):

I can't go out tonight
RP: | ˈaɪ kɑːnt ɡəʊ aʊt təˈnaɪt |
GA: | ˈaɪ ˈkænt ˈɡoʊ ˈaʊt təˈnaɪt |

Here are more interesting examples:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers
| ˈpiːtə ˈpaɪpə pɪkt ə pek əv ˈpɪkl̩d ˈpepəz |

The sheep were ushered into the ship
| ðə ʃiːp wər ˈʌʃəd ˈɪntə ðə ʃɪp |

Betty Botter had some butter,
"But," she said, "this butter's bitter."

| beti həd səm ˈbʌtə |
| bʌt ʃi ˈsed ðɪs ˈbʌtəɪz ˈbɪtə |

I tested the offline version, too. Again, it allows you the option of BrE or AmE. Looking for words which rhymes with 'can't', the BrE displays "aren't" as the first find, while AmE displays "ant". The phonetics are also shown. The complaint I have here is that they can't be copied.

It gives you a choice of three types of rhyme: perfect, assonance and alliteration.

Other features, such as transcribing into html or Braille, are also available. All in all, a great piece of software, and certainly deserves to be in my useful resources page.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Idioms Part 17 (Food - Cakes) Interactive Game

In a Pickle: And Other Funny Idioms Scholastic 978-0-545-20457-6 Fabulously Funny Idiom Plays    Punching the Clock: Funny Action Idioms

This is the 17th in this series of idiom games. A couple of the idioms here have previously appeared in Part 15, so you should know them already!

the icing on the cake
This is used to talk about something that makes a situation, which is already good, even better: I've just found a job, but the fact that it's near my house is just the icing on the cake!

the cherry on the cake
This is not to be confused with the one above, although they are similar. This idiom refers to one final thing which makes something perfect: We were all having such a jolly good time, and when Elaine appeared, that was just the cherry on the cake!

the cake's not worth the candle
This is very often shortened to just 'not worth the candle'. If you're told that what you are doing isn't worth the candle, it means that the results you will get will not be worth the effort you're putting in: If I were you, I'd buy another bike; the repairs won't be worth the candle.

a slice of the cake
To want a slice of the cake is to want a part of what is being shared: Even though all the employees have been promised a cut of the year's astounding profits, they're demanding a larger slice of the cake.

to sell like hot cakes
To sell very rapidly: The new post-mortem John Martyn's album is surprisingly selling like hot cakes!

dropped like a hot cake/potato
'To drop something like a hot potato' is probably more common than '... like a hot cake', but it's useful to know that both expressions exist. When you drop something like that, it means that you're rejecting or are getting rid of something rapidly: When Janet discovered that Tim was an ex-convict, she dropped him like a hot cake.

have your cake and eat it (too)
This is used in situations where there are incompatible alternatives, but you want to have the benefits of all of them: Sam's engaged to Diane, but he's still dating Sharon; he wants to have his cake and eat it too.

a piece of cake
If something is a piece of cake, it means that it is extremely easy: Yesterday's exam was a piece of cake!

Chiew's CLIL EFL ESL ELL TEFL Free Online Games Activities: Food Idioms

Be sure to check out the rest in this series. On the left column, at the top, under 'For Your Browsing Pleasure' click on the '+' symbol beside 'GAMES and QUIZZES', then click on the '+' beside 'Idioms'.

Conditional Type 2 with Norah Jones

The Fall Fall (Deluxe Edition) (Incl. Bonus Live EP)Not Too Late

Here's a simple beautiful song by the equally beautiful Norah Jones.  Look at the word cloud - all the lyrics are there - and see if you can put the words in the order in which Norah sings. You can click on the image to see a larger version.

As you probably already know, we use the conditional sentence type 2 to talk about conditions that, although possible, are not likely to be fulfilled:

If I had an iPad, I would use it in class.
If I used it in class, I would create a commotion.

Once you've managed to get the lyrics, try to interpret the song. Do you like the song? Why/Why not? Who is she singing to? Does she need him? Have you ever felt that way?

For teachers, you can use this other activity to practise the second conditional, too.

Chiew's CLIL EFL ELL ESL ESOL TEFL Games Activities Resources

Monday 21 February 2011

Idioms Part 16 (Food - Bones) Interactive Game

Raining Cats and Dogs: A Collection of Irresistible Idioms and Illustrations to Tickle the Funny Bones of Young People  Idiom Junkie: Funny Edition: Over 600 of the funniest idioms in the US that will make you chuckle, snicker, and laugh out loud with your friends and family  I'm Not Hanging Noodles on Your Ears and Other Intriguing Idioms From Around the World

This is the 16th in this series. I've classified it under food except that the image I've used as the background of the game isn't exactly very appetising! LoL! Read the explanation of the idioms before trying your hand at the game (click on the image to begin) unless, of course, you think you know them all already.

bone of contention

Imagine two dogs fighting over a bone - that's your bone of contention! We use this idiom to refer to something that is a subject of disagreement or dispute: These islands have long been a bone of contention between the two countries.

close to the bone

When something is close to the bone, it means that, although it is true, it is something that is offensive and people prefer not to think about it: His comments about racism may be too close to the bone for some people. (Macmillan)

cut/trim/pare something to the bone

To cut the bone is to reduce to the bare minimum: In spite of cutting all our expenses to the bone, we still ended up closing the restaurant.

feel/know something in your bones

You use this to express a certainty you feel about something although you have no proof: When he told me he was going out with Jenny, I wasn't surprised at all as I'd felt it in my bones for a long time.

have a bone to pick with someone

When you tell someone that you have a bone to pick with him, it means that you have reason to be annoyed with him: Don't leave yet! I have a bone to pick with you - what did you tell Sarah yesterday?

make no bones about something

When you say what you think, or do as you please, you are said to make no bones: Karen made no bones about the fact that she's dating her boss.

pick over the bones of something

Don't confuse this with having a bone to pick with someone. To pick over the bones of something is to examine it in great detail, especially if it is to find something valuable for yourself: There wasn’t much left of the estate after the lawyers had picked over the bones. (Macmillan)

Chiew's CLIL EFL ESL ELL TEFL Free Online Games Activities: Food Idioms

Be sure to check out the rest in this series. Go to the index file and search (ctrl F) for 'Idioms'.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Tricky Spelling Game, Part 5

Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, White, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology  Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology  CrazyOnDigital Kindle 3G 3rd Generation Leather Case with Screen Protector  DigitalsOnDemand 14-Item Accessory Bundle for Amazon Kindle 3 3rd Gen Wireless Reading Device (6" Display, 3G Global Wireless, Latest Generation)

To play other versions of this game, or my other games, go to Zondle's web site, click PLAY, then MY TEACHER, then type in this user name: acLiLtocLiMB.

If you have any problems, please leave a comment.

V Premio Espiral Edublogs 2010 Update

Chiew's EFL ELL ESL CLIL Games Activities: Edublogs Awards
They have decided to accept comments over at their website now; if you wish to do so, just click on the image above. Much appreciated. The language you write in shouldn't matter - I can always use Google ;-)

Tricky Spelling Game, Part 4

Scripps Spelling Bee  Scrabble  Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

To play other versions of this game, or my other games, go to Zondle's web site, click PLAY, then MY TEACHER, then type in this user name: acLiLtocLiMB.

If you have any problems, please leave a comment.

Friday 18 February 2011

Tricky Spelling Game, Part 3

Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology Scripps Spelling Bee  25 Super-Fun Spelling Games (Grades 2-4)

To play other versions of this game, or my other games, go to Zondle's web site, click PLAY, then MY TEACHER, then type in this user name: acLiLtocLiMB.

If you have any problems, please leave a comment.