English Skillology (level 1, level 3) wasn’t the only new resource that I tried, and experienced success with, this past semester. I had three other new resources that I trialed, all of which received rave reviews from my students, so I decided to use them again.
The class I’m teaching next semester is listening and speaking, level one. We use National Geographic’s Pathways series for our listening and reading courses, so the first two resources I’m going to describe are aligned to those books. It is not necessary to be using the Pathways books in order to use these resources, but it does guarantee that all of the topics will align.
I’m sure my students are not unique in their lack of confidence when it comes to grammar. Every time we work on a new grammar topic they ask about more practice they can do at home. I agree with them in that the book is never enough. I try to bring as much practice into the classroom as I can, but there never seems to be enough time there either.
Enter the Review Menu. This slide deck has a table with all of the grammar topics from our textbook (Pathways Listening and Speaking 1). Each topic is followed by two links, one to an explanation slide, and one to a video and practice activities slide. The linked slides’ contents are exactly what they sound like. The explanation slides have short explanations for the named grammar topic. The video and practice slides have a YouTube video about the topic and links to various free practice activities on the web.
My students mentioned that this menu was very convenient, and they liked having all of the explanations in one place. It also came in very handy at midterm and finals time as I had all of the topics I needed to review with them in one place.
There’s A Video About That
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “There’s an app for that,” at one time or another. And it’s likely most, if not all of us, have found a video on YouTube to help us learn something at least once. Inspired by those occurrences in my own life, I created There’s A Video About That for our text’s grammar topics.
The resource is a Google Drawing with a table. Each cell lists a grammar topic and holds a video relating to that topic. To insert the videos into the drawing, I first had to insert them into a Google Slide deck, copy them, and paste them on the Google Drawing. The videos are quite small on the drawing, but after pushing play you can make them full screen.
My students again remarked about how convenient it was to be able to find everything they needed in one place. The videos are all different from those in the Review Menu, so students were given yet another explanation of the grammar topic. As teachers we know that different explanations will resonate with different students, and I wanted my students to have several different opportunities to hear the information. The various videos also exposed my students to different accents, something that is important as they are learning.
Helpful Free Resources
The final resource I am using next semester is the exact same as this semester. Helpful Free Resources is another Google Drawing, this one curating links to free sites students might need. The links include an online dictionary, language explanation and practice sites, listening practice, reading help, YouTube channels, and more.
This resource was popular not for the grammar help it offered, but because it helped to narrow the search for what my students needed. Google is great, but trying to choose the best link from a list of millions of hits, in a language that you’re not fluent in, is very difficult. This table saves students from trying to find the best site, or getting caught having to pay for something that may or may not be what they need.
Hopefully my students next semester will find these resources as helpful as this semester’s. All of them are free to download, simply click on the links above (or click on the pictures and buttons at the top left). I hope they are helpful for your students as well. Happy teaching, everyone!