Thursday, April 7, 2016

todaysmeet for in-class brainstorming


I'm sure there are many websites, tools and apps that can be used to collaborate one way or another. I first came across this website during a workshop and the presenter asked us to send our questions online via this website so that she could answer them when there was opportunity during the presentation or if not, it would be possible for her to respond to those later on. We could also comment on each other's questions or comments. Thus, while the person was presenting, a kind of online discussion was going on along the presentation.

Every now and then I try to use this tool in my classes. To collect sentences regarding a specific grammar structure, to get their ideas about something specific, etc. Just recently, I've decided to use it for a brainstorming activity before a writing task. The writing handout focuses on writing a problem solution paragraph. Thus, the problem, "culture shock"..... first, we worked on the definition and how we feel when we experience culture shock. I asked the students to do some quick online research using their smart devices in-class (mobile phones, pads, tablets etc.). Then, we came up with some key points like: foreign, abroad, away from home, new, different people, different cultures, difficult etc... and then we tried to decide how we felt; frustrated, lonely, nervous, anxious, afraid, sad etc. . While we were discussing these, I noted these key words on the whiteboard. Now, it was time to talk about the solutions. I asked them to go to the website: "" (this room is now closed because I'm done with the exercise.) Now, here let me explain how it works:

You log in to Then, you pick a name for your room (in my case above it was "cultureshockproblemsolution"). If that name is not taken or not in use at that time, you'll have the room. For instance, I'll just try one for this post: (screenshot below)
And as you can see, you can select how long you want the room to be open. I'll pick one year for this one and let's see if anything comes up in the meantime. You can let anyone, or people with a password and login to send messages. Then you open the room. 

Now, everyone can send a message there. Back to my class activity...After we finished about describing and talking about culture shock, it was time to talk about the possible solutions. I asked them to go to the webpage and send their ideas as messages. I have to say they liked it better than writing on paper or the whiteboard. However, I have to admit that sometimes they can get "naughty-ish" :) but that's ok of course (as long as there's no offense or bad language of somesort...anyways). In a couple of minutes, there were lots of ideas. also gives you the "teacher tools" option but to use some tools you need to purchase an account. Anyways, while the room is on and running you can get the messages as a text file and what I did was to compile similar ideas together. Then, I photocopied them and brought them back to class. Now, students have ideas, vocabulary and major and minor ideas that they can use in their paragraphs. Please find below some examples:

Of course I didn't edit students' responses. Therefore, even if they want to use some of these ideas, they need to come up with the correct word order, part of speech etc.

I just wanted to share one idea that I tried and worked...

All the best,


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Using GIFs Part-2


Just recently I've mentioned a couple of ideas about using GIFs and animation in presentations. While I was thinking about how I could use them to practice responses to different situations, I just decided to give it a try to practice "noun clauses". Well, here's what I did...I found some animated gif images and simply inserted them in slides (you don't have to do that; I could have just shown the images). Anyway, then, I asked students in pairs to build/write sentences which included noun clauses (of course after the presentation of noun clauses) based on the animation image they saw. The sentences could be about what they character was thinking, what had happened, what might happen etc. And I gave them about 2 minutes for each image.

Here are two examples of the animations and students' sentences:

"It is clear that he is disappointed.",
"We all know that he admitted the situation.",
"What you have done is ridiculous."
"It is obvious that he is absolutely sad."
"It was a pity that he didn't know what to do."

"That we're having a double wedding is so surprising."
"That her boyfriend sent her a Valentine's Day gift was surprising."
"It is obvious that she's happy."
"She is surprised by the fact that the dinner is ready."

I think, such animations can be used in practicing lots of other areas as well, like "What's happening? (present continuous), describe the person/character (adjectives, relative clauses, adverbs), What happened? (simple past), What has just happened (present perfect), etc."

All the best,

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Using animated Gifs in presentations

I like using animated GIF images here and there (wherever appropriate of course :)) although they seem to be somehow older technology. Today, I was preparing a PowerPoint presentation about "noun clauses" and at one point in the slides I'm asking students if the sentences are correct or false. And after their responses, to show which sentences are OK and which ones are not, I decided to use animated GIF images (nodding-yes and no). Thus, Googling I found these two websites:


and I serached for "Nod, yes, no etc" and then from the library of animated GIF images I picked the ones I liked and put them in my slide (referring to the sites).

- There are also online & offline animated GIF makers if you feel like creating your own animated GIf images. Some of them...


- Of course, with the advance of mobile and smart devices, one can easily create animations & videos using their smart devices as well. Actually, Google-Photos, for instance, has an "Assistant" feature via which you can create animations from your photos. And I'm sure there are other Adroid or "I-" applications available to do that.

I think using such items in presentations from time to can add to the liveliness of the presentations (perhaps even a bit nostalgia...)

Monday, March 21, 2016

Vocabulary Video Dictionary

Students can watch videos, listen and find out about words. There is a search tool and you can also search for different words by focusing on meaning and how it used.

It might be fun and effective way to learn vocabulary and collocations and context.

When you log in as a user the site can keep track of your work. It creates a list of words you study and sends it to you at the end of the week. One can also create flashcards, read the transcriptions of videos.