Classic radio recordings to help students with reading

There is a wealth of great media at your fingertips if you scratch a little and today I came across a couple of classic audio recordings I remember hearing as a child around Christmas time which you simply do not hear these days.

These recordings would make for an excellent listening post on an iPad or something similar. 

You could get your students to listen to these and draw an image they can see whilst listening to the story and then maybe put together a piece of writing explaining how their picture fits in with the message of the story.

Maybe students could examine why so much effort was put into creating these great audio stories during the 1940's.

The options are rich - just as the two recordings I have which were first broadcast live on Christmas eve 1944.  I hope you enjoy them.  There are plenty more to be found on Youtube

Bing Crosby reading 'The Small One' from 1944 - Excellent Christmas story

Orsen Welles and Bing Crosby reading 'The Happy Prince'

Awesome trick lesson to convince your students to follow instructions.

Jarrod Sing,  a colleague of mine passed on this excellent resource which I would highly recommend to anybody teaching students aged 9 - 90.

Essentially, the lesson is a trick in which you hand out the activity sheet and ask them to follow the directions carefully, as we are focussing on following procedures today.

In nearly 99 percent of all cases your students will follow each of the steps and do all of the ridiculous things that are requested of them. Because generally no one follows instructions carefully.

Why?  Because they never follow the first step - which was to read ALL of the instructions before doing anything.  If they do read all instructions as requested they will find out they have absolutely nothing to do.

It is a great discussion prompt for your students about how poor we are in general at following and reading instructions and then exploring the importance of following procedures.

Anyhow you can download the Activity sheet here and spend a good 10 minutes feeling very smug and clever yourself as you see your students fail miserably at this incredibly simple task.

Great sites to learn English for Free

Dont speak the queens language as well as you would like?  Then these sites will certainly be of use to you to help improve your understanding of the English language.

  • Connect with English Web
    • Featuring the story of Rebecca, an aspiring singer on a journey across America, Connect With English offers 50 fifteen-minute video programs that will teach English as a second language to high school students, college students and adult learners. Produced by WGBH Boston.
  • The English We Speak iTunes Free - Web Site
    • Each week, the BBC looks at phrases used in the English language.
  • American English Speech Web
    •  The OLI American English Dialect course from Carnegie Mellon supplies the necessary reinforcement of dialectical structure, audio, production technique and phonetic representation for each sound.
  • 6 Minute English iTunes Free - Downloads - Web Site
    • Learn and practice useful English with the BBC.
  • Better @ English iTunes Free - Feed
    • Focuses on conversational English, with an emphasis on idioms and slang.
  • Business English iTunes Free
    • Learn the English you will need to function effectively in an American business environment.
  • Effortless English iTunes Free Feed
    • It gets solid reviews.
  • English as a Second Language iTunes Free Feed Web Site
    • A very well liked collection of ESL lessons. Over 100 episodes in the collection.
  • English in the Real World iTunes Free
    • The focus here is on the business world and things financial.
  • English for Spanish Speakers (’Por Fin Aprende Ingles’) iTunes Free Feed
    • Si usted haya asistido al menos a un curso de ingles, y usted necesita la oportunidad de escuchar al ingles y hablar el ingles, entonces ‘Por Fin Aprende Ingles’ es el podcast perfecto para usted. Presentado por Carla Staufert-Sauvier, una profesora de Mexico, y Jade Lindquist, una profesora de los EE UU.
  • ESL Business News iTunes Free Feed Web Site
    • A weekly wrap of international business news read in slow, clear English. Listen to the broadcast and follow along in the accompanying script.
  • Grammar Girl iTunes Free Feed Web Site
    • Grammar Girl provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Whether English is your first language or your second language, these grammar, punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer.
  • Speaking English iTunes Free Feed Web Site
    • 100+ lessons focusing on English pronunciation and vocabulary.
  • Tu Ingles! iTunes Free Feed Web Site
    • “Tu Ingles” is designed to help Spanish-speakers improve their ear for English. The weekly program features drills of verb conjugation, interviews, advice about idioms, and excerpts of speeches and other recorded spoken material from famous English speakers.

Great Lesson Plan Template - Using Speech Marks

Simon James has submitted a brilliant template to assist students to understand when and how to use speech marks correctly.  The template has been created with a text focus on Roald Dahl's "James and the Giant Peach" but I am sure that your students can get creative with the excellent visuals on the template regardless of whether they have read the book or not. Click here to download the template.

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