Web Site Update – September 2021

Hi everyone,

For so many teachers and students around the world, September is a month of new beginnings, and my life is always changing as well. One specific change that I have announced before is my newest section on learning idioms, and I have had a fun time creating lessons that introduce some of the best idioms to learn. Give this section a try.

My goal is to build this section up over the fall, and I would appreciate any feedback you might have on the lessons. Thanks.

https://www.esl-lab.com/idioms/

Randall

Web Site Update – August 2021

This has been an exciting month with my newest listening section of my Web site on idioms. Each video is accompanied by sample sentences, speaking questions, a discussion, and a language check. Give this section a try:

Idioms

Also, with school starting just around the corner, I suggest checking out my self-study guide that organizes all of my listening activities by topic.

Randall’s Self-Study Guide

Finally, I also encourage teachers and students to check out my study handouts to learn more about the features of my site:

ESL Study Handouts

Have a great school year.

Randall

 

 

Web Site Update – July 2021

Hi everyone,

With the summer here, I have been busy developing ideas for new content on my Web site. One of the possibilities that I have been exploring is the use of my new TikTok channel for promoting understanding and use of idioms.

https://www.tiktok.com/@dailyesl/

I have also been working on more language games that are connected to my listening activities. You can see some of them here:

https://www.esl-lab.com/games/

Look more to come in August 2021!

Web Site Update – June 2021

As we move into the summer months, I am plowing away at a variety of projects, including interview teachers and students from around the world. Recently, I had a wonderful conversation with Ines Ben Rebah and her students in Tunisia on Ramadan in their country. I continue to be amazed at the level of thoughtfulness of young people who are changing the face of our world.

You can see all of my interviews on my YouTube channel HEREhttps://www.youtube.com/esllab

I am also still developing language games to accompany my listening activities, with the goal of helping learners maximize the content in different ways. Give them a try HERE.

 

Web Site Update – May 2021

At the beginning of 2021, there was high hope that we were looking at the pandemic in our rearview mirror. Yes, in some areas around the world, things look more hopefully, while COVID-19 is raging in others. That said, the pandemic continues to present opportunities to reach out and help others.

This continues to be true of language teaching and learning. For my part, I am working on several projects:

  1. developing language games to recycle the vocabulary and grammar used in the listening conversations
  2. editing the Web pages to correct spelling and grammar mistakes
  3. revising the quiz format for the listening activities for improved performance
  4. planning additional Facebook Live broadcasts with teachers and students

As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Web Site Update – April 2021

Spring has arrived in many parts of the northern hemisphere, including in Utah, USA, where I live, and this new season is the source of new life and hope. I always enjoy watching spring floors bloom and the blossoms on our fruit trees in the coming weeks.

Reflecting on the newness of spring, I ponder over the fact that it has been over a year since the pandemic radically altered every aspect of our lives, including how education is carried out throughout the world. Personally, I have been involved in a number of initiatives and projects that have helped me see people, teaching, and learning in new and exciting ways.  Some projects are readily apparent, and the manifestations and results are readily apparent, like a new listening activity, video, or learning activity. Other urgent tasks are often less visible, but they still take a lot of time and coordination.

Over the past several weeks and for the next few months, I will involved in these activities:

  • update the quiz delivery system to handle the data and traffic coming to my site. I am speaking of the quiz that comes after most of the listening and video activities.
  • add additional supporting activities around each listening activity. These might include interactive games.
  • evaluate and test the possibility of packaging some of the listening activities into a book format for teachers in low-resource environments.
  • continue to produce live broadcasts with teachers and students from around the world as means of sharing learning challenges and successes.

Outside of these activities, I also plan on taking time to relax and disconnect from technology. So critical in today’s world.

Best wish to all of you.

Randall

 

Grammarly.com – A Writer’s Secret Weapon


grammarly

In my 30+ years of teaching, I have only recommended a few products to teachers and students, and Grammarly.com is one of them. I even use it myself. It is simply the best writing, grammar, and spell-checking tool to improve one’s your writing skills. I can save teachers AND students time in the writing almost anything: email messages, social media and blog posts, and academic paper. It can catch both basic errors (“they’re” instead of “their”) and advanced writing mistakes with vocabulary, tone, and plagiarism.

In the end, it can help people write faster and produce better papers (and better grades), and it can help teachers with their own projects, presentations, and class lessons.

Some of the best features of Grammarly is that it offers a Chrome browser extension so it checks your writing on the Internet (email, social media posts, etc.), and it can check your writing within Microsoft products such as MSWord.

The basic version is completely free and well worth using. Of course, if you need more features and advance writing feedback, then you can upgrade to their premium service which provides feedback on:

Writing fluency and vocabulary suggestions (if you are using the word “really” way too many times)

  • sentence variety so you are not just using simple sentences
  • common spelling and punctuation mistakes
  • the tone and formality of your writing generally need for academic purposes
  • plagiarism so you can make sure you are not copying the writing of others (a real plus for students)

So, which Grammarly should you get (free or the premium)? Well, I always encourage to sign up for the free service to test things out, and if you are really serious about saving time and improving your writing to the next level, then the premium service is well worth it. I have used the premium service myself, and I am a native speaker.

For complete transparency, I receive a financial incentive if you sign up for the service through the links on my site, and this is one way that I can support my work on my Web sites and Facebook Live broadcasts which are completely free to learners around the world. In the end, whether you use the service or not, I am happy that you have found my free Web sites useful since 1998.

Web Site Update – March 2021

Hi everyone,

Well, I don’t any of us anticipated that the COVID-19 pandemic would still be a part of our everyday lives into 2021, but here we are. As I have done since the middle of 2020, I have continued to interview teachers from around the world on how to make the most of online teacher and learning, and that is my plan for the foreseeable future. It is just exciting to meet so many engaging and top-notch teachers who are making a difference in their classes.

After this broadcasts, I usually use the video to create a language-learning activity out of it. You can see some examples HERE.

In this broadcast, Elaine Oliveira and I talk about how to speak more effectively in front of the camera.

Web Site Update – February 2021

With the pandemic still raging around the world, it was difficult to predict how the first month of the year would unfold. Fortunately, I have had some deeply meaningful conversation with a number influential educators in the field of language education, and I enjoyed presenting at the Bolivia English Teachers’ Association International Convention.

New friendships have formed, and a whole host of ideas have blossomed.

Here are some of the broadcasts that I have done since the beginning of the year, and I will continue to create new content for my Web site based on this great interviews. I also produced a fun-filled episode with a teacher and her students from Tunisia, and I would love to do similar interviews in the future.

You can see all of my interviews on my YouTube channel HERE.

Web Site Update – January 2021

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Whew! We have finally moved on from the chaotic year of 2020, and I look back on the year with mixed feelings. In this video, I discuss what I have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic period (which still continues with us today), and outline some of my goals for the coming year.