Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Wallwisher and Vocabulary Activities

Some of you may remember that I participated in the January Teacher Challenge called Kick Start Your Blog. I took a break in February, but I am back now. I am a week late but hoping to catch up. The new challenge is called 30 days to using the best of the web’s free tools for educators” . It sounds very interesting. We will be learning about new tools and thinking of ways to implement them in our teaching.

I am going to write these posts from the point of view of an EFL teacher working with adults. I will try not only to test the tools, but to come up with activities and worksheets that can be used in class the next day.

The first tool we used was Wallwisher. Wallwisher and I are old friends. Members of my PLN use it to throw surprise birthday parties at each other. It works like this: You decide to create a Birthday Wallwisher for someone. You start the wall (it takes five minutes). Then you send the link in a Twitter DM to everyone in your PLN . They follow the link and post their messages on the wall. Your job is finished. You can just sit back and watch the wall growing. It is great.

Here is the wall I got for my birthday.

Apart from this fun way of using Wallwisher, there are tons of other things you can do with it. Tom Barett has come up with 19 interesting ways to use Wallwisher in the classroom. It is very hard to come up with something new after this, isn't it?

Which is why I am going to focus on vocabulary exercises only.

1. Wallwisher allows you to post pictures on your wall, which makes it great for creating small picture dictionaries. Here I have focused on different kinds of berries because my students often mix them up:

Most of us have strong visual memory. The students should be encouraged to look at the wall as often as possible and to try and remember where each picture is on it.

2. Start with one word (in my case 'work'). Come up with as many words derived from it. Then move on to synonyms and idioms. There are many variations to this activity. You can use antonyms, collocations, compounds... Anything that is relevant to you and your students.

This is a collaborative activity, though one person can do it as well. You can do it, or you can assign it to one of the students.

Wallwisher is a great collaborative tool. It is fast and easy to use. As you can see here, the result can be a little messy, but who cares?

3. Finally, Wallwisher can be used for brainstorming. You can start with a concept, such as 'holiday' and let the students post whatever comes to their minds. Here is an example:

Wallwisher is good for vocabulary revision too. You can ask the students to post the words they learnt after each class or after each unit. Then they can write a short story or prepare a short speech using at least five of the words posted on the wall.

There are probably thousands of other ways you can use Wallwisher for practising vocabulary. Please feel free to add your ideas in the Comments section.

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