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TEFL 4- Active with words | Home assignments | | | | Nelsi van Cleef | 2012/2013 | |

Home assignment I: ICT
Using ICT to teach/practice/test vocabulary This website offers a broad range of subjects for pupils, from History, Turkish and Math, to English. The pupils can click on “Engels” and then on “oefenen”, where they can practice everything that has to do with the English language, for example reading,listening and speaking. Since this is about vocabulary they can click on “woordenschat”. In the vocabulary section they get 4 choices : woordengroepen, spreekwoorden en gezegden, schoolboeken and WRTS-lijsten. In each of these sections they can practice their vocabulary.
The “spreekwoorden en gezegden” section especially appealed to me. This section gives a lot of English proverbs with the Dutch translation, by alphabet. Since there are a lot of sayings in Dutch, and the pupils probably know them, they can also learn them in English. As a teacher the teacher can write down a new proverb every day on the board and start the lesson with elaborating on this, for example: “A man’s home is is castle”. The way the teacher can elaborate on this is by putting this proverb in context, asking the pupils what this proverb may be in Dutch (Eigen haard is goud waard), and asking pupils to give an example by using it. This website is a non-profit website that supports the United Nations World Food Programme. The website has 2 goals: to provide education for everyone for free and to end world hunger by providing free rice to hungry people. The way this works is that people go on this website, they get a game in which they get a word and 4 meanings of the word, 1 of them is correct, if they get it correct they donate a few grams of rice to help end world hunger.
This website especially appealed to be because you can also change subjects and levels to play the vocabulary game. So the teacher can use this website with different groups of students of different levels. What is also appealing is that because this is not only improving a pupil’s vocabulary but the pupil is also helping in something big: ending world hunger. So the pupil will be more motivated than when he or she normally is with another vocabulary activity.

The way a teacher can go about this website is to reserve 15 minutes after a class and let the pupils work at computers. The teacher will do this a few times a year and the teacher will keep record of which students get the most words right, equally which student is donating more rice. The pupil who has the most words right at the end of a semester or at the end of the year gets a prize. On this website there are 4 basic headings; numbers, communication situations, common phrases and easily confused words. Teachers or students can click on a link under any of these headings and find explanations, specifics, exercises, etc.
What caught my eye was the “Opinion and Statements” part under the Common Phrases heading. I think this part could be particularly useful for VMBO 4 or HAVO 5/VWO 6 students. If you click on the “stating your opinion” part you get a whole lot of sentences to start with to state your opinion. Examples are: It seems to me that ...,In my opinion, ...,I am of the opinion that .../ I take the view that ..,My personal view is that ...,In my experience ...

What a teacher could do with these sentences to start giving an opinion is that a teacher could print out these sentences on cards. And then print out multiple statements that the pupils are familiar with and or can give an opinion on, for example: gay marriage should be legal everywhere, the school should not give oral exams anymore and weed should be illegal. The teacher pairs the pupils into groups of 2, 1 student is pro this statement and the other is against it. The teacher gives the students a few minutes to think about a few arguments and then they start giving their opinion on the subject. The way they do this is by using the cards giving to them with these sentences, and while giving their opinion they start every argument with one of these sentences.
The teacher of course tells the students that she will be walking around and listening, and maybe picking a few students out at the end of the exercise and to state their opinion a loud, so that the pupils really practice giving their opinion. This will be beneficial for VMBO 4, HAVO 5 and VWO 6 students because this way they also practice for their oral exam.
The title of this website is “Words in the news”, and this is exactly what it is. There are video stories and news stories. The news in the video stories and news stories are fairly recent, there are about 4 news stories per month. If you go to the news stories and click on a news item (a link), there is a summary to be found about the news story, the report itself and you can listen to the report. Each report has a number of bold words which are the important/difficult words. There is a vocabulary part under it which explains all the difficult/important words in the text.
What I especially liked about this website is that it is news. Therefore the pupils will learn new words and they will learn about the current events happening in the world. I find this really important because it contributes to a pupils’ general knowledge. And when they start being interested in the news at such an early age, it is more likely that they will adopt this habit.
A teacher can use this website by printing out the report and its vocabulary part. The pupils read the report with the vocabulary part next to it so they can understand the words and the text better. Now that they have read the report and the meaning of the words the teacher will ask the pupils to make their own sentence for each word, thus putting each word into their own context. This way the pupils will remember the words better.

This website has spelling and vocabulary activities and games, vocabulary and spelling lists and printable worksheets. Thus this website can be really useful for teachers.
What I found interesting about this website is that if you have a number of words that you need to learn or memorize, you can enter this list of words in a section of the website and there are a number of things you can choose from to do with these words; spelling test, teach me, play a game, flashcards, and vocab test.
A teacher can reserve some time in her class to let the pupils work at the computer and do one of the options with the words that they need to memorize. These are really effective ways for pupils to learn words, and to let the pupils do them at school the teacher makes sure that the pupils use this website. The teacher can let the pupils do this at home but the teacher would not be able to control if the pupils have done it or not.

Home assignment II:
Step 1
5. We have looked through the Stepping Stones 1 hv/t activity and text book and have found absolutely no use of dictionary activities. The only semi-dictionary activity that this Stepping Stones book gave is the difficult words that are taken out of a text and are put at the ending of the text with their Dutch definition.
Step 2

1. I think Activity 1 is a good activity to help the students use the dictionary because it is a simple exercise to do, and using the dictionary can be confusing. All the pupils have to do here is look up the word and they find the synonym and antonym of the word immediately, and write this down. This way they practice how to find a word(alphabetically for example) and they read the definition of a word together with its antonym and synonym.

I don’t think Activity 2 is a good way to help the students use the dictionary, because it may be confusing and frustrating. They may learn how to look up the word, study its definition and decide if it fits in the “easy” or “hungry” part but it may be confusing to know if it comes before or after this word.

Activity 3 is a better way to help the students use the dictionary, because the students look up the word, study the definition and can then say in which category it fits. With the definition they can also find its synonyms, these synonyms may be in the collection of words given to them where they can immediately place them under that same category. This way the students remember these words better because they are placed in categories.

2. I like the first tip of using the dictionary myself when pupils use it. Because this way I can broaden my own vocabulary, and as the tip itself says I can immediately understand the problems the pupils find and this saves time because you can immediately help the pupil then if he or she asks. And if a pupil doesn’t ask you can clarify what you think the pupils may be confused about.
I think integrating the dictionary as much as possible in class work is important but it takes up a lot of time, that’s why I think telling pupils the definition of a word may save up a lot of time. The same for the last tip, I think pupils should try to remember the words they look up, and a teacher should find ways to make the pupils recall these words as much as possible because looking it up takes up time. Recalling what the pupils should know may also help them remember it better.

Step 3
1. Were dictionaries used when you were in secondary school? How frequent and how did they use it?
1.I find it a pity that dictionaries weren’t used at my school placement because I remember using them a lot when I was still in secondary school and I benefitted a lot from them. Therefore I think dictionaries should be promoted at my school placement.

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