Of oral exams and how to mark them

One of the most difficult issues of this brand-new subject is how to evaluate our students’ oral productive skill. When taking oral exams, we have to face two problems:
a) Oral exams take a long time (and our groups are quite large)
b) How do I mark my students? What´s the criteria?

a) Well, that’s a fact. If we have a group of 20 students, let’s give them about 5 minutes each student. That makes 100 minutes plus the necessary time between every student’s turn: 3 lessons. However, what if we make our students examine in groups of 2 or 3 people? In fact, that’s what I have just done in the first term. I asked my students to make groups and hand in a project containing oral texts recorded in any type of files they liked. All of them (the group is made of 17 students) decided to make a video. We watched all the videos in class, which took us two lessons (100 minutes).
b) Talking about the marking of oral exams, I firstly thought of using a single mark to evaluate every student, but I realized that it wasn’t fair. Finally, I decided to mark four different aspects:
1. Pronunciation
2. Fluency
3. Intelligibility
4. The project
Points 1-3 evaluate their speech and point 4 does the video. So students get 4 different marks (the final mark comes from finding the average) and that helps them to know which parts they have done well and which areas need more practicing.

Well, I haven’t written all this for my students, but for any teacher who may read it and wishes to comment on it. I would really appreciate if you post a message talking about your experience on doing and marking oral exams. Thank you very much!


Tongue Twisters

Time for speaking practice. Watch the video and try to repeat the tongue twisters... as fast as you can... ;) This exercise will help you improve your fluency, which is very important if we don't want our listeners to fall asleep.

more about "Tongue Twisters", posted with vodpod

Short listening tests on English news

This is part of your Christmas homework. Try these short listenings about different pieces of news. There are 5 tests (click on Listening tests to open the menu). You can follow the instructions in the webpage and if they happen to be difficult, you can check the text of the listenings.
After doing all the tests, come back to our blog a post a message commenting on how difficult/easy they were.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Although it is not an oral activity, I find this quizz very appropriate to play along your next holidays. I think you will enjoy it and have a lot of fun. So, play and report how far you get.

Good luck!

more about "Gamezfly - Who Wants to be a Milliona...", posted with vodpod

Phonetic Chart of IPA symbols

This phonetic chart can be very helpful. Here you have all the phonetic symbols along with an example of them. You only have to press one symbol to here the sound in a word. Besides, you get the word written on one side.

more about "Phonetic Chart of IPA symbols", posted with vodpod


What do you think?

First term is over. It's time to think and evaluate it. Your opinion is very important to make any changes if necessary. So please, write your opinion commenting on the following items:
a) What do you think of
1. this new subject?
2. the book
3. the photocopies
4. the blog
5. the speaking practice done in class
6. the listening practice done in class
7. the oral exams (both speaking and listening)
b) Suggest any activity you would like to do next term.
c) Comment on any other aspect you like related to the subject.


Concordia Prize awarded to students at IES Loranca

The students of the school choir and the journalists of LA LENTE (who participate in El País de los Estudiantes) have been awarded the Concordia Prize, given by Fuenlabrada city council. Three students in our class have received this award: Marta Martínez, Jorge Tuda and Daniel Tierno. Congratulations to you three and all those who have taken part in any of these projects!!!
You can read an article about these awards at:


Choose a listening of your level

Here you have a webpage with a los of listening exercises classified into three levels: basic, intermediate and advance. They have many different activities. Go ahead and try firstly one listening from each level. According to your marks, decide which level is more appropriate for you and try more listenings.


When you finish doing your practice, come back to our blog and post a message with the following information:
a. the most appropriate level for you
b. the number of listenings you have done
c. the listenings you liked most


LA LENTE elected candidate for the Concordia Prize

Our schoolmates of the newspaper LA LENTE DE LORANCA have been elected candidates for the Concordia Prize. This prize is awarded by the City Council of Fuenlabrada which has organized an event next Thursday to award an individual and a collective prize.
La Lente is annually published in El País de los Estudiantes (http://estudiantes.elpais.com/, click on Madrid, then PERIÓDICOS, then HEMEROTECA: edicion 2008 and 2009), a project organized by El País. It was firstly published two years ago and it has always been elected finalist of Madrid Comunity (1st and 2nd positions). Last year, Laura Caballero's interview with Boris Izaguirre was elected the best national interview. The students involved in the newspaper last year and at present are: Leyre Samper, Laura Caballero, Rafael Mora, Carlos Vázquez, Iván Al-Akhdar, Héctor Torrijos, Daniel Hernández, Irene Agudo, María De Blas, Carlos Melero, Lara Torres, Alba Casillas, Rosario Ortega and Marta Martínez Pallares.
This academic year, there is a group of 12 students already working in the next number which will appear in April 2010.
Congratulations to all the young "journalists" of La Lente. And good luck next Thursday.


Learning from songs

As we have long bank holidays, you'll probably have time to listen and enjoy a song. I have chosen one by The Killers, and I suppose you already know it. It is called Human.

Listen to the song and try to fill in the gaps of the first paragraph of the song. Use the following words: Cut, Eyes, Heart, Kind, Line, Open, Platform, Sometimes

I did my best to notice
When the call came down the ______________(1)
Up to the ________________ (2)of surrender
I was brought but I was __________________(3)
And _________________(4) I get nervous
When I see an _______________(5) door
Close your _________________(6)
Clear your ___________________(7) ____________________(8) the cord

Check your answers and get the whole lyrics at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4jR9P9YJGo (notice the mistake: dancer -not denser).

When you have finished, add a comment on the blog answering the following questions:
a. Do you usually listen to songs in English?
b. Do you learn any vocabulary from songs in English?
c. Write the title of any song you would like to listen in class
Remember to write your name at the end of your comment.