Popplet ESL Activities: An Introduction to Pronunciation

Popplet is a favorite tool of literacy teachers, especially those who work with younger learners. Reading, writing, spelling, and the other key elements that children need to solve the language puzzle are particularly significant in the early years since this early progress has a universal impact on their development. The methods they use closely resemble some of those employed by language teachers.
consonant-clusters

Phonics, or one of its variants, is the method most used by school teachers to teach children how to read. In English language instruction, we combine phonics and phonetics, along with other linguistic concepts and label this key area of English language tuition, Pronunciation.

First steps with Popplet and Pronunciation – a lesson

  1. A brief presentation about English pronunciation, with constant student feedback.
  2. Students carry out research related to the lesson and create popplets to show their results.
  3. Class discussion.

I like to introduce Popplet and pronunciation at the same time in my classes. There is no increase in difficulty, since, like any good tool, Popplet adds value to the student’s experience. More significantly, visualizing their experiences by creating a Popplet board about what they learn, enhances their learning and leaves them a visual record for revision.

All of your students will know about pronunciation. Some will have seen IPA symbols before, a few might understand them. Others will groan at the prospect a subject that has not been highly regarded these last years and may even resist. The majority, however, will be curious the moment you write Pronunciation on the board, and that is always the best place to begin a class.

Lesson

Explain to the students that they are going to learn about pronunciation, and explain to them why it is important for them to study it, answering any questions that arise.

  • Begin by talking about the different types of English that exist, explain how they vary and why the often used term Standard English may forever be an elusive concept. Be sure to mention which dialect you belong to, or favor.
  • Then, Illustrate with some popular examples:

British vs American English’s legendary “tomahto” /təˈmɑːtəʊ/, “tomayto” /təˈmeɪtoʊ/, or

How the Canadian pronunciation of “about” /əˈbaʊt/, “aboot” tickles their US neighbors

  • Focus on UK Received Pronunciation (RP), the language of the Queen of England, her family, and a few other people in the world. Highlight some of the ways it differs from Scottish English or American English, for example.
  • Amaze your students by explaining that words like car /ka:/. chair /’tʃeə/, and where /’weə/ are maybe not pronounced as they might imagine. If they don’t believe you, provide more examples.
  • Introduce the class to the schwa /ə/, and reveal why this particular sound is so popular with English speakers by modeling the words chocolate /’tʃɒkələt/ and vegetable /’vedʒtəbl/. Introduce sentence stress.
  • Finally, at the risk of overwhelming your students with what they will have come to believe is the entirely illogical nature of the English language, bring up words that contain silent letters such as know /nəʊ/, walk /wɔ:k/ and talk /tɔ:k/.

Popplet Activities & Discussion

  • Research the countries where English is spoken worldwide. How many people speak English as a first language or second language? Contrast the results with other widely spoken languages like Mandarin or Spanish, Create a Popplet containing your results and add appropriate images such as charts or geographical identifiers -flags! Different groups or students could do the different languages.

who-speaks-english

  • Research the countries/places in the world where Engish is the first language or widely spoken. Which countries have the most English speakers? Create a Popplet with your results and add appropriate images.
  • Collate results, displaying the best popplets for the whole class to see, using the results to initiate a class discussion on what English pronunciation might sound like fifty years from now.

If your students can access the internet on their devices in class, they can do this activity there and then. If not, set this as a homework exercise. If set as a group exercise, students can collaborate on their work.

Students will very quickly get the hang of Popplet.if they appear hesitant or have any questions direct them to the slideshow demo, which can be accessed by clicking on try it out on the Popplet home page.  In no time at all ,students will be eagerly creating impressive visuals. Avoid lecturing on the use of Popplet, let the students discover what it can do.

By the end of the lesson, the class will be well versed in the basics of Pronunciation and Popplet creation. They will want to know more.

Popplet is available on the web, and new users receive five popplet boards for when they sign up for a free account.  If you find you need more than five popplet boards, you can simply delete existing ones, or you can sign up for the full version of Popplet at the iTunes store. There is a free version of the iPad app: Popplet Lite, also available from the iTunes Store. School and Class group subscriptions are also available.

If you find this idea useful, or if you are already using Popplet in your ESL classes then please let us know by sharing your ideas with the Popplet community on Twitter, and our Facebook page. To sign up for a free account, visit the Popplet home page.

 

 

Top Popplet! – What RIGHT Means To You

Welcome to Top Popplet! We choose one of our favorite popplets, say why we think it’s great, and share it here so that everyone can see just how great it really is. Our hope is that Popplet people everywhere will  be inspired to similar feats of popplet excellence.

collage-of-4

The creative and industrious Popplet community are selfless in their efforts, sharing thousands of examples of their fine work every week. Numerous blogs, a multitude of Twitter and Facebook posts, and our very own Public Popplets section mean we are completely spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing Top Popplets. Nevertheless, choose we must, and this week we choose What RIGHT Means To You.

Continue reading

Popplet Halloween Ideas

Halloween can be about so much more than Trick or Treating. This traditional annual celebration of all things spooky is an opportunity for children to learn. The importance of traditions, history, the differences between fact and fiction and storytelling. They can also study how people from other cultures celebrate their Halloween.

At Popplet we love Halloween. At times like this, we get a good look at how incredibly creative our most avid users are. Check out some of their ideas.

Continue reading

Popplet: The APPliance of Science

Popplet is a popular app with professors and students in the science classroom and in the laboratory. It has all the versatile, intuitive features favored by inquisitive minds. This ensures Popplet a position at the hub of all the best school and college science projects. Popplet has a role to play at every stage of the discovery process, from the initial ideas (brainstorming) stage through to the presentation of results. 

Why is Popplet so popular with scientists? Because there are so many ways to use it in scientific work. With Popplet you can:

  • Brainstorm thoughts and ideas – What do we know? What do we want to know? How are we going to find out?
  • Plan practical work and experiments
  • Record observations during practicals using text, photos, and video
  • Collate and present results
  • Collaborate on project work in real time…or anytime
  • Classify and make visuals of pretty much anything: animals, insects, plants, planets…
  • Create cool visuals that demonstrate learning
  • Produce great presentations of results

Let’s put Popplet under the microscope and observe its behavior in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Continue reading

Top of the Popplets! – July 2016

We are forever grateful to the many generous Popplet users who regularly share their work: on Twitter and Facebook, in Public Popplets, and on the many blogs and web pages in a mind-boggling number of different languages. A thorough examination of all of your hard work would take a long, long time, so if your Popplet doesn’t appear here in our monthly roundup of your favorite popplets, don’t be dismayed, please keep sharing, we are sure somebody somewhere in the Popplet community is benefitting. But for now, sit back, and savor July’s offerings.

Do I Need A Citation?

do-i-need-a-citation

Do I Need a Citation? is a very useful decision-making flowchart, which has already been put through its paces a number of times now in the Popplet office. Intellectual property laws, copyright concerns, and just plain good manners mean we need to think carefully about republishing anything we might have picked up from another source. This very handy Popplet, published anonymously in Public Popplets – but with a citation for the information it contains! – is an example of how popplet can be used to create a simple yes/no flowchart which can simplify the trickiest of decisions. Thank you to the anonymous creator for keeping us on the straight and narrow.

Continue reading

Top of the Popplets! – February 2016

Welcome to the round up of the best Popplets shared on our Twitter, Facebook and Public Popplet pages in the month of February. If you’re searching for ideas and inspiration, or if you just want to know what Popplet is all about, then this is the place to be.

Luke Skywalker’s Letter

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 17.59.27

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away (Wales!), a novice in Mr Tilley’s Primary School Classroom had an idea: “find the droid BB8 and save the the universe!”. In his quest to locate this loyal droid, a young classroom Jedi named Luke Skywalker gained intimate knowledge of the key features of the little known and almost long forgotten art of letter writing. Brandishing only The Force and Popplet, and under the instruction of Master Tilley, a beacon of hope for all the inhabitants of the Galaxy was created in the form of a popplet. This symbol will long serve as a fine example to those who wish to learn something of the old ways of communicating. May the force be with you young Luke, the citizens of Planet Popplet send you their gratitude. Continue reading

People Who Love Music Love Popplet

From time immemorial the People Of The World have been been Lost In Music. Be it the primal powerful drumming of our ancestors or the sophisticated orchestral opus, music has the power to cross every cultural, linguistic and geographical divide.  

Considering the immeasurable impact music has on our lives, a closer inspection of Popplet’s special relationship with music lovers everywhere was long overdue. So we went On The Road Again, travelled Up The Country and tried to Break on Through… and we had a great time doing it!…but what did we learn? Well, what we discovered is that Everyday People who love music, love using Popplet. Here are some of your Greatest Hits. Continue reading

Everyone’s A Writer Now: Popplet in the Writing Class

Writing is more popular than ever! Sure, the infamous selfie and the spontaneous snap of a restaurant meal might be getting all the notice, but sharing our prose and poetry is more commonplace than ever before. The Facebook comment, the 140-character tweet, the Tumblr or WordPress blog, and many other platforms offer almost everyone who can write a potential audience numbering in the billions. Never before has so much been written by so many for so many.

Popplet Writing 1a

In technology-assisted classrooms — and in the wider connected world — opportunities to write, to communicate, to develop, and to grow are now widespread. We took a look at how Popplet is being to put to good use by teachers of writing and how young scribes are shaping up in the digital world. Continue reading

We Are Family

You don’t have to be a genealogist to make a family tree. In fact, teachers are using in-class family tree activities to provide children with a sense of identity, to provoke thought, to share a sense of our histories, and encourage stronger family and community relationships.

We took a look at how Popplet is being put to work by budding genealogists in classrooms everywhere, and as always, we learned something too!

Continue reading

Back To School iPad Ed Tips with Popplet

Picture 94For many in the northern hemisphere, it’s Back To School week! September marks the start of a new school year in North America, the UK and throughout Europe. And this school year, more than ever, tablets and bring-your-own-devices are becoming the norm, meaning there are many students using iPads in the classroom, and teachers working to make educational technologies useful as an aide to learning and skills development.

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress found that despite the growing use of tablets in schools, they are not being harnessed to help students achieve learning goals in the most effective ways. Their review found that, for the most part, education technologies are being used to replicate basic drill tests rather than empowering students to develop new skillsets in knowledge management.

For example, we increasingly live in an era of big data and instant access to all the world’s accumulated knowledge. As a result, being a subject matter expert is becoming less a sign of educational achievement than the ability to navigate knowledge systems and to acquire a skillset that makes use of all the information that is on offer. At Popplet, we believe this trajectory will continue and hope that students and teachers can use our visual thinking and ideas mapping app as a way to build core competencies in how to manage information, collaborate with others, comprehend complex concepts, and uncover new connections between seemingly disparate ideas. Continue reading