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What is a cloze activity?

What is a cloze activity?

Cloze activities were originally developed for reading instruction, but over the years they have proven so valuable and easy to design that they are now commonplace in many subject areas and serve as a popular assessment tool for teachers everywhere. The concept of the cloze procedure is simple. Words are removed from a reading passage by the teacher and presented as blanks which the students must fill in. Selecting which words to remove can be done in a variety of ways. Online cloze generators generally remove every 5th or 10th word, depending on the length of the text. However, most teachers prefer to select the words according to the objectives of the lesson or the particular content being learned. Removing keywords from a passage is a strategy for drawing the learner’s attention to them and forcing them to consider their meaning. Read More »

10 ESL websites that will save you a ton of time

10 ESL websites that will save you a ton of time

Teachers are very busy people, and it’s always a struggle to find enough time to put together high-quality content for lessons. The problem is perhaps more acute for online language teachers, who often deal with learners of very different ages, needs and levels of ability. Factor in unsociable working hours and the effort of turning print resources into digital resources and you’ll understand why teachers need all the help they can get! 

That’s why I’ve decided to throw together a list of some of the websites I’ve turned to over the years. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but I wanted to cover as many types of learners as possible, from young to old, beginner to advanced. I’ve provided a brief explanation of what to expect on each site, but my advice is dive in and take a look for yourself. Hopefully you’ll find something that makes life easier when the time comes to throw together a last minute lesson. Read More »

10 Best Animated Movies for Learning English

10 Best Animated Movies for Learning English

My son was less than two years old when our family moved to Japan. Now, there are many things to be concerned about with a child that age, but we were particularly eager that he learn to speak Japanese. After all, this wasn’t an extended holiday. We intended to settle down. 

Fast forward a year and we found ourselves worrying that our son might not be able to speak English, the language we’d assumed would be native to him. We did our best to talk and read to him in English, but we sometimes worried that we weren’t doing enough. We didn’t want to turn our home into a cram school, but thankfully we discovered an activity that could entertain us all and provide our son with some much needed English input, watching movies. 

I like documentaries and my wife is partial to romantic comedies, but we were pretty sure that neither of these would go down well with a three-year-old. Thankfully, the school where I was working at the time had a great selection of English animation movies. We probably watched 50 or more of these over the next few years. Some had a greater effect on my son’s language development than others.  Read More »