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300% More Recording Time!

I’ve upgraded SpeechPeek to allow for up to 30 second recordings for both Speaking Lessons and Listening Comprehension Exercises.

Longer recordings is something many teachers have requested, and I’m happy to deliver.

Please let me know how the longer times are working out for you and your students!

Happy Spring!

Listening Comprehension homework is coming

You asked, I’m listening

Listening Comprehension homework is coming

SpeechPeek’s listening comprehension tests will initially be based on ETS’ TOEFL Listening Comprehension Question Formats.

During the test, the student will hear recordings of different talks and discussions. Then, following each audio, the student will hear a question or a number of questions about what the student just heard.

For each of the questions, the student will read the four possible answers and choose the best answer.

Example:

Recording of Teacher’s Voice

Remember a team of painters is coming in tomorrow to paint the walls. In this box on my desk are sheets of plastic which I want you to place over your desks. Make sure you cover your desk completely so that no paint gets on your desks. The painting will be completed by the time we return on Monday.

Question

What does the teacher want the students to do?
A. Take everything out of their desks
B. Put the painting supplies in plastic bags
C. Bring paints with them to school on Monday
D. Put covers on their desks to keep the paint off
I'm very excited to deliver this new lesson to you all, so please keep an eye out for an email announcing its release!

ESL Lesson Plan for “-ed” ending

Lesson Plan: “-ed” ending (30-minutes)

INSTRUCTION (5-10 minutes)

In order to form the past tense of regular verbs, “-ed” is added to the end of the verb.  This “-ed” ending has 3 different pronunciations in the English language: [t], [d], and [Id].

1) The “-ed” ending sounds like [t], as in “marked”, if the last sound in the present tense verb is voiceless.  In the example, “marked”, the last sound in the present tense form of the verb, “mark”, is [k], which is voiceless, so the “-ed” ending here sounds like [t]. The voiceless sounds are [k], [p], [f], [s], [sh] and [tch].

Ex: licked, stopped, laughed, hissed, wished, watched

2) The “-ed” ending sounds like [d], as in “lived”, if the last sound in the present tense verb is voiced.  In the example, “lived”, the last sound in the present tense form of the verb, “live”, is [v], which is voiced, so the “-ed” ending here sounds like [d]. The voiced sounds are [b], [g], [l], [m], [n], [r], [v], [th], and all vowels.

Ex: ebbed, hugged, stalled, hummed, stained, barred, starved, loathed, weighed, freed, showed

3) The “-ed” ending sounds like [Id], as in “waited”, if the last sound in the present tense verb is [t] or [d].  In the example, “waited”, the last sound in the present tense form of the verb, “wait”, is [t], so the “-ed” ending here sounds like [Id].

Ex: voted, landed, muted, ended

Students typically had problems with Rule #1 – when the “-ed” ending was supposed to sound like [t].  Instead of pronouncing the “-ed” sound as [t], many students pronounced it as [Id].  For example, they pronounced “wished” as [wishId] instead of [wisht] and “barked” as [barkId] instead of [barkt].

I corrected them by separating the “-ed” ending from the verb.  I would say the present tense form of the verb first, then I would say the “ed” ending sound separately, having the students repeat.  For example, for “wished”, I would first say “wish”, then [t]. I would then say the sounds faster together until the student was able to say [wisht].

IN-CLASS ESL EXERCISES (20-25 min)

After the instructional part of the lesson, I then give my students time in class to practice what they just learned. I like to give them exercises to do in pairs, and also as a large group. I’ve found that variety helps keep them interested.

AFTER-CLASS

For homework, I would assign Speechpeek lesson that reinforces the lesson above and allows me to review each individual students’ progress.  Students love Speechpeek, because they can practice without classroom embarrassment, and I can provide personalized feedback to each of my students.

Sample SpeechPeek Lesson for “-ed” ending:

  1. Eun Ah wished that she didn’t have such a big headache.
  2. Our airplane landed safely.
  3. Choah carefully planned a surprise party for her best friend.
  4. I didn’t know that Hwa Soo hated Indian food.
  5. Jay cooked a delicious dinner for his family last night.
  6. Yun-Mi spilled some milk when she poured it into her cup.
  7. The ice in my drink melted quickly because of the hot weather.
  8. The cat hissed loudly when the dog barked suddenly.
  9. The child lied to his mom because he didn’t want to get in trouble.
  10. Last night, we ate steak and mashed potatoes, then we ordered dessert.

ESL Lesson Plan for Intonation

Lesson plan – Intonation (30 minutes)

I teach this lesson to my ESL students in my Oral Communications class. I usually start my class with a pronunciation tip, such as this one, because my students find it helpful and fun, and it loosens them up for the rest of the class session. I like to arrange the desks so that they form a “U”. This arrangement is helpful for both pair and large group work.

INSTRUCTION (5-10 minutes)

I start the lesson by explaining what Intonation is and why it’s so important:

Intonation is the rise and fall of the voice in speech and is necessary in communication. Correct use of intonation helps to effectively convey your message, but incorrect use of intonation may confuse the listener, causing the message to be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

I then show how intonation is used correctly:

Intonation should fall at the end of declarative statements. Falling intonation communicates certainty and completion.

Examples:

  • That’s my house.
  • I like apples.

Intonation should rise at the end of questions or statements expressing doubt. Rising intonation communicates uncertainty and doubt.

Examples:

  • You’re moving?
  • You didn’t sleep last night?
  • Are you coming?
  • Is it snowing?

IN-CLASS EXERCISES (20-25 minutes)

After the instructional part of the lesson, I then give my students time in class to practice what they just learned. I like to give them exercises to do in pairs, and also as a large group. I’ve found that variety helps keep them interested.

In pairs

For the following exercise, I would put my students in pairs and have them take turns reading statements with falling intonation and rising intonation.

One of them would be Student A, and the other would be Student B. After reading all 4 statements, they would then switch.

As the instructor, I would walk around and listen to each pair to ensure that their intonation was correct. If I heard them struggling or using incorrect intonation, I would model the correct intonation for them and have them repeat after me until they got it correct.

Student A: You ran fifty miles.
Student B: You ran fifty miles?

Student A: He drank all of the wine.
Student B: He drank all of the wine?

Student A: She won the competition.
Student B: She won the competition?

Student A: They have 25 children.
Student B: They have 25 children?

As a class

For this exercise, I would divide the class in half. The right half would first ask the questions, and the left half would answer them.

After doing all 5 questions and responses, they would then switch so that everyone has practice using both rising and falling intonation.

  1. Can you hear me? Yes I can.
  2. Are we staying? No, we’re going.
  3. Can I help you? Yes, please.
  4. Is he your brother? No, he’s my friend.
  5. Have they left yet? Yes, they’ll be here soon.

For homework, I would assign Speechpeek lesson that reinforces the lesson above and allows me to review each individual students’ progress.  Students love Speechpeek, because they can practice without classroom embarrassment, and I can provide personalized feedback to each of my students.

Sample SpeechPeek Lesson

1a. We need a better library!
1b. We need a better library?

2a. I’m going to get an A in this class?
2b. I’m going to get an A in this class!

3a. I deserve a raise?
3b. I deserve a raise!

4a. I’m a good student!
4b. I’m a good student?

5a. I worked hard on the project?
5b. I worked hard on the project!

6a. Sujin is my best friend?
6b. Sujin is my best friend!

7a. Hans doesn’t like pizza!
7b. Hans doesn’t like pizza?

8a. We saw Jorge’s new car?
8b. We saw Jorge’s new car!

Online ESL here we come!

I’ve put together a website that I think will be beneficial to educators and especially those within the ESL world.

Providing interactive classrooms with real personalized feedback and instruction remains a significant hurdle. Additionally, current language learning software still lags far behind the human ear in interpreting and analyzing human speech (my wife has even mentioned that even she herself is sometimes “corrected” by the software used in her language lab).

But with the proliferation of the internet and student laptops, bridging these gaps is easier than ever before.

In a nutshell, SpeechPeek.com’s goals are:
– provide a variety of interactive ESL exercises (pronunciation exercises, set conversational exercises, listening comprehension)
– enable educators to provide truly personalized and targeted feedback
– be extremely user-friendly for both students and teachers