A demonstration of Berlitz English Extra activities to reinforce learning at various levels.

To keep him happy and working productively, the only thing one can offer a student constantly is variety.

The suite of activities to which this demonstration refers aims to do this with a collection of eight basic formulae, mostly created with the oddly named Hot Potatoes and Textoys tools. There are more than 200 activities at the moment and the number is increasing.

With imagination each of these formulae can present a surprising number of variants. Those shown here are by no means exhaustive. Initial experience with the existing suite tends to confirm that the range of activities offered allows almost every student to find activities suited to his own learning style.

This collection has been tailored to complement the Berlitz online exercises, exposing the student to a lot of spoken language and writing activities to complement and reinforce what he has done in class. It will also supplement the student's knowledge with enriching and, it is hoped, occasionally amusing material going a little further than the classroom programme. In short, it should help the student to get more and better results from his instruction.

Use Internet Explorer as your browser, or Safari on a Mac.
You will need to have Real Player installed on your computer.This should be defined as the default player for MP3 files. This ensures that sound files are represented as a bar with controls on the activity page. (Otherwise a new page will open to play the sound file, over the activity page)

 

The Index system and instructions

A fairly foolproof access system uses a double menu.

The first allows the student to select a level and a chapter.
He clicks on the number in the appropriate square.

Menu1 (not active here)

This leads to a second menu of activities for the chapter chosen.
Student clicks on a link to start any activity.

Menu 2 (not active here)

Both the above menus remain open so that, when a student closes the activity he has done, he comes back to Menu 2. If he closes that, he comes back to Menu 1.

Explanations and instructions. Each activity in Menu 2 is colour-coded which allows the student to click on the link providing instructions in his own language (French here).

Example of an instruction page: Gapfill activities

 

ACTIVITIES:

1: Repetition

Simple repetition of phrases and words is extremely valuable at all levels but nowhere more so than for the beginner. In these activities the student has simply to click on the sound bars, listen and repeat.Two of them allow the student to record and listen to his own voice.

Practice of known vocabulary:

Level 1 chapter 4 Colours: Pronunciation practice.

Widening vocabulary with new words in unmistakeable contexts.

Level 1 chapter 12 Fruit: Vocabulary practice

In the following, placing the cursor on the picture reveals the spoken text.

Level 1chapter 3 Repeat simple phrases from a dialogue

 

2 - Gapfill activities (JCloze)

Cloze exercises are most useful for Grammar & vocabulary activities

These activities can include a screen of explanation (of grammar for example, as here).
Place the cursor in the various gaps and fill in the missing words.

Click on the "Check" button at the bottom at any point to have your answers verified. (Wrong ones are left to be corrected)
Allowance is made for variants - this exercise will accept contractions or full forms where they are correct.
If stuck, the student can click on "Hint" toget the next missing letter in the blank where he has put the cursor.

Level 3 chapter 5: The future progressive

 

3 - Multiple choice activites ( JQuiz)

Typically these are used to practice grammar:

These too can include a screen of explanation (of grammar for example, as here).
Click on the button which corresponds to the correct answer.
A window indicates if your answer is correct or not (and gives an ongoing score)
Close the window and click on => for the next question.
Click on "Show all questions" if you prefer to do them out of order
The first is a classic, simple text only activity.

Text: Level 1 chapter 2: Possessives

They can, however, be very varied and the following, originally done for real-estate oriented clients uses pictures and sound files too.

Real estate: Level 3 chapter 8 - originally for specialised clients.

 

3b - Multiple choice variants also include activities where more than one answer is correct.

Square boxes replace radio buttons in these:
Note that the scoring system is a little complex here:the student has to decide individually for each response if it should be ticked or not and gets (if there are four squares) 25% for each one correctly ticked or not ticked.

This exercise presents 10 questions out of a bank of 17 and should thus be done at least twice. This is a good way of getting students to reinforce their work - they will see some questions they have done and some new ones.

Gerund vs infinitive: Level 3 chapter 10

 

4 - Tangled texts (Jmix)

Email language has become important and Jmix activities provide a good way to attack this:

They are simply mixed up sentences but can be linked together so that each sentence is treated seperately and then the complete email done in phrases at the end.

Each word or phrase can be slid into place on the lines provided in such a way as to create a coherent sentence.

Click on the "Check" button to see if the sentencce is correct (or correct so far). You will be told how much of the text iscorrect starting from the begining.
If stuck, the "Hint" button will provide the next word or phrase.

At the top, the "Next Sentence" button moves through the text until the last frame provides the entire text.
This last frame may be slightly modified and will have added phrases like "Dear Sir" & " Yours faithfully" added

. A memo Level Business 1 chapter 1

 

5 - Matching (JMatch)

Many different things can be "matched" with this; sound files and text, text and pictures, sound and pictures.

Click on the text, picture or sound file on the right and slide it to the right, next to the text, picture or sound file which corresponds.

Click on check at any time to see if your answers are correct. Correct answers become blue or given a blue frame. Wrong answers remain white and are shifted to the right.

The first uses sound files and pictures:

The Time: Level 1 chapter 2

The next includes additional help: If the student can't understand the sound he can put the cursor on the word "read" next to the sound bar and this reveals the spoken text.

Professional vocabulary Level 2 chapter 3

 

6 - Crosswords (JCross)

A game-like activity which students seem to like though it is mostly useful for rather mechanical tasks like learning past participles:

Click on any square with a number and the corresponding clue or clues (2 if there is one vertical and one horizontal) are shown with a white window.Type the answer in the window and then the "Enter" button. The word is inserted into the crossword. If stuck use the "Hint" button which provides the first (or next) letter.

When the "Check" button at the bottom is used, all wrong letters are removed .

Past participles:Level 3 chapter 4.

 

7 - Text reconstruction from sound files (dictations) phrase by phrase (WebSequitor)

(For these to present correctly on screen, you need Real Player to be the default player for MP3 files)

The phrase by phrase activity is easier than the next, typing, activity.
Listen to the text, pause after a couple of phrases. Choose the first, then the next phrase by clicking on them in the list of suggested answers. If your choice is correct it will be inserted into the answer window.
Continue this until the text is complete.

When completed the text can be read aloud and compared with the recording. Someof these activities allow the student to record his voice

As the words are provided, students can do this even if they don't know all the vocabulary. Texts a little complicated for their theoretical level are feasible.

Note the function which allows the last part only of the text to be shown: This ensures that the sound bar can be left on the screen while the text is being completed, Clicking on the button at the end reveals the whole text.

This example has two maps included, there is a link at the bottom tosee the route described..

Follow directions: Level 1 chapter 7

 

 

8 - Text reconstruction by typing in words (WebRhubarb)

 

Harder than the foregoing, these are better used with texts well within the students knowledge.
Obviously some unknown words willbe met with but there is always the possibility of asking for the next letter so a student will never get completely stuck.

Listen to the text, pause after a couple of phrases. Type in any word or phrase you hear. any correctly typed words will be inserted intothe text wherever they occur (thus if you type "the" or "a" for example, you may well get a gratifying flock of words appearing on the screen

Continue listening and typing until the text is complete.

When completed the text can be read aloud and compared with the recording as for the phrase by phrase activity. Someof these activities allow the student to record his voice

A job interview: Level 3 chapter 9

 

9 - Websequitor & Webrhubarb with video incorporated

Video can also be used with the above two activities: This provides a great opportunity to recycle old Berlitz video material from Getting around in English and Family Business.

These two sequences include a function allowing the student to record his voice.

They function exactly as the preceding activities.

NB. If you are downloading the film from internet it may be slow: They are normally on the hard disc which allows better quality pictures to be used.

Family Business (episode 1 part 1) with Websequitor

Getting Around in Engish - "The Actor" with Webrhubarb (The first of three sections)


 

If you have any questions or comments about these activities the author, Mark Yates would be delighted to hear from you at mfyates@gmail.com .