Colango

Share Your Language
vocabulary

Why kids hate learning new vocabulary and 5 ways to make it fun again!

We think with words, therefore to improve thinking, teach vocabulary. — A. Draper and G. Moeller

I remember my Middle school Spanish teacher would assign us 25 new words to memorize at the beginning of every week.  For homework, we’d look up the definition of each word and write it down.  I HATED it.  It wasn’t because it was particularly difficult or time consuming, it was because the delivery of the lesson was just so boring to me!  Every new word forced upon me was met with “why do I have to know ________”.  None of these words had any contextual relationship behind it.  Context is part of the core foundation of acquiring new vocabulary words.

So how can we apply these concepts to getting students to learn new vocabulary?  Fret not, here are 5 fun games that will help your students build context around new words –

11D1B67A-9898-199A-2083-3E6CEA3B7EE3

 

1.  Vocabulary bingo

Students can make their own bingo cards and place the new foreign language words they learned on the card.  The teacher reads out the english (native language) word and students find the word in their target language.  If the students have the word, they can color in the box on their cards where it exists.

images (1)

 

2.  Vocabulary charades

Divide your students into groups and have them act out new word definitions to the best of their ability.  Another fun game could be to have students act out words in short skits for their peers to guess.  These games can be lots of fun and are sure to create lots of laughs as they learn new words.

images

 

 

 

3.  Short stories

More advanced students can write a short skit of story using words they’ve been trying to learn.  This can be a great project that progresses throughout the school year.  It’d be more fun than having a final exam and students are sure to feel accomplished when they see how much they’ve progressed through the year.

how-to-write-poetry1

 

4. Write a poem

This project will really help students get creative with each other!  Assign students one word each and have them write poems in context of the definition of the new word.  After each student has written their poem, they can share it with the rest of the class!

detective-work-600x400

 

5.  Vocabulary detective

Write the vocabulary words they are learning on an index card.  Insert yarn through the card so students can wear it around their neck.  Each student has one card that they wear over their back.  Students walk around giving clues to other people so that they have to guess the word that’s on their card.

Share what kind of fun activities you do in your classroom in the comments below.

 

minimal-pairs

The magic of minimal pairs!

Minimal pairs is a great way to test your student’s listening ability.  “Minimal pairs” means to two words which have different meanings but are different in one sound segment only.  The particular minimal pair difficulty depends on what native language the student speaks.  For example- Japanese students may have a hard time with “hat” v. “fat” because there is no “f” sound in Japanese.  A French student may have difficulty with “eel” v. “heel” because the French language lacks a “h” sound.

Minimal pairs are important because it can lead to impaired understanding and hamper conversation skills further down the road.  To best solve the problem it’s important to realize the difference between student’s L1 and L2 to learn the most common minimal pairs students have difficulty with.  Once you know which minimal pairs to attack, it’s time to use Colango!

Let’s take a look at how Jan uses minimal pairs to help his Korean students learn english –

There is no “F” or “V” sound in the Korean language.  Jan knows this and chose a minimal pairs video from Youtube focused on words with these sounds –

Capture

After reviewing these sounds with his students, Jan removes the helper video and creates another exercise with just sound and text.

Capture1

Jan instructs his students to listen to the audio and then complete the dictation exercise.  Using Colango reports Jan can see how many errors each student has!  This tells him which student needs more help on these minimal pairs.

If you want to check out Jan’s minimum pairs posts click here – With Video and Without Video.  Here’s an excellent example for Korean minimum pairs.

All posts on Colango can be saved for future use with future classes or shared with other teachers!  Interested in using Colango in your class?  Contact me! evan@colango.com

 

whole_brain_teaching_JB_04

3 Language exercises your students will love!

Learning a new language is often difficult and challenging for students.  It can also be tough to find time to fit in fun language activities in the demanding schedule of a daily classroom.  That’s why Colango is here to supercharge your language classroom with fun activities that engage your students even outside of class.  We think your students will love these 3 fun activities!

1.  Tongue twisters

Tongue twisters are a fun way for students to practice their pronunciation skills!  Depending on the tongue twister you choose it can help students drill certain related phonemes or sounds.  A tongue twister is a great way to help students focus on the minor mouth changes required to pronounce certain words.

Read more about the power of tongue twisters and Colango here.

2.  Role playing games
Role playing games is another fun exercise to play with your students.  Role playing games can help students deal with familiar situations in their new target language.  These games can make language learning fun, reduce inhibitions when speaking and can inspire cultural understanding by forcing students to think differently depending on the scenario.  Read more about Role playing games with Colango here.

3.  Blogging
Blogging can be another creative way to engage your students.  Encourage your students to create their own blog posts in their target language or have them follow your blog posts.  Audio blog posts are especially easy to create with the Colango android application.  Just record your voice and post!  Read more about using authentic content with your class here.

What classroom activities do your students love?

Authentic

Language teaching with authentic content!

Language teaching with authentic content is a great way to engage your advanced students.  The goal of every student is to be able to communicate in their target language.  This means the content consumed should be authentic content not academic content.  No one wants to complete a language course, only to find out they speak like a textbook!

Some of the main advantages of using authentic content are (Philips and Shettlesworth 1978; Clarke 1989; Peacock 1997, cited in Richards, 2001):

  • They have a positive effect on learner motivation.
  • They provide authentic cultural information.
  • They provide exposure to real language.
  • They relate more closely to learners ‘ needs.
  • They support a more creative approach to teaching.

When learners are exposed to authentic content they feel they are learning the ‘real’ language.  Colango offers a great way to deliver authentic content to your students.

Entertainment

There’s a large variety of authentic content on Youtube (especially in English) great for language learning!  Movie trailers, music videos, or even TV shows can be great sources of authentic content to engage your students!  If your Youtube video has captions, Colango can automatically pull those captions and turn it into a dictation exercise.

Trailers Music TV Shows

Blogging 

Blogging can be another creative way to engage your students.  Encourage your students to create their own blog posts in their target language or have them follow your blog posts.  Download the Colango android app to make studyposts while you’re out on the go.

Blogging with Colango

 

What ways do you use authentic content in your world languages class?

Colango is currently available on Android but will be launched as a web version at the end of January 2015.  If you’re interested in being a Beta tester please email evan@colango.com.

 

 

Tongue twisters!

The power of tongue twisters!

Tongue twisters aren’t just for embarrassing your friends.  Tongue twisters are a fun way for students to practice their pronunciation skills!  Depending on the tongue twister you choose it can help students drill certain related phonemes or sounds.  A tongue twister is a great way to help students focus on the minor mouth changes required to pronounce certain words.  By forcing speakers to switch back and forth between different sounds, they improve their knowledge of movements required for that specific sound set.

Students love them because they’re fun to recite, often resulting in hilarious mistakes.

Tell your students to –

  • Start reciting the tongue twisters at a slow pace and ensure it is able to be recited clearly
  • The next step would be to know the tongue twister by heart.
  • Repeat the tongue twister as fast as possible until it is mastered and able to be recited three times in a row without stumbling.
  • When one tongue twister is mastered, try another.

Here’s how you can use tongue twisters with Colango.  Students can record their attempts in the comments section.

tongue twisters

What do you think about the use of tongue twisters in the classroom?  Let us know in the comments below!

Colango is currently available on Android but will be launched as a web version at the end of January 2015.  If you’re interested in being a Beta tester please email evan@colango.com.

 

Capture

Flipping your classroom with Colango!

 

Give your students more flexibility and power by using Colango to flip your world language classroom! Save your precious classroom time for interacting and helping your students in their specific problem areas. With Colango, you can use online videos or record your own voice lessons to teach students outside of class.  Colango’s Studypost quiz is great for helping narrow down which areas students are lacking. Let’s take a look at how Mr. Lopez is using Colango with his Spanish I class –

Mr. Lopez used a video he found on Youtube to help his student’s learn simple introductory Spanish phrases. Student’s watched the video at home and then recorded their own introduction in the comments below.  If students are shy, they also have the option of recording a private attempt that only Mr. Lopez can see.

Mr.lopez

In another one of Mr. Lopez’s assignments he uses a Youtube video to help explain the difference between por and para to his students.  Mr. Lopez uses Colango quizzes to test his student’s comprehension of the video.  Judging from these results, Mr. Lopez should spend more class time with Sehyeon and Jinhwan reviewing por v. para concepts.

Quiz Results

What do technology do you use to flip your world language class?

Colango is currently available on Android but will be launched as a web version at the end of January 2015.  If you’re interested in being a Beta tester please email evan@colango.com.

 

 

Role Playing with Colango

Choose your own adventure with Colango!
One fun way we’ve seen teachers use Colango’s Studypost is by setting up role playing games with their students.  Role playing games can enable students to deal with familiar situations in their new target language.  These games can make language learning fun, reduce inhibitions when speaking and can inspire cultural understanding by forcing students to think differently depending on the scenario.

With Colango, you can take your students on trips to France or somewhere completely imaginary!  They can choose their own adventure or you can take them on a guided journey.  Let’s take a look at how Jan took his students on a trip to his hometown, Gothenburg.

Jan sets up the scenario by recording his voice and adding some necessary sound effects.

The students reply below with voice comments in a “choose your own adventure” style game.

 

Jan provides his students with feedback and asks them where they want to go next on their Swedish adventure!

Colango is currently available on Android but will be launched as a web version at the end of January 2015.  If you’re interested in being a Beta tester please email evan@colango.com.

Let us know how you would use Colango in the comments below!

Colango Blog © 2017