Saturday, April 5, 2008

Working with Widgets

You may recall that in an earlier post last year, I happily announced that I had discovered 'widgets' and had placed a clock on my blog. Now I'm unhappy to report that my clock has disappeared. I'm not sure what happened to it. My unverified explanation is that the site that allowed me to download the clock for free no longer supports that particular widget clock. (It also disappeared from my wiki.) I have, therefore, removed my timepiece and will be searching for a new gadget to replace it.

How Can I Improve My English Spelling?

I often get asked this question, and my usual response is "Write the misspelled word several times until you develop some muscle memory and a visual image of the correctly spelled word." However, for the internet-based TOEFL, it doesn't make too much sense to write the word out longhand, since the iBT is an online exam. What should you do?

Now there is a wonderful online site called Spelling City. I tried it out myself and have also gotten feedback from one of my iBT students that it was fun and effective.

There are vocabulary lists of words arranged in alphabetical order for first through eighth grade, and you can either study the words or test yourself. In either case, you can hear the individual word pronounced or listen to the word within the context of a sentence. In addition, you can create a list of your own commonly misspelled words; if they're in the 'bank' of words at this site, 'Spelling City' will help you to practice those particular words.

I'm not sure how long this site has been in existence, but I'm very happy it's here and that I have a suggestion for how students can improve their spelling in a fun way.

Picturing English

If you haven't yet noticed, I have a sister blog called 'Picturing English,' which I just started last month with the help of some relatives who are skilled artists. I give them the story concept, and they create my pictures. All of the cartoons are based on true stories from students and from my own experiences teaching English. I hope 'Picturing English' stimulates your English cells. Enjoy the cartoons! Maybe you'll see yourself in one of them.