Memorisation activities

Sandy Millin

I put together this selection of memorisation activities for a CELTA course at LangLTC in Warsaw and thought it would be a good idea to share the activities here too. The activities can be used:

  • after error correction
  • to help students fix bits of new language in their heads before they need to produce it at a later stage in the lesson
  • to exploit decontextualised sentences, for example from a gapfill
  • to improve students’ confidence with bits of language
  • as learner training – once they’ve learnt them, a lot of the activities are things they can try themselves or with fellow students, without needing a teacher to set them up

They are taken from various wonderful people I’ve worked with in the past, plus a couple of my own ideas. If you think there are any that should be credited differently, please let me know. It would also be great…

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How to ensure that feedback leads to real learning

Different aspects of giving feedback to students and making it more effective are among the issues I’m interested in professionally and have done some research in.

Reflecting English


Image: @jasonramasami

In our recent book, Making every lesson count, Shaun Allison and I have used the following diagram to introduce the idea that feedback is a two-way process:


The notion on the left, that feedback should inform planning, is often overlooked; instead, teacher-to-student feedback is very much the flavour of the month – to the extent that ‘quality of marking’ has now become an accepted measure of a teacher’s effectiveness. However, there is a logical error inherent in this way of thinking. Quality of feedback can only be contingent on the quality of the initial input. Harry, for example, might have received high-quality teaching and no written feedback from his teacher; Hannah, in another class, might have been the recipient of poor teaching and lots of remedial feedback. It is absurd to suggest that Harry’s teacher’s marking is of a lesser quality than Hannah’s teacher’s marking, without taking…

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Text summary and analysis

I’ve tried to do it this way and received very positive feedback from my students. I also created a summary template students can use to write their summaries. It’s quite simple but effective. Basically, it looks like this: First, the authors draws attention to/emphasizes… Next, s/he gives an example of… Further, s/he specifies that… Finally, s/he makes a conclusion that… It helps to organise a summary better, which is smth. my Ss have a problem with

A Hive of Activities

Copyright © 2014 Emma Gore-Lloyd

This is a great way to get Proficiency students (although it could be adapted for Advanced or FCE students) reading, finding useful vocabulary in the text and sharing it with each other. I got it from the inspiring Elspeth Pollock who gave a talk on teaching CPE students in Seville in February.  She reminded us that proficiency students are (at least in Spain) pretty special students and this should be reflected in the classes. I have used her General Text Analysis handout and also adapted it to make my own for my class and I attach both here with her permission.

Here´s what you do: After doing a class activity or exam practice on a certain topic, ask your students to go home and find an article in English on the same sort of general topic – something which interests them – and to follow the instructions on the handout. The instructions are…

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A very inspiring and enthusiastic account of K. Wilson’s participation in the most recent JALT (The Japan Association for Language Teachers) conference in Hamamatsu. I found the information rather informative and particularly liked the explanation of what a good presentation should be like and what to avoid when making it.

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Using Google Docs to Create Digital Kits for Student Projects – The Tempered Radical

Via Scoop.itAll about XXI education

One of the most valuable #edtech lessons that I ever learned came from Hall Davidson, who suggests that teachers interested in incorporating digital storytelling projects into their classrooms create digital kits that students can use as starting…


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Web-site Evaluation Criteria

Some time ago I introduced you to one of social bookmarking tools ( and saw that there is a quite variety of resources available on the web. So it becomes necessary to understand how credible the information they contain is. What for? The materials of this lesson will help you to get a better idea about it.

Have a look at the list of criteria for evaluation created by M. Krauss and Anholt and then use them to evaluate the resources listed below the explanation of these criteria:

Answer the following questions “yes” or “no”. If you have more than 9 “Yes” answers, you can use resource you have found or were recommended to use.


Some articles are written to report information objectively (without the author’s opinion). Other articles are written to “advocate” the author’s point of view, either for or against an issue. It is okay to use advocacy articles, but you also need to find an equal number of articles from the other side’s point of view.

1.___Is it clear to you that this article is either objective reporting or an advocacy article?
Which is it? (check one) ___objective ___advocacy

2.___Is more than one viewpoint expressed?

3.___Can you identify the name of the organization that put up this Web site?
Which organization is sponsoring it?


1. ___Do you know who wrote the information on this page?

2. ___Is there a link to contact the author?

3. ___ Is there information to show that the author is knowledgeable or an expert?

Check the URL (Web address). A tilde (~) means the page is a personal one, not part of an organization’s official Web site. Try putting the author’s name into Google. See what else s/he has written. You can also put the URL into Google. This will show you which sites link to the page you found.

1. ___ Can you tell where the author got his/her information? Are there links to the sources?

2. ___ Is the information typed correctly, with correct grammar and spelling?

It is important to have up-to-date information. Some Web sites have old information that is still useful, but if the actual Web site is not updated, you may doubt the information which is presented.

1. ___Can you find the date that this article was originally written?

2. ___Can you find the date that this article was put on the Web?

3. ___Can you find the date that this article was revised?

4. ___Click on three links in the text (if there are links in the text). Are all the links working?

Some Web sites are collections of links to other Web sites. They are useful, but they not considered a “source” of information for your paper.

1. ___Does this Web site contain original information?

2. ___Does this article contain information that will help you with your paper?

Another form for web-site evaluation is located at

First, apply these criteria to the analysis of two websites listed below

1. Mankato, Minnesota (
2. Mankato, Minnesota (

In the thread following this post write your evaluation of these sites and see what your peers have to say about it.

Next, read A short introduction to the study of Holocaust revisionism, by Arthur R. Butz ( and then the article by Alan November “Teaching Zack to Think” ( which serves as an excellent illustration of why it is important to analyze the credibility of information you find on the web.. In your post, explain whether it is important to evaluate the quality of information on the internet. Why?

Finally, visit one of the sites listed below and post a comment with its evaluation: is it credible or not? How do you know?

* Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (
* Facts About from Idiotica (
* Should we ban dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) (
* Museum of Hoaxes (
* California’s Velcro Crop under Challenge (1993) (
* Did the Holocaust happen? (
* Physics and Star Trek (
* The Faked Apollo Landings (

(Author: Jill Haslam – Email

Post your comment in this thread.

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National State Exam PPP

Dear colleagues–

I’d like to share with you the presentation about the Writing Section of the National State Exam. I have uploaded it to, and you are welcome to have a look at it and use it if you need. You can access it at

If you have any questions and/or comments about my presentation, please leave them in the blog.

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